Jungle Work

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:27 am

Gyatso, the oki-dar man, pursed his lips.

The tarpaulin over the first crate had been throw back, and inside there were clean new weapons, straight from the factory, their serial numbers and MADE IN LAHORE stamps still there. Not that he could read them.

‘What are they?’

‘In this container,’ Harper said, ‘There are anti-tank missiles. More than strong enough to destroy any Taihei tank you will meet.’ He strolled over to the next container. ‘In here, radio jammers. You can turn off their radios for an ambush. And also here radio-controlled mines.’ The flatbed train went on for another half furlong, but Harper couldn’t be bothered to walk all the way down.

‘And this?’ Gyatso hissed and pointed.

‘More mines, more bazookas, surface to air missiles. Sniper rifles, ones that actually work.’

Gyatso hissed again. When he hissed, he put his sharp little teeth together, and his gums became very visible. Then he let out a lot of air, to the sound of a kettle. He stroked one finger on the rusty cargo container. Some rust came off, and he flicked it to the floor. ‘Yes. This is well. We take them.’

‘There’s one condition, of course,’ Harper said, as they walked down the stretch of railcars. The oki-dar men who followed behind Gyatso could not take their eyes off the contents. Some of them had never seen weapons like these before.


‘Yes. You have to pay.’

Gyatso hissed – very, very loudly. ‘Pay! For what!’

Harper had had quite enough of this, and stuck his revolver in Gyatso’s sternum. His entourage was too busy looking at missile launchers, and only noticed that a burly Gurkha had a Cook gun leveled at them when Gyatso started screaming. Slowly, they put their guns down.

‘Now look here, you little pederast. You lot are going to take these weapons, and the next shipment too. And you’re going to pay for them. If you can’t pay for them, we’ll kill your families in Khasa, get it? Maa-dar-chod, sa-ma-jhana saa-thee?’

‘Fuck you!’ Gyatso screamed, two of only the hundred words in Praetannic he knew.

‘Good. We will send you a bill when you come to collect the next shipment.’ He signaled for the Gurkha to let them go, and the oki-dar people stormed off past the border to arrange the army of mountain coolies to come and pick the guns up. In just ten minutes, thousands of porters streamed into the railyard, collecting rocket launchers, mines, and radios by the hundreds. Harper was always amazed at how quickly Crataeans could make something happen.

Then he wondered how many of them were going to actually put up a fight. He hoped they had not gone soft in their years of power. This was really not the time to be soft he thought, sliding the revolver back in its holster.
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Srf » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:00 am

Video uploaded to http://www.voxoculis.dm, popular Dumani video sharing website, on the day of the Taihei invasion of Hakara by account "Holy Land of Crataea". The video has recieved 100,000 views in twelve hours.

Archive footage of Oki Dar forces attacking Sharfic, Hakaran and Uirian government troops, and marching in parade formation. An Oki Dar war chant plays over the footage in Uirian, with Praetannic and Hakaran subtitles.

Oh Oki Dar,

Oh holy warriors,

Your minds are pure and full of fire,

Your swords are sharp and ready to destroy the unenlightened,

Oh Oki Dar,

Raise your weapons and take the holy land!

Video fades in to Tzu Namdol, founder of the Oki Dar movement, sitting and addressing the camera in front of a plain whitewashed background. He speaks in Uirian, again with Hakaran and Praetannic subtitles. He is agitated, and gesticulates frequently.

Namdol: Oh my believers, my warriors, today a great joy has blessed our movement. Once again our brave and virtuous brothers stand in battle defending Hakara against unenlightened aggression. The Taiheian menace has crashed against our land. Even now its forces of darkness prepare to strike against Danshar (Dashan).

Namdol: Fear not! This is as I have predicted for many years, a realisation that arose before me following many months of deep meditation and introspection. This is our greatest stand to date. Our brothers are arising from Hakara, from Uiri, from Genguura (eastern Sharfland/northern Sovereign Sharfland), from Nampata, to give their lives for the nation of Dharmat.

As Namdol speaks, shaky mobile phone footage of Taiheian troops being ambushed by improvised bombs appears on the screen. Focus returns to Namdol.

Namdol: This first great struggle shall be won, brothers. When a brother dies, he achieves oneness with Dharmat, and his final victory is secured. His great and holy deeds ensure that he shall return as a great warrior, ready to begin the struggle for enlightenment once again. Where one Taiheian steps foot in Hakara, we shall cut down two! Where one brother falls to the forces of darkness, three more shall take his place! We will once again liberate Hakara, as has happened twice over in our history. We will reverse the tide of heresy and liberate the Taihei itself. Then we will liberate Nampata, and then Genguura, and live as one enlightened nation of Dharmat.

Namdol: So do not fear, brothers! I am calling upon you. Take up your arms. Provide arms to your children. Join the struggle for greater enlightenment and stand against this ancient enemy, until their will to fight is spent. Remember brothers. Your minds are pure, and full of fire! Oki Dar!

The video ends with a fade to black. An image of the Oki Dar war banner fills the screen.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Dumanum » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:24 pm

The view really was something- it had been what, 7 years? 7 years after one of the most lengthy and destructive wars in recent memory, and this city was growing like a weed. The eightieth floor of Vorga One, Salonia-Auxax's most recently completed mixed-use tower in the city to date, afforded visitors unmatched views of the city (for now- Veridia's The Ulannic, completing in early 2020, was slated to rise a full forty feet higher), as well as some of that city's finest cuisine. Owned by the celebrity Urbs Dumanus chef Antonius Bordanus, The Khagan provided its discerning patrons with a genuine, tastefully extravagant UD-tier steakhouse experience, with a twist.

Service was famously impeccable, with the waitstaff (handpicked by the chef himself) required to attend a grueling months-long training course at the chef's villa in Estria; only the finest ingredients were used in the dishes, with fresh shellfish arriving by plane from as far aflung as the the Lazar Islands, and the wine cellars were stocked with only the finest Ostian and Flamaguayan vintages. Even at eighty stories high, a special ventilation system was employed to permit the operation of three massive open wood fire hearths. The interior was decorated using the finest Sadari rugs and virgin marble from Sukarian quarries: classical Ulannic art abounded (much of it looted from government buildings during the war, incidentally)- and even a live tiger from the Malayan jungle housed in a decadent golden cage -providing a strange and uniquely pan-Crataean atmosphere. As a bonus, thanks to Vorga's peculiar zoning ordinance, the livestock could be imported from Dalantum, and then slaughtered and butchered on sight.

A well-to-do businessman might have to reserve a table as far as six months in advance at The Khagan, but this was most certainly not the case for President Galgun Qacha of the Sharfic Federation and his guest, Gaius Merjanius, Military Proconsul of the East.

Qacha was a broad-shouldered man with a thick head of dark blond hair cropped short, a long beard sans moustache, and fair skin- with a generous smile but ungenerous eyes. Though he’d spent most of his life soldiering in the mountains killing, he was as at ease in a fine custom Saratovian suit as he was in fatigues. Merjanius, for his part, shared many of the Qorboq facial features of his companion, though he was clean shaven in the Dumani fashion with a his red hair cut in a soldier’s fade. In his mid-sixties, he was still in excellent shape- a consequence of the habits he’d developed as a Legionary of the V Mountain Corps -though his weather worn face very much showed his age.

"Yes, it is quite something," Qacha agreed with him, cutting himself a generous cube of bloody rare meat. "Those nasty Ulan slums, they shall have to go next. We are already making great progress, you see," we waved off toward the ground with his free arm. "Yes, that there...twelve square blocks, I believe it is, slated for demo. I think it's a Wallasean firm that's building that tower…

"But you aren't here to talk about real estate development, I suppose, are you Gaius?"

He chuckled and nodded, "Perceptive as always, Galgun,"

His Qorbic differed noticeably from the president's- the dialect spoken in Urbs Dumanus had a slower cadence, as if the speaker were carefully considering each word he chose. It made sense to Gaius- after all, one did not become successful in such a place by prattling like a goat herder whose life expectancy averaged forty years, and his kin were certainly by and large successful.

"The Tahei and Hakara."

"The Tahei and Hakara," Qacha repeated, the smile never leaving his lips, though his eyes narrowed ever so imperceptibly.

"I'll cut out the niceties, as I am flying to Iehuda to meet Macer and Abdullus Rex after this: we wish to arm the Oki Dar and send them east. And we would like very much for you, as our brothers and allies, to join us in this endeavor."

Qacha's smile disappeared, though he did not put down his morsel of beef.

"And why would you- why would we -wish to do something so stupid as to arm our enemies?"

“Yes, it is true that they are our enemies. But for the moment, they- and we -face a far more immediate and dangerous threat. One that will likely not be going anywhere for quite some time. This presents us with a great opportunity, both in the long and short term.”

“I see the short term advantage of playing the Oki Dar against the God Worshippers, but surely you know better than to think this would convey a long term advantage, Gaius.”

“I speak in terms of our strategic positioning. If the Oki Dar commit themselves fully to the war in the east, where does that leave their designs in Genguura?”

“On hold, for the moment. When the Tahei leave they’ll be back in Genguura with all the guns and missiles you sent them.”

“Assuming the Tahei do leave, and the Commonwealth does not end up replacing them there.”

He snapped his finger: a stocky Antarterian in a dark suit materialized behind him, laying open a bound hard report.

“A summary of the Tahei forces there. The Oki Dar in Uiri do not object to us overflying them with all manner of planes.”

Qacha thumbed through the report. Everything was there: radar telemetry, satellite and aerial photographs, comms intercepts, even reports from informants on the ground. CORE had been able to definitively identify the 18th Airborne Route Army and 40th Route Armies as participating in the invasion, along with numerous fixed and rotary wing platforms. Thorough as always.

“Assume the Oki Dar are somehow able to retake control of that country: why would we simply let them into Genguura with all those fighters and materiel when we’ll have potentially years to secure that place while it is starved of fighters?”

Qacha began to see what he was driving at.

“And I suppose we can expect Dumani backing for such an endeavor?”

“Certainly. It is a win-win for us, as the Praetanni say.”

Qacha looked down at the morsel, considering. Finally, he bit into it, a bit of blood speckling about his mouth.

“I am still not entirely convinced.”

“No? I’d have thought you would be fully on board with this, what with you emptying your prisons of Oki Dar and sending them east with guns.”

A look of confusion tinged with rage flashed across his face.

“Where did you hear that?”

Gaius shrugged, “My people. I take it this is the first you’re hearing of this?”

He didn’t respond.

“They’re being sent to Freiburg, you know. Almost as if Chulbasan were attempting to aid enemies of the Sharfic Federation contrary to the orders of his president, and at a time the nation faces a grave external threat! That is treason, I believe?”

Qacha finally relaxed.

“I will consider what we’ve spoken about today, Gaius.”

“That is all I ask.”

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Praetonia » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:02 am

October 2013

The revolt of the Syndicalists lasted two years. In this, the third year of the revolt, the Army of the Subcontinent was encamped on the plain of the Sarangati River. Its will was contained in the mind of its chief, to whom its principal officers were loyal. Its pay continued to flow from its distant homeland, and it jealously hoarded the supplies of fuel and munitions which became every day, according to a variety of excuses, ever more difficult to replace. This army, the conqueror of rebels, in rebellion now against the conscience of its people, readied its muscles for the final struggle...

Field Marshal Archibald Bumpington Smyth, The Pillar of Wisdom (2013)


Summer had arrived. His Wentworth Cougar reared up on its suspension and stopped. He jumped over the door and replaced his peaked cap with a single motion. There was no cap badge, but no one had noticed yet. There were four vehicles here: two missile batteries, one radar, and one command post. The command post was the point of greatest danger, the missile batteries the points of least interest. He headed for the radar. He took a screwdriver out of his field jacket and removed a panel. A bewildering arrangement of wires confronted him. He rummaged in his other pocket. Blast it, the wire cutters were still in the car!

A half-rusty door creaked. Boots thumped on steel. The natives were restless.

"'ere - what's your game?" The sergeant called.

Summer smiled back.


Archie got up. Who called him Archie? Not you, certainly. His tent had been surrounded. He had expected that. He had not tried to prevent it. After all, he was not a common criminal. There was nothing common about him.

His orderly handed him a towel. He sat down, and lay back in his customary field chair. He would shave. He had shaved every day since Panchkula, for there had been no real crisis since Panchkula. There was no crisis today.

Another orderly threw open the flap of his tent. An array of cap badges confronted him. Ports' League, Worshipful Guilds'. Western merchants with no stomach. The Eastern Association had voted against him as well. All the associations had. But they hadn't thought to send the Senland troops. Lurking in the background, as ever, the men with no cap badges. The true adversary.

"The Marshal will be pleased to greet you, brother officers," the orderly saluted, "as soon as he is ready."


Summer continue to smile. Still with his back to the sergeant, he examined the machine. There was a red button marked "off". He pushed it. He had done his work, he supposed, but he supposed these men knew how to undo it.

"You 'eard? Who the 'ell are you?" Another man poked his head through the door of the command post and whispered something in the sergeant's ear. Summer supposed the command post was experiencing technical difficulties. The head disappeared again. The sergeant started walking down the little aluminium staircase bolted to the side of the command vehicle.

"'ow the 'ell do you expect us to shoot those 'eavenly bastards out of the sky with no radar?"

Summer continued to smile. Why hadn't he drawn his revolver? was all Summer could think. Presumably this man, this poor honest fool, couldn't conceive of a fellow Estatesman as his enemy. Was that it? An enemy? Come to think of it, Summer didn't like the idea much himself.

"Terribly sorry. This radar is closed for maintenance," Summer beamed. "I say, would you mind making me a cup of tea? It's hot work you know!"

The sergeant stopped, baffled.


The Marshal was bathed, dressed, and shaved. He hardly looked perfect. He tried hard not to. He was, as his boosters constantly proclaimed, a fighting marshal, not a money marshal. There was no such thing as a money marshal, only a hundred money minions, he relentlessly told his staff. They would never confront him united behind one man, but only in a pack, to disguise their cowardice with numbers. And he would dazzle them and put them in awe of him and his resolve, and they would retreat.

He pushed aside the flap of the tent himself. The mass of "money minions" confronted him. His predictions were coming true. The orderlies and bodyguards snapped to attention. Even the delegation of the "money minions" couldn't help but stand up straighter in his presence. He walked toward them and they recoiled a little as he stopped a little too late.

"Now then. What is all this?" He looked up to the sky, his eyes shielded from the sun by his Panchkula Cap.


"Closed for..." the sergeant looked back to the command post, and then to Summer, and then to the sky. Summer dared not close his eyes and pray that Providence would be kind to him. She wasn't. The sergeant drew his gun. "Step away from there at once."

"i'm afraid I can't do that, sergeant" said Summer, turning slowly to face the sergeant, his own revolved raised. They faced one another in a deadly stalemate. Neither arm shook. The sergeant, though, looked more stunned and baffled than ever.

"I - sir, I - I really think you ought to put the gun down, sir," his voice was calm and soothing, but his pistol arm was as steady as a rock. "Put the gun down, sir, and we can have that cup of tea."


One of the inferior money minions was carrying a leather bag. He opened it. In the distance, one could hear the slightest buzz of an engine, far off. The money minions probably did not know the sound. But the Marshal knew it well. The Marshal smiled. The Estates' Navy and the Worshipful Guilds'. He was sorry for the navy, who had done good service.

The aircraft were growing closer. The leader of the pack stepped forwards. He was an older man, with a Ports' League cap. General Glover. A man who had done good service. Marshal Smyth was sorry to see him.

"Field Marshal Smyth, Sir,

"The Convention of the General Association removes you as Marshal of the Subcontinent, and deprives you of all authority under the Covenant of the General Association. The Convention of the General Association appoints me as Marshal of the Army of Observations in the Subcontinent. You are commanded by the Convention of the General Association, as a field marshal of the Eastern Association under the Marshalate of the Army of Observation in the Subcontinent, to withdraw henceforth to Jesselton without aides or any other accompaniment. This is also my command, as Marshal of the Army of Observation in the Subcontinent."

The engines grew louder, the aircraft were getting closer. Soon they would see, and they would have to make their decision,

"Sir, I require you to immediately obey these orders. If you do not, I will hand you these orders in writing from the Convention of the General Association. If you then refuse to obey them, or refuse to acknowledge them, I will order my men to shoot you."

Smyth looked at him impassively with his cold, grey eyes, and then looked up at the sky. The Shrikes and Lightnings were almost overhead. The sound was becoming deafening.

Glover struggled to be heard with his tired old voice - how powerful it must have been in his youth, "Sir, the Navy commands the scene. You cannot resist. The armies cannot resist."

Smyth watched the sky, and waited.


Three men scrambled out of the command post with rifles. Another from appeared from the side. What had he been doing? Taking a piss perhaps? Summer didn't flinch.

"Sir, I will kill you if you do not move aside," the sergeant's eyes narrowed. Summer remained completely impassive.

The privates aimed their rifles and Summer did not move. He could hear the aircraft now too, but he daren't look up. If he showed the slightest sign of weakness one of these fellows would surely kill him.

"Sergeant," Summer tried to meet the gaze of offended propriety with a gaze of stern authority. Neither man was a particularly good actor. "If you do not lower your gun, we will both die here.

"That would be an awful shame."


Smyth showed no emotion as the aircraft got closer. They were too close, he decided. But it wasn't over until it was over. Hadn't Panchkula taught him that? Hadn't he taught them all that, at Panchkula? The noise became deafening, and then utterly overwhelming. Accelerating at the last moment, the sonic boom blasted through the Marshal's tent and blew half the "money minions" off their feet. Smyth bowed slightly. A glimpse of the aircraft, their exhaust paths flashed overhead, and then around, who knew where?

Smyth continued to look up. The seconds passed. Seconds became more than a minute. The delegation of officers regained its composure. Smyth's tent was in ruins, but his retinue stood firm. And the man himself looked as though nothing whatsoever had happened. The man with the leather bag handed Glover a document. Glover stepped forward alone.

"Here," Glover offered the note with outstretched hand, adding, at a whisper, "sir."

Smyth stood motionless for several seconds. Too long. Some of the delegation started drawing their revolvers, but none of them dared aim. As suddenly as he looked away, Smyth met Glover's eyes. He did not look at the document.

"Quite right," he said. "Quite right."


...that the destiny of nations and of Causes is not to be decided by one man. With pride in victory, with humility in defeat, accepting with equanimity the failure of his final measures, bowing before the enmity of his country, and wishing with earnest hope and enduring affection that she will continue to approve and not to regret her actions, the chief of the Army of the Subcontinent ended his career.

Field Marshal Archibald Bumpington Smyth, The Pillar of Wisdom (2013)


It was several more minutes before the order came through to all formations to stand down. Against whom? It seemed strange for an army that was, after all, still at peace. The sergeant had his men ask for confirmation three times. But yes, indeed, it included him.

The privates disappeared, the sergeant lowered his revolver, and finally Lieutenant Summer lowered his.

"You know, sir," the sergeant advanced, "Political Service 'ent allowed to have firearms.

"I could have you on a charge."

Summer clicked the chamber opened and handed the gun to the sergeant. Empty.
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:14 pm

The Hotel Palatial held the title of the 'oldest' hotel in Shiloh, and many people believed this - its vast, palm tree lined lawns and its army of gracefully dressed porters and waiters made it an apt choice for the title, but in reality the hotel had only been established after the Great War. Its fame came only from the simple absence of any other establishment that merchants and traders from either side of the Yehud would actually stay in.

The Hotel Palatial was well used to those kind of people. In the hundred years peace that had followed the Great War, Dumani and Questarian business people had become regulars there. The staff had to all speak the language of these two countries, if rudimentary, and particular knowledge of respective tastes had come about over time. For instance, all chefs at the Palatial knew that the Dumani would send back any meal not made with olive oil (quite how they knew was not obvious) and that Questarians of all races did not consider a meal finished until they had been served a hot towel, and would not pay for any meal that did not come with a hot towel.

So when a lot of money was paid to the Hotel Palatial and the order made for all reservations to be cancelled, the Palatial assumed – rightly - that it was something big, and did as they were told.

All the Palatial’s conference rooms were booked out, and filled with men in grey suits from both Urbs Dumanus and Kuala Pahang, who watched each other warily, ready for the order to begin the drafting and the writing. Until that time came, they sat silently, sipping tea and coffee, and looking at one another.

Downstairs, the great banquet hall was sealed off and surrounded by teams of commandos from both countries. And there they sat, on opposing tables, in silence; a selection of Dumanum’s finest senators, generals, and gigantes on the one hand, and the bluest aristocracy on the subcontinent on the other.

The Palatial’s chefs had been ordered to produce a fusion of Dumani and North Questarian food.

However, there is a reason that this fusion is not found elsewhere.

It is recorded that the men all sat in silence, attempting to enjoy their meal, until the Dukesardar of Ambala stood up and said quiet loudly: ‘This is disgusting!’, knocking his plate over.

There was general agreement. A whole hog was found in the Palatial’s stores, and a roasting pit set up in the old fireplace. What happened after that is not recorded. No minutes were taken and no person has spoken, publicly, of what happened. However, we may surmise that the following things happened:
(1) Both sides were instrumental in the roasting of the hog, which, by the way, is an auspicious happening in eastern and southern Questers, and quite probably elsewhere where there are hungry people. This hog was well-enjoyed by all.
(2) There is allegedly a polaroid picture of Abdullah and the head of the Furia gens carving the pig together.
(3) All persons became quite drunk.
(4) It is alleged that automatic rifles were fired in the gardens of the Palatial.
(5) Business was discussed.
The last part is known, since at some point during the night the grey men were instructed to rewrite the Treaty of Non Aggression so that it could be presented to the Senate the following day.


There was a rap on the door which woke him.

Abdul rolled over and looked upwards at the ceiling. ‘Enter.’

Adam came in. ‘The flight’s in three hours. Let’s go to the airport.’

‘Oh no,’ Abdul said. ‘Tell me. Did we carry the day?’

‘If by that you mean – are you still invited to the Senate – the answer is definitely yes. Also, our boys finished the paperwork just before you went to bed. I don’t know if you remember that. Everything is ready. Come on. The porters will take your things.’

Abdul sat up on the side of the bed. He was still dressed. ‘Did you bring coffee?’

‘No. And you can shower and change on the plane. Let’s go.’

‘Didn’t you sleep?’

Adam lit a cigarette and leaned in the doorway. ‘Majesty, at seven in the morning I instantly became sober, pressed my uniform, dispelled the foul smell of rum from my person, and prepared for this day of days.’

‘I told you, stay off the white stuff. Not good for the judging – judgment. Facilities.’

Adam turned the air conditioning off. ‘Get up. Majesty.’


‘Good thing I brought the sunglasses,’ Abdul said, standing on the tarmac. Adam crunched a cigarette under his boot. In front of them, under the beating sun, tamed animals by the dozen were being laden onto a huge air freighter; elephants, tigers, rhinocerous – you name it. They were sedated, but they still looked dangerous.

‘So this is my gift to the Senate and People of Dumanum,’ Abdul said. ‘Is it enough?’

‘Not quite,’ Adam said, fishing through his mobile phone. He showed Abdul a picture of a building.

‘What’s that?’

‘That’s a gladiator team’s home base. A famous one. You’re going to buy it. It’s in deep financial trouble and it might go bust. Got a lot of debts. But it’s popular – a very traditional, if small and local, training house. Nobody wants it to go under. Nobody wants to buy it. You’re going to clear the debts and then you’re going to place it in trust, owned by the fans. Then you are going to make a hefty donation to a temple.’

‘God of Peace, or of War?’

‘Er, fertility, actually.’

‘Great. Well, I’m a generous man,’ Abdul said. ‘What are those? Camels? Give me one of those.’

‘Majesty, those are gorillas.’

‘No, the cigarettes.’

Adam handed the pack over. Abdul didn’t recognise them. Some Yehudi brand. He took one out and rolled it between his fingers. ‘Don’t tell my wife.’

‘Majesty, she knows you’re smoking again.’

‘Oh, well – to hell with it then. Providence is behind me in this matter. My wife is no match for Providence.’

‘Are you sure about that, Majesty?’
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:58 am

The Taihei soldier, like all soldiers, are simple men. They are born in Pig Sty Alley and in the airy towers of Jukei and Heian. He is the favorite son of butchers and the problem child of factory clerks, or might not really have "parents" at all. They desire their Hanako, a lovely maiden for whom upbringing matters not. Their parents and creches desire for them to join the Ever Victorious Army--it will bring the most honor to the family name.

So they do, and as it is in all times in all places they meet a sergeant taking names for the Army. The recruiter asks them what they want to do. The various branches and arms make various bargains. Learn a trade, says the Army Navy and Army Air Force. Be fast-tracked to a commission, says the Rocket Army. Serve in your hometown, says the coastal artillery. But the airborne troops gives them the simplest bargain of all.

Meet the enemy and kill him, says the Eighteenth Airborne. So they join.

Some regret it the first time they meet the sergeants, who beat and curse and spit on them as per honored custom. Those who quit are sent far away and never talked about again. Those who remain stop talking about their families. They call them once a week, if they can, and send them a portion of the paycheck. But the sergeant is their father, and their officer their grandfather, and the commanding officer a god, like it is in all good armies since time immemorial.

After some time some of them become sergeants themselves, and a few become officers. They are told, at long last, there is trouble at the frontier. The Roshi, in his great wisdom, has consulted with his wisest monks and chosen them to deal with it. They ask how long it will to get there, as the cycle repeats.

The helicopters skim low over the jungle canopy. Speed and surprise is of the essence, say the officers. They have cornered a bandit lord and retinue in his lair and they will bring him to the authorities, dead or alive. Over the final ridge the transports crest. One is shot down and leaves a gash of fire below. Later they will pray for those inside, that their souls may gain favorable forms in the next life. Rockets and gunfire respond in kind. The helicopter slows for a landing. The soldier's pulse quickens as the wheels touch down.

Out the ramp and around the sides. Hit the ground and start shooting. The paratrooper is a good soldier and remembers his training. He finds a door with a couple people in it. The man with the most golden collar-board is in charge, leads them through the doorway, and dies. The next man steps over his corpse and advances three steps, and dies. The third soldier makes progress and does not die, clearing the way for the fourth, the fifth, the sixth. They too will be prayed for, that they may reincarnate into the Eighteenth Airborne in the next life.

The shooting dies down and the Taihei soldier has carried the day. Then men in strange clothes parade through the lair of the bandit, taking photographs and debating with his officers. In Pig Sty Alley and in Jukei and Heian he would've feared these men, but as a soldier in Hakara he was unconcerned. He was sent here by the wisest man on Earth and so were they. He kills the bandits and they think about what it means. It his job in life and probably all the ones that came before and all the ones that will come after: meet the enemy and kill him, forever and ever, against men and bandits and malign ghosts and demons until he slips the wheel of death and life.

Later their exploits show up in the army newspaper and all the Taihei soldiers cheer. They have met the bandit lord and bested him, but the army newspaper says that eleven more must be caught and the bandit king of Hakara remains at large. The dead are cremated and the wait begins for their next lives to join the Ever Victorious Army. And as in all armies in all times they are told to meet the enemy somewhere else and kill him there.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Dumanum » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:39 am

Excerpt from Merjanius' Histories, A.U.C. MMDCCXC
Book XXXVI - The Affairs of Ostium

It was on the nones of June in the Consulship of Macer and Protus that Abdullus, King of the Mallae, visited our city at the invitation of the Senate. As my readers are undoubtedly aware, but for the sake of completeness I shall all the same enter into this account, the Mallae were the strongest kingdom of Questaria, and those who were the most accomplished in war, and Abdullus is said to be the best and most fortunate of all their rulers. For he was the most accomplished in those matters concerning all monarchs, having triumphed in many wars in the Subcontinent and rendered his people the strongest in that place. This was a notable occasion, for never in history had a King of the Mallae visited civilized lands, and this does much to speak favorably of the character of Abdullus.

He brought with him, as gifts to the People, many magnificent and exotic beasts such as tigers, and elephants, and pygmi from the orient, and these accompanied a great procession of the Mallae down the Via Tarquinia. The Questarian elephant, as my readers are aware, are much larger in stature than the Semnian elephant, and these were a great spectacle indeed (as my readers may be wondering, the dung left in their wake required an unusually large body of stewards to clean in the lawfully prompt manner). His procession was only interrupted as he paid respects and gifted a crown of ten thousand solidi to the goddess Uni. The people were much pleased with his gifts to them- though his outward display of piety struck some as gaudy, most forgave him his foreign ways and understood his open deference, and thus the People were favorably disposed toward him. We see again, a measure of his character.

Abdullus went to attend the Senate at the Curia. There he was granted the rare honor of being presented to the Senate by both Consuls; both had, in his turn, addressed the Senate and exhorted them to favor the treaty. Speaking in favor of the treaty, Protus was applauded especially for his eloquence, and the body was made well disposed toward it and Abdullus so that, when Abdullus did speak, he was most warmly received. Abdullus addressed the Senate in a manner befitting a monarch, that was both respectful toward that august body and manfully confident. He related that the Questarii and Dumani People had much in common, though they were separated by a great barbaric waste, and spoke of the peace that the two peoples had enjoyed for over a century, and of the great wealth that this had brought to both parties. He spoke further of the aggressive spirit of the Eastern Iamatae and the injustices committed by them against his people, and how the Iamatae were natural enemies of both the Dumani and Questarii. Already disposed against the Eastern Iamatae by their murder of a citizen, they were swayed to his cause and his proposal of everlasting peace was well-received.

The Senate did thus vote a Consultum as such,
That there should be peace between the Dumani and Questarii;
That the Near and Far Iehuda would remain free of the armies of the Dumani and Questarii;
And that both peoples should cooperate further regarding the threat of the Eastern Iamatae.

The Senate then voted further honors upon Abdullus and the Mallae: to Abdullus they gifted the sceptre and ivory chair, the greatest of honors any monarch could hope to receive in his life; they named him Friend of the Dumani Senate and People, a great honor still; and they further voted State games in his honor. The Mallae people, they proclaimed friends of the Dumani People, and sent to them as a gift a troupe of 100 gladiators.

Proceeding from the Senate to the Popular Assembly, the People, being already well-disposed to Abdullus, greeted him warmly and ratified the treaty with the Questarii. As is law, oaths were sworn by the Consuls on behalf of the State, which were reciprocated by Abdullus; appropriate sacrifices were made of eight strong bulls; and the treaty was nine times engraved in bronze, with the eight copies to reside within the Great Temple of Sol, and the ninth copy given over to Abdullus to convey to keep as he saw fit. Thus was a permanent treaty of peace established between the Dumani and the Questarii, and the eastern frontier thereby made secure in perpetuity.

The treaty was announced to the people and there was much celebration: at games held in honor of the occasion, three hundred and six gladiators died bravely in a single day. The gladiators of the Ludus Batiatus, whom Abdullus had rescued from debt on behalf of the People, saluted him on each of the occasions one of them was involved in a bout, and made good account of themselves. I must however note with my own firsthand account that a number of the Mallae took ill to the games in a manner more befitting women than their country’s most exalted men, such being the ways of foreigners.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:10 am

Nine old men sat around a perfectly circular table. A man in uniform and under many medals stood in the middle, which was open. Papers were in front of the men, indicating its and their importance.

"Fellow Majesties, this meeting is now in order." Said the North King.
"Marshal Umezu, you may now speak." Said the South King.

"Thank you, your majesties." The field marshal began flipping through his clipboard, prompting the old men to so the same. An aide stood inside the table, standing over a scale model of a tropical country. "Progress towards the major cities in Hakara is good. The northern and southern groups of the 40th Route Army, as you see here have isolated and invested Dasan respectively." The aide pushed little army men on pins into the model. "The Mobile Force of the 18th Route Army has been able to drop here, here, and there." More army men. "Casualties, so far, are minimal, in both men and machinery. Our performance, conversely, is rather maximal. We have destroyed these Oki Dar warlords so far but--"

"But," Said the East King.
"He is getting to the bad news, Eastern King," Said the West King.
"Get on to the bad news," Said the Wing King.

"Yes, your majesties," the field marshal spun back to face the map and flipped through some more pages. "We have been a fortnight in Hakara so far. We have let various, er, groups of natives conquer and govern villages and towns. The results, limited as they are...are not encouraging."

"Why is this?" said the Following King, who ran the Thought Police.

"It would be presumptuous of me to give merely one answer," responded the marshal, thinking correctly, "We--the Army--are not using these Hakarans as fodder. These Hakarans have not been in the country for nigh on thirty years. Those that have have fought the Oki Dar, but as small groups. They have not been able to carry out much more than banditry, and have received the treatment Hakarans reserve for bandits."

"Our men have not told Us of a specific Hakaran punishment for banditry," harrumphed the Following King.

"Your men are correct sire, they just kill them, normally. But they have been killing our men," added the marshal. The old men did not appreciate the levity. "At an unacceptable rate. These men must be helped into the throne of Hakara, but if we do they will not be respected, as like all barbarians north of the border the Hakarans respect only strength."

"As opposed to Us, who respect...?" Asked the Inner King.

"Finer things, majesty. And therein lies the problem--we have thousands of years of culture, philosophy, and refinement and it all stops at the beach and at the prominence of the Ten Thousand Barbarian range. To make Hakara cease troubling us forevermore would be to create a Hakara that has abandoned savagery. To make Hakara abandon savagery would be to wring every savage habit out of a great portion of Hakarans. And to do that,"

"You want an occupation." Finished the Wing King, causing the field marshal to whip around to face him.

"....yes, sire."

"How long was it since Yamato ruled Hakara?" Asked the Elegance King.

"One thousand one hundred years, sire. Unfortunately, even during the time of the Kujo--"

"Yes, yes, We know, Marshal. We have also anticipated this. What, if you were to occupy Hakara, would you require?"

"Firstly, time. Years, decades, perhaps. The less men the more time. Secondly, men. I will need another Route Army in the west simply to hold down a territory of that size. Even if the 40th was our best formation--it is not--if it was occupied then it would leave everything north of Keikai open to the rogue provinces."

"Creating a new Route Army is not desirable," answered the Inner King. "Our Bureaus tell me that they are stretched thin arming the current Army and arming the nation to arm the army."
"A new army in the West is not a new army in the North, where the Makou have massed their entire army, and armies that are not theirs, on the river." Added the North King.
"We concur," quipped the West King, drawing murmurs. "Part of that host is the army of the Dairen rogue provinces. The damnable Sumitu has already made his landfall in the land of the Makou in the east. He does not have the strength to land in force in the west."
"Marshal, We shall give you time but no new armies. You must use your wit to overcome this challenge. We maintain Our confidence in your ability."

"Yes sire."


The courier is the only layman allowed inside the Forbidden City at night, and the only man allowed inside the Palace of Heaven and Earth. Not even the holiest monks may interrupt the Roshi's meditation. But not even the courier is allowed to interrupt the Roshi's meditation.

Only death is allowed to do that.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:25 am

At Karak, the Regiment lined up next to the train tracks, under a corrugated iron cover that held back the sheets of rain. The Pioneers were short men, selected from all across North Questers, swarthy, dark Dharmats. They had joined the Yeomanry because they had nothing better to do. They had joined the Yeomanry because it was that, or identiture. They had joined the Yeomanry for a bit of fun. Now they were about to get soaked. They all complained. The Regimental Sergeant Major hushed them.

When the train arrived, they walked in line, by the company, to their carriages. Men behind pushed the men in front to go faster, and the men in front tried, because they were being soaked too, but it is hard to walk through gravel and sand in a line when you're carrying fifty pounds of gear.

Yesterday, they had spent what had felt like two days, loading all their personnel carriers, their trucks, the spades and the demining equipment and all the special bombs and mines. The trains had taken them away. They'd be waiting in a rail yard in far Questers for them to unload. But, these men had done this before. It was nothing special - it was something to complain about.

The train pulled out of the station, the rain picking up around it. It was just before midnight. They took the railway route they'd taken before, up to Kohat, where the Army Headquarters and the bars with cheap girls were, but the train diverted. Four and a half hours later they hurtled over the railway bridge where the Kech meets the Axackal, and they saw the sleepy town of Sagabad wake up, but they didn't stop there; in the next two hours they crossed the tributaries of the Hakra and Lalhus rivers. They saw the sun rise over the big sea, throwing great colours from the Axackaland over the Nampata Bay. The men who had smartphones took pictures. The train kept going, over the foothills, through Uparsar, Bihar, Helmankot, through towns and villages not marked on any map. There were goats, there were motorcycles, there were coconut trees, there were gawking, naked children.

They stopped at Jainipur, and it was lunch-time. Seven hundred men in uniform and boxy Pioneer hats took over the railway interchange in the town centre. Some of them had stayed awake the whole journey, and they had sat in one half of the carriage, playing cards and talking; the others, who had slept, had lain together in a jumbled mess in the other half. Now, they disentangled themselves, and spread out into the city. Coffee was drunk, chapattis eaten, women leered at - and sometimes called out to. The Mining Troop called out words so lurid and foul to a girl walking to school that the Regimental Sergeant Major came and beat them with a lathi.

They boarded a new train to Kastary two hours later. They had been travelling for fourteen hours. On the train to Kastary, you were supposed to be able to see the mountains, but the windows of the train were too close to the hills, and blocked what would otherwise be a magnificent view. When the train stopped, some men clambered out of windows and sat on the top. There they saw the jagged edges of what was once, in some time too distant to be known, part of the Questarian continental plate. It was four and a half hours to Kastary. The rest of the men got drunk on toddy, a coconut spirit so strong as to be undrinkable for civilians or young men.

When they arrived in Kastary it was dark. They had been on the road for nineteen hours. They ate dinner out of their A man tried to get on the train, an 'awl fella' as the Sergeant Major described him. What are you doing uncle! The young boys, some seventeen, of the Third Pioneer Regiment, called out. This is a military train! We're going to war, are you coming? You wouldn't be much good uncle, with that stick! You planning on hitting some Worshippers with that thing or what?

I'm going to Machang, the old man said. He was one of those men who was old enough that you couldn't work out how old he was, and he didn't know. Despite the shouts of the soldiers, he got onto one of the carriages, and lighted a giant cheroot. My daughter lives in Machang you see. Her husband, you see, he's a wireless engineer for the railway. I'm just popping in for a visit, you see. Now, would you be quiet? It's noisy in here. I don't like noise. The last time I ...

The boys let him stay on the train.

He ate their food, and drank their chai. He smoked their cigarettes and used their matches, and due to a timeless deference, they let him. He got off at Machang. ‘Goodbye boys. By the way, I was in a war once,’ he said, eyes shining with cataracts. He lifted up his shirt to show a big scar. ‘You got to trust each other. If you don’t trust each other, you don’t get out alive.’ With that, he hopped off the train.

They had passed Panchkula now, and Jertih, and finally Machang, and had emerged into the Gorka basin. The train route stopped at the end of the Panchkula pass, and the officers got out and walked around and marvelled. Here is where Hood went east! A strange rock, a mix of a plaque and a sign, pointed north-east towards the Malay heartland and said only: Kota Rembang — 1 5 0 M I L E S.

The troops stayed on the train. They weren’t interested in history.

The train sped south through the Gorka basin. At Palanchok and Makalu, the train stopped and the officers were greeted at the station by society ladies and tea, but on the platform itself, a line of Gorka militia prevented the pioneers from getting off and wreaking havoc. Now matter how much the pioneers swore at them, they didn’t move an inch. They had been on the road for twenty-four hours now. When the trains departed the Gorka cities, the pioneers still had the energy to climb to the top of the train and sing their hearts out.

At Pokhara and Acham the station was too busy to stop. The pioneers had the feeling already that they were an army in a distant land; all of them had come from the banks of the Ghaghara, and had never been this south, and had never seen such strange cities, the tall temples with the curved rooves. The trains cut through, or went over, endless valleys and trenches that hundreds of coolies had died to dig. Then they were in Kachinistan, and the train did not stop at any stations. When it did pause, children ran to the side of the train and looked upwards, scouting the train with sceptical eyes. They were descending from the plateau of plateaus, and it became less cool. The valleys gave way to jungle: this they were familiar with it.

At five in the morning the day after they had left Karak, they arrived in Carolina. There were rumblings of discontent, as they were running out of food and cigarettes. The Provost was called out to make sure that they didn’t cause any trouble. In fact, the opposite happened: they all fell asleep, all seven hundred. And when they got to Chauyang, through the palm oil cargo route, seven hours later, at mid-day, thirty six hours after they had left Karak, they all woke up. They yawned and stretched. They had travelled two and a half thousand miles, seen a dozen cities and three dozen towns, and yelled at girls from at least five different races. They had even been provided with the good quality rations, so all in all, it had been a successful trip.

heir equipment, which they had sent off twelve hours earlier, was waiting for them in the adjacent siding, but if they had expected to arrive to a fete, they were wrong. All around them was a huge camp – or at least, the beginnings of one. They were expected to finish building it.

And there were no showers, because there was no time. There was no time because more and more soldiers were coming.
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:05 pm

'No-oo. I have to go to Jesselton. Well, why don't you come? Mummy can come too. If you ask her nicely, she might let you.' Abdul rubbed his eye with his finger. Next to him, the clouds flew by. The sun was beating on them. It made Tairendia look far, far away. 'Well, I will be working. I have to go to the House. No, of course it won't be boring. Okay, well you just stay home then. Alright.' Abdul laughed. 'Okay. Bye bye. Yep, bye bye. Byeeeee. Bye bye.' He hung up.

Opposite him, Adam was staring out the window. 'Smyth was ebullient,' he said.

'That man is always ebullient,' Abdul replied. He poured a cognac. 'But, we got our way. And he got his. We have a plan.'

'I'm not sure. I think he pulled a fast one on us. You know? He seemed too happy about it.'

'Mmm.' Abdul drank some cognac. He frowned, and the frown turned to a smile. 'Our aims are the same. He won't survive without us - and he's our strongest friend, right now. Happy him, happy us. Happy us, happy him.'

'Oh, so we're all happy now?'

'You aren't, obviously.'

Adam sighed and poured his own cognac out. 'I just don't like flying.' He took a sip. 'No, I'm lying. This whole thing makes me feel - I don't know. We always knew where we stood before. Now, I can't tell. It's - it's a huge gamble. It's becoming predictable. So much - so much to lose.' He paused, and said it again. 'So much to lose.'

Abdul grunted. 'That is not in our hands. We need to start thinking about the House.'

'Unlike you, I read the reports. Well, I write them, so I have to read them. But -'

'I don't read them because they're too long. You're more concise in speech than letter.' Abdul began laughing. The rest of the plane was quiet; the aides, the traveling party, everyone was still. They'd had a long journey and a busy few days. They could sleep, but Abdul could not.

'Okay. But the reports are important. We just called up a campaign round six weeks ago when the Estates asked us for help. And now you're going to ask for another one, a bigger one. They're going to ask why, what for, do we need it, blah blah. Okay, most of them will go with you, because they don't take initiative, because ultimately it's not their money. But the Straits will bluster, they'll try to stop you. Then you will allow them, because you have to, and it will be a precedent that they can challenge you and you can't do anything about it. The problem with rocking the boat is that you let a bit of water in.'


'Why are you so at ease with this? Our movements, our call-ups, our concentrations can't be ignored. Only a fool would think that we aren't planning something. Our enemies aren't fools and neither are our friends.'

They were both quiet for a while. Abdul poured them both a cognac. 'My study of history tells me that nobody can control events. Even people who think they can end up losing control. All you can do is set events in motion and manoeuvre around them, working through chaos. Chaos is unpredictable, and that's what's predictable about it. You have to find the channels around which chaos moves. Then something happens.'

'Then something happens.' Adam leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. 'You know your problem? Confidence. Confidence killed the cat.'

'Curiosity killed the cat. Anyway, something always happens.'

'Not always.'

A man appeared from the cockpit. Sleepily, he walked down the aisle, past the sleeping aristocrats. 'Majesty, a message from KP.' He passed the folded paper over. 'It comes from the Plenipotentiate in Mucklog. Top priority.'

Abdul unfolded the paper, read it, and began to laugh. He pushed it over the table for Adam to read, but Adam could only groan. Then something happens.
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