Jungle Work

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Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Thu May 23, 2019 8:49 pm

"No...no! You can't do this!" U Prad Seng on his knees trembled in front of the submachine gun. "After all that we've been through?"

"It's precisely because of what we've been through that I must kill you, Prad."

"You spent eight years in the jungle for this? Lived a lie for eight years just so you could kill me at the last moment?"

"...yes." U Seng stopped shaking.


"I figured this would be your response. I too would be mad if I was double-crossed. If it's any consolation, I would've killed anyone else in your position. Nothing--"

"--personal? Yeah, I bet nothing's personal to you, you treacherous shit. Who paid you off? Be honest for once in your miserable life and tell me the truth." U Seng's soon-to-be murderer nodded at a point made. He sighed and got on with it.

"I really will have to kill you now, but I've been in the Thought Police for the past fifteen years." Prad Seng's eyes bulged in uncomprehending disbelief. "Yes, I'm neither Parsiwani nor a Dharman, but the cause of Heaven--"

"You're a fucking Taihei? What does that make you, a triple agent?" The murderer counted the number of backs he'd stabbed on his fingers. It came up to two, which made him indeed a triple agent. "I can't fucking believe it. Did it hurt to kill your yojin slave masters, coolie? What if they reincarnated as a roach Mazaran? Did you know---" U Seng's eyes bulged again, but this time he knew everything. His gaze met his murderer's, and for this thirty bullets rent his flesh. U Seng slumped to the ground noiselessly, just as heavy as the monsoon air.

--the cause of Heaven requires great labors and peerless champions. Gaimu Aso thought that would've been cool to say but he knew it would be silly and undisciplined now. He looked around the ruins of the villa. Dead bodies, shattered porcelain, blood and gore and spilled champagne everywhere--including the suit that the decimated Haruko family provided their security. What a mess, he thought, mourning the loss of a yojin bloodline and not at all the carnage around him.

He reloaded his submachine gun and stepped over the dying body of Leto Atreides Longinus, Dumani business magnate. Leto wheezed blood and Gaimu put a burst into him. No witnesses, said the last broadcast. He'd run out of one-time pads to decrypt any more. The perfect crime, he thought. He searched the body of a dead coworker. Near an exit wound he found a set of car keys. Stuffing it in his pocket he jogged down the hallways and staircases of the villa to the safe room. In it he found the last Haruko family member, a woman in her late twenties, sobbing in the corner next to a wine cabinet. She was a commoner married off from a business family in Tenma--once he whisked her back she'd revert to her old family name.

"Mistress, it's safe now, but not for long! Please follow me!" The widow complied wordlessly. He took her by the wrist and led her to the garage. She gasped and wailed every time she passed a body. Having seen nothing but mangled corpses for eight years, this got on Gaimu's nerves. He was so annoyed he was thinking about how implementing the draft would shape some of his softer countrymen up as he unceremoniously shoved her in the backseat of the getaway car. "Mistress, the Oki Dar police will be here soon but your ordeal is finished. The border is but an hour away and the army will know who we are." This didn't comfort her at all, and she continued her hysterics. Gaimu shrugged and turned on the ignition. His world flashed white.

His key, upon reaching the "accessory" position, had armed fifteen kilos of plastic explosive laid around the floor of the car. On ignition, it detonated, at a speed which was faster than the signals of excruciating pain traveling up Gaimu's vaporizing body. His brain, ignorant of what awaited, simply could not think fast enough to produce hormones which would express the sheer terror of being blown up. However, by sheer coincidence, his last thought before the overpressure wave liquefied his frontal lobe was no witnesses.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Thu May 23, 2019 10:26 pm

1st Battalion, 503rd Parachute Brigade, 18th Airborne Route Army
Nishigahara Base Area
Three Days Later

"...and that is the order. Officers, you have six hours to brief your units." The battalion's officers snapped to attention as the commander walked out of the room. Compared to the rowdy murmurs preceding the commander's entrance, what hung over the room after he left could be best described as palpable discomfort.

"A jump into Hakara on twelve hours' notice? Shit, man." Minor Officer Hirano huddled with his fellow platoon commanders. "That's no time at all."

"Which is why they had all the maps, Ishii, the General Staff has a thousand majors just cooking up canned war plans. I bet they've been sitting on this one since the nineties." Minor Officer Okuda chimed in.

"Are you sure we're even doing this? We might just end up with our thumbs up our asses on the tarmac, like the half dozen times we thought Dairen was going to kick off." Minor Officer Nagano, the last platoon commander of Company Otsu, expressed his doubts, as the trio walked back to the company office.

"I think this one's different. For one," Okuda glanced at a picture of a fighter jet in the hallway. "Hakara won't swat our transports out of the sky, like Dairen and Questers can."

"And two, this isn't brinksmanship." Hirano interjected. His gaze was at no place in particular, seeing things beyond the scope of the 1st Battalion's headquarters and barracks. "What were the terms again? A board of compensation, disarming the Secret Army, and the last one, the uh,"

"Joint police?" Okuda suggested.

"Yes, the joint police. These aren't something--" Hirano looked around furtively, and hushed his voice. "--these aren't things people ask if all they wanted to do was solve a murder, especially not with two days to respond. These are surrender terms. I think the powers that be want this to happen."

"What, you think this was some sort of false flag or something?" Nagano whispered.

"No no no no no no. Heavens, I've no thought of the sort. But Hakara has been a thorn in the national side for a while, and they crossed a red line by killing a family of Taihei and Dumani yojin while they were trying to fund a water purification center. That's just pure evil."

"It still sounds like we were just waiting for something bad to happen." Nagano replied, unconvinced.

"I guess. But unlike Dumanum, we don't invade countries for no reason. Even the Thought Police go after thought crimes that already happened. With what happened with the Atreides summit, we have a crime to bring them to justice for. The Hakarans won't do anything, because they're all Oki Dar and probably in cahoots with the Secret Army. If anyone wants the mess sorted out they'll have to bring someone from the outside--us--to catch the criminals."

Nagano rolled his eyes. "I don't doubt you, but you better watch what you say. People might take it the wrong way, you know." He opened the door to the company office. "After you, gents. We've got an invasion to plan."

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Dumanum » Fri May 24, 2019 5:12 am

Excerpt from Merjanius' Histories, A.U.C. MMDCCXC

It was on the eighth day preceding the calends of June, in the Consulship of Macer and Protus, that is the two-thousand seven-hundred and seventy-second year of our city that the Foremost Consul, Publius Macer, did convene the Senate at the Curia, with special attention toward the murder of the citizen Leto Atreides Longinus, son of Leto Atreides Longinus who was consul with Bassianus.

This murder had occurred at a time in which the younger Atreides Longinus had engaged in dealings with the Eastern Iamatae with regards to certain ventures that were believed to be of great value to the State within Coele-Sirivium, which were then under the rule of the Ochidarii under their king, who was also their high priest, named Aslanus Solimanus. I will not relate the specific details of this murder, as they are unimportant to the narrative at hand, but suffice it to say a fine citizen of good family and reputation was murdered in barbarian lands by persons then unknown.

As it was, a number of the Eastern Iamatae perished beside him, and a number of days later an ultimatum was issued by the Eastern Iamatae to the Ochidarii demanding, as follows: that the Ochidarii disarm their forces; that they accept a garrison of the Eastern Iamatae; and that a form of "joint police", that is to say a Iamatae puppet force be established, to allegedly investigate the murders. It was thus apparent, very early on, that the Ochidarii could never accept these terms, and that it was never the intent of the Eastern Iamatae for these terms to be accepted, and that these demands would serve as a mere pretext to war.

This, being obvious to most observers, and certainly to those among the Dumani, made it manifest that the duty of the Foremost Consul would be to address the matter forthwith in an appropriately legal fashion. Following the appropriate sacrifices and taking of omens, the Consul Publius Macer addressed the Senate as such:

"The omens having been taken and determined to be favorable toward the State, we now proceed toward the order of business.

“Inasmuch as it may be good and fortunate for the Dumani People of the Quirites, we bring before you, conscript fathers, the matter of the murder of our fellow Citizen, Leto Atreides Longinus, whose untimely death was so offensive to all men of good virtue.

“What does it please you should be done about this matter?”

The princeps senatus, Decimus Tarquinius Maximus Mandromenus, did then address the members of the senate, querying them for their opinions on the matter. It was the first senator questioned, Titus Junius Marbo, who was Foremost Consul alongside Lucanus the previous year, that was the first questioned, and whose rhetoric was met by universal appellation by his colleagues.

The Senator Titus Junius Marbo did provide the following advice to Macer:

“My Consul, having served in your position recently, and having no small experience in the geographic region in question, I bid you heed these words: the Eastern Iamatae are a most duplicitous race whose honor should always be questioned by good Dumani men. Their intentions in Coele-Sirivium are long known, they having been driven from the country by the Praetanni some years ago and since having exceeded their former strength.

“I have no doubt that the murder of our fellow citizen, orchestrated by the Iamatae or not, is of advantage to their State in that it provides them with a cassus belli against a people they had long intended conquest. While we must take pains to avenge our Brother, a man who I knew personally in life, as is our duty as the leading citizens of the Republic and as Honor demands- this must never be neglected, even if it is postponed -we must all the same remember that those duties require that the good of the State be placed above those of the individual.

“It must be noted that, while we might meet force with force in the event of invasion and meet with certain victory there, this would be of little advantage to the State, for Lesser Sirivium remains a buffer between Greater Sirivium and the Republic’s interests and Coele-Sirivia; Lesser Sirivium, as my colleagues are well aware, is subject to the Praetanni, and would be in the greatest immediate danger, and thus incur the greater loss in the event of an Eastern Iamatae invasion. Rather, it is of greatest advantage to the State to employ this as an opportunity to unite the discordant peoples of Greater Sirivium against a greater external threat, lest they turn inwards upon one another as is their custom.

“It would, however, be a mistake to take no action, for such would be the means of cowards. Rather, we should uphold our commitments to our allies the Southern Iamatae as honor dictates, and use all means within our power- overt or covert -to ensure that an Eastern Iamatae conquest of Coele-Sirivium results in great loss to that former state.

“Furthermore, it is my opinion that the False Emperor Anaksarxos II be destroyed. Sol Vincit!”

Marbo’s advice being well-received by the Consul and Senate, none openly opposed, though some did offer supplementary advice. This, being a matter of State security, a senatus consultum occultus was issued in addition to the public senatus consultum; the later making known the Senate’s opinion that the investigation of the death the citizen Leto Atreides Longinus was of the greatest priority and that the perpetrators would face Dumani justice, directing the Foremost Consul to investigate the manner, and also reaffirming Dumani commitment toward the security of her allies in the region. The former consultum was more specific, directing the Consul to prepare the raising and arming of native forces to combat the Eastern Iamatae in the event of invasion, and to use his discretion in aiding the Southern Iamatae, so much as it did not benefit the peoples of Lesser Sirivium.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Fri May 24, 2019 6:27 am

Gurprit had a good view of what he thought the border was. Of course, nobody actually knew where the real border was, but the old processing station by the little bridge was within shooting range. That was the official border. The red tape that the retreating Dragoons had wrapped around its barriers was still there. That was a long time ago.

Every week a little truck brought some supplies for Gurprit, and his colleague, Garput. Food, potable water, cigarettes. Garput didn't smoke. Saving his cigarette ration to sell it at the market up at Mardan, where the Regiment's headquarters is. Poor fella didn't know nobody buys army tobacco. Shells for the Bren gun, so they could practice a bit. One treat - usually fruit, sometimes rum, sometimes cake. And, for Gurprit, the best of all - the newspaper.

One newspaper per week kept Gurprit sane, in touch with the outer world beyond the miserable confines of the border crossing point that nobody crossed. Once upon a time, Gurprit told Garput, when you were just a twinkle in the eye of a March rapist, a great host had marched down this valley into the country beyond, where terrible things had happened. Terrible, terrible things. Then, years later, they had marched back out.

At first, Garput didn't believe. An army - down here? This is the most barren place on the planet, man. And also, I was born in December, so I was conceived in April. Ah, no - wait . . .

But it was true. You could still see the railway tracks. The great abandoned depots. Silos for fuel and food strung out about the valley, for its whole length. Prefabricated buildings, rotting in the primordial wind that battered the path of the Nampata as it snaked northwards, into God's greatest flood plain. Abandoned jeeps, trucks, tanks, here and there, covered in weeds. Home for mountain foxes.

The newspapers told Gurprit that nothing was happening, but as they so often were, they were lying. The week before, Gurprit had read nothing to suggest anything was happening, and the next week, he and Garput were replaced. Not by two other Guides, but by Commandos. And then men from the Political Office. And then the Foreign Service Unit. And so on, and so forth.

What they were up to was none of Gurprit's business. He was back up in Mardan at the barracks. Garput still hadn't shifted his five thousand cigarettes. But at last, Gurprit had a claim to fame. Some kind of secret to share with everybody. People would listen to him now. If only he had something to say.
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Srf » Fri May 24, 2019 10:38 am

Amak swigged again from the bottle of beer clutched in his left hand and winced. It had been open for almost half an hour, and was growing flat, warm and disgusting. He took another swig.

On the bench opposite him a Dharman monk sat, quiet and still, in his bright saffron robes and tried to avoid Amak's angry stare. Amak wanted to go and punch him in his stupid bald head. He turned to the man sat next to him.

"Fucking Dharmans" he said. "I want to punch them in their stupid bald head".

The other man nodded awkwardly, trying to hide the instinctive look of disgust as a warm, fetid wave of beer breath ruined his Friday morning, and walked away. Amak drank some more beer, and carried on staring at the Dharman, until someone else sat down next to him.

"Hello Amak".

Amak looked. "Oh, hullo Hoja. What do you want? A drink?"

"No. Actually I came to serve you your papers. Your contract has been cashed in. Twelve months in the militia, starting tomorrow".

"Ugh" Amak replied. "I don't want to join the militia Hoja. I saw the missed calls so I went to hide out for a while. How did you find me?"

Hoja looked at him. "Your apartment is just there, Amak. You're not hiding very well. And the militia needs you, and me, and actually I expect every man in the Sovereign Sharfland before long. Do you still watch the news? The Taiheians are up to no good in Hakara."

"They are welcome to it" Amak said. "Hakara is a cursed place".

"Yes it is" Hoja replied, "but when Hakara falls we are next. We ran west before, to here, when we were boys. But when we were men we didn't run from the Sergeltists. Are we going to run now?"

"I don't think I can" said Amak.

Hoja pulled the beer bottle out of his hand.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Srf » Sat May 25, 2019 4:05 am

Zitar was tucking into a steaming, fragrant bowl of noodle soup when the man he was meeting strolled into the restaurant. Zitar made eye contact with him over the hot spoonful in front of his nose, and Zitar had to try really hard to not eat the juicy chunk of meat sat right in the middle of the spoon. When the other man sat down, Zitar ate it and spoke.

“Good morning, Ogun. How do you like Freiburg?”

Ogun looked at the soup. “They make it wrong here. There’s no yak butter.” As he spoke, he repeatedly scanned the restaurant, settling for little more than a half-second on each diner before his eyes moved on.

Mr Zitar laughed. “There are no yaks. And you don’t need to worry. None of my agents are here. You’re in good company, though. They had some Prekovars in here last week. And a Varnian. There was one of Smyth’s men in here earlier. Freiburg welcomes spies of all colours”.

Ogun seemed to relax a bit, but still kept his hand near the poorly concealed gun in his jacket. “I don’t want to stay here long. What do you know about this Hakara business?”

Mr Zitar laughed again and ate more soup. “What do you know? The guest always goes first”.

This annoyed Ogun but he said nothing. Instead he withdrew a tablet computer from his satchel and handed it to Zitar. Zitar unlocked it and started flicking through the images on the hard drive with his left index finger. “What’s this?”

“Satellite images courtesy of Urbs Dumanus” said Orgun, as Zitar spilled drops of soup all over the screen. “They aren’t joking about a police action. They’re mobilising thousands of men. Hundreds of thousands. An entire army group. We are of the opinion that the attack was a false flag”.

“I don’t dispute that” Zitar said. “but why now? Hakara has been weak for decades”.

“Something has changed in Taiheistan. They have been posturing more and more. With what they are mobilising they could overrun Dashan within a few days. You are next”.

Zitar ate the last few spoonfuls of his soup and contemplated what Ogun was telling him. “This corroborates what we heard from Jessleton”.

“Listen” Ogur said, leaning in in a most conspiratorial fashion. “We have a lot of Dumani hardware stocked up doing nothing. And we in Vorga don’t want to see… Freiburg taken by Taiheians. Let us help you out”.

“We have plenty of guns, it won’t be enough”.

“Not for you”, Ogur said, leaning in closer still. “For the Oki Dar.”

“Oh” Zitar blinked. “Are you not still chasing them around the Genguuris?”

“Yes” Ogun replied. “But they are no real threat. Not like Heian. We’ll round up the Oki Dar prisoners and send them here with some equipment. We have thousands of them! We’ll give them guns, and ammo, and grenades, and maybe even some howitzers. You send them to Hakara. ASAP. They can bog down the Taiheians for years. Well, maybe months. Or weeks. But the longer the better. And all our seditious Dharmats go and get themselves killed. It’s a win-win, really.”

“And your friends?”

“Oh, well. Urbs Dumanus doesn’t know about this. Not the plan, not this meeting, so please keep it quiet. It’s better to leave them out of it. The commonwealth, too. This is a Sharfic problem, and whether you like it or not we are all Sharfics of some stripe or another. We can do things on our own you know. What do you think?”

Zitar looked for a few seconds at Ogun. “We have a lot of Mazaras here. At last count there are a few million, and a lot of those are genocide refugees. Giving arms and passage to their murderers would be deeply unpopular”.

He dropped the spoon into his empty soup bowl and met Ogun’s eyes. “Give me 12 hours to get back to you.”

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Praetonia » Sat May 25, 2019 4:19 am

"It would be advisable to exploit this opportunity for our benefit in two dimensions: the first, to strengthen the greater Cause in Hakara, Sharfland, and elsewhere, and second, to enhance our own position vis a vis the pro-alien faction and its supporters in Questers and those few remaining in the islands themselves.

"The most efficient means to do so would be to generate an alternative and parallel force justified by the current emergency and separate in its command structure to the existing force in Questers."

Smyth was not listening to the VC man. VC men were so tedious. He yawned.

"In any case, I will make a new army: I will call it the Home Army."

"It would be entirely excellent to have a Home Army, as I am sure all true patriots will agree.

"It is well and good to have a Questers Army," he continued, striding back and forth in a state of increasing excitement, "but we must also have a Home Army. After all, if an army cannot defend the home, what good is an army at all?"

An army attache bowed and began to speak, but Smyth did not notice him, "It has been long enough that we have this army in Questers, but now we will raise a new army, and it will be an army here at home. I will have all good Syncretist men for this army. They are the least seditious, and a seditious army is no good at all.

"You will see to it."
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Wed May 29, 2019 2:25 pm

Many Regiments of the Yeomanry are storied indeed, and as well as being military institutions, are known across the Commonwealth by their sporting teams, bands, by being great benefactors to charity and religion, and sometimes even the hosts of great parties. In peacetime, the Yeomanry patrols the vast western frontier of civilisation, keeping watch on the wide empty mountain ranges, the bustling and lawless metropoles of the far west, and the steamy jungles of the southern frontier.

However, only a small portion of the Yeomanry is on duty at any given time. If the Yeomanry must be mustered, as in a levee en masse - or 'called out', as the term is - to do something like put down a mutiny or repel a foreign incursion, then the process is, in theory, simple. Most Regiments of the Yeomanry have small cadres, but thirty or forty men, who live in the Regimental depot and who, in peacetime, work with the Regiment. In case of war, however, they quickly form the nucleus for a new Regiment; the Second of the Line. Take the Queen's (Mounted) Gurkha Rifles. When mobilised for war, the cadre officers, subalterns and non-coms clean up the barracks and await the soldiers whose contracts have been called up. They run up the Regiment's battle standard.

Over time, the Regiment's reservists come in. They might live a day's full travel away, or maybe mere minutes from the barracks. They are sorted into groups, put into squadrons and troops, and given orders. Since the Regiment was last mustered, some of its members have put on weight, but being a fatty is no excuse for military service, so these men are tasked to be drivers or wireless operators or something like that. When enough of the men have arrived, the weapons are opened from their vacuum bags, the men put on uniforms, line up in the parade ground, and the Regiment is formally raised as the Queen's (Mounted) Gurkha Rifles/2nd of the Line. If there's a big battle and men of these units are coming back with injuries, they can be used alongside other volunteers and older reservists to create a 3rd of the Line. And a 4th. And a 5th. And a 6th, as it was in the Mutiny, when Regiments like the Royal Malay Rifles had Twenty Lines to their name.

In this way, the Yeomanry can 'double' itself fairly quickly. That depends on the unit, obviously; some are a bit fatter than others. Some are a bit older, and they have forgotten how to range a mortar or operate a marconi, or mend a tank turbine. Some might have to wait a bit longer for their equipment to arrive, or to get accustomed to any new equipment. Of course, there's always the perennial deserter, the chap who doesn't turn up for his contract, and who has to be replaced. Eventually, though, the 2nd of the Line is stood up.

Before they leave, they will receive their wages, in a little brown packet. This will either come right from the pocket of the man responsible for the Regiment, or in times of crisis, the Campaign Fund will have liquidated its assets, selling off billions worth of shares in companies, holdings of land and gold, and whatever else, in order to pay for a military campaign. Then they will march off the train to the front. The trains have their part in this too. They must put on military services as requested by the authorities - they may be paid for this in cash, or in bonds from the military authorities. Rail companies in wartime are known to keep spies at the front, so they can try to flog these bonds in case of a military disaster before it is generally known; these spies are hated people, but they are left alone mostly, as their role in making the system work is as important as the financiers who work little miracles to get the cash flowing - that is, to get the little brown packets to the soldiers.

So long as the trains are running and the banks are open and the authorities have decided that it is the right time, then the Yeomanry can always be called out - but, quite obviously, only if they are needed.
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:45 pm

‘We would like to present our condolences for the death of the citizen Leto Atreides.’ Rithy drew a large sabre from a scabbard and held it up high.

The sun beat down on Titus Linus Tulio, Dumani Plenipotentiate to the Raj. He had never been to Battambang before. Parties outdoors, in this weather, displeased him. Yet, these weird people had put on a feast for him. He could not complain too much – and as the sun glinted the sword’s steel, he could see it was a fine weapon.

‘We would like you to present this sword to his son.’

‘It is a fine weapon,’ Titus said. In truth, he was a little drunk. These people drank their local rice spirit too quickly. It was not the strength of it that bothered him, but the taste of unprocessed ethanol. He had been here for only thirty minutes and this Rithy fellow – the Marquess of Battambang – had drunk almost a whole cotyla of the stuff. Titus had to keep up, or else he might embarrass his people. He girded himself for the task ahead. 'The son of Leto Atreides is nine years old.'

'Nevertheless, you shall present it,' Rithy said, holding it out. The scabbard was golden.

As he got a little bit more drunk, Titus wondered if there was any difference between these people and the Iamatae at all. Unlikely, he decided. Their language sounded the same to him. The histories said that these were Iamatae descendants who travelled eastward thousands of years ago. They looked similar, spoke similar, acted similar. Same thing.

Then he wondered, absently, if there were any Iamatae here. He was a citizen. Leto had been one too. If there were a spy here, would he be able to tell him apart?

In a way, Rithy answered his question. ‘We shall show you our entertainment,’ he said, and pointed to a football field. Ten elephants were being led onto the field. A huge rattan ball was rolled into the centre, and shortly the elephants, divided into teams, began to play a mimicry of football. One of them scored a goal, and raised its trunk high in the air, belting out a victory cry.

‘In our country, a mere murderer is hanged. But a person who kills a family member, or who practices banditry, or who flees justice – their punishment is to be put inside that ball.’

One of the elephants kicked the ball too hard, and it flew over the goalpost into a screaming mass of people. Luckily a large net had been put up, and nobody was harmed. The ball only fell to the floor and bounced a little.

‘We put spies and traitors in that ball too,’ Rithy said.

Titus wasn’t sure whether he was lying, exaggerating, or neither. These people might not be Iamatae, but they were not Praetanni. That was for sure.

Later, they took a helicopter to the great river. Titus enjoyed the mountain view, but Rithy was sound asleep, his face bright red, and his belly swollen. After refueling they came to the great Rayana river, the Commonwealth’s southern frontier. They were driven up a small hill next to the great river, where a battery of guns were laid, covered by camouflage. The soldiers paid Titus little attention, but Rithy was a Field Marshal, and attracted some attention. Finally, at the observation point, he was handed binoculars.

Rithy was fully awake now, his alcohol induced slumber ridden. ‘From here to the horizon is eighteen miles. The Taiheis are supposed to keep thirty miles out from the river. Now tell me how long it takes you to spot their soldiers.’

It did not take Titus long. Tanks here. Infantry there. A column of camouflaged trucks speeding along a road and vanishing into the horizon. Guns dug into the ground. Behind the hills blotting out the horizon, there would be more, probably. The flags of their regiments ran high under the setting of the sun.

‘They taunt you,’ Titus said.

‘More than this, they violate the terms of the surrender. If you want to see more, we can go up in the helicopter.’

‘That will not be necessary.’

‘His Majesty would like you to inform your Senate of what you have seen here today. The troops, I mean.’ Rithy laughed. ‘Not the elephants.’
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:53 am

The tanks halted before the rice paddies. A half mile away the city rose, the low stucco keeps of the local big men ringed by the huts and hovels of the small men. Like some sort of castle, he thought, correctly deducing the original purpose of the settlement.

The Major squinted west down the causeway, annoyed by the sun in his eyes. Paddies to the side and jungle to the side of the paddies. This would not do, he thought. Even the light and amphibious troop carriers would bog down in the mud. He could clear the treeline with his men, for sure, but whoever was in there knew the Taiheis were coming. Mines in the road, mines in the paddies, missiles and rockets and guns Heaven knows where--it would be a bloodbath. He had outrun the heavy guns and it was getting dark.

"You've done well, Commander," a voice behind him said. It was the Stratagem Army Man, dressed in a Dumani-looking set of fatigues in a camouflage he'd never seen before and wearing non-regulation sunglasses. "You have boldly advanced beyond your initial objectives and have placed the enemy on the back foot. Your men deserve a rest." His oddly dressed subaltern stepped out from behind him. "Commander, please meet Commander U Bin Dao. He shall lead his regiment of Hakaran freedom fighters in a night attack while your battalion rests." The Major raised his eyebrows, both of them.

"What is your, I mean, his plan?"

"Commander, U Bin's Yellow Banner Army have lived in Hakara since childhood," haven't lived in Hakara since childhood, the Major corrected the Man, "and have trained--" been bandits "--for decades--" at least that part was true "--to restore the Law and Harmony to this land. They know Hakara better than anyone. All I ask is for your battalion to halt your advance in this sector, the first liberated city of True Hakara." The Major suspected the Man could read minds like Thought Policemen could. The clipped tone, the rehearsed meter--he was ten steps ahead of him.

"Comrade, what you require you shall receive." He could tell his battalion to rest for the night.

"Thank you, Commander."

Night fell and the Major could not sleep. He had to oversee the battalion's defensive preparations and say fatherly things to the soldiers in the mud holes. It did not help that there was an awful racket in the direction of the town.

""Looks like a mess," his Subaltern said. He passed his binoculars to the Major. Through the flicker of the parachute flares he could see quite clearly there were more tracers going out of the town than going in.

"I agree," agreed the Major. "It's a bloodbath." He handed the binoculars back to the Subaltern.

"What are you going to say to him in the morning, sir?" The Subaltern asked the Major. "...you know, if he makes it back."

"I don't think I'll say anything to him. A good thrashing will make boys into men." The Major thought of the good thrashings he received in officer training. "I lived in Heijo back in Ninety-Seven."

"But sir, the Eighteenth never got thrashed."

"Everyone gets thrashed, even the Eighteenth. They never lost, but even a victorious budoka gets bruises." The Subaltern handed the binoculars back to him. "Heaven, what a mess."

Morning rose and the tattered stragglers of the Yellow Banner Army limped and moaned back into the Major's battle position, where orderlies took them in. The Man, looking no worse for wear, turned to the Major as he boarded the helicopter.

"Regrettably last night's attack encountered opposition beyond what reconnaissance had initially determined," the Man shouted over the whine of the turboshaft, "but we must remember that during our revolution we also experienced reversal and hardship." With that the Veverka closed its clamshell hatches and lifted off, flying directly over the town to the west without any bother.

The Major called his Brigade. The fifteen-centimeter guns fired cluster munitions and white phosphorus smoke into the town, and his battalion advanced carefully down the causeway as the tanks methodically leveled the slums with cannon fire. His motor riflemen moved through the city like a cyclone, ventilating any structure that had so much made a popping sound towards them. The town gave his battalion no trouble, and the Major moved on towards Dashan.

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