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Strategy GuidAAR
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Jun 24, 2004
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Castles in the Sky - (Or The Wild, Wild West)

In a letter to a friend when they were very young, and while he was still mired in poverty in his native West Indies, Alexander Hamilton expressed his eagerness to risk his life, though not his character, to exalt his station. He admitted to his friend that he wished there was a war so he could distinguish himself, as he did just a few years later during the American Revolution. Hamilton used the phrase “building castles in the air” to allow that his dreams remained to be realized. Yet, Hamilton was destined to build his castles in truth, and it is interesting to speculate what else he could have accomplished, had his life not been cut short at age 49 by a duelist’s bullet.


In this tale of ambitious ventures, grand intrigue, nefarious treason, and magnificent science, I’ll be working with an interesting cast of characters just to start out with, including Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, General Wilkinson, Zebulon Pike, Philip Schuyler, Stephen van Rensselaer, Davy Crockett, James Bridger, Jean Frederic Maximilian de Waldeck and a host of others as we go along.

Castles in the Sky is not set to start for a while yet, seeing as I have to finish my other AAR, Fire Warms the Northern Lands. But I wanted to give you a teaser of something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I learned to mod, which I can accomplish, if inartfully.

clamp2004 said:
castles in the sky?? That is the song of the techno-dance song made by Ian Van Dahl...
Or Robert Miles... one of those techno folks. I think you're right. ;)

Also reminds me of a really cool surrealist painting (something you see in textbooks) by who knows who. Floating rocks with castles.

There's also a Hayao Miyazaki film called Castle In the Sky ;)

This seems interesting. And Alexander Hamilton, one of my favorite historical figures. :cool: I will watch with interest.
Ah, good old Andy Hamilton. It takes a special sort of man to revolt against a tyrant not so much because he loathes the tyranny as because he dislikes the taxes.

What kind of mess has Aaron Burr's lassitude gotten us into? Only time will tell. I've got my eye on this, though.
Mr. Capiatlist said:
This is funny seeing this after the "Idaho" ficasco in the MDS thread.
<Sighs> Good times... goooood times.... :cool:

You got my subscription!

Thank you! So what happened with Idaho? Curious.

2nd Introduction

Taking my first tentative steps into this AAR, as I finish my Prussian tome. :) Please don't expect breakneck pace, at first! I am feeling this story out slowly, and playing the game even more slowly. I will (obviously) require more player intervention than a more conventional scenario.

This story will include no small degree of grounding in actual historical fact, drawn from the first decade of the 19th Century, expounded upon with no small degree of historically-minded creativity thereafter until 1836, whereupon we will begin a more typical Paradox AAR based upon the modded nation of Colorado.

Please, let me take this opportunity to commend to you the study of early United States history (and immediately prior). There are so many things that we do not acknowledge today about the difficulties of creating a new nation on democratic principles. Perhaps we are seeing some of that today in Iraq. All I can say is... have faith!

This is based upon one of those little known stories of early American intrigue -- a true story, at least as far as the plot with Wilkinson and Burr goes. One of many, actually, by ambitious connivers, that never quite got off the ground in our timeline.

And Pike's second expedition was taken into custody by the Spanish. I simply presume a connection between these events which I cannot prove historically. However, I do wonder how much Pike might have known about the plot his master was devising... Those lovely tidbits of historical trivia and what-if!

Thank you for your interest! I will try to get some new material up soon.

The game, by the way, will be a (country) modded standard 1.03c with standard and moderate settings. I will probably be restarting some in the '30s, just to get the country going, and then it will rise and fall as it may as time goes on. I'm not wedded to the survival of Colorado as an independent country. If it goes under, que sera sera.

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1806, Santa Fe, Spanish Nuevo Mexico

“Good morning, Captain,” said a thin but relatively compact man with a Spanish imperial cut to his beard. The captain – a pretty man, but otherwise unimpressive – nodded politely. There was no familiarly to his greeting, and no great warmth.

Colonel Don Xavier Carraza y Santisteban was the Spanish military governor of this region of the Rocky Mountain west – roughly from Santa Fe north and west to include the settlements of Durango, Alamosa, Salida and Taos – an area populated by a few Spanish or Mexican settlers and ten times as many (but still very few) Ute and Navajo natives.

“I trust you and your men have been treated well?” Carraza’s voice was direct, and somehow threatening.

Captain Zebulon Pike, and a small expedition of Americans under his command, had been “exploring” the San Luis Valley between Salida and Alamosa when they were found and arrested by a detachment of Spanish soldiers. After some months of being batted around in turf battles between minor officers, the prisoners had been brought to Carraza’s headquarters, in Santa Fe, where it was intimated by their previous captors that they would be hanged. Pike disbelieved this taunting – mostly – but he could not say the same for his younger men, some of whom were frightened out of their wits.

“We have, Colonel. And I thank you,” said Pike. “But I also must protest. There is no reason for you to continue holding me and my men. We were detained illegally, and this has dragged on quite long enough.”

Carraza smiled. “Are we going to play this game, Captain?” Pike feigned confusion. “You were dispatched at General Wilkinson’s orders, no?” Carraza stood and paced toward Pike. “To spy on Spain and her dominions.”

“We were in the process of exploring the territory purchased from France four years ago,” Pike explained. “By treaty, Louisiana Territory encompasses all of the lands which drain into the Mississippi River.”

Carraza stopped, and chuckled. “You were not in the area you describe… a whimsical colonial claim in any case, which by itself is vague enough to include half the continent. But you were most definitely beyond even the remotest part of your purchased territory.”

Pike frowned. “To the best of our knowledge…”

“You were lost?” Carraza suggested with a grin. He continued his pacing, describing a semi-circle around the American officer.

Yes and no, Pike thought. “No,” he said. Yes, most definitely, he admitted to himself. Lost. “We were, to the best of our knowledge, in the lands described by the United States’ treaty with France.”

“Lost. That is always the story they tell…” Having crossed directly behind Pike, Carraza approached his ear suddenly. “You were spying,” he accused, matter-of-factly. “What that cur, Wilkinson, has in mind, I do not know. But I suspect I know what this means.”

They had been spying… On General Wilkinson’s orders. The whole situation was quite obvious, but could never be acknowledged. “Colonel,” Pike began. “I must offer my apologies if you believe…”

“If this is a doublecross,” Carraza warned, “I will have the General’s head, one way or another.”

Pike was struck dumb, in speech and in thought, for a moment. What in Heaven and Earth did he mean by that?

“Enough of this charade,” Carraza stepped off, toward the window. He took a couple of aimless steps, fingering his beard, then turned and addressed Pike with the point of his finger. “You go tell Wilkinson that he will have to rely on the information I provide him, or the deal is off. And perhaps the American Congress will learn of his alternative income, eh? If we cannot trust each other, his plan will never succeed. And he should know that no one else has the power to contribute what I can.”

“I…” Pike stammered, realizing that he would need to play along. “Colonel, I…”

“I will not be cut out!” Carraza said, dangerously.

“I am sure…” Pike was definitely not sure. “Colonel, I am sure that is not what he has in mind.” Little more than a year ago, Pike and his first expedition had returned to the Mississippi River by raft along the Arkansas River. At points, the Arkansas flowed rapidly and turbulently through an intimidating gauntlet of rocks. That is what this felt like, he reflected. Like trying to maneuver through rock-split rapids. But with a blindfold.

“You can explain what you like, but I have no reason to believe you. All I know is what this looks like,” Carraza explained dismissively. He turned to approach his desk. “You and your men are free to go. You will proceed directly from here to the Arkansas River through Taos, and you will leave Spanish territory.” He wheeled, and locked eyes with Pike’s. “You will not return here without my express permission, which I will send back with Burr shortly before your presence will be necessary to implement the plan.”

Pike took note – careful note – of Carraza’s instructions. “Thank you, Colonel, for your kindness. I will deliver your words directly to the General.”
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With only 71,000 people, it seems tough to have an impact on the world. :eek:
Rensslaer said:
1807, Santa Fe, Spanish Nuevo Mexico

...“I am sure…” Pike was definitely not sure...

Pike took careful note – careful note – of Carraza’s instructions. “Thank you, Colonel, for your kindness. I will deliver your words directly to the General.”

“You and your men are free to go...”

intrigue at its best! :cool:

perhaps the most pleasing of all words, “You and your men are free to go...” :D
A new Rensslaer AAR!

That's not really new at all!

At all!

But it is new to me!
Another Rens epic coming up. Do you have any initial plan for your Colorado?

will be watching. :cool: