19 April 2009

Diplomacy in two flavours

"Mr President?" came the voice of Chen Chiqui, President Rapp's personal executive assistant. "Minister von Albanees is here to see you."
"Send him in, please."
Antonio von Albanees strode in, clutching a number of documents.
"Kelvin, I have just received a letter from the Reich Duchy of Beerstein. And I would also like you to please sign these two bestowments, for the Order." Antonio seemed rather hurried, a very unusual state for him.
"What is in the letter?"
"The Reich Duke would like to hire our 4th Regiment of cavalry as part of an allied foreign legion he is attempting to raise."
"The 4th? Good, good! Do we have the ships to embark them? Could they catch our troop convoy if they left by Wednesday?" President Rapp was mentally rubbing his hands together, thinking of the income this would produce.
"Kelvin, you farewelled Colonel Finley and the regiment when it left for Darwin, three weeks ago. They're already on the convoy ships, heading for Europe. By now, with favourable winds, they may be putting in at The Cape!"
"Oh, even better! They will be there within a few months, then. Can we send a packet to the convoy, to redirect the regiment to the Duchy?"
"We can. The old pirate, El Trujillo, should be able to catch them. If he doesn't go chasing a few pennies on board another whaler. We really should do something about him, you know!"
"He doesn't attack our ships and has caused no little bother to others, especially the Mormoans, so we'll leave him for now. Get a message, and orders for Fisher's troops, to him, please"
"It's Finley. I will do as you ask. On the other matter..."
"Antonio, those badges cost 1,600 quid each. EACH! Not to mention the 500 acres everyone also gets, when we award one! We are not going to shower them on every head of state in the world, it would bankrupt us!"
"I know, but these two worthy individuals deserve recognition.
Furst Bruno von Ursa, Prince of Saxe-Bearstein, has done the world a great service with his diplomatic messaging service. It has greatly enabled communications between nations. And, to our benefit, has sparked more than one war.
Uber Gruntshuffen, whose current ruler is the Prince Bishop Heinrich XXXII von Wullfenbuttell, has supported the Republic since it began. While not one of the Great Powers, support from these nations has stopped the Republic withering on the vine.
I do urge you to support them. Besides, by raising the awareness of our nation, we also raise the awareness of our troops and their availability for hire. Think of it as some kind of an investment. A 'Future Fund', if you will!"
"Very well Antonio. Pass them here and I will sign." The president signed the Articles of Presentation with a flourish- and a barely suppressed sigh.
"Tell me, Antonio, how is our charming Ambassadress, these days. Quite the intelligent and pretty lady, isn't she?" President Rapp looked up, knowing he would see a little discomfort on Antonio's face. But he was shocked- Antonio was red-faced and trembling! And Antonio in a rage was dangerous.
"I'm so glad you took it 'pon yourself to deal with the lady. Having such an intelligent person necessarily given access to some of more sensitive, er..., governmental branches requires us to be particularly alert in our dealings with her. It would be a most onerous task, Antonio, and I am so glad you have proved equal to it."
"Thank you, Mr President. Now, with your permission, I shall take these Articles, decorations and your orders to Colonel Finley and have them dispatched, immediately. The two new members of the order will of course be considered as founding members, it being only your oversight that stopped them being included in the original bestowments! Good day, Sir!"
President Rapp watched him stalk out.
"That was a mistake!" he thought. Antonio controlled an important bloc in the Caucus. More importantly, he wasn't adverse to calling a man out, no matter what the man's station. He remembered two years ago, when Antonio had run the hapless Nickolai Vitlamovich through, after losing a substantial sum to one of the insurance schemes the man had perpetrated on several leading citizens. Vitlamovich was a leading citizen and son of a former President and member of The Party. That was bad enough, but the way Antonio had twisted his blade as he'd withdrawn it....
Rapp shuddered. He'd not bait his Minister again.


"Lieutenant Rien, please be at ease. And these are your tracker bosses?"
Major Rashid looked at the young officer. He was well turned out, for a militiaman. And had a look of competence. But the Major was more interested in the trackers. They would be invaluable once his squadron of the 2nd Horse stepped up to a proper patrol programme. Leaving O'Connel for this hot, dusty backwater hadn't been popular with the other officers. Nor the men, for that matter. But with both Kingdomer incursions, an occasional brush with the French colonist escorts and a few die-hards from the militia out bushranging, the men wouldn't be bored.

Not to mention all the activity in the new Kingdomer fort opposite Alburburg. What were they up to?
"Yes, Sir. This is Old Billy, our tracker Captain, Dirrigul, Durrigul and Moses. They've been leading parties on the Kingdomer side of the river, trying to find out what all the fuss over there is about."
"And have you found anything, Captain?"
Billy blinked. The Major was talking to him, and calling him Captain!
"Nothin' much we can see, Sir. Them Gunnigong fellas, and them other brown blokes wit' all them feathers, they not likin' us goin' across there, Sir. We had a few times got to run or fight and you said we not to fight them. But Dirrigul he had to fight and we kill two of them brown fellas. An' he got close enough to see them, Sir."
Major Rashid knew that the "brown fellas" were the North American natives the Kingdomers had brought with them. Doughty fighters and trackers, they still seemed a little confused by the change from their homeland to New Holland.
"What did you see, Dirrigul?"
"It a big blue tent, boss, an' they tryin' to start a fire in it! An' it gets big and big, then it catches the fire, boss, and they all run around and try to put it out. Then one of them fellas in the red coats comes runnin' up and starts yellin' and wavin' his arms. That's all we saw when the currawongs come an' nearly get us, boss. But we see them and run off. They chase us, but Wombat an me, we get two of them wit' a spears and we got away, boss!"
"Bown fellas, Sir. We calls them currawongs 'cause they put them feathers in their hair."
"Ah, I see. Very good work, Dirragul. Lt Rien?"
"Good work, but I want you to stop. I can't say why, but all cross border activity is to stop.
However, as of now any Kingdomer found on our side of the border, away from the towns and settlements, is to be taken, preferably alive, and brought to me. And as of today any 'bushranger' who is taken, wearing any part of Republic uniform, will win a reward of 10 Liberties for the troop which catches him.
And your old friend, Lieutenant Gris, I mean former lieutenant, will bring 50 Liberties for the lucky men who bring me his body."

The tight look on the young officer's face showed he knew that his old friend had just been sentenced to death. His trackers would soon spread the word about the reward. And this cavalry major knew it.
"Understood, Sir! Is there anything else?"
"No, Lieutenant. You may.... Wait, I nearly forgot. We can't have a mere lieutenant giving orders to a captain, can we? Even a tracker captain. You are promoted, Captain Rien, and you have been placed on the Reserve Officers List. So you will now be paid as a regular soldier, sir, and are reserve posted to the 3rd Foot.
Rien stood there, not knowing what to say.
"Thank you, Sir."
"Captain, RSM O'Driscoll was very, very impressed with your work. And your regiment is raising two new companies, from the last batch of French colonists. That's why you were promoted. Not for any other reason.
And if I had a friend who needed a , ah..., holiday, I'd tell him that the northern borders are far more relaxed than this one."
Rashid hoped the young officer was listening.
"Thank you, Sir."
Rien and his trackers left. Rashid watched the door close. "Sergeant-Major!" he called.
"Bring in Troopers Shultze and Jenkins and three escorts. I'm in the mood to deal with those two now!"


  1. It appears that the RNS are aware of some "technical difficulties" being experienced with the HMKoNW's "Lighter Than Air Tent"!

  2. Lots of interesting clues in this post . . . very nice, sir.

    -- Jeff