Brazil: In which this AAR gets waxed [ha!] and Daniel Carlson gets an ending
Daniel snorted a couple of times, then woke up. He expected anacondas, pygmies shooting blowguns, and nuts. Piles and piles of nuts. He got none of those things. He blinked a couple of times, stretched, took one step, and tripped over a body. In fact, he saw no fewer than fifty corpses around him. "Chaos? Did you kill these people? This is early in the country, even for you."
Sorry, Daniel. That was me.
Right the first time. I asked Chaos if I could see what it's like to inhabit your body for a bit. I am the judge of the bet, after all, so I needed to get a feel for his difficulties.
I'm surprised Chaos hasn't gone mad. How do you survive inside your head? It's so tiny.
"Normally, Chaos is the one to make hurtful insults."
Death gasped in shock. Oh. Right. Humans are sensitive about the size of their brains. What's that saying? 'It's not the size of the boat, but the motion --'
"Er, that's not brains."
If you say so. Say, what were you doing a few moments ago?
"Dreaming. I was given the highest honor a tax accountant can receive; to do one's own audit."
You seemed to be enjoying yourself.
"Oh yes, very much so."
Well, don't audit yourself too much. I hear you go blind.
Daniel swallowed hard. "I'll, uh, keep that in mind."
Anyway, I was just here for a lark. It seems that people can't get very close to you with me in your head, so I'll take my leave. See you in a few years!
Daniel heard a wrenching sound inside his head, a pop, and then a woosh as a new PELF filled his head. Hiya chum! Miss me? Before Daniel could reply, Chaos whistled. You've been busy! Good for you, champ.
"That's Death, not me."
Chaos clicked his tongue. Too bad. I thought you'd finally grown up. Oh well. So, map, economy, mission, and random unpleasantness. Boom.
"A revolt? That isn't so bad."
Yeah, but they're on the other side of the continent. The part you don't have any soldiers in.
"That's the Chaos I've come to know and... well, just know."
It could be worse. You also have a lot of cores that you can't possibly retake!
"That is worse."
Bah. I'm giving you the opportunity -- well, the readers gave you the opportunity -- to build a massive Empire on two oceans.
Daniel shrugged. "Call it what you want. I'm just glad that I'm not too far from getting back to my own time and my own job."
Chaos was aghast (aPELF, perhaps?). You... want to leave? I figured that you've had such a good time the last four hundred years that you'd want to stay.
"In a word, no."
Well. I've never been so insulted. Chaos went off to pout. Daniel, on the other hand, was busy trying to build enough boats to get the Brazilian army over to the eastern part of Africa.
By June of 1798, Chaos had a new mission for Daniel.
"Indonesia? Isn't it bad enough that you promise that we're in Brazil, when we clearly aren't?"
Of course we're in Brazil, dummy. Read the stationery.
"Look, Brazil has the Amazon, and the rain forest, and Carnival. We have none of those things."
There was a carnival the other day.
"That's not 'Carnival.'"
The prize was a lion!
"The prize was not getting eaten by a lion. Everyone lost."
Not the lion.
"Touche. Not the lion. In any case, where's Rio?"
Same place it's always been.
"Why aren't we there?"
You have to take it first.
Sure, why not?
Daniel took a deep breath. "Look, I'll go on strike."
"I won't do anything until you get me to the real Brazil, like you promised."
You aren't doing anything now.
"Well... I'll keep not doing anything! Ha! See how you like that!"
Eh, your funeral.
After an hour or so of Daniel's strike, Daniel gave up. "Fine. You win."
Of course I do. I always win.
"Not if I stay sane."
Thanks for reminding me! To add a little tension, I brought you some playmates.
When the first battle between Songhai and Brazil occurred, Daniel got a shock. A pleasant shock. Wait, can shocks be pleasant? I mean, if you're a masochist and into that sort of thing, okay, maybe, but I don't literally mean shock, as in electrical shock. I mean surprise. Well, some kinds of surprises can be good (like free cake, a promotion, a birthday party) and some can be bad (fork in the eye, having your wallet stolen, a birthday party). But aren't shocks almost uniformly negative? I'd hate to be redundant. You know what? Just pretend I said surprise earlier. Here's a pretty picture of why Daniel was so happy.
"One regiment beat an entire army?"
So it would seem.
"Okay, now you've got to be pulling my leg."
I can make you pull it off, if you want.
"It's an expression."
You're an expression!
"Look, we're clearly in Africa. That means that we've got spears and knives."
"No! No guns! Stop making my head hurt!"
Look, it's easy. Brazil declared its independence, just like in your timeline, but in this case they kept a lot of the European equipment.
"We. Are. Not. In. Brazil."
Okay, France in the Canaries, Ryukyu surviving as an independent power [until we got there], Milan dominating Russia, no colonies until the 17th century, these are all fine. This is what bothers you? Brazil is a name on a map, dude. Get over yourself.
Daniel was about to scream, but then listened to the sense of what Chaos had to say. "You know what? You're right. I'm being a complete ass. Thanks for straightening me out. Let's press on!"
Finally. Now we can go on, and you'll stay sane and... DAMN IT! I WAS THIS CLOSE!
By 1805, Brazil wiped the floor with Songhai. They won every battle, especially this one in Oyo.
Just as clearly, they lost every battle against Venice and Songhai's partner, Oman. There were no troops near Oman's territory, which accounted for Brazil's weakness there. As for Venice, well, Venice's tech was more impressive than even Brazil. That was what made Venice's decision so puzzling.
"So, Chaos, why did they surrender? They could have taken pretty much what they wanted and I wouldn't have stopped them. Those provinces in eastern Africa are more trouble than they're worth."
I don't know. Pretty crazy, isn't it?
Daniel sighed. "Look, I'm not going to go insane. You fixed that [thanks again, by the way]. Stop trying."
But I don't wanna lose the bet!
"Quit whining. We've got 16 more years."
A few moments later, an ambassador from Oman showed up. He looked really nervous. "Er... you the Queen of Brazil?"
Daniel, who was so preoccupied with Chaos, had failed to notice that he/she was a woman once again. She/he sighed again and then nodded. "I am she."
"Great. Look, we're in a bind. If you give us some cash, we'll leave the war."
"Why would I do that?"
The ambassador started to cry. "Look! We needed some extra cash, and we borrowed money. We aren't proud."
"A country borrowed money... from a loan shark?"
Danielle laughed uproariously. "What are they going to do, break your legs? You're an entire country!"
"He said his name was Rob."
Danielle's laughter ended as abruptly as it began. "Okay. Yeah, he's a rough customer. I'll give you the cash and throw in Kilwa."
"You're all right!"
Why did you give him Kilwa?
"It's a pain to maintain."
Yeah, but now you look weak. Everybody will want a piece of you.
"Do you want to risk angering Rob?"
Chaos got quiet. You know, he scares me a little.
"How did he get the capability to obliterate reality in all its dimensions?"
The same way anybody gets anything these days: Amazon.com.
"Somebody sold weapons that can annihilate everything that is, was, and ever shall be on Amazon?"
Of course not. Danielle started to relax, but Chaos continued. He just bought his own user manual.
"So he was built with these weapons?"
"He was originally a commentator and is now a bartender. Why would he need such weapons?"
I asked that too. You know what the manufacturer said?
Danielle had to admit, that was as good an explanation as she was likely to get. "Anyway, we got plenty of stuff back from Songhai."
Nice work, Danny! High five!
Danielle started to do exactly that, but realized, too late, that there was nobody to actually high five. She hit herself before she could stop herself. She went into a concussion and didn't wake up until 1816.
Author's note: Here's what happened in the intervening 10 years. Rebellion, rebellion, rebellion, colony, rebellion, colony, colony, rebellion, colony. You're welcome.
When Danielle came to, she realized that she was now a man again. That relieved a lot of his stress.
"Haven't people been looking for the Queen?"
Maybe. I haven't been paying attention.
"I've been unconscious for ten years and you just 'weren't paying attention?'"
"Where were you?"
Drinking at Rob's.
"You know what? Let's just get through this."
Oh yeah, Venice declared war again.
With most of Brazil's army tied up fighting Dutch rebels, Venice had an easy time of taking the eastern provinces. To make matters worse, Mali revolted from Oyo and Ife with a 5000 man army that was almost as good as Brazil's.
Fortunately, Venice could not invade the western provinces (or simply chose not to), so Daniel dealt with Mali.
Aren't you a little sad that you beat them so easily?
"Sad? Good golly! Miss Mali?!" After a few moments, Daniel groaned. "I walked right into that one."
That's what she said!
"I guess that... kind of works."
I'll miss our jokes.
Spoilsport. Oh, Venice called while you were in the bathroom. I gave them a bunch of stuff.
The two eastern provinces. Oh, and I know how much you liked Benin, so I declared war on the Netherlands for you. Spain asked if they could come and play; I didn't have the heart to tell them no.
"Next thing I know, you'll tell me that you gave Cape Verde to Orleans."
Funny you should mention that.
By the time the calendar showed 1821, Daniel had recovered Benin and bought Spain off with a bunch of gold and some cores he didn't want. The real irony was that he had the gold because half the planet (it seemed) was giving him war subsidies to fight Spain. Daniel nodded in quiet satisfaction, as he felt the pull back to Rob's for one final time.
"Hey, everybody's here!"
Order, Chaos, and Death all stood around the bar. There were festive banners hung up, party hats, and noisemakers. Rob had initially set up a bobbing for apples station, but after he "accidentally" used liquid nitrogen instead of water, Rob was told he couldn't help with the festivities any more. Instead, he was to chisel out the four patrons who'd gotten stuck in the barrel at the same time.
Well, Mr. Carlson, you made it.
"I guess I did."
Order put out his hand and Daniel shook it. It has been a pleasure, sir. Most of the time.
Death started to do the same, but changed his mind. Oh, better not. You're technically mortal again.
"Good catch, Death."
Chaos waved over to Daniel. Hey, buddy. Wanna play darts?
How about a drink?
It's supposed to be a party, you wimp. Live a little! How about a prostitute?
"N-- maybe. Is she human?"
"Really?" Daniel looked very severe at Chaos.
Okay, she's an multidimensional horror. She's consumed the souls of a few humans and eaten entire worlds. That's just as good, right?
"It really, really isn't."
The bar's normal noise settled down to a hush. Death cleared his throat. Ladies and gentlemen and... things? We'll go with things. I am here to evaluate Daniel Carlson to see if he has gone insane over the course of the last four hundred years.
"I am ready."
Question 1. What year is it now?
"Time has no meaning in Rob's, as it sits between and among all realities."
Good enough. Question 2. Will you have fries with that?
"With what? You haven't offered me anything."
Death whistled appreciatively. He's on the ball today! Question 3. If an airplane crashes on the boundary between the United States and Canada, where do you bury the survivors?
"You don't? They survived."
Wait, you're not supposed to bury the survivors? Man, I have been doing it wrong.
Shut up, Chaos. Question 4. A woman meets a man at a funeral for a mutual co-worker. They fall in love, but he leaves before she can get his number. The next day, she kills his sister. Why?
"I have no earthly idea."
Any idiot knows that -- she knows he'll be at the funeral.
Chaos, for the last time, shut up. Only sociopaths are supposed to know the answer to that one, unless they've had it before. (Author's note: This is actually true, or so I've heard.) Question 5. Last one. Would you rather have a million dollars, a million women, or audit a million people?
Daniel drooled in anticipation. "Audit a million people. No question."
Death took a look at his pants and nodded. Well, I'm convinced. He's sane. Well, he's the same level of sane he was in 1399, which is close enough. Pay up, Chaos.
This contest was rigged!
Be a good sport, now, Chaos.
Fine. Chaos turned to Rob. How much do I owe?
THE NUMBER HAS NOT YET BEEN INVENTED. I HAVE TAKEN THE LIBERTY OF EMPTYING OUT YOUR ENTIRE BANK ACCOUNT, WHICH IS ENOUGH TO COVER THE TAB, BUT JUST BARELY.
"Where did you get that kind of money?"
Time travel and compound interest are beautiful things.
The bet is settled. Daniel, I'm going to wipe your memory and return you to your own timeline. You won't remember anything that happened. You'll wake up in a hospital; I've slightly altered your timeline so that the bus hits you, but only breaks your leg.
Daniel wailed. "I'll miss work! That isn't fair!"
Look, take my word for it. The bus has to hit you. I'm already taking a big risk by not making it a lethal one for you.
Death nodded, waved his hand over Daniel's head, then Daniel Carlson disappeared. For those of you that care about such things, Daniel lives to a ripe old age. He never marries, never has children, never has friends, gets promoted a few times, and donates his life savings (a tidy sum) to the university from which he matriculated. The university burns to the ground a day later, because Chaos is a spiteful jerk.
After Daniel disappeared, Death returned to his duties and most of the bar emptied out. Order and Chaos sat quietly. I'd like to start a new tab, Rob.
A nickel rolled under the table. Chaos picked it up and grinned.
Double or nothing?
Order stroked his chin. Sure, why not? But we can't use Mr. Carlson any longer.
I VOLUNTEER. I WILL CONSTRUCT MY OWN REPLACEMENT TO SERVE DRINKS HERE. HOWEVER, THE GUIDELINES WILL BE MUCH MORE STRICT AND SCIENTIFIC THIS TIME.
I wanted to say a few words before officially completing this AAR. I want to give a special thanks to CivandEUIII, who more than anybody wanted crazy characters in Novum Romanum Imperium, which is what inspired this. I never thought writing comedy would be so hard, and yet so rewarding. It makes me appreciate the other great comedy AARs on this forum even more. I hope everybody that read this got at least a chuckle out of it. If for some reason you didn't, and read it through the entire way, or even just parts, thanks anyway, since it still counts as a hit.
This isn't the end of this thread (at least I hope not!) because I still value your comments and suggestions. I'll start up the sequel to this one when I get back from my trip at the end of the June. I have some specific ideas for how I want to do the sequel (which will be with Victoria 2 AHD, but not converted), but I'm always happy to take suggestions. I can't promise I'll use them, but I do promise I'll give them due diligence. I don't think Descent 2 (not the title, but it'll do for now) will take very long, so if you've got some burning suggestion for a future AAR, you can put those here too. My next major project will probably be a CKII one, although I've had an HOI3 idea kicking around my head for a long while. No spoilers on that, since I don't want my idea stolen.
Thanks for reading, and here's the world in 1821!