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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

LeonTrotsky

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Debs and Roosevelt agreeing on foreign policy :eek:
I sincerely hope you don't shelve this AAR as it's one of my favourites.
 

El Pip

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Ahhh Jape once again displaying his/her/its gift for starting a most tantalising AAR then buggering of to write something else. Which is normally another tantalising AAR which will in turn be abandoned.

Time passes and the circle of Jape's AAR not-finishing career continues its repetitive, if strangely comforting, progression.
 

Jape

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Havana, Cuba
Spanish Empire
May 4th 1898


hav1.jpg

Arthur sweltered, slouching in his wicker chair. It seemed all he had done since they had left Canada was swelter. Terrible colonial weather he thought. He swatted vainly at the two flies dancing above his head with a waft of his hand. He sat in only a string vest on his top half and a pair of cream trousers rolled up to the knees on his bottom, while his feet sat in a basin of originally cold water, now turned a horrible lukewarm temperature. The veranda in his hotel room, originally touted as a great luxury with marvellous views of the city, had quickly become a terrible nuisance, allowing the sun to creep in at profane hours of the morning. The curtains were now permanently drawn, creating a strange humid, twilight in the room. This had been the situation for ten days now.

Despite Arthur’s journalistic intentions and promises from the Spanish authorities in Cuba to the contrary, the moment war had broken out any possibility of travelling freely through the country had been deemed impossible. All foreign reporters were blocked from leaving Havana, the Spaniards seemingly terrified of an Englishman or Yankee dying on their watch. However this had led to little in the way of gripping news coming from “The Times man on the spot” as he was being touted back home. Except a few safe pieces on Havana residences coping with the war and carefully crafted propaganda provided by the Captain-General* himself, Arthur had been unable to report any thing of even superficial value. The Spanish were making sure of that. As such the telegrams from London were slowly getting more aggressive. They complained that while he sat around, the Daily Mail was getting top quality stuff from some British military attaché onboard the Confederate fleet. They had cut off his allowance yesterday, refusing to pay a “lame duck”. He knew that if he didn't get a decent story soon, he would be fired pretty soon.

There was a knock at the door.

Si”, answered Arthur wearily, preparing for yet another maid to intrude on his sad parody of a summer holiday

“Quit with that Dago talk Arty”, called Stanley “its me. Are you decent”?

Arthur glanced down at his tattered, dirty attire and then across the room full of empty wine bottles, rum bottles, beer bottles and food trays encrusted with the remains of various spicy meals.

“If you mean ‘not naked’ then yes”

Stanley gently twisted the doorknob and first peered in, as if he thought Arthur had been lying about his nakidity. On confirmation his unwanted guest walked in, carrying two large goblet-like glasses, holding a strange cloudy yellow liquid. Stanley gave his usual wide grin whenever he was pleased with himself and sat down on the side of the bed next to Arthur.

“You my friend are in for a treat”

“What have you been up to now Stanley”?

“Well I’ve gotten to know the bartender downstairs rather well since we booked in”

“Shocking”, said Arthur mockingly

“And he’s always making cocktails, trying to get a perfect recipe, try and sell it, make a bit of money you know. Anyway I was down there this morning and I asked if I could give it a go, you know for fun”

“Yes…”

“And I made this! Quite good if you ask me”, said Stanley trying to hand one of the glasses to Arthur but who refused to take it

“Considering you once tried to replace the vodka in a vodka martini with turpentine, I think I’ll pass this once Stanley”

“Oh don’t be like that Arty, Lady Rothermoore liked it”!

“I’ll test your new concoction”, Arthur said gradually “if you can guarantee only edible substances were used”

“I swear”

Arthur reluctantly took the drink and sipped it. He was surprised by the smooth, mellow and above all non-toxic flavour.

“My god Stanley, that’s delicious”, he congratulated him, taking a bigger gulp

“See I told you so”

“What’s in it”?

“Simple just Rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk”

“Hmm, not bad, for you especially, have you given it a name”?

“Well I was going to call it a Rum with Pineapple and Coconut, but the bartender suggested something more exotic”

“Such as”?

“A Piña Colada, he called it”

“Not very good”

“I know”, Stanley finished his drink “anyway is it all right if I use your lavatory”?

“Certainly”

“Coconut milk just seems to run straight through me”

“Thank you for that Stanley”, winced Arthur, slightly too disgusted to give a sarcastic tone.

As Stanley went into the bathroom, Arthur relaxed, drinking the surprise delicacy. After a few minutes he began to nod off, the warm midday air having made him drowsy. Suddenly a powerful knock on the door shot him out of his slumber. Only half-awake, he remained seated, only for another even more aggressive knock to shake the door, this time convincing him not to open the door at all. Then he heard the urgent, broad voice of his photographer.

“Arthur, hey its Alf, would you open up”?

“Its open Alfred you know that”, garbled Arthur, wiping imaginary sleep from his eyes. As he rose from his chair, he realised something about what he just said didn’t make sense.

The door slammed open and Alf was thrown inside. Behind him appeared three armed men bedecked in the dark green uniform and black tricorne of the Guardia Civil, the military police of the Spanish Empire. Arthur fell back into his chair at the shock as the tallest of the three stepped forward, towering over him. He removed his cap and in a voice brimming with contempt, he began to speak, his English almost perfect.

“Senor Lambert”?

“Yes”, he merely answered, stunned by the turn of events

“I’m so sorry Arthur they came to my room first I”—Alf cut in only to be silenced by a backhand from the stout policeman nearest him, throwing him to the floor, a trickle of blood pouring from his forehead.

“Silence”! Barked the tall officer before turning once more to Arthur “Are you Senor Arthur Lambert, Foreign Correspondent for The London Times newspaper”?

“Yes”, he grew indignant, rising from his chair “What is the meaning of this”!

“You are to be taken into custody”

“On what charges”?

“Charges of espionage, of delivering information of a military nature to Confederate and rebel agents”

“How dare you”! Exclaimed Arthur, offended beyond words at such an attack on his character. He took a step closer to the Guardia, and began without thinking to raise a clenched fist, but quickly froze as he heard the cocking of pistol.

“I wouldn’t be so… rash Senor”, the officer shot a cruel smile, raising up his revolver from his side, which caused Arthur to back away somewhat, while his volume lowered.

“I don’t understand, I’m a journalist the only time I’ve been out of this hotel is to interview official sources, sanctioned by your superiors”

“My superiors Senor have reason to believe otherwise”

“Outrageous! I want to talk to the British Consul! You won’t get away with such blatant fabrications”!

“The Consulate shall be informed, of that you can be assured Senor Lambert, however I don’t think you realise how serious the situation is”

“Oh I think I do”

“Oh”, the officer paused to again reveal a wolfish grin “I think you don’t. You are charged with espionage. If found guilty, and I’m sure will, neither the Consul nor England will have any legal right to aid you. Then under the Articles of the Geneva Convention, you will be punished accordingly”

“And what punishment would that be”, Arthur asked with a forced bluster

“Death”

“I see…” the colour drained from his cheeks.

“Now if you would be so kind”, the officer motioned to the door with his gun. Arthur nodded sheepishly and began to walk, his hands raised in submission. He gave a glance to Alf who started to get to his feet. The heavy Guardia began grunting at him in Spanish, no doubt telling him to hurry up. As he slowly got to his knees, the man lost his patience and kicked him full on in the stomach, sending him back to the floor with a thump.

“I say”! Barked Arthur at the spectacle “what do you thugs think you’re doing”!

“I suggest”, said the third Guardia in heavily accented English as he stood by the door, his pistol pointed directly at Arthur’s chest “you shut up, or we might just have a little accident

Again as Alf tried to stand, his tormentor struck him, this time in the ribs, causing the muscular Canadian to give out a shriek of pain, which the Spaniards found hilarious, breaking out into a fit of laughter. Suddenly, Alf rolled over and with a swing of his leg, tripping up the portly officer who landed with an almighty crash. Arthur took advantage of the distraction and against all internal logic clenched his fist once more and struck the third man square in the jar, flooring him instantly. He was just about to congratulate his powerful swing when he heard the telltale sound of a pistol cocking once more. He turned to see the tall officer standing, his pistol pointed down at Alf.

To the surprise of the Guardia, the bathroom door burst open and a screaming Stanley appeared, brandishing a toilet seat. The man swung his gun round at the newcomer but not in time, as Stanley threw his object at close range, the porcelain smashing over the officer’s head and sending him into unconsciousness. Alf and Arthur remained still, completely stunned.

“Bastards”! spat Stanley at his quarry, stumbling back on himself.

“Did you know he had a gun”? Asked Arthur, dumbfounded

“Well no, but I assumed as much”, Stanley staggered over to a coffee table by the window and picked up a lone cigarette, placing it between his lips he lit it with a match from his trouser pocket. Alf drew himself up, using the bed for support.

“I suggest”, he said “We should leave”

“Good idea”, answered Arthur finally moving again. He walked over to the other side of his bed and threw his notepads and passport into his open suitcase, and shutting it. Alf kicked his assailant in the stomach as he tried to stand and Stanley went into the bathroom to collect his shoes, which for some reason he had taken off during stay in there. Arthur inched open the door, to make sure the hal was clear. Instead he saw another green-uniform pointing a gun at him.

“Bugger”

*Captain-General: Colonial Governor of Cuba
 

Jape

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El Pip: Aye, Germany is still divided and as any heavily armed Balkanised region with varying interests and factions, there'll porbably be trouble a-brewing in due time.

stnylan: It has indeed and our intrpid reporter will be on hand to... report it.

DerKaiser: Excellent excellent! Glad ot have you on board

Dr. Gonzo: I wouldn't say no to it ;)

Maximilliano: You'll just have to wait and see...

RGB & Baneslave: Thankya

LeonTrotsky: I have no intention of doing such :)

El Pip (2): Oh hush :p

Brook: There you go, glad you like :D
 

Maximilliano

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haha and so, the gentlemen became the 9th Spanish officer to be killed by a toilet-seat to the head in history of La Guardia Civil. Nice little scene, but why did the Spanish have it in for our hero? Was Alf actually passing information and managed to get Arthur implicated?
 

unmerged(57402)

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Bertie Wooster meets James Bond, and you invented the Piña Colada into the bargain! Brilliant! You´re bringing back all sorts of fond memories of Cuba to me as well, which just adds to the fun...

Oh, and "nakidity"- is this just a coincidence or have you been watching your Dylan Moran?
 

El Pip

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I've been proved wrong by Jape! Woot! I hope he proves me wrong on a regular basis. *hint hint*

Excellent update, but that looks a most tricky predicament for our heroes. Which is always interesting.
 

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Well that will provide a little extra excitement for his next report - if the editors back at home believe him!!!
 

unmerged(74195)

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DerKaiser said:
Bertie Wooster meets James Bond, and you invented the Piña Colada into the bargain! Brilliant! You´re bringing back all sorts of fond memories of Cuba to me as well, which just adds to the fun...
?

isn't that strange? i was thinking of stanley as bertie wooster all the way through!
 

unmerged(59077)

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Oh my.

Smoked by a toilet seat, what a shame. If he comes to he'll be rather angry.
 

Jape

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Havana, Cuba
Spanish Empire
May 4th, 1898


lighthouse_havana_harbor_cuba_photo_gov.jpg

Arthur, Stanley and Alf all slumped ashen faced, their hands cuffed behind their backs. They sat quietly in the gloom of the prison van, the weak light of early evening casting itself through the small barred windows on either side. The only sound to be heard was that of trundling wheels and clattering hooves against uneven cobbled streets. The small wagon jostled left to right in an erratic fashion. After assaulting three of His Most Catholic Majesty’s police officers, the trio knew that regardless of the admittedly serious charge of espionage, they would be facing imprisonment, not to mention a major diplomatic scandal. The noises of Havana street life had died out some ten minutes ago and as the van began to climb a steady incline. Slowly and unconsciously it dawned upon Arthur where they were going.

“La Cabaña”! he exclaimed, cutting through the hush.

“Eh”? Half-questioned Alf, raising his head to attention.

“They’re taking us up to the La Cabaña Fortress”

“Oh”, Alf lowered his head once more.

“What is La Cabaña”? Asked Stanley, who had sobered up considerably after he had become aware of the possibility of a prison sentence.

“Well it’s a fort… to guard the harbour”—

“But”, interrupted Alf, remaining bowed “its also where the Spanish take Cuban rebels for interrogation”.

Stanley blanched and fixed a look towards Alf that suggested the phrase ‘Why did you have to tell me that’?

“And apparently”, Arthur paused, attempting to retain a calm tone of voice “now us”.

*​

The men didn’t say another word during the journey, their minds too preoccupied with horrible images of torture. They had all heard the rumours of Spanish atrocities in Cuba circulated by the ‘yellow press’ in both the United and Confederate States but such sensationalism had always been looked down upon by the English (and Canadians for that matter). Given their present situation however, it was understandable to reconsider such tabloid accusations. By the time they had arrived at La Cabaña high in the hills overlooking Havana, the sun was beginning set, the blood red sun sinking into the Caribbean behind stout, bleached, citadel walls.

The wagon rumbled to a halt with a final crashing lurch, imitating the contents of its occupant’s stomachs. Everything was silent for a moment, the three fellows looking between themselves for some clue. Then the double-doors swung open, amber sunlight temporarily blinding them. Before they could fully recover, blinking their eyes and hissing at the pain, several Spaniards stormed into the carriage and dragged them out into the open, prodding them with truncheons. More green-jacketed gendarmes stood outside, rifles shouldered; two to each prisoner.

At the head of the detachment, to whose polished, booted feet the three were literally thrown before, was the Guardia officer from the hotel. His tricorne poorly hid the swollen, bandaged lump on his head. As the gringos gazed up, his mouth curled into a cruel smile.

“Welcome to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, gentlemen. Home of banditos and spies”!

The men were aided to their feet with relative care. The looked around, taking in their surroundings. The pentagonal Vaubanian walls bristled with large naval cannon, which peered down onto Havana across the harbour. Inside, made in that odd pink and white Hispanic style, was a veritable hamlet. From the main square where they stood, avenues spread out in all directions. Barracks, armouries and cells lined the streets like flat-roofed terrace housing, designed as such to retain protection from the low walls. Meanwhile hundreds of Spanish soldiers, wearing their light blue colonial uniforms and white slouch hats, milled about, stacking ammunition crates, raising sandbag redoubts, watching the horizon, preparing for the Confederate invasion.

“Now”, the Guardia continued, “If you will follow me please”. With that he strolled towards one of the avenues, arms folded behind his back, a sense of triumph virtually emanating from his engorged cranium. They walked for several minutes, rounding a corner towards a cellblock, set apart only by the two soldiers on guard outside and it’s thin, deep set windows. Without a word, the officer proceeded towards the heavy oaken door and pulled a key from his belt. The door swung open with a hideous creek.

“Your new home”, he announced, a smug grin still ingrained beneath a vainly curled black moustache. The three were led shuffling into the darkened space by their captors, while the officer remained in the sunlit doorway; his silhouette, imposing.

“How long do intend to keep us here”! Demanded Alf, raising his cuffed hands in a diluted threat of force before a half dozen armed men.

“As long as is necessary. You will be questioned, tried and then convicted by a military court”, the certainty with which he spoke sent a shiver down Arthur’s spine.

“You rotter”! The journalist spat “You won’t get away with this, Her Majesty’s Government will never let this abuse of her subject’s go unchallenged”!

“We shall see”. With that the Guardia turned and began to close the entrance.

“Excuse me”! Stanley suddenly called politely, bounding over to the door.

“Yes”? The officer turned back, straining a face of vague concern.

“I was wondering, err, amigo! There doesn’t actually seem to be facilities in this place. Any chance I could use the bathroom? Err, lavabo”?

The soldier’s behind tried to contain their sniggering while the man’s features rose in hidden rage, curling into a devilish form, before he slammed the door. Stanley looked back to his friends with shock, as the sniggering erupted into full-blown laughter.

“I only asked for the toilet”!
 

Jape

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pic_05_04_07_Invisible.jpg


Jape Returns!
Dazed onlookers crowd the streets!

Do excuse my absense, it turned out a lazy summer to write away was not what I got. However I'm back, so without (too much) fanfare, hope you enjoy the update and future ones. God Save the Queen!

Maximilliano: No, no, no! He isn't dead, much worse! He has to live with the shame. And for why do the Spaniards have it in for our hapless heroes? All will be revealed... eventually.

Dr. Gonzo: Probably give his the comfy chair! (cheap reference I know).

DerKaiser: Interesting premise, I quite like it. Nice to see I can bring back memories! Yes it is most certainly Mr. Moran's hand, he's something of an influence on my nascent comedy career. The French bit is one of my favourite!

El Pip: I have failed you horrendously! A thousand pardons. However I have excuses, many excuses in the process of being written up as we speak!

stnylan: Our Mr. Lambert will have plenty more excitement to write home about before long!

Brook: A more genial, Victorian, Withnail was my inspiration but Bertie is most certainly up there

RGB: Indeed
 

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Excellent to see an update!

They seem to find themselves in an increasingly ... sticky ... situation.
 

unmerged(59077)

Tzar of all the Soviets
Jul 17, 2006
5.575
7
He returns.

Choirs of angels sing in exultation.
 

LeonTrotsky

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Great to see an update, I can't help but wonder how they're going to get out of this. Maybe overpower the guards with their British stiff upper lips :D
 

El Pip

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He's back again! With an update concerning our heroes who's situation appears to just be getting worse. It will take some cunning Anglo-Canadian trickery to save this situation. ;)
 

unmerged(57402)

Freelance Emperor
May 26, 2006
820
0
Hmmm... The same Guardia having been in two updates (and speaking immaculate English) seems to suggest that he may have a big role to play- and perhaps that he may not be just a Guardia... Though I might be way off of course...

Great to see you back and updating again! Now back over to California with you!