Great Britain, part 2, part 1, or part 3. You decide!
Daniel Carlson carefully considered his move. It would take immense skill and concentration to get out of this predicament. He thought of all the American heroes who had come before him. George Washington. Andrew Jackson. Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt. Eisenhower. Nimitz. MacArthur. Marshall. And so on. He looked at his opponent with cold, gimlet eyes. That his opponent was inside his own head made this even more challenging. At last, he struck, having fixated upon a strategy that would bring either glorious victory or a crushing defeat.
"Got any sixes?"
"Dammit! You are way too good at this game, Order."
That's the fifth time you've asked me if I have any sixes.
"So? You might have some."
That's not the... never mind. I must say, you're taking being a mouse rather well.
Daniel was indeed a mouse. A true mouse, not an anthropomorphic pantsless mouse. Long tail, cheese, the whole nine yards. "I think I can put up with about anything at this stage."
Fair enough. So, there are a whole lot of British territories across the world. Since we're at 19 screenshots, we can't show all of them.
Never mind. Those are the important ones. You also have two misisons.
Here's a map with one circled; here's your other mission.
"You want to me take on Castille? The largest power in the world?"
"Oh, thank --"
They're Spain now. Well, they will be, by the time we get to war.
Daniel's beady little eyes narrowed. "How do you know that?"
Because I can travel forward in time.
"So you already know how it's going to turn out?"
"What if I do something differently?"
Then I don't know that.
After a pregnant pause -- at least octuplets, maybe more -- the discussion turned to how to gain access to the King.
Now look, it's an elegant solution.
"Could we replace the gunpowder with cheese?"
How would that help?
No, let's stick to the plan. We get every person ahead of the one whose pocket you're in into the same building, and we blow it up.
"Wouldn't that kill a lot of innocent people?"
Is anybody ever REALLY innocent?
Daniel had to admit that was a fair point, but still shook his tiny head. "No unnecessary killing."
Fine. New plan: we dig a large hole, everybody falls in. Then we blow up the hole --
Order grunted in frustration. Look, Mr. Carlson, this is our last trip together before Chaos gets you back. Don't you want it to go well?
"Yes, but those are real people with real lives."
Technically, they aren't real. Since this is a work of fiction, their lives are entirely hypothetical.
Er, more importantly, you've created this world through your actions, correct?
"Yes, I suppose."
And so these people would not exist if not for you?
Therefore, if anybody has the right to wantonly kill them, it's you.
"Maybe you're r-- hey, wait a minute! I'm saying that NOBODY has the right to wantonly kill them."
Order sighed. Okay, fine, you win. Let's keep the hole, but we'll leave food and water so they live. It's too deep to get out, and remote enough that nobody will hear them.
"How do you get them into the hole?"
Leave that to me.
A few hours later, quite a crowd had gathered around a ramshackle building out in the middle of nowhere. Each held a printed invitation. Daniel had scampered out of his person's pocket to survey the milling throng.
"How many people are here?"
Four hundred and seventy three.
You're the king's cousin's third favorite tailor. You cut the cousin's finger accidentally, meaning your blood temporarily mixed thanks to a paper cut from earlier that day.
"Who was four hundred and seventy second?"
"Ouch. What do we do now?"
Stage one of my plan is complete. Everybody's here.
"How did you get them here?"
I sent them all invitations asking them to come.
They're British; much too polite to refuse an invitation.
"Fair enough. What's stage two?"
We get them into the shack, under which I've concealed our hole.
At Order's mental wave, the shroud covering a sign fell off. The sign read: "Free tea." That got all but a dozen into the building. Thinking ahead, Order had prepared a second sign, which he now revealed. The second sign read: "Also biscuits", which took care of the last dozen.
"For a bunch of people that fell into a hole, they sure are quiet."
Stiff upper lip and all that.
"Right. My person is King now?"
Yep. Also, not a very good tailor.
Daniel carefully examined the finances of his new kingdom. The tailor was remarkably easy to mind control, so that was out of the way.
"I think I'll decrease the amount we're minting; I'd like to improve our land technology."
Reasonable enough. When are you going to attack Castille?
"I'd like to start small. Let's pick on Northumberland!"
A few weeks later, Northumberland ceased to exist, as it had no allies and Britain still had a core on it.
"That was easy. Let's move some troops over to East Africa, then go to Diego Garcia, and launch our attack on India from there."
That would prove more difficult, but only slightly, for Khandesh had allies and more troops.
Daniel used an ancient technique called "standing still and doing nothing" to fight this particular war; Rajputana, already at war with other Indian nations, signed a peace, granting Daniel what he wanted.
After founding the East India Company, Daniel's new mission was to build a COT somewhere in Great Britain. That was even easier, and 500 ducats later, London had a new COT, and Daniel had a new mission.
There was only one thing to do: declare war on Brittany!
A courtier bowed before his mighty King. "Sire, your General is here."
"Excellent, old bean. Pip pip cheerio!"
Um, Mr. Carlson, British people don't talk like that.
"Are you sure?"
Yes. Let's do this instead: say what you want to say, and I'll translate it in a language they can understand.
As the courtier left, confused, George Howard entered.
"You wanted to see me, my Liege?"
"Liege? Where?!" Daniel's darted around before he remembered that A) Liege was a country and B) He was more powerful. Not by a lot, but more powerful. "Just, uh, a joke. Hah hah."
The General laughed politely. "Very droll, sir. Your task?"
"Yes. We must retake Ireland from the British."
Brittany and Britain are not the same thing.
"Oh. Right. Haven't we talked about this before?"
"Sorry, General. A bit of a cold has me all woozy. I meant, the Bretons."
"Very good, sir. How many troops should we send?"
"As many as we can spare; I want a victory and I want it quickly."
"Then your will be done, my Lord."
With a thoroughly confused but still excellent General at the helm -- and the fact that there were exactly 4000 Bretons compared to 36,000 British on the island -- victory seemed guaranteed. The alliance facing Great Britain was formidable, but not fearsome, and Daniel's wise idea to disband half of the 18,000 man army in Australia to raise them in England made the force ratio even more lopsided.
By May of 1696, Ireland belonged to the British; however, the warscore requirements were so high (102%) that they would have to take every single province Brittany had; given that many were in Africa, North America, and South America, that seemed too extensive. But that wasn't the real problem.
Have you checked on the naval battle recently?
"What naval battle?"
"I see." Daniel nodded confidently.
"I don't know. Normally, if I say that, people leave me alone."
'I see' generally indicates that you understand.
... Anyway, do you notice the ship numbers?
"We have 23, they have 19. We have a better admiral. What's the problem?"
20 of our 23 ships are transports. So that means we'll lose. Badly. And lose an 18,000 man army on top of it.
"So we run away."
That won't work, Mr. Carlson. We have to fight for 12 days.
"I don't care if it's a paradox, do it anyway."
Order sighed. Maybe the pressure was getting to Daniel, but he seemed especially stupid since becoming a mouse. It doesn't matter. You're going to lose all the ships unless you sign a peace now.
"But I want all of Ireland!"
Forgive me, Mr. Carlson, but tough. Sign the peace or I will.
Before continuing any farther, Order started to wonder about Daniel. First of all, he seemed to be entirely too fond of being a mouse. Second, Daniel had barely even discussed the economy since they got to Great Britain. Third, he was especially stupid, even for him. It was like he wasn't even dealing with Daniel at all, but...
Yeah? "Excuse me, I mean yeah?"
How long have you been here?
Since the day after the hole scheme, which was brilliant, by the way. I liked the part with the gunpowder better, if you want my vote.
Why are you here?
I was getting bored. Also, I don't want the readAARs to forget about me.
I doubt that would happen. Wait a minute. If I'm inside a physical manifestation of you... THAT'S SICK! YOU'RE MY BROTHER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
Chaos's eyes opened wide. Oh, yuck, you're right! After a moment, Order and Chaos were separated once more. Thanks, bro. I didn't think of that.
Order shook off the last of the heebie-jeebies. So where's Daniel?
Bound and gagged in the restroom at Bill's. He fought a little, but I think he actually liked it.
Why do you say that?
I only had to cut off both arms and one leg to get him to stop squirming.
Wouldn't that indicate the opposite of approval?
Chaos's thoughts got far away for a moment. You could be right... he was screaming pretty loud and bleeding a lot. I thought that's how humans indicated they liked things?
I thought that too, but it turns out that was just the one guy.
Good old Crazy Steve. Do you suppose that's why they called him Crazy Steve?
Could be. Anyway, do go and get Mr. Carlson.
Fine. Party pooper.
Sorry, Mr. Carls --
Gotcha! Still me. You are so gullible, Odor!
Get him now or the bet is off, and you lose.
After carefully examining the new body he was in, Order was certain it was Daniel.
"Order? What happened? Where am I? And how is our interest rate?"
It's good to have you back. Scotland revolted from Spain, but they only got the Western Isles. We crushed and annexed them.
"That's good news. So what do we do now? Just wait until the time is up?"
Not so fast, Mr. Carlson. We have to deal with Spain. Remember, Armagnac?
"Oh, right. Drat. Can we see the Spanish army and navy?"
"Hmm... it looks like they have a much large army, but our navy is superior in big ships. If we concentrate our navy, that should give us the advantage. We can send a spy, find out where their troops are, and ignore it."
A reasonable solution. However, our largest fleet is mostly transports. We'll need reinforcements.
"Give me a moment."
1200 gold for our new navy? I'm impressed.
"Thank you. We'll start the construction and when the ships are finished, we strike."
Excellent strategy, sir.
It was February 1, 1701.
"Let's go for it, Order."
Will Daniel defeat the Spanish? Will Chaos die of boredom? Do rhetorical questions build suspense? Find out the answers to these questions and many more -- but not necessarily any questions you actually want to know the answers to -- in the next exciting (?) installment of A Descent Into Madness!