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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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Chapter six

MUAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BWABAAAWAAAAAAAAA!

I hit the big red button (no, not the mobilization big red button, the annexation big red button, pay attention to detail), and the word goes out. China is annexed. All 200 million plus Chinese now answer directly to the Shogun and the Emperor and, hence, indirectly to me. Nothing can stop me now, do you hear me,

NOTHING!!!!​

...

In the midst of gloating, I am interrupted by a nameless minion, who, looking slightly nervous, stands before my comfy chair. He informs me that he has the latest economical forecast showing the prosperity of the Empire now that China has voluntarily signed up on the side of right, i.e. the winning side. He explains to me that, immediately following conquest, the court has decided to reign in educational and crime fighting spending to cut costs. Well, that is fair enough, expenses HAVE been rather high, what with having to support about a hundred and fifty divisions in the field, and the prewar treasury has been mostly eaten up by war expenses. It might be a good idea to disband, say, twenty or thirty divisions. He explains to me that due to the incompetence of the Chinese leadership, every single Chinese province, all hundred and twenty or hundred and thirty of them (nobody ever really cared enough to make an accurate tally - the sloth!) suffer from rampant corruption, such as mafias, trusts, and so on and so forth, nearly every vice available, but that does not really surprise me: Amateurs all, if you must have crime, it must be organized - and answer to the evil overlord. Otherwise, it is such a waste of talent. He tells me that the price of extending the social reforms to China is not negligible - well, with 200 million people, who does he think he is surprising? He tells me that the Divine Servitors recently yanked up the price of several services such as education, crime fighting, social reforms, military upkeep &etc a bit, nothing to be worried about, just minor increases.

So I tell the minion to get on with it. I am a reasonable man. I do not kill and horribly mutilate people who take sensible cost-saving measures, nor am I surprised by the corruption of the human soul in China, nor by the Divine Servitors ever increasing costs. Money is plentiful, after all, and they have never, ever, liked that. Real skinflints the bunch of them. Nevertheless, I am getting this sneaking suspicion that the projected surplus is going to be less than expected, perhaps even down to pre-war levels for a few months, so I tell him to show me the money. Well, the budget, but you know what I mean.

A Comparative Study of Budgets
btta_1866_priceofpeace.jpg


That is... Interesting... I perform some quick mental calculations showing the ACTUAL increase in spending, IF the Empire was to keep its standards, rather than lowering them as court has done. The results are... Disheartening. But I can take it. I always remain calm, and in control. Suure.... Sure, a nagging budget deficit can happen. I am sure there is a rational explanation, and that China will turn profitable in no time. I am in full control of myself. I do not feel homicidal. I am serene. I am floating on a cushion of fire. I gaze beyond the infinite. I am on holiday. Nothing here really matters. I can take it philosophically. AND MY PHILOSOPHY IS ANGER! KILL THEM ALL! I WANT THEM DEAD. EVERY SINGLE CHINESE! AND the messenger. And his extended family, and EVERY person and sheep he ever loved. Raze the Palace of the Economists to the ground and sow the grounds with salt, hang the carcasses of the capitalists high, BURN ASIA, BURN, and rue the day you challenged me.

I take a deep breath and take a long look at my command staff, gauging how many of these orders they have managed to communicate. The charred form of the messenger and the corpses of my two staff economists (hung, not hanged, I notice to my displeasure - what incompetence!) tells me that they have surely started.

Ah, well. Nothing to it. That minor outburst was unfortunate, it is true, but I am now firmly in control again. Time for damage control. I let my claws and hooks burst through my skin, and in an orgy of blood and destruction I shred the command staff. They may have been loyal, the sods, though likely they were just waiting for an opportunity to turn on me, but an evil overlord really cannot keep staff around that has witnessed even the most minor character flaws, and I have always preferred the natural solution to reductions in force.

It cuts down on the paperwork. Literally.

I order the fires to be put out in China before they burn too much, and send a message to human resources that I need a new command staff. Again.

And, lest anybody think I am cowed, rest assured that this minor setback will not impact my long term plans. All evil overlords suffer minor setbacks from time to time, and anyone who does not take it philosophically is not long for this world. Indeed, if you think this is bad, I can assure you that I can do worse....

MUAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BWABAAAWAAAAAAAAA!

MUCH WORSE!



Disclaimer: Any and all functionality described in this AAR may, or may not, have changed by the time Victoria is released. Much of it changes between sessions, as certain minor loopholes are closed or inconsistencies remedied. :)
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Chapter seven

Blood to the Ankles - And Rising, Chapter VII

- The Wages of Sin -​

Now, it must be said that the situation is sub-optimal. The Chinese may only come up to my knees, but they are cute, and they are cuddly, and they are ready to please, and they are pretty expensive buggers as well. Time and money is awasting - and there is no end in sight.

And, of course, this is where a lesser intellect might despair, shave his head, wrap his body in a sash, and go sit on some mountain for the rest of his life contemplating futility, while being fed by peasant villagers seeking wisdom from the holy man, and only getting to shag some of the more impressionable disciples, who will no doubt crop up in the fulness of time.

Not so an evil overlord! When everything is going to hell in a handbasket, it is time to open the Necronomicon, if you know what I mean. Maximize inflow, minimize outflow, and take pro-active dynamic forwards-looking measures. And do it on the double. Except for the middle class, that is. If I am going to tax both the poor and the rich till they bleed, I am going to keep the middle class on my side. I don't want them to devolve to hunter-gatherers.

And the army is scaled down from 150 divisions to 50, as soldiers are sent home to WORK. The remaining are the elite guards and artillery divisions, and they will have to be enough to maintain order for now.

No sooner said than done. Taxes on the poor and the rich alike goes to 100% and the Koreans write new songs in praise of their Dear Leader. Then, borrowing exceedingly heavily from foreign and domestic bankers, I order the industrialization of China. Using the huge store of machine parts bought at great expense from Europe, every single Chinese state begins construction of two or three manufactories depending on Population. Those 200 million Chinese are going to WORK HARDER, NOT SMARTER, if you know what I mean, and I am sure that you do. To remind me of the size of the deficit, I am raising a deficit bunny that I feed in tact with the deficit. The bunny just keeps on growing, and growing, and growing.

And, after one year, some 60-70 manufactories stand ready. Immediately the great Chinese bureaucracy consisting of 20 million clerks or so is pushed into work in the manufactories. Well, that is the intention, but apparently divine writ states that only two clerks can work in each factory for each level. Sounds like a really badly planned economy to me, and it leaves half of the clerks out of the manufactories. Well, no problem, then, I order every single manufactory in China to be expanded to double the size - that should fit in the remainder. And the bunny keeps on growing, and growing, and growing.

At last it stops. With China beginning to produce real goods, the deficit stops at only 434,000£. Sure, that is real money and the interest alone amounts for about 200£ per day, but now, now it is time to starve the bunny! And starve it does. Seldom have I been so happy to see a mammal starve, except possibly for the time when I starved the entire Order of Sct. Prude in my dungeon for weeks before letting them loose in the dormitory of the Sisters of the Immaculate Chainsaw, who had just gone to sleep after revving their tools of sacrifice. Church authorities were forced to burn down the place, excommunicate the few badly hacked up survivors, and perform the rite of exorcism, and even so, it became a dark and haunted place and a favourite dumping place for organized crime (well, those that paid the entrance fee, that is. Freeloaders discovered that the difference between dumper and dumpee can be remedied with a single stroke). Fond memories I tell you, fond memories.

An Excercise in Frugality, 1868
btta_1868_04_14_cuttingcosts.jpg

And it came to the Divine Servitors attention that the evil overlord was happily staffing manufactories solely with clerks, evading the max 3 craftsmen/2 clerks per level by just expanding his manufactories, there not being a single craftsman in all of China, and they said in horror: THIS WILL NOT BE, and it was not, and henceforth there would have to be at least as many craftsmen POPs employed in total as clerk POPs, and they saw that it was good.

So I force half the farmers and labourers of China to become craftsmen and force them into the factories, which significantly increases the revenue from China, so that is all right. It does, of course, create its own little problem. In previous years I have actively encouraged the spread of the clergy, as they are so useful in keeping the peasants in their place. Unfortunately, the class of craftsmen as a whole are less impressed by the clergy, and some of them start thinking dangerous thoughts. I really, really, really, do not need a dangerous militant working class. I really do not.

This once again shows the value of foresight. Did you notice my act of selfless sacrifice in the overview above? Shame of you if you did not. For the good of the nation and on my direct order, the Shogun allows craftsmen to form non-socialist trade unions! Though this slightly pisses off the rich and powerful, they are few in numbers, and all things considered they will still have to support the current government structure - as anything else would be worse for them. Obviously excepting a situation where only the landed or wealthy were allowed to vote, but the day power devolves to any such democratic institution I am out of here! So now the socialists and non-socialists spend more time sniping at each other than the government, and the non-socialists are allowed to form unions, which gives them an edge. Ah, politics!


Now, I am a reasonable man, as all men know. Really, I am. Thus, when Emperor Meiji loudly proclaims that it is time for a late Meiji restoration in 1870, I say, fine, please invite me to the banquet, will you? Japan is already a civilized Great Power, and while still backwards compared to the Europeans, Japan is catching up quite nicely, thank you very much, so there is no reason to make a big deal out of it, really.

But does he listen? No, he does not. Obviously, he has somehow managed to acquire significantly more power than I expected, and now he uses it to spread the good news to EVERYONE that things they are achanging. Sigh. You know what THAT means. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, every, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese under the sun becomes more militant. Time to start raising new divisions again. Fortunately, cannon-fodder is plentiful. The old "If you want to eat, join the army" works wonders once again.

...

I have GOT to do something about the people's devotion to the Emperor. I cannot safely do away with him and he is much too independent of mind. Ignoring completely the fact that the Australian purchase garnered the realm exactly NOTHING of worth, he has now bought some real estate in the Americas. Sure, it makes for a nice map, but most of those provinces have, at most, 2000 inhabitants. Not only that, it means new neighbours. Of note, these are the Californian republic, Mexico, and the Confederate and the United States of America. Seems that the United States, a conglomeration of self-serving rebels that broke away from the United Kingdom a century ago, suffered some kind of schizophrenic breakdown last decade and fought a nasty civil war that ended with a draw and the wary mutual coexistence of a blue and a grey blob. Both blobs are nearly up to European standards of technology, and it appears that those of my people who emigrate, tend to immigrate to one of the blobs, so their population has been growing considerably over the last decades. They will be a problem for the future, though.

Emperor's Folly: Western Purchase, 1872
btta_1872_12_20_wildwest.jpg


Fortunately, MY efforts bear fruit.

Nearly Economically Viable, 1872
btta_1872_09_12_overview.jpg

Technological Progress, 1872
btta_1872_09_12_tech.jpg

Asian Map of the Somewhat Evil Empire, 1872
btta_1872_asia_strategic.jpg

Ah, you notice that inroads have begun in India? Well spotted! Most of India, you see, is split between the United Kingdom and native states that are satellites of the UK, but here are - well, were - just a few completely independent ones in the North. Eventually, of course, the UK has got to go, but I am pretty sure that it would be unwise to piss them off at this moment in time by attacking one of their satellites. Not only do they have a better equipped army and an incredibly superior navy, I am also currently having a slight bit of a rebel problem.

It is just like reliving the years of the Unpleasant Uprising, except, of course, that it is mostly the Koreans and Chinese who are revolting. The Chinese Clerks are running a "Food for Thought" programme as a challenge to the sanctioned "If you want to eat, join the army" policy, and that will not be! Giving in on that issue would set a dangerous precedent. It is well known that intellectuals work best when they are facing imminent starvation, anyhow.

In no shape or form does this halt the slow but steady expansion of Japan, of course. It will soon enough be time to confront the UK, and when that day comes, I do not want any neutral parties in the vicinity to clutter the maps with unsightly colours, so 1/5th of the army is tasked with subduing Indochina and places west.

Colonial Wars 1869-1878
btta_1869_1878_colonialwars.jpg


I really need to acquire a new trusted lieutenant. Word has come in that the mass rebellions are led by a derring-do group of multi-national heroes headed by the English Adventurer Lord Gordon "Goatworrier" Sussex VI and his sidekick Big Chuck in support of the intelligent and incredibly beautiful Chinese princess Isatiable Rose, who escaped the Forbidden Palace just one step ahead of my executioners. More likely, she bought her way out using her natural assets, the bitch, but of course everybody buys the escape story due to the narrative imperative. It is the age-old question: What is worst, an archetype or a stereotype? No matter which, I will have to act, and to act decisively. Gordon Goatworrier must die and the Insatiable Rose must be mine, and nothing can stop me, do you hear me?

NOTHING!​

Disclaimer: Any and all functionality described in this AAR may, or may not, have changed by the time Victoria is released and has its first patch applied. Much of it changes between sessions, as certain minor loopholes are closed or inconsistencies remedied. :)
 

Stingray

Back in July, perhaps.
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BlkbrryTheGreat said:
He has returned to his old mistress, EU2s clear clarion siren's song is too much even for him to resist.

Too bad, this one was the most interesting of the beta ones :)