The New Prussians have made their political plan crystal clear:
They’ve also committed a major strategic blunder…
The New Prussians have made their political plan crystal clear:
They’ve also committed a major strategic blunder…
Did they start a land war with New Asia?
No – Because they can’t. but we’ll get to that. As for the strategic error:
Imagine, Beau, that you had a fashion rival (not that you do, but just imagine) that you wanted to outshine at an upcoming ball. Which scenario would you prefer: the case where you has no idea what they were going to wear – not even what tailor they were using – or the case where the rival how paraded his finest pea-cockery about town weeks before the ball and bragged about his tailor?
[Late to press due to recent events, this season’s edition of the Weatherby Space Times is finally available from the finest vendors and booksellers around the city. Given the recent announcement, life in the city continues much as usual.]
“Ha!” If they were so interested in due process, they would have spoken to him before seizing everything. If he goes anywhere near the authorities “to answer their questions”, it’ll be the last anyone hears from him. Truth, innocence be damned. They’ll have a result, and who will remember that it’s a lie?
No. They clearly know less than they think they do, if they think he’ll fall for that. On the other hand, £200 is an unheard of sum for too many people. He knows better than anyone how easy it is to see only the potential when you’ve got nothing.
All he can do now, is hope someone succumbs later, rather than sooner. Hopefully by then, he can truly be gone. He frowns. Or maybe…
"Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope.”
– Jane Clawsten, Scents and Sentimentality
Turn Deadline: Sat, May 26 @ 2am EDT
The dreaded Space Eagles of New Prussia have dropped all pretense of collaboration and chosen a military solution to the Weatherby problem.
Meanwhile, one might expect the following:
Turn 11 blight progress: Average chance for any existing whipweed holding to recover.
Turn 11 special risk: Good chance of interference from the mysterious adversary, should you have one.
Depending on your choice, you may or may not continue to make progress on your Final Challenge and that progress will once again absorb all remaining income. Funding of final challenges at less than 50% of current income will result in a more difficult challenge this season.
Current status of Weatherby: Without orbital bombardment, the defensive improvements will likely hold against the two regiments of New Prussian Cuirassiers for 2-4 months. Relief from Britannia Prime is at least three months away in a best case scenario. With orbital bombardment, the city will likely hold for a month - two at the very best.
The Leviathans have done excellent work in all categories - particularly RANK, which has seen a redirection of effort to much needed areas at the urging of those involved.
Given the broadcast from Admiral Pandora, the current situation looks bleak. For the five players not called up to military service (@nimelennar, @wisconsin_platt, @Donald_Petersen, @David_Falkayn, @mrmonkey) the following options are available to you:
Option 1 - Remain in Weatherby: Stay put in the city and hope that all of this will blow over.
In the event the city comes under attack by orbital bombardment, each member of your family individually has:
Option 2 - Seek offworld passage to Britannia Prime: Liquidate your holdings and use the proceeds to start anew by returning to Britannia Prime. You’ll keep your current purse and receive your current income in additional funds. You’ll need at least 500£ to secure offworld transport - one can attempt it with less, but with a risk of failure proportional to the shortfall. You will retain your current True Citizen standing on Britannia Prime and attempt to start over upon arrival.
Risks: You will have:
Option 3 - Retreat to your country estate: By retreating to the countryside, you’ll have an opportunity to wait out the conflict in relative safety and focus on your Final Challenge.
Option 4 - Welcome the arrival of New Prussia: The proposal that Admiral Pandora has made is entirely reasonable in the larger picture. What has Britannia Prime done for you lately after all?
Option 5 - Other!: Send me a PM detailing your plans and I will respond with a risk-reward profile. You will then have the option of committing to your custom option or selecting one of the previous options.
Commissions are no longer available for purchase. At this time, no general draft has been levied.
Due to the blockade, all moving services and rental prospects are temporarily on hold.
For the ten players called up to military service, you have some different options available:
Military 1 - answer the call of duty: Hold the line against New Prussian aggression and discharge your duty with the following risks:
Turn 12 special risk for Space Hussars: Due to the encroaching New Prussian threat, those that have purchased commissions in the Space Hussars have been called to the front with all due haste. (@ghoti, @daneel, @hadley, @penguinchris, @Nightflyer). Should hostilities break out, one of the following may happen:
Turn 12 special risk for Space Dragoons: Given the need to break the blockade, Space Dragoons will attempt to launch corvettes to contest the gravity well. Launching from the Weatherby spaceport would be suicide, but secret naval launch sites exist. Assuming nothing changes, Space Dragoons (@pogo, @gwwar, @MalevolentPixy, @fintastic, @old) should expect the following risks:
Military 2 - desertion: Slip away in the confusion and avoid the confrontation. You’ll liquidate your household at current market prices, seek to avoid the conflict, and create a new identity.
Risks: You will have:
Military 3 - Other!: Send a PM detailing your plans and I will respond with a risk-reward profile. You will then have the option of committing to your custom option or selecting one of the previous options.
…I believe I was recommissioned in the Hussars some time ago…
By God, that’s correct. A proper military man standing up at a time when the bureaucracy of the land had misplaced the paperwork. Ensign Brummell of the Weatherby Space Hussars (formerly Lt. Brummell of the Charybdian Hussars (ret.)) should consider himself called to duty!
Indeed. As they say, war is too important to be left to the generals. Plus, I’ve heard that the New Prussians “don’t like it up ‘em”, and I mean to put that to the test.
The lights at Castle Ponsfleischmann burn late into the night. Security at the gates is subtly higher. Entry and exit is limited to a few suppliers of scientific apparatus, engineering materials, and regular deliveries of warm grapefruit soda and sandfish pizzas.
I am so inspired, my love. I never realized a Space Lobster could feel this way.
While I’m away at the front, be strong, dear. Little Peyote will need your guidance and reassurance…
An imperturbable look upon his face, silently staring at the sky the Cmdr’s posture tightens slightly a degree further to attention.
“My men stand ready.”
Behind the curtain, St-Patrick-Hartbrooke wills his hands to stop shaking. They don’t. He closes his eyes, trying to force stability upon them, but the tremors only increase… until something soft and warm grasps them, and the shaking stops. Aaaakzeee opens his eyes to see Madeline, his dear Madeline, smiling up at him and offering her support.
“I’m so sorry to put you and Luna…”
“Hush,” his partner replies, squeezing tighter. “You wouldn’t be the man I’d chosen had you done anything else. You’re trying to make a better world for her, and for me, and for us all, and we will be here with you for all of it.”
He brings his beak down to meet her hand, and she kisses him on the other side of it. “Now, go. You have a crowd waiting.”
She’s right. Of course she’s right. And with all of the favours he’s earned on this mayoral campaign spent on raising this crowd, he’d better make use of it, or it will serve none of its intended purposes. The Space Griffin straightens up, and Madeline tugs his cravat straight, and adorns his lapel with a patriotic pin. He grins at her, and then turns to the curtain and adopts a stern visage before passing through.
The crowd is slightly smaller than he’d hoped, but it will serve. If all goes well, the crowd just needs to be of a certain critical mass to start, and this should be more than enough to achieve that. As he steps forth, the crowd falls silent, courtesy of a few well-placed people in the crowd hushing the others.
“My friends,” the Taaa’keee speaks, his voice echoing out through the marketplace, “we face difficult times ahead. War has come to our peaceful colony, against the wishes of all the good people who live here, from the oldest Space Lizard to the youngest Oblate Spheroid; from the richest True Citizen in her castle,” a pointed gaze at the Mayor’s residence, “to the poorest Citizen-Pretender begging in the street; from the bravest Dragoons and Hussars to the most committed pacifists: none of us wanted this.”
St-Patrick-Hartbrooke looks up to the sky, then raises a finger to point at it while returning his gaze o sweep the crowd, trying to give the impression that he is looking at every single individual present. "It is New Prussia who brought this war here. It is New Prussia who bombed our spaceport, who will kill our brave Hussars and Dragoons, who threatens to bombard our beautiful colony and kill your brothers and sisters, your husbands and wives, your parents and children.
“Her Majesty’s Hussars and Dragoons will do their utmost to protect us, but they are only mortal. They may fall; they may break; they may even fail. And we need to be ready for the eventuality, God forbid, that they are unable to protect us. I will say now what no one has dared to: it may happen that New Prussian soldiers will be walking these streets soon, declaring this a New Prussian colony…”
There is a murmur at this, but he pays it no mind. He just needs to give them something to think about.
“…And that will be a lie. Unless we let it be the truth,” and he stabs his finger down on the podium to emphasize each of the next few words, “That. Will. Be. A. Lie.”
The murmur dies down, and the Space Griffin gives them a moment to let that idea sink in, before continuing. “This colony was founded as part of Britannia Prime, and everything we have here was given to us by King Grigori, God rest his soul, and Her Majesty, Queen Catherine. We are Britons, all of us, until the last of us stops fighting, from loss of life or loss of courage. Her Majesty is coming for us, with a fleet that dwarfs the one in orbit, coming to drive the invaders back to their backwater planet, where they’ll be bombed back into using internal combustion engines to get around. She will keep faith with us, so we must keep faith with her!”
A few affirmative grunts sound from within the crowd, and gradually, ever-so-gradually, he takes that bit of momentum as a cue to let the volume of his voice start to rise. He has the crowd hooked; they’re responding to what he’s saying; now he needs to make his pitch. "If they seek to rule us, we must with our every breath heave our spit into their faces! If they seek to enslave us, we must refuse to take a single step towards their goal. And if they seek to swallow us, we must become a poison pill so bitter that the Tsar chokes on it, sitting on his golden throne back in his palace!
“Lay aside all the preserves you can; we will need them to stay strong! Clear your crawlspaces, your attics, your cellars, and wall them away: we will need them to hide, and strike back from! Put aside your differences and squabbles; we will need to present a united front to our oppressors, and show them that they cannot take what is ours from us: not our freedom, not our land, and not our Queen!”
A deep breath; it’s getting harder to get all of this out at the volume he’s at, but he needs to continue, to keep building to the crescendo. “We will fight them in the streets and in the fields, in the markets and the estates, in the city and the countryside. We shall fight them until rescue comes, and the Queen drives them back to their little corner of the galaxy, knowing that they never won, because we were never beaten!”
The crowd roars in response, but here’s where St-Patrick-Hartbrooke sees whether this has worked… “And she will come for us, because no matter how they try, they cannot take her from us! WE ARE HER PEOPLE, AND CATHERINE IS OUR QUEEN!”
A single cry comes from out of the crowd… “Long live the Queen!”
It is joined by a few others, a moment later… “Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen!”
And, to his immense gratification, the crowd starts to join in: by the fifth repetition, half the crowd is yelling it; by the seventh, even those who don’t want to say it aloud are mouthing it to keep from standing out. He grabs his cane, unused since he healed from the duel, and wields it like a drum-major’s baton. “Let’s show Her Majesty that Weatherby remains loyal!”
Although he’s already exhausted from the speech, and would like nothing more than to collapse into bed with his dear Madeline back at the apartment, Aaaakzeee St-Patrick-Hartbrooke III sets off down the road, the crowd in tow, occasionally shouting “Long live the Queen” himself to keep the chant alive whenever it starts to flag a bit. The patriots throughout the town, as well as those who would like to be thought such, all join up as the march passes by, boosting the numbers until a substantial percentage of the town’s population is present.
It is a message, sent to three recipients. Least consequentially, to the Mayor and the power brokers of Weatherby, to show that he is a serious contender for the next election. More pointedly, to those who are thinking of welcoming the New Prussians with open arms, to show that they are isolated and outnumbered, and should have second thoughts about the consequences of defecting. And finally, to the Queen herself, to promise bad publicity if she actually lets this colony of what are surely her most devoted followers fall into enemy hands.
And all it took was a few agents in the crowd, to make the right noises at the right time, and steer the mood exactly to where he’d wanted it to be. Expensive, yes, but a small price to pay if it laid the groundwork for the Resistance he wanted in place, should the New Prussians set foot on this planet, his home.
All in all, a good day’s work accomplished. Tomorrow, after some tea with honey to soothe his aching throat, the real work would begin.
[The bridge of the H.R.F. Thetis flickers once more to life upon the viewscreens of Weatherby and Admiral Pandora once again speaks to the world.]
“Good people of Weatherby. A mere two days remain for you to answer the question set before you. Your empire cares naught for your far flung planet. Dreadnaughts will not be dispatched in your cause. We have intercepted the distress signal bound for Britannia Prime and broadcast noise in its stead. No one else in the galaxy is aware of your situation. There will be no rescue.”
“Join us peacefully and the will of König Nixon himself ensures your position in the new society. You have worked so hard for decades and for what? We welcome you with open arms into a better, more sensible society.”
[As before, the message repeats twice more before terminating.]