Working on a map, trying to cut the size down to fit the 500 limit.
"It was an age of imperialism. The era of small, independent nations was gone. City-states had given way to colonies. The time of self-represented governments heard its first death toll when the British Empire swept the Zulu off the Continent had began its policies of aquisition and colonialism.
"The other nations, watching as the English continued its policy of expansion, quickly moved to increase their own territories.
"Catherine hastily constructed galleons to move her settlers across the waters; Lincoln and Bismarck each struggled for domination of the Western Continent.
"Babylon and Russia recklessly established far flung colonies on the South Isle, giving no thought to the native inhabitants of the subcontinent.
"Their eyes on the iron ore- rich mountains, the rubber trees of its jungles and the oil filled deserts, they gave no heed to Egypt, the dominant power of the South Isle."
"In those days, the world was governed not by reason, but by greed. They could think of nothing except how to increase and strengthen their own empires. Each dreamt of personal glory. Catherine invisioned a Great Russia that controlled the entire Upper Continent; France and Babylon would be but provinces of Moscow."
"Joan of Arc assembled a council to decide how best to govern America, which when under French control would be renamed to New France."
"Bismarck dreamt of world domination; the flag of Imperial Germany being raised in Washington, London, Moscow and Paris. When Hammurabi slept, the culture of Babylon enveloped the entire world. While Cleopatra rested in the shade of the Pyramids, she pondered what she would do to the other world leaders, after their nations had succumbed to Greater Egypt."
"But all these leaders knew that their dreams of conquest would have to wait. Their colonies established, all the world under control of one nation or the other, they quickly grew paranoid and protective. It began with Elizabeth: ever paranoid, always fearful for her colonies, she sought to protect her growing empire. So it was she who once again led the rest of the world, this time into a labryinth of secret alliances. Her pact with Lincoln was what started it all."
Seeing the interest of his listeners begin to wane, Frederick decided it was time to end his prelude. He dramatically rose from his seat.
"But, as common sense dictates, these great empires could not all rule the world; only one would be able to ascend to that great throne, which all men have at one time aspired to."
He paused for effect, and when he spoke, it was in almost hushed tones. "It began with a dispute over the South Isle. Babylon argued that Russia's destruction of the roads to the Babylonian oil colonies were an attack on its sovereignty; Catherine said that it was part of their campaign against Communists, who were attempting to create an independent Soviet Russia in South Isle. When Russians began moving cavalry divisions to the Egyptian and Babylonian borders, both countries demanded Russia end its aggressive policies, lest it lead to war."
He judged it was time. Yes, his audience, young and old, was ready.
"The dreaded, seemingly inevitable war, began not on land, but in the Sea."
Last edited by Verto; July 4, 2002 at 01:20.
Working on a map, trying to cut the size down to fit the 500 limit.
This is looking good. Great to see a screen shot.
Pride and Prejudice
Captain Young tried to keep his emotions under control. He tried to keep his face passive as he watched the frigate sail past. He struggled against tears.
This is ridiculous , he said to himself. You are an officer of the American Navy. He tried to berate himself, but as he watched his former ship turn and sail out of the harbor, he knew he would never see her again, not in her glory. One day perhaps, with her wooden hull blackened by fire, or with great holes in her sides. Not now, with her sails billowing in the wind, her bow cutting into the ocean waves like a dagger.
"Cheer up, Jonathen," a voice said from behind. "You'll have another ship."
"But it won't be the Ohio ." He turned and faced Admiral Garrett.
"No, Captain, it won't. It will be better. Let's go for a walk; this is like a funeral."
"That's what it is, admiral," Jonathen Young said. "My ship has died." He walked alongside the admiral on the wide avenue back towards the Officers' Hall.
"Don't be so gloom, Captain. I actually have some good news for once, and you're ruining the occasion."
"Sorry, sir. What's the news?"
The white haired admiral smiled. "I've got something for you." Seeing the lack of response, he continued. "I have a ship for you-"
"You do? Another frigate?"
"Well, not exactly. She's called the Jefferson , and well, she's not like anything you've ever seen before...not like anything anyone's ever seen before," he said, almost to himself. "You see, Captain Young, while you were off in the Upper Channel saying goodbye to your sweetheart, the navy made extremely profound advances. I take back what I said earlier, captain, about today not being a funeral. Today is a funeral. The days of frigates and galleons are over, today they will share the fate of triremes and galleys. They will disappear into the abyss.
"Sir, you know as well as I that Washington will never allow the Navy to build any more Ironclads beyond the Memphis and New Orleans
"I'm not talking about them, or Ironclads at all," he replied. "Battleships, Captain. Destroyers. The descendents of the Memphis and the New Orleans."
"What? I'm not sure I follow you, admiral."
"As I said, the navy made tremendous progress while you were out at sea."
"I don't understand. Why hasn't anyone mentioned this to me before?"
"Washington is afraid of espionage. Even the English haven't been told about this yet."
Their closest allies, kept in the dark? "Tell me more about my ship."
"The battleship Jefferson is under construction at the Dallas shipyards. She'll be finished in two months. Washington originally wanted me to take her out, but realized I'm too senile. They told me to find a replacemeant, so here you are."
Here you are. Stuck between the Russians and the English, and not knowing who would start the slugfest.
The rather cramped bridge of the Jefferson made him wish for the open deck of his frigates...[I]You've got Russian destroyers reported ten miles north and you're reminiscing? And why not? Let them start a war, send the send theJefferson to the bottom of the sea. At least that way they would be fighting a war, instead of babysitting the Russian and English fleets. It was nice when the occasional French or Babylonian fleet joined them, but still.
Two months in the Central Sea, keeping the Russian destroyers at bay while at the same time watching their English allies. And then the occasional tantrum thrown by one of the great nations of the world.
Like the one now, that had postponed their return to America. Insisting that the upper half of the Central Sea belonged to Mother Russia alone, the American North Fleet had been ordered to remain at station and keep the Russian destroyers in check while the matter was settled. And so their hopes of returning were postponed. For the most part, it was the endless monotony.
"Uh, sir, three of the Russian destroyers are heading south."
"Trying to see how far they can push us," an officer said.
"Well, they are going to find that out real soon. Order the Liberty and Stalwart to move out on an intercept course. If they show no signs of slowing at no-mans-land, we'll see how cocky they are when they have to go past a battleship."
Five minutes later, the Russians showed no signs of slowing. In fact, they seemed to be accelerating.
"All ahead full," Admiral Jonathen Young ordered. "Have they passed no-mans-land?"
"Thirty seconds at present speed, sir."
He walked forward to the front of the bridge, knowing the destroyers wouldn't be visible but still looking.
The Jefferson was moving at full speed, with five destroyers and three frigates flanking it on both port and starboard. Well, if the Russians wanted to play chicken, he would be only too happy to oblige. Russians were far too full of themselves as it was.
"Fifteen seconds. Sir, three more destroyers have broken off from the main fleet and are heading directly towards us."
"Transmit to London; I want their fleets standing by in case Ivan decides he wants to have a frolick with us."
"Sir, the lead destroyer has just passed no-mans-land. Liberty is requesting further orders."
"Don't the Russians know what they are getting themselves into? They just committed an act of war!"
Admiral Young smiled at the ensign's naive remark. "All ships have permission to defend themselves, but fire only when fired upon. Make sure the Russians have a hard time explaining this to the world."
"The leading destroyers have stopped in the middle of no-mans-land."
Admiral Young chuckled. "Guess they realized they forgot their caviar."
"Sir! Intrepid has reported a torpedo hit!"
"What?" Young looked ahead of the battleship. The frigate was there, smaller than a dime, smoke engulfing the ship as it disappeared into the ocean depths.
"Torpedo in the water!" a voice yelled from somewhere on the battleship.
"Whose firing on us!?" Jonathen Young yelled. "Signal Washington; tell them we are under attack."
The sailor was interrupted by an explosion that threw Admiral Young against the bulkhead. His head slammed against metal, the force knocking him unconscious.
The ship began to roll onto its side as it filled with seawater.
"Abandon ship!" the XO ordered.
They had lost the Jefferson.
"The loss of that battleship was more than a matter of losing a ship; the Jefferson had been a symbol. It was America's flagship, her pride. When the sinking of the Jefferson was announced, the world wanted an explanation. America wanted blood. And Americans looked to Moscow for it."
Your comments are appreciated (thanks dnassman). However, you will all have to try to control yourselves until I can finish the next installment.
this is excellent! - almost as good as my time "in the upperchannel - saying goodbye to my sweetheart " ;-D
DANGER! - Unexploded Civilian
"With the sinking of the Jefferson, the stage was set. America was furious with Russia, who they held responsible for the unprovoked attack. Anxious of a war that would force Babylon to commit forces in defense of Russia, Hammurabi proposed Russia make reparations. England, eager for an excuse to take Russia's colonies in the South Isle, rebuked Babylon, for how could gold and incense make up for the deaths of Americans?"
"The world anxiously waited for a response from Washington."
"I must respectfully disagree with the Minister of Defense. Such an attack would only bring about war, resulting in more deaths, more sinkings. How will history judge a nation which plunged the world into war?"
"We cannot allow these attacks to go unpunished! Mr. President, over a dozen of our ships, including our finest battleship, were sunk or crippled. Our naval abilities have been severely hindered; keeping our sea routes to the Middle Isles safe will be much more difficult. When will we be justified in responding to these attacks? When Russia or one of her allies blockade our harbors? When our colonies are destroyed? When an army is marching on the capital? If we do nothing, there may not be an America left for history to judge."
"I for one do not want to see Washington become part of a new Russian province," another minister said. "We must respond, and we must respond in force."
Lincoln, who had remained silent for most of the meeting, leaned forward, suppressing a smile. The opportunity he had been waiting for had finally come. True, the loss of life was saddening, but you can't make an omelot without breaking some eggs. "So, war or peace?"
"Sir, that is simplistic thinking. What I propose is-"
"War or peace," Lincoln restated.
"Yes, Mr. President."
Lincoln stroked his beard for a moment. He couldn't appear to act in too much haste, nor could he delay any longer; the American people wanted to know what their leaders would do.
So, with the support of the Ministers of Defense and Domestic Affairs, he made his decision.
"The sovereignty of the American Republic, and her efforts to maintain peace in all times, was threatened two days ago by an unprovoked attack made by the Navy of the Empire of Russia. With no warning, the blood of over three thousand brave Americans was spilled in the waters of the Central Sea.
"The peaceful calm of that great sea was shattered when Russian ships fired upon and sunk thirteen American ships. These ships, trying to maintain peace, instead fell victim to Russian aggression.
"America may be the first to suffer at the hands of Russia, but it will not be the last. The entire world has been threatened, all nations imperiled.
"America will not allow her allies, nor any nation of the world to suffer what she has suffered. We will allow no more blood to be shed by the hands of Russia! We will not allow Russia to go unpunished!
"Citizens of every nation deserve the right to live without fear of an attack such as the one against America's brave sailors.
"For this reason, I am henceforth issuing the Jefferson Doctrine: should Russia, or any of her allies, threaten the sovereignty of any nation, or endanger the neutrality of the seas, she will witness America in her greatest wrath. The Bear will hibernate, and to ensure this will she be watched always by the keen eyes of the Eagle! And should the Bear awaken again, and come out of its cave, then will she feel the might of the Eagle!"
"Thus, although it was Russia who lead the world to the edge, it was, in the end, the Eagle who led it to take the next step."
Last edited by Verto; July 3, 2002 at 17:38.
Accidentally posted the same thing twice, so I had to delete it.
This is a world map.
And this is a map of America and her allies, England and France.
Yet another map, this one of the League of Independent Nations, which has not yet been mentioned in the story.
And this is my last map for today, a map of Russia and her allies. If there is any other way to post images, let me know
"I suppose the blame cannot be placed solely on America. During a time when the leaders of the world were all racing to build their empire, it was inevitable that conflict would arise. The world is far too small too contain the egos of so many ambitious rulers."
"But I ramble; as I said, the stage had been set. America and Russia were preparing their armies to go toe to toe. In one hand their sword, and in the other they held the unbreakable chains of mutual protection pacts and alliances.
"And again the world waited. Would Russia cower at America's declaration, would the Bear accept its forced hibernation? Or would Catherine scorn Lincoln's empty threats-and if she did, would America have the will and the strength to back the Jefferson Doctrine? Most of you know what eventually happened, but many of you have taken for granted the outcome that occurred. Many of you do not realize how close the world came to something far different."
North Province of England, 5 miles south of the English city of Athens
American 3rd Cavalry Regiment
Corporal Peter Cowart held his newly polished sword up in the air, admiring the brilliance of the sunlight reflecting off the blade. He saw a dark blur reflecting off the blade and turned around. A dark blue uniformed man was walking towards his tent, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake. He stood up and carefully returned his sword to its sheath. Putting the dirtied rag inside his pocket, he pulled the tent flaps back and stepped out. Straightening, he raised his right arm in a precise salute.
"Good morning, Captain Nelson.
The man returned his salute, then rested it on the hilt of his sword. He glanced inside the small, faded brown tent and the sparse furnishings. Once he was satisfied that everything was in order, he met the eyes of the soldier in front of him.
The corporal standing before him was a drastic change from the one who had first joined his cavalry regiment three years ago. The pale boy that had neither confidence nor strength to keep his horse on reign had disappeared. He couldn't say when it had happened, nor did he care. What was important to him was that Cowart was now one of his best men, and most dependable.
Dependability was an important trait when stationed less than two hours away from the Russian border. More correctly, it was a required one.
"Keeping yourself ready?" Captain Nelson asked in his heavy northerner's accent.
"Yessir! America needs a sword to fight Russia, and I intend to be the tip!"
"Well, would you be willing to settle for being a dagger for now?"
"Scouts have reported a possible Russian encampment along the coast about twenty or so miles southeast of here. I have been asked to take a group of cavalry and meet up with a division of riflemen at Fort Henry, then proceed to the encampment, which is supposed to be due west of Vladivosk."
"You want me to come?"
"Well I'm not telling you all this so you can stay and wash pots, unless you want to."
"Somehow I didn't think so. Bring your provisions. The horses are being readied. Thirty minutes, corporal."
"I'll be ready!" Finally, a chance to whip the Russians!
Northern Russia, forty miles east of English border
Gregoriy Rostov hunched closer to the fire, letting the crackling flames warm one hand while he held his well-worn blanket together with the other. Beneath his chapped lips, his teeth chattered incessantly. The cold, bitter winds blew constantly, the icy air stinging his eyes. His musket was propped up beside him on the gnarled log that served as a bench for the soldiers assigned to guard duty in the frozen wastelands of northern Russia.
Who would want this desolate hell? The musketman asked himself. Let the English have it! Let their soldiers guard this tundra. Maybe then he would be able to stay warm. Maybe Petrograd, or even Kiev...but not here!
He glanced over to his tent, then returned his gaze to the fire. The tents seemed to make matters worse. It was as if the very fabric was absorbing warmth. From far off, somewhere in those endless arctic plains, came the cry of a wolf--or maybe it was Peter again. He tried to chuckle at his attempt at humor, but couldn't.
"You! Come here!"
Gregoriy, mesmerized by the dancing flames of the fire, didn't hear. Quickly, one of his friends shook him. He pointed off to the shadowy figures to his left.
"Come here," the voice repeated.
Slowly, as if waking from sleep, Gregoriy stood. "Da?"
The figures walked forward into the light.
Cossacks, Gregoriy thought.
"You are Rostov?" The shorter of the two asked.
"You have been reassigned. Here are your orders."
Rostov took them, and the Cossacks left. Taking his place on the log, he brushed the ice and snow off the paper and unfolded it. Holding it up to the fire's dimming light, he quickly read the hastily written words. Yes! He was leaving this godforsaken place! And tomorrow morning! Fifteen hours from now, he would be in Vladivosk. It was a pity only ten out of his regiment would be leaving with him, but they would have to survive, just as he had done for the last year.
This is excellent and do enjoy the maps so I can picture more clear where everything is located.
"Ah, Clarke, Jonathen, come in. I was just finishing up some business," President Lincoln said as he stood from behind his giant oak desk. He walked around the giant oak monument and greeted his Ministers of Trade and Foreign Affairs.
"I trust everything went well?" The Trade Minister asked as he shook hands with the President of the American Republic.
"Oh, yes, just old friends catching up on things.. Have a seat," he said, gesturing to the high backed chairs facing his desk.
"Thank you, Mr. President, the ministers sat down. The Trade Minister handed Lincoln a folder. "Babylon is refusing to continue our Incense-Rubber Trading Agreement. Their shipments have stopped, and likewise Hammurabi has ordered our ships to turn back from their harbors. The third page is his official statement."
Lincoln flipped past the first two pages, then stopped to read the third. "...justified refusal to continue trading with the war craving America," Lincoln quiety read aloud.
"Yes, ironic considering that the Russo-Babylonian trade is thriving. I have a report on the effects this will have, minimal of course. The trade was more goodwill than anything; it was started over a decade ago, when Babylon seemed ready to break apart in civil war."
"Shame it didn't," Lincoln said, a hint of bitterness in his voice. "What about our other agreements?"
"Well, England renewed our twenty year Oil-Saltpeter agreement, and will support our trade embargo against Russia, as will France. I am confident that we will have the support of the League of Independent Nations. Egypt is still suffering from having half her empire overrun by Babylon and Russia...I think we can expect Cleopatra's support. Bismarck, however, may need some convincing."
"Oh? Surely Bismarck's personal feud with Catherine will bring Germany on our side."
"Uh, well, normally that would be the case," Jonathen Lewis, Foreign Minister of America, said, leaning forward. "But right now may not be the most...convenient time for Bismarck to commit his country to something that would gain him enemies. The German military is undergoing a major overhaul. He has disbanded three-quarters of his Cavalry units and all of his Knight regiments. His navy is down to less than eight ships, two of which are in dry dock. His air force is stretched across Germany, and all his bombers are in Nuremberg."
"So can we count on Germany and Egypt?" Lincoln asked rather impatiently. He didn't need to be bothered by this; the world was recovering from the shock of the Jefferson, and he had to move quickly.
"Bismarck and Cleopatra will have to have a conference with their provincial governors, and they will decide. I doubt they will pledge their support."
"But surely with the Egyptians' grudge against Babylon, we can convince them to support an embargo, at least."
"Germany holds great influence in Egypt; it was their Imperial Knights that defended Thebes during the War of 1479. Their navy stopped Babylon from sending any more troops over. Without that help, the capital, possibly even the entire empire, would have fallen to the Babylonians. The Egyptians owe their survival to Bismarck. To disagree with Germany on something like this would be, to them, like turning their back on them."
While maintaining his calm, neutral exterior, Lincoln was furious at this news. He was counting on the world's support for America. He had to stifle Russia's economy. Force the Russian state to support itself; if the world cut off its support to the Moscow Alliance, if those two nations were forced to survive on their own...
Surely the Bolsheviks would gain greater support if Russia no longer had French dyes or silks, if they lost the Egyptian oil. With the Russian empire fighting internal civil war, then America could easily brush them off the map. America would stretch across the globe...his thoughts were interrupted.
"Mr. President...Mr. President?"
Lincoln didn't seem to hear his Foreign Minister. His attention was focused on the door behind him.
Clarke turned in his seat to see who it was, but saw nothing.
The President looked back at Clarke and Jonathen. "I'm sorry, I had an appointment three minutes ago, and they are getting a little impatient.
"Um, well we don't want to keep them waiting," Clarke said quickly. He exchanged a glance with his colleague.
"No, we don't," Lincoln murmured. "Oh, uh, thank you both for coming over. We'll discuss this further on Wednesday."
"Good day, Mr. President," the two ministers said as they walked across the elegantly furnished office and out into the outer foyer.
Virginia Sinclair smiled at the two men as they entered the foyer and, in her irritatingly sweet voice asked how their meeting went.
"Well," Jonathen said, studying the eye catching secretary, "the president seemed a little preoccupied. Maybe it was something he and his friend talked about before we got there, or something about his next meeting."
"Minister, the president doesn't have anymore meetings for today. In fact, you are the only people he's seeing today." In a soft, almost conspiratorial tone, she added, "and I might add, he has become rather isolated."
"Not unusual, considering the circumstances," Minister Clarke replied. He didn't have time for the opinions of a secretary with too much time on her hands- which were very manicured, he saw, who spent her days gossiping.
"No, Minister, it began before that," she said, speaking about the Jefferson sinking-didn't seem to upset about that, Clarke noted. "About two months ago, he began cancelling appointments without telling anyone why. He stays in the office all day, and I hear him talking- but no one is in there! I checked!" No one asked her how she had done that, or why she felt it was her responsibility to spy on the President. "
"Perhaps he's just reading a speech he has to give," Clarke replied, turning towards the door. "Or he's on the phone. You coming, Jonathen?"
The Foreign Minister nodded slowly. He wasn't convinced with Clarke's explanations. Lincoln was well known for his dislike of telephones; didn't like anonymity, he said. Whatever reason, Lincoln only used the phone when necessary. And his cancellations? Lincoln used any excuse he could find to talk to someone.
"Goodbye," Ms. Sinclair said as they left.
"Lincoln did get the League's support, after promising Germany complete naval protection and a week after the Jefferson "incident", the embargo went into effect at midnight, the first of September. America and England issued a joint-declaration to Russia, stating that the embargo would remain in place until Russia ended its aggressive policies and agreed to an investigation into the attack on the American North Fleet, and signed the Central Sea Neutrality Act. Russia was unimpressed by the embargo, and refused to sign the treaty.
"Then Catherine and Hammurabi signed what you all now know as the Moscow Peace Accords. This served to remind the world of both countries long standing Moscow Alliance, and their opposition to America and her "underlings", England and France. Not only did the Accords solidify their old alliance, which had suffered when the Russians sabotaged roads leading to the Babylonian colonies in its fight agains the Bolsheviks, it called for a far more interdependent military defense force and more open scientific research. Russian Cossacks soon reinforced Babylon's border with France, and Babylonian riflemen begun marching through the Russian plains on their way to the English provincial border. Soon thereafter, the two countries quickly finished construction on the Eastern Wall, a series of fortifications along the borders both countries shared with France. In response, American and French artillery were placed on the opposing side of the fortifications, and English bombers landed in Paris.
"Through this all, the League of Independent Nations maintained their near silence. Save signing the embargo, they had kept an neutral stance in world events for the past thirty years. Bismarck and Cleopatra showed no signs of breaking with tradition.
"Things actually started to look brighter in December, when Catherine issued a formal apology for the deaths of those on the Jefferson and the other ships in the Northern Fleet. Apparently, their resource reserves were running low, and Russia was in desperate need of saltpeter and oil. Catherine was willing to lose face, if it meant gaining oil.
"When Egypt resolved the Russian crisis by shipping them oil, Lincoln was furious. The man had changed in the past few months, and many couldn't stand him. His advisors avoided him, and the people began to question him. When rumors started about an "election" to replace him as President, and even whispers about a coup, Lincoln blackmailed his Ministers of War and Domestic Affairs into giving him his needed ministerial support and declared martial law in the American Republic. In hindsight, you may not be surprised by any of this - but you must remember: those people did not have twenty years to think about what had happened. Things were happening so quickly, they didn't know where to begin!
"Next, as you all know, Lincoln addressed the world and implied he had uncovered a Russian conspiracy to undermine the rule of Egypt and replace Cleopatra's empire with another province ruled by Moscow. As Russia had recently moved several Cossack regiments to the Southern Isle, and owing America their unwavering support in almost anything, England and France were convinced. Cleopatra, increasingly fearful of seeing her empire disappear before she could fulfill her dreams of domination, was quick to join Lincoln in denouncing the Russian state for continuing to bring the world to the brink of total war.
"An American battleship, the Monticello, and two divisions of Cavalry was sent to Egypt to protect the Egyptians from Russian aggression. In reality, Lincoln still lacked a solid excuse to go to war with Russia, and was willing to sacrifice a battleship and a few men and their horses to get it. Locked away in his office, staring at maps of America with her new colonies on the Southern Isle and the Northern Continent, he was becoming lost from reality. All he saw was a Greater America; he saw the omelot, not the broken eggshells."
Frederick paused, letting his words sink in. This was all history they knew, history that had been instilled in them since they were learning to walk.
"But the first battles of the War of 1902 really occurred in 1901, less than a week prior to the last New Year's Day before the War." Judging from their expression, this was something new. He leaned forward. "And this secret battle happened a stone's throw from here."
(Sorry, I won't be able to get past this introduction, as I am experiencing technical difficulties. May HP burn in the Eternal Pits of Fire!!! Not sure when I will be ready to continue, but as always, comments - good and bad - are welcome. Also, if you have any ideas or places, people, etc you want me to add, I'm only too happy to oblige. Also, this story and Nuclear Supremacy were nominated for the contest prelims - show support, not only for this story, but for all stories and for this forum, and VOTE! Oh, and thanks to whoever ranked this story.)
Last edited by Verto; July 6, 2002 at 00:27.
"As you recall, Captain Nelson and part of his American 3rd Cavalry Regiment had been ordered to investigate what was believed to be a Russian camp west of Vladivostok, possibly in English territory. Captain Nelson and his men rode south to Fort Henry where they would group up with another regiment of riflemen and then investigate the camp.
"They arrived at Fort Henry around noon and left shortly thereafter..."
Frederick paused, pacing slowly in front of his audience.
"No one knows when, or even if, they made it to the encampment...two hours after they left Fort Henry, Athens was attacked and burned to the ground, and Captain Nelson was forgotten in the confusion that followed.
"The English fought bravely, but were caught off guard. No one expected an attack in the middle of winter...no one expected a war so suddenly...
"Athens was still ablaze when Russian Cossacks slaughtered the citizens of Yorktown. Smoke was rising still from this once great city during the rape of Nottingham. I suppose the Russians thought that the English people would abandon their cities and forsake the Province. They were wrong.
"The Russians managed to capture nearly half the province before their onslaught was halted. The English were finally able to coordinate a defense, and the invaders were kept at bay mere miles from the provincial capital, New London. They were determined to make the Russians pay for every foot of land they took.
"Meanwhile, news of the razings spread. Lincoln had immediately sent the American army in to fight with the English. France, which had been deliberating about how to fight a war with its modest army, now shook itself free of doubt and declared war. Bismarck and Cleopatra met at an emergency session of the League of Independent Nations, and all present made a unanimous decision to aid their English brethren. The world was turning against Russia, but the Bear did not stand alone. Hammurabi invaded France and Egypt and the Moscow Alliance appeared to be on its way to controlling the entire Northern Continent, and the rest of the world was unable to stop it in time. American, English, German and Egyptian transports all tried frantically to cross the Central Sea in time to reach their comrades.
"After three weeks of fighting in the Province, American troops landed on the shores and marched north to meet the Russians while German reinforcements arrived in the Upper Egypt and helped slow the Babylonian advance. But it wasn't enough.
A nation that had, since its birth, been surrounded by war, Babylon's veteran troops annihilated the few Egyptian soldiers. The German troops, under artillery fire since landing, was driven back. While the Russian-English stalemate continued, Babylon conquered Upper Egypt and began choking the Egyptian capital.
"Defeat seemed inevitable; in less than three months, the Moscow Alliance had captured half of the Athenian Province had driven Egypt off the continent. Russian troops were just arriving on the eastern front and pouring into France. A beleagured Thebes anxiously waited for German and American aid, knowing that it would be too little, too late.
"Where's that ammo!" Will Thompson shouted down the line. "GET ME AMMO!"
"Come on now, there's no need to shout in my bloody ears," Jack O'Reilly growled as he raided a nearby ammo box of its clips. "Although right now, I doubt it'll take much more than a look at your pretty 'ol face to turn the Ivans back. Maybe let them get a sample of your charmin' personality.
Will grabbed a clip from Jack's hand and slammed it into his rifle. "Keep it up and you can watch your own back."
"Is that a threat? You keep it up and I might not let you win any more poker games."
"Let me? You're a lousy player and you know it."
Snow fell softly on the English - soldiers and citizens - lying in the trench two hundred yards from the Russian frontline. The battle of two nights ago was almost just a distant memory; the bodies were gone and the trampled ground was covered in a blanket of white snow. The few trees that had survived the artillery stood proudly, their branches similarly draped in snow. Somewhere down the line he heard laughter, a comforting sound amidst all the destruction. Will sighed as he set his rifle down and stretched out his legs. His toes were numb inside his boots, and his tan uniform didn't keep out the cold, but he wasn't complaining. Neither was anyone else. They were here to defend their homes, their family, their friends, their country. It was, to them, a sacred and honorable duty. There was great pride among the men, but also a sense of fear, of depression. They had suffered defeat after defeat; but that was all the more reason: the Russians had to pay. Throughout the front line, the cry of "Remember Nottingham! Remember Yorktown!" rang across the battlefield amidst the gunfire and artillery, the cries of the wounded and the silence of the dead.
"Ten says tomorrow," someone said. Will turned his head and saw three young, red-haired soldiers huddled in a small circle.
"Ah, come on Teddy-"
"Don't be worrying about that," the soldier laying opposite of Will said. The man, who had appeared to be writing a letter, looked old enough to be nearly everyone's father, with thinning, gray hair and a slight paunch. His eyes, however, had the glint of steel in them. Dulled, perhaps, by time, but quickly regaining its edge. "When it comes, you'll be wishing it hadn't. And besides, you're wrong. You won't be seeing Ivan for a few more days. We gave 'em a bloody lip and they've gone to nurse their wounds."
This pacified the three, who went back to silently looking at the other side, the distant figures that had invaded their country.
Will caught the older man's eye. "You look like you know a thing or two about war. Will," he said, introducing himself.
"Matthew Parker," he replied. "I was about nineteen or so when we were fighting Babylon, over some colony or other. Isn't it amazing what we'll fight over? Silk or oil, it doesn't matter." He paused, then added softly, "but this is different. This means something. This is the fight worth fighting. The war that needs to be fought.
"Aye, I'll agree to that. My wife's aunt was in Nottingham." Nothing more needed to be said. Nothing more was said for a long time. Finally, Will broke the silence.
"I hear the Americans are less than three days away."
"I doubt it's that much," Matthew said with a laugh. "They're probably marching night and day. Eager to avenge their Jefferson."
"There's going to be a lot of avenging soon."
"Yes, more than you or I will be able to stomach." Both sat in silence, until the older man pulled a pencil from his breast pocket and resumed writing, leaving Will to his own thoughts of the war and whether he would live to see the end of the war, or even Christmas.
Two hundred yards away, Gregoriy Rostov wondered the same.
As always, let me know the good, the bad and the ugly!
I didn't want the story to fall into the abyss of second page, so *bump*. Make sure you vote in the preliminaries!
Last edited by Verto; July 8, 2002 at 20:53.
ach, accidental double post...
Last edited by Verto; July 8, 2002 at 15:35.
I'd like to hear from the readers about some of the things they want to see happen. Try to keep the nuclear holocaust scenarios to a minimum...
And NO GLOBAL WARMING!
My SUV's are backed by NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!
The Americans see the English, think they are the Russians and attack with artillery, killing off some of their own allies.
The English get mad, sign a treaty with the Russians and stay out of the war.
"Listen lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. All the kings said I was daft to build a castle in the swamp, buit I built it all the same just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burnt down, fell over and then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're gonna get, lad, the strongest castle in these isles."
- Swamp King (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
Last edited by Verto; March 18, 2003 at 22:42.
I don't really see anything in your stories I haven't seen before, but I gave you a 4 rating
First Master, Banan-Abbot of the Nana-stary, and Arch-Nan of the Order of the Sacred Banana.
Marathon, the reason my friends and I have been playing the same hotseat game since 2006...
"The winter of 1901 was beginning to look like it would be the worst since 1853. The Babylonian Empire was strengthening its chokehold on France, while the northern Egyptian province remained occupied. Russian attacks were becoming more frequent and more desperate as American and German troops began arriving on the Athenian Province and making their way to the frontlines to aid their beleaguered English brothers, although it looked like they might arrive only to find the English decimated and the Russians moving forward again.
"The Moscow Alliance had managed to achieve almost unrivaled supremacy in the high seas, with Russian destroyers patrolling the waters between America and England, while Babylonian battleships began a blockade of America's west coast. Worse, the first aircraft carrier, the Hammurabi , was able to prevent American bombers from attacking the Babylonian fleet.
"The year 1902 dawned on a dark day...
Jonathen Lewis walked hurriedly into the outer foyer of the Presidential Suite. "I need to speak with the President," the foreign minister said to the secretary. "Now."
"Oh, certainly," Ms. Sinclair replied. She stood and walked from behind her desk. Smiling at the minister, she tapped gently on the door. "Mr. President? Minister Lewis is here to see you. He says it's urgent."
From the other side of the door came hushed whisperings, then, "Ms. Sinclair, you know I can't be interrupted in a meeting."
"Oh, uh, sorry, Mr. President."
"Who is he meeting with?" Lewis asked the secretary.
She stammered," N-No one. He left the office once earlier this morning, then came back. He's been in there alone since eight o'clock.
Jonathen Lewis studied the secretary for a moment. "Then who is the President talking to?"
The secretary shrugged her shoulders.
"Well, someone is in there, and whoever it is, can wait."
The foreign minister pushed open the door to Lincoln's office and stepped inside. "Mr. President, I'm sorry to interrupt but -" he stopped in midsentence and looked around.
"What is it, Jon?" Lincoln said impatiently. He was standing by the window, and looked annoyed at having his conversation interrupted.
Lewis looked around the room in puzzlement. "Uh..."
"Come on now, Lewis, I'm in the middle of a meeting, if you haven't noticed. Now, what is so important?"
"Well, Mr. President, I had a meeting with Sir William this morning at the English embassy...I'm sorry, Mr. President, but who were you talking to?"
"Before I came in - who were you talking to?"
"General Arnold of course," he said haughtily. Lincoln chuckled and shook his head. "No, Benjamin, no need to go that far." He reached out and patted thin air.
"Excuse me?" Jonathen Lewis stepped forward, studying Lincoln carefully. "Ms. Sinclair, go get the doctor."
"Are you feeling ill?" Lincoln said with concern.
"Well, what do you do propose we do about this, if it is indeed true?" Minister of Trade Clarke Ford asked.
"Obviously we can't allow this information to become public. The results would be detrimental," Jonathen Lewis said.
"That's an understatement," the Domestic Affairs minister said. "But how many people know of this already? Besides us, the president's secretary, anyone she might have talked to..."
"The secretary is been flown to her new assignment as a mayor's aide on one of the island cities. She's been enroute for the past two hours, and the flight crew has instructions to keep her in a cabin and not allow her to communicate with anyone else."
For the first time, the Minister of the Military spoke up. "Our course of action should be to treat this like a virus. Find out how far it has spread, and issue a quarantine before it can spread. Washington must have a communications blackout to keep this contained."
"We can't do that," the Domestic Minister said. "Can we? Where does the presidential authority shift to now?"
"Well, that depends - there's a lot of room for debate."
"I don't see how," the Military Minister said. "The President is unable to function and we are at war. Therefore, I should, as commander of the American military, assume command for an indefinite period of time."
"But is the President unable to function?"
"Come on, Clarke. He was talking to people that no one else could see. He sees people that aren't there."
"But is that truly keeping him from being able to function?"
"Abraham Lincoln is crazy! He cannot be trusted in a position of responsibility."
"What happens if the world finds out about this? What if he's more sick than we think?"
"What if he isn't? What if he isn't sick at all?" The Trade Minister argued. "What happens if this does get leaked, and the public doesn't like the fact that we tried to keep it hidden?"
"Fine. Tell the world. Our President has hallucinations, unable to separate the real from the unreal. And the rumors that will spread! This morning's English fiasco - they'll say one of his hallucinations told him to. They'll say his "friends" dictate policy to him. Lincoln will be crucified, and America will go down with him. Unless we cut our losses right now."
"But are we allowed to do that? What is the precedent for this?"
"We don't know," Clarke said.
"Well, I'll tell you what I know. America and the rest of the world are at war. A war that we and our allies are losing. Three of our bombers just crashed into and killed seven hundred English soldiers. America has a leader that can no longer lead.
"Right now, our main focus should be winning this war, and that is my responsibility. Keeping this information secret is imperative, but so is keeping the Russians from taking over the entire Continent. The president is the Supreme Commander. Any military decisions I have must first be approved by the president, which will take time and which may be vetoed by him...Unless I am given the proper authority."
Clarke leaned forward. "And just how exactly is that achieved?"
The Military Minister looked the Trade Minister in the eye. "Inform the public that there was an attempted bombing of the capital - blame it on the Russians - and a blotched assassination. The president's condition is serious, but expected to make a full recovery. In the meantime, for the continued well-being of the American people for the duration of hostilities, martial law will be declared in all territories of the American Republic. I, as temporary Supreme Commander will have direct control of the military and be able to direct a successful counter-attack."
The others looked unconvinced. "A martial law declared under those circumstances would give us ample reason for a communications blackout - otherwise, we'll have a lot more questions to answer. Questions that can't have an answer."
In the end, Domestic Minister Arthur Douglas was chosen to inform the American people, and the world, of President Lincoln's condition.
Twenty minutes after the New Year began, an emergency governmental broadcast of the gravest nature overrided all radio programs. America was under martial law.
General Rosen rubbed his eyes with a coarse hand. He thought about going to the bathroom and seeing how he looked in a mirror, but why bother? It would only confirm what he suspected; it wouldn't erase the results of not sleeping for the past month.
His uniform was wrinkled but clean. His hair was ruffled, he hadn't been able to shave for two days, but what did it matter? The men out in the cold wouldn't notice, or care. He stepped outside and walked straight into the icy wind towards the small cathedral that had been converted into barracks for the two hundred soldiers still alive. The gray stone exterior was scarred by the weeks of warfare the outskirts of Sparta had seen. As he climbed the steps up to the cathedral's wide doors, he spotted someone walking in the fields to the west. He paused, watching the lone figure stand, almost defiantly, against both the elements and the almost inevitability of death and defeat, as England had done.
Reluctantly, preferring the snow and the flurry and the icy winds to what he had to do next, he pulled open one of the tall wooden doors and walked inside.
Will Thompson looked one last time at the charred remains of the three American bombers. A cockpit, detached from the rest of the plane, rested against one of the few remaining trees. The scattered debris, parts of a fuselage or a propeller, mangled corpses of the seven hundred English soldiers that had died from the crash, and the explosions that soon followed.
Even a few brown Russian caps could be seen; probably some scout that had been out at the wrong time. He looked at the Russian trenches, hidden behind a blanket of impenetrable fog. He slung his rifle behind his shoulder and carefully picked his way through the scattered wreckage towards the cathedral where he could rest for a few hours before going back to his post.
He walked into the cathedral, caring little for the snow and mud he was bringing into the once holy place. He at once noticed the subdued atmosphere; the normal buzz of activity, shouts and laughter, was gone. He walked past the pile of broken pews and cluttered stacks of equipment toward the front of the church. Long ago, it seemed, this was where people would come to worship, to pray, to give thanks. He could picture the stained glass pictures - not shattered by artillery fire - and the reverence the people had for them. Before the soldiers had ran from the hailstorm of flames and debris that had fallen upon them in their trenches and taken refuge in the cathedral.
He spotted Matthew Parker sitting on a crate. He didn't seem to notice Will, even when he called his name. Finally, Will kicked the crate softly with his boot. "Matthew - what's wrong?"
Slowly, Matthew looked up at the other's face. "What - didn't you hear the general?"
"No - I just got back. What did he say?"
"The Russians took three more cities, and when they realized they wouldn't be able to capture the fourth, they just bombed it into oblivion...General Perry was executed by Russian cossacks and four thousand men were captured or killed..."
"William, we've lost. The Queen is bargaining with the Russians for peace. General Rosen said we've been ordered to abandon the city and cease hostilities with the Russians." Each word, each sentence, was like a knife in Will's side.
"What? This is ridiculous! American and German troops-"
"Russian bombers fly over the Channel non stop, none of our transports get to the coast. France surrended to Babylon two days ago. The Egyptian capital was burned, and General Rosen says no one knows where Cleopatra is. German transports can't leave harbor because of the Babylonian fleet less than four miles off the coast. The Southern Isle is falling faster than the Babylonians and the Russians can advance."
Matthew sobbed, and for the first time Will saw his friend shed tears. Not in all the fighting, the deaths, the agony, never had Matthew cried.
Will started to say something, but he thought better. And besides, what could he say? His friend, always level headed, a voice of reason, now succumbed to emotion - like everyone else in the cathedral. Except Will. Where the others felt anguish, sorrow, anger, for Will there was only an empty void.
Nottingham, Yorktown, Athens...we were making peace with a nation that had burned our cities to the ground, driven people from their homes in the middle of winter. They had left men, women and children in the snow, not caring whether they died of exposure or starvation, and we were going to make peace with them?
He still couldn't bring himself to accept it. Couldn't bring himself to say the word peace. After Yorktown, after Athens, the word tasted like bile in his mouth. What of the Empire Elizabeth promised?
He walked, as if in a trance, out into the snow covered streets of once peaceful Sparta. Someone called him, asked him to come join him by the small fire he had blazing, but Will didn't hear him. He simply kept on walking.
Tell me what you think, where you want this story to go, and how you want it to get there!
Last edited by Verto; July 9, 2002 at 23:53.
This story's going great. It's full of action with the occasional twist thrown in. I like how you personalized it with the accounts following individual soldiers on the borders.
Can't wait for the next installment.
The Lion, the French and Cleopatra's Wardrobe
"England was suing for peace. The Lion was submitting to the might of the Bear. Champagne was a smoldering ruin, Paris lay occupied, and France was conquered.
"Germany and Egypt struggled to maintain their League, but found it increasingly difficult. Cleopatra, nearly dying as a result of her stubborness to allow her wardrobe to fall ino the hands of "savages", barely escaped to Berlin after her palace was overrun by Babylonian soldiers and artillery fire rained down on the rest of her capital.
"England had been brought to her knees, stripped of her colonies on the Continent and the South Isle. France had simply ceased to exist. A nation that had been growing for over five millennia died in three months of warfare. France had been divided into the Greater Eastern Provincial Region of the Russian Empire, and the Babylonian Northern Protectorates.
"America had lost both her allies, and Germany was rapidly losing his. With his once steady stream of reinforcements blocked by Babylonian destroyers and battleships, Bismarck and the German people watched in anguish their allies try to fight off the Babylonian invasion force. The few remaining soldiers of the Egyptian Army, hastily trained and armed those that could carry a sword or a rifle to fight the invaders.
"January ended thus: Russia and Babylon wielded total domination on the Continent, including the three English cities they had permitted Elizabeth to retain, but the small towns were mere vassals of the Moscow Alliance.
"By the end of the first week of February, after continuous fighting since October, what passed as the Egyptian government surrendered to Hammurabi's generals. America and Germany stood alone."
Sorry I wasn't able to write more before I posted, but the next two days I might be gone, and I didn't want to wait until Saturday or Sunday to post. Just consider this a teaser or introduction.
Thanks for the comments, they are appreciated!
(ElDiablo, I hope I was able to work in your suggestion to your satisfaction - I changed the artillery mishap to a plane crash, as the Americans have received a lot of blame for accidentally killing allied soldiers in RL. I would certainly not want to add to it, being the Republican, patriotic American that I am.
And please forgive me my title: I have no excuse.
Oh, and I've attached a map. Anyone know how I can get the image to appear in the post? Does it have to be on a webpage?
Anyway: the map represents the expanded boundaries of Russia and Babylon. Egypt has surrendered, although their fate is yet to be decided...
Been a while since I visited Apolyton, good to be back. Was wondering about bringing this story back from the dead, any reader interest?
Bring it on
A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.