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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Dance With The Devil




===================================================

1938, Earlier that year...

It had been an eventful day, certainly, so to say that he was tired was an understatement. But that would be to sell it too short. No, no, this was not just any day. Thump. Thump. Pthaaaaw. Pthump. For a man who had been constantly at war for years, one could forgive him if he ducked in panic. But no, just fireworks. A good sign, very good. So the news was spreading. And why shouldn't they celebrate? It was a long war, and many good people – no, not just people, family – had died. Everyone had a right to be happy today. Hell, he didn't even have any headaches! No pain today. Poignant I suppose...thank you. That cry for freedom, for a new dawn, was approaching fast. It was the closing on one chapter in human history, and the opening of another! Not so fast Jack, you thought you saw the future back then too. We all fucking thought we did. Ah, yes. The Red Revolution of years earlier, of Russia's failed attempt to hurl itself screaming into the future. He wistfully recalled. If his earlier had been his awakening, then Russia had been his baptism. He remembered arriving, of witnessing...

Here it was, a formerly enslaved people trying to build themselves up. But it's not that simple, it never is. Indeed, it never was. He even remembered that book – that screed – he had written in the heady early days of his arrival. The Soviets looked like they were the future. It all looked so simple. It was the glorious beginning of the new era of man. But it was good he saw it up front firsthand, because he got to stick around long enough to see the paint peeling off the facade. Louise had warned him – dearest Louise, even now, in this happy hour, I miss your soft hand, your radiant smile. The Revolution wasn't going like he had dreamed, not at all. He always hated the bastards of the Cheka. They were little better than the damned Tsar's Okhrana at the best of times. But it was an emergency measure, he reasoned. He even championed their tactics earlier – raztrellyat. The Revolution faced a multitude of enemies, it had to use ruthlessness to fight back just to survive. You fucking knew better. You know you did. You just didn't want to face the truth. No use fighting that damn conscience – of course it was right. He knew. And it got even worse. Or maybe you just opened your eyes.

The first time he saw people up against the wall, he knew they were oppressive lords, slave herders. The next times he saw, they were evil too, weren't they? White officers, reactionaries, the lot of them. He'd gotten time to interview one of them before his fate came to meet him, Felix was his name. Why did he do it, Jack mused? Didn't he see what they were trying to do here? “Yes, I suppose I am a reactionary. My friend here, next to me is too, wants the Tsar back. You can't understand. But now is not the time for that. Me? I wanted to be free, is all. We've lost much, but for the first time, we're free in the Republic! It's hard, officials are corrupt, people are stealing, but at least we're free! But more than me, my children must breathe free! And if I have to lose my life, than that is a small price to pay, my American friend!” “So what are you going to do now then?” “Why, its simple, isn't it? I am going to die. Could you do me one last thing, as a favor? Not as a Red and a White, but as a man to a man.” “I...what is it” he recalled, whispering. “Please, give this letter to my wife and children. The bastards didn't find it yet. They aren't looking right now. From one man to another”. To this day, he didn't know why he took the letter, and the leather case, but he did. That joyful smile as Felix accepted his fate, as Felix was led away to the wall, that smile would haunt him till the end of life, Jack was sure.

Jack still didn't do anything with the letter for a while. Would it not betray his devotion to the cause of the liberation of man? And yet, and yet, he didn't throw it away. For some damnable reason, he kept it. Everyday, it seemed more stage and theater. Attend this, attend that. Even the executions were staged now. He wanted to see the real nitty gritty. As he was in good with the Cheka, he finally got to see. You got way more than you bargained for, didn't you? He did for sure. They'd later call it another word, but to him, he saw something else. They weren't people he was looking at, that he could agree with his tour guides. But it wasn't so much because they were enemies, which no doubt they were. No doubt...of course. If his conscience had a voice then, no doubt It was the most sarcastic sneer ever made. No, they weren't people because of the skin barely clinging to their bones. They looked less like people than some monsters shuffling about in human skin. But the worst was the eyes, he would never, as long as he lived, never, ever forget those eyes. He remembered clutching Felix's letter.

Louise, dearest Louise had arrived to meet him in Petrograd not too long after. She'd made her journey even faster, his letters alarmed her, as well as his good friend Ben. 'Good Gitlow' urged her to get to Russia, he knew Jack was feeling sick. He remembered talking, and talking to her, while she sat in rapt attention, holding his hand in hers. He couldn't hold it up anymore, he let it all out. They both had gotten together in the first place because they shared ideals, didn't they? Sure, earlier, they played at love, even wandering freely with others. But it wasn't the same with the others. They shared something, they shared the fire of the heart! She supported him coming here if he wanted to learn the truth, as he was always want of saying. And now, here he was, and he was unloading on the truth. He was telling her his truth, for he'd seen more truth than he could bear. The dream had become a nightmare. That was the only conclusion. Two days hence, Grigory Zinoviev had told him he had to attend the Congress Of The Peoples of the East. More bullshit no doubt. Instead, Louise made it clear – they were leaving. Whatever they, whatever legions around the world dreamed of, this wasn't it. Reed was only too happy to agree, but first, he remembered suggesting, there was something he had to deliver to someone...

It was fortunate they went back, he mused. The German Intervention went into full swing, and with a resurgence of the Republic, the Russian Soviet had been layed low. Yes, it was reactionaries and tyrants who killed it, but then again, he remembered, nothing so evil deserved to live anyways. No, if that was the future, he didn't want any part of it. He'd forge instead a different destiny. He could see it in the eyes of the workers he walked past. Dejection, and depression. Only want, no hope. No, the fire still must burn. The dream could still happen. And thus he worked – you worked hard, dammit – for that future. He reflected his surprise in the years since then. A chance speaking encounter at an IWW function, and they all stood up and brought the house down. He scoffed at starting a party. Then he found out Louise had cheekily already registered him. All he did was speak, and pour his soul out. That's all I did, I simply told my truth. And people listened. More and more people listened. He couldn't believe it. Sure, he was demonized by people he'd never heard of, multitudes even. But where he walked, people followed. The American Syndicalist Party gained its first million people. Then two. Then four. There was no way this was happening, but it was! And then too, he remembered bitterly, when he was to begin his run for the Presidency, his other half could follow him no longer. Even now, even after all this, it was hard to think of her without fighting back tears. I'll always be with you, you said. You still are, in my heart. And I, I will never, ever forget you.

Of course, 1936 turned out to be a momentous year. He'd gone beyond all expectations and won the Election. Him! Syndicalists! They had won! And then, everything started going to Hell. First, it was California. They wanted to persist in their greed. He simply didn't think nationalizing the industries of the rich bastards would start a chain that it did. You just didn't judge accurately enough how divisive you were. If he could have known what would happen, he wouldn't have run at all. But then, what would Louise have thought? Of course, she would have told him this all would have happened anyways. The tensions were boiling beneath the surface. It didn't matter who won, really. Curtis told him as much later during the war. So why wasn't he assuaged of his guilt? Hell, why are you thinking about all this, on today of all days? Because you have a duty to, that's why. To yourself, to the people...and to her. Of course, it was right again. This he had to. What happened in those heady days of 36 changed the course of human history. He had to account to someone. God? Well, God knew anyways, didn't he? And the people, the people responded to his pleas with more vigor than he had ever thought possible. They believed in him. But he still had to give his truth, his life demanded no less. Louise had always believed he would. And he didn't want to let her down.

“Comrade Chairman!”, a voice outside the door announced

“Yes, what is it my good man?”

“Dwight and the rest of the junta have signed the surrender”

“Did they now? Unconditional? So what remains then?”

“Just your signature. And, may I say it, but congratulations. You did it!”

“We all did, I just did what I felt was right, comrade...?”

“Jacobus. And I mean it. We have a future now.”

“Very good. I'll sign the treaty in a minute.”

“Please do. There's a pretty big party going on already, wouldn't want you to miss it.”

As Jacobus left the room, Jack Reed found himself looking at the paper before him. Long, heavy paper. The kind that would last a long time. Good thinking. Symbolic of the hopes and dreams of a new generation. He thought again, back to the start of what would become the Second American Civil War. That bastard MacArthur, he set the events in motion. Jack had thought that he had a point when he said the Army could not assist in getting the oil California had kept, or enforcing an embargo. Little did he know then that MacArthur was already thinking of deposing him – maybe he would have seen the danger signs if she hadn't died. If only – MacArthur made clear there would not be new elections when he announced the coup. He thought, too, of his rival, Huey Long. Maybe in another life, they would have been friends, they had thought so similarly on many things. At the least, they could have fought MacArthur together when he took control. Jack simply didn't understand why things turned out the way they did.Through the bitter conflict, brother against brother – and sister – yes, and sister. He remembered signing the document allowing women to serve. It was war of all against all. But the people believed in him, as Louise told him they always would. And against all odds, they prevailed. Pthump. More fireworks. He looked out the window of the Oval Office. Washington DC sure looked pretty at night, when the people were celebrating. All was as it should be, no? Now, more than ever, he wished he had her hand to hold during this moment, but as she said during their last moments, I'll be with you always. He looked at the space. John Reed, 1st President of the Provisional Combined Syndicates of America. As he layed down his pen and put his head in his hands, he was sure he could feel a pair of hands embrace him...they were always the kindest, softest hands...

When he stirred from his reverie, he took his pen with a flourish. This is for you Louise. You, and the future, our children's future. This is for all of them. And with that, the Combined Syndicates of America were born. Only then did he glance at the paper, and wryly he realized that this was destiny.

It was the Fourth of July.






===================================================

Well! After much dawdling, I've decided I should give this formal AAR thing a try! Personally, I don't think it'll go as some may think, so no its not another Syndies win everything, the end AAR. I'll try to tell a compelling story, and make you feel some feels. Hopefully will write lots of custom events to make this a memorable AAR. I think it will be to you all. As you can see, yes I took certain...liberties, with Jack Reed's life story, but it makes it more compelling, I feel. Either way, thanks for reading!

Next update, general world situation!

=================================================

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Prologue

 
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STATE OF THE WORLD I

It is December of 1938, the last month of the year of the old regime. The Combined Syndicates of America stands triumphant in the Second American Civil War, after years of brutal, bloodthirsty conflict. Multitudes from around the world came to America to serve in one army or another. It truly was the world's testing ground, with new weapons deployed against both military and civilian. New tactics were tested, new ways of thinking were formed. But now with the new era world's longest lasting conflict over, the dust has finally started to settle. But it never really does settle, for when there is one land at peace, a fire flares up somewhere else.









The fires still burn in the lands of the former United States of America, but they only can smoulder now. Triumphant over the last of his enemies in July of 1938, Jack had reason to look forward to the future. Finally, the true way was to unfold. Jack Reed had won the American general elections of 1936, and had proceeded to implement his campaign. The first trouble had started in California, where the state authorities refused to hand over oil that was to be nationalized. When MacArthur had refused to lend the Army's support, Jack heeded his Vice President, the far more radical Paul Mattick's advice and called upon worker's militias in California, along with playing a game of high stakes chicken by blockading California's exports. This led to self styled Pacific States of America declaring independence. Jack was completely unprepared, he hadn't realized how drastically the nation was divided, and how drastic what he had proposed was doing to galvanize his opponent's resolves - he simply didn't realize how badly things had deteriorated, and he only too late realized his and Mattick's rhetoric wasn't helping things. Though he hastily dropped the more far reaching nationalization plans (angering many within the American Syndicalist Party in the process) and apologized to the Californians, he couldn't put the genie back in the bottle.

It could have still been repaired. Jack was in talks with the Pacific temporary military administration at the White House when shooting and explosions started to be heard around Washington DC. Word came through from Denver, where Douglas MacArthur, holding a press conference, declared the Presidency of Jack Reed was null and void, and that authority and leadership of the country was in the hands of "temporary emergency committee" headed by himself. With that, any hope for keeping a lid on the spiraling madness was over. After seeing President-General Arnold of the PSA safely to his plane through a hail of gunfire and incoming shells, Reed directed the defense of Washington. Fortunately, much of the DC Garrison were loyalists, or at least would not side with MacArthur's clearly unconstitutional gambit. But for Reed, all was in doubt now. While he and loyalist units of the US Army held DC, much of the cogs and gears of the American system went with MacArthur. Angrily, temporary President-General Arnold, with uncharacteristically acidic rhetoric, denounced "the would be King" MacArthur, and made clear in no certain terms that the Pacific States of America, if they separated from a President they felt was going about things illegally, they would never return to the United States as long as it was ruled by MacArthur and his junta - only immediate new elections would make them return. MacArthur, in typical bombastic fashion, promised fire would rain from the skies if they didn't cease their little rebellion, and sent a wing of B-10 bombers flying over Sacramento. With that, Arnold took the final step, and commenced an immediate attack. If there was a time to try to secure their independence, it was now or never.

Caught off guard, and with most of the military either radically disorganized, suffering mass desertions, or trying to hopelessly contain massive riots across the entire Union, MacArthur and his junta scrambled to react. Further draconian measures were instituted, along with drastic curfews in cities across the United States, while he tried to swing the military to at least counter the numerically smaller Pacific States forces, and stop their advances. It was here that the next step on the road to Hell was put upon. During another intense riot in Tampa, Florida, a unit of the United States Army was stationed, since the local National Guard simply couldn't be trusted. During the melee, the commander of the unit, Maj General Lawrence, opened fire on a massive wall of peaceful demonstrators. When everyone dispersed, 122 people were dead. Reed, still in Washington, got a call from his sometime friend, sometime visceral opponent Huey Long, about what had happened. It was there Long said that he tried, they all tried peacefully, but the time for words was past now. With a wish things could turn different, Long also wished Reed good luck and mysteriously apologized before he hung up the phone. It was only later that night Reed understood - Huey Long declared the United States of America dead, and that the new American Union State was going to fight for the mantle and legacy of all Americans. Maj General Lawrence in Tampa never escaped in time.

It took another two days, but finally, after word of slaughters of union protests in New York City and Chicago, that Reed finally took the last step. Even Hawaii had declared independence from MacArthur's regime. Lines were rapidly galvanizing, and the American military was finally starting to organize, and get new numbers for people who had deserted. To many American loyalists, both Reed and Long were wannabe tyrants and collectivists. Even if they were relatively mild, they provided cover to extremely nasty pieces of work. They legitimized people who wanted to steal the very identity of what it meant to be American. For others, it was loyalty to the America they knew. Others because it was tradition. Or any reason really. It was thus that Reed finally declared the United States of America dead and gone. This was the time - the rise of the Combined Syndicates of America. There was no going back now. Now, it was the time to lead.

Across the industrial north, city after city fell to local workers inspired by the call to rise up, along with revolutionary elements of the American military. US Army elements in DC defected, along with the city. MacArthur, caught completely off guard by Long's declaration, and with nearly the entire South following him in hours, could be forgiven that he had forgotten about Reed in the White House still. Now, he sat stunned as much of the North also rose against his rule. He knew he had massively misjudged, but then again, everyone had. One series of bungles after another, and they had tiptoed into Hell. His military had been ripped apart. Most of his units, while numerically superior, were hollow since so many had deserted. Many of his best staff had unexpectedly departed. Then even more madness began. First, the international volunteers. They truly came from all over the world. Canada immediately pledged volunteers for MacArthur, along with surprisingly still democratic Russia, perhaps seeing a parallel with their earlier civil war. The AUS got volunteers from all over, even the Pope devoted volunteers to his aid. And as for the CSA - volunteers from all over the Internationale streamed in. The war was hardening. Then, to make things worse, the United States Navy ripped itself apart. There were fights on just about every ship for months, but after PSA locale officers and seamen got their hands on much of the American Pacific Fleet, it became a free for all. Under the cover of two nights, massive fights and mutinies broke out on every ship in the Navy, and a decent amount steamed into Charleston for the AUS, and New York City for the CSA, with remaining loyalist ships having to steam back to Corpus Christi because of damage and lack of crews. It followed with things like the King of the former British Empire seizing Alaska. Mysteriously, though CSA sympathizers in the Canadian administration had leaked plans of a Defence Scheme to seize New England in case of civil war or Syndicalist takeover, the Entente never acted upon the plan.

Reed did always wonder why him and Long didn't work together. Yes, they disagreed with implementation, with rhetoric, but they were also friends, almost. And certainly, the core of their ideologies could be said to be similar. But it was in their similarity that one could find the answer. Long spoke for both of them when he said there was truth to criticisms of them and their movement, that they provided room for much more unsavory characters to swim around in. And now, they realized, they were beholden to the paths their movements were to take. They had become, they had internalized what they had previously simply led. So it was with heavy hearts Reed and Long declared war on each other as well. Thus, the stage was set for one of the most nightmarish conflicts of the decade. If any of them - Reed, Long, Curtis, MacArthur, if anyone of them wished more than anything, it was to take it all back. But it was too late for that. The only ones who would be right were the ones who were left.







The Second American Civil War ended up costing somewhere in the realm of nearly 1.6 million dead soldiers alone over two years. Many times more that many civilians died. At the end of hostilities, two states lay dead, and a united nation of brothers and sisters lay shattered. But God willing, someone would glue the pieces back together. And maybe then some.









From the start of the war, the CSA enjoyed an industrial edge over both the USA and AUS. Soon after the Defections of the Navy, quick backchannel talks with Long in the AUS revealed his men didn't grab any of the aircraft carriers either. That was what would begin the Trial of New York City. Religiously, the USN with its two aircraft carriers, USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise, would sail out to, as they put it, "sink the CSA Navy". But often, it would only end in random parts of New York City getting bombed. Thus, after the initial bits of the post-declaration state had settled down, it was decided that a crash aircraft carrier program was needed to protect the nucleus fleet if it intended on ever sailing out of NYC and back in without getting ripped to shreds. Many people questioned this decision, considering the many wartime needs - namely, more troops. But there wasn't much that could be done about this anyways - while the CSA had a lot of manpower in the cities, it couldn't simply draft every available man. Indeed, even then, Reed had to allow de jure what was happening de facto - women joining the combat units. It was a similar story in the AUS, where early on, Long firmly overrode objections from more racist elements within the America First, and demanded that colored people also be allowed to serve. It really was the war of all against all. Later, when the AUS was defeated, the USN would start religiously bombing Miami (it is believed in revenge for the massacre there of the US Army unit stationed there during the uprising of the AUS) as well. When the AUS was eventually defeated, the CSA quickly discovered the AUS Navy had come to the same conclusion as their CSA Navy counterparts, and despite their less material resources, they too were trying for naval air cover. After paring some of the more unneeded programs, like obsolete heavy cruisers, the CSA had two additional aircraft carriers and battleships in production courtesy of the AUS. That was in addition to the they inherited along with the rest of the USN when the Junta was finally defeated.










In the ensuing post-war situation, when different factions of the American Syndicalist movement started trying to implement their visions irrespective of each other and bringing the country nearly to the brink yet again, Reed had to pick a side. He came onside with the Syndicalists - he despised radicalism, and he'd seen enough of it not only in Russia, but also during the war, when some units even from his side, committed atrocities. Totalists found themselves increasingly frozen out of the temporary administration until a standard government form and first elections, if any, would be held. While they still held influence and certainly had sacrificed for the Revolution, Reed wanted to make sure their vision didn't take over as it had in so many other places, and brought death and ruin. Norman Thomas, among others, provided balance to more radical figures like Sidney Hilman. And to keep all working together (and keep everyone talking instead of fighting), there was the indomitable Smedley Butler, war hero of the Revolution.









During the Revolution, an opportunity had come Reed's way by contacts in Cuba. They wished to organize a coup to stop Cuba from falling into the hands of AUS sympathizers, or even worse, into the Exile ruled authoritarian Caribbean Federation, as Puerto Rico had been. It would take minimal effort, just some resources, supplies, and money which the CSA had aplenty. The coup had been a success, and while for practical purposes, Cuba could not help the war on the mainland, any further Entente expansion in the Caribbean was halted.











In Europe, they prepare for war with ever sharpening sabers. Already, war had touched the continent. In Spain, the Bourbon pretender's supporters, set up a revolution and forced Spain into civil war. It looked manageable, until the revolutionary CNT-FAI also joined the conflict. It was with the Carlists heady early days that they concocted their own undoing. They planned to kill the ailing father and the legitimate son, and so force the kingdom to fall to the Carlists by way of succession. The CNT-FAI got word of the plot however, and spilled it to the main government - they agreed to capitulate to the CNT-FAI, and from there, the unions forces beat back the Carlists handily. While Spain lost Morocco and the like, Spain was under socialist rule now. Portugal, either by hubris, or indifference, did not feel a need to protect themselves, and thus when they broke up union protests violently, the CNT-FAI surged across the border. Portugal in short order was annexed, and rather than fight a long and probably unwinnable war, the CNT-FAI mercifully let the government go into exile, to their colonies.

The political situation is balanced as can be. The Totalists have won in the Commune, and in the Social Republic of Italy. However, one of the most mild, nearly unsocialistic governments came to power in the Union of Britain, following an extraordinary Trade Union Congress. They are finally balanced out by the Syndicalist oriented CNT-FAI. They work together, for now, but for how long that lasts? France had already invited Reed and the CSA to the Internationale, the alliance, but Reed had to politely decline. Not only was the country devastated, but he had to win the trust of non-socialists in the country, as well as socialists in the party who hoped to keep Totalist influences to a minimum. Maybe some other day, not now for sure.

Mitteleuropa fared more interestingly. Their current story starts in the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the Augsleich of 1937, everything went to hell. Nationalists in Hungary refused any and all compromise, and so the Empire was torn. Galicia voted to join Poland, Bohemia declared independence, Croatia went it's own way, Serbia attacked Bosnia. While the Austrians did rally in the end. everything was devastated. Eventually, the Magyars were brought to heel by their own greed. In their determination to grab everything and independence, they miscalculated, and Iron Guard Romania went to war for Transylvania. Finally, the Austrians rallied, and subdued Bohemia once again, and turned back Italy. In the end, the big winner was probably Serbia, which looks set for more growth. After the war, a Syndicalist coup was attempted, which failed. Since that, the remaining administration of Austria petitioned the German Empire for admittance, and what was unthinkable decades earlier, had come to pass. Nearly all the German people were finally united into one megastate.











Africa has not changed much so far. In the days after the start of the 2nd American Civil War, Liberia was without protector and big brother. In their foolishness, they signed up for protection by National France. When later, National France had both a Tuareg and Guinean revolt, Liberia was thrown into chaos once again. They held however. With CSA victory in the mainland, many wonder what Liberia may do.

Mittelafrika has for some reason been relatively inactive. They did try their best to get Portugal down to talks on their African colonies, but when presented with the cost for the actual provinces, for some reason they didn't buy. Nor did they intervene in the still smoldering Princes Revolt of Ethiopia.

Portugal's in exile government is lucky in a way. They lost none of their colonies due to Mittelafrika not wanting to pay the money for their colonies earlier in 1936.The government opted to join the Entente, yet another reactionary countryin exile in a collection of reactionary countries in exile.

South Africa has mostly been focusing on internal matters, consolidating internal control of their enlarged country. One can hear whispers, though, of another expansion, into Mittelafrika's undefended southern flank. It would be so easy...

Ethiopia has been under a hard charging, hard reforming Emperor for years now. Unfortunately, his admirable refusal to yield in the face of progress brought him first with scattered revolts, and finally, the Princes Revolt. He is winning, but the war still rages.










In the Middle East and the Balkans, funny business is underfoot. The big change here was the final, merciful collapse of the decadent Ottoman Empire. It began with the Libyan King's declaration of independence. When nearly after a year the Sultan proved unable to counter it, they were forced to let Libya go. With that, the Middle Eastern Axis finally started their war with the Ottoman Empire. Cyprus broke free and was unable to be subdued, along with Kurdistan. After the dust settled, the Ottoman Empire had lost just about everything - only the core Turkish land and Armenia remained, the rest taken by Arabs, Persians, Kurds, or flying out from under their control. In response, the Empire was finally overthrown, Nihal Atsiz declaring that the new Turkish Republic would have it's revenge. Time will tell if he can make good on his threats.











In South America, it almost looks like a repeat of Europe. Three power blocs have emerged - Totalist Brazil and her more mild allies Venezuela and Bolivia. Around the same time (since no one can remember or agree who started the alliance building first), Colombia and Ecuador formed an alliance of their own, both being liberal democracies. Also around this time, what's come to be called the Southern Cone came to be - an alliance of authoritarian Peru and La Plata, with a democratic Chile (more out of necessity than ideology). The first sparks are already there, since Brazil just finished a civil war, which was aided and abetted by outside parties...












In Indochina, Germany was facing mass dissatisfaction with rule, and when the response to isolated revolts were not awnsered, a groundswell, the socialist Indochina Federation came into being thanks to the efforts of the Bharatiya Commune of India. Germany could not win the war at this point, and the Indochinese are now left to face their next step in the world as an independent nation. Thailand has reason to fear however. In Southern China, the warlord Long Yun of Yunnan Clique made promises of restoring the Republic of China, but he seems to have given up the war preparation campaigns. No one knows yet if he intends to restart. The AOG persists, after having given more voice to the Chinese elements in the lands it rules. For how much longer, one doesn't know.












In India, a massive war rages for the future of the subcontinent. The first true war the post-war Entente is facing is underway. Originally, it started thanks to a vanquished party to the conflict, the Nizam of Hyderabad. Ali of the Princely Federation fancied himself the true ruler of India, and had set out his country on the path to claiming the mantle to rule all of India. But no one was ready for when he went before the Durbar of the Princes, and announced himself as the Kaisar-i-Hind. No one dared refuse then, though he got his answer a few days later. The kings of Mysore and Travancore both declared independence, and the Madras Republic joined the fight against the mad Nizam. Outraged, the loyalist Delhi government considered the Princely declaration a step too far, and the Delhi Parliament under Jinnah voted for war with the Federation, and in a display of solidarity among the British Entente, all the Dominions voted for war as well, for Delhi was the rightful heir to the subcontinent. Another who felt the Nizam's act was intolerable, the newly strengthened Bharatiya Commune. After years of building the republic, along with help from the Commune of France and the former masters the Union of Britain, even under the mild rule of Huq and Nehru they felt now was the time to make the Princes pay. Joined in this, was Burma, which had it's own Syndicalist revolt. They refused union into the Republic, but time will tell if they can maintain this. Surprisingly, demands for elections took place in both Mysore and Travancore, and were heeded. In both cases, parties calling for aceding to the Bharatiya Republic won, and so right now they are in the process of integration. After the downfall of the Mad Nizam, there was thought of rest, but perhaps the Bharatiya Republic was too itchy with their trigger finger. Drunk with success, they declared war against the Dehli government. Jinnah and the King-Emperor met, and the result was once again, the former Empire and other Etente allies coming to the defense of Dehli. With the end of this war, it will determine who controls the subcontinent. There will be no mercy, and no quarter in this battle for the fate of nearly a billion souls.













The Japanese Empire holds, in the Far East, and has resumed expansion. Early on, there was democratization afoot, and while there were issues, the democracy has held. The Empire was tested when both Taiwan and Korea rebelled, and both were aided by foreign powers. Despite it all, the Japanese Empire, after a while, did triumph. Taiwan is already reintegrated into the Empire, and as for Korea, Army divisions are enough to hold it down.

With the overthrow of Kolchak, the yearned for freedom has not come just yet. But with the overlords in Tokyo disposed towards democracy now, how will that change Transamur? Likewise, in the Fengtien, rule is being challenged. Where will it lead though?

In China, the Qing Empire is awakening, but slowly. The Emperor, Pu Yi, first sought to bring the Millenarians into the fold, though they refused to talk. After years of reforming and building, the Qing Emperor unleashed his forces onto the Millenarians. Though it initially looked like the Millenarians would sweep out of the mountains, they were beaten back and annexed eventually by both the Qing and the northwestern Muslim lands of the Ma warlords. Now, both are in conflict with each other, and it has been stalemated. Long Yun's entry against the Ma Warlords could tip the balance, but he has to redecide to renew his crusade first...












In Russia, not too much changes. Against all odds, the Russians have held onto their democracy, and even though there is much dissent throughout the lands, no one has risen in civil war yet. Though the President promised action in Central Asia, he has yet to follow through. So events are overtaking him. Central Asia is a mess, with Alash Orda under the dual attacks of the would be Caliphate of Bukhara, and the mad Baron Ungern von Sternberg, and about to fall. Likewise, the Caucuses reels from after effects of the Ottoman collapse. Armenia is currently under the rule of nationalists in Turkey, and thus, their fate is...not pretty. Voices are heard in Transcaucasia of liberating them, but no one knows what to do. Transcaucasia was at war with Azerbaijan, but it ended for no reason anyone else can seem to understand. Maybe if Transcaucasia wasn't so busy killing it's own people thanks to Beria, it could get around to doing something. Hopefully, someone will do something. And Ukraine is...Ukraine.












The action for the CSA, ironically, might be right next door. The poor Syndicalist state of Centroamerica has been nothing but enthusiastic of the CSA project from the very beginning, sending every chance they had everything they could to aid the revolution. Likewise, they have had seemingly good luck. A revolution in Panama, and it brought them into the Union, and then a war for the farmers of Hondouras went well. Though there are no plans to attack the United Provinces right now, the Centroamericans still remain as inscrutable as ever. But the CSA is fortunate to have them as friends regardless. Also counted as friends is the Mexican regime, where Chairman Vincente Toledano was able to outmaneuver army generals and succeed the chairmanship, and was vital towards sending comrade volunteers to aid in the Revolution. But his rule is still unstable, and the CSA worries for him. There are plenty of people who like to seem him dead in Mexico...

In so many points across the globe, all it would take is one spark to set a whole firestorm.

It's a matter of when it seems in Europe, not if. Will the CSA be ready, whatever choices they make?

And then there is the matter of Jack Reed. His condition has been public for over a year now. And he is a brave man, but how long can he delay the inevitable? And who will succeed him when his time is up? He doesn't want radicalism, but he fears the message falls on deaf ears in some quarters. His children can't simply carry it on, the torch must pass to someone else. He prays that nothing undoes the work he's committed his whole life towards. But he also knows the wheels of history always turn. And there are dangerous people in the new America. Only time will tell.





======================

So erm, yeah. That was a lot longer than I intended it to be. But hopefully you all are caught up with the general situation. And no, Reed is not going to war with President-General Arnold of the PSA (yet, at least. We'll see what the future holds). And also, the CSA didn't join the Internationale. Too much rebuilding, too little time for healing yet. I think I also did a rare thing, and didn't make either Long OR Reed into an absolute monster :p . Really, no one big up in the whole 2nd ACW is.​
 
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Gukpa

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PSA in this timeline looks like OTL Poland, it broke free during the civil war (like the poles did in 1919), and PSA is a "Benevolent" dictatorship with Henry Arnold (like Poland was with Piludski) :p Nice update
 

Dr.Livingstone

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God I love KR.

Subbed!
 

IconOfEvi

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Chapter 2 – Shadows and Serpents, Part 1




"Shortages...shortages...shortages...shortages..."


"Is there anything else besides?" said a deeper voice, slightly irritated.


"...shortages...oh! Shortages!"


"What? How on Earth is that different Caroline?"


"Shortage of laborers! Memphis, most of the factories finished rebuilding. We'll be able to double steel parts output by next week!"


"Nice find Connie, with that-"


"Nick, please. I've said it before..."


"Heheheheh. You hated being called that, no? Your sis-"


"And it's not funny, Nick...dumb bitch."


Nicholas knew he was in the danger zone, so he had to ward her off. Never did like talking about her sister. She was like her hair – elegant, beautiful, but burning with the color and intensity of a firestorm. It was probably what led her to the Students Union of UI-Chicago in the first place, he mused. It was an odd pair, he the selected one in a family of blue collars, and she the daughter of an owner of a factory chain, so she was always destined for greatness. Oh sure, she knew the political rhetoric, all that philosophical jazz. She'd probably be able to back up "the Jack" at any debate hall, but really, there was no way she could. She was simply too vulgar. She'd be more at home with a bunch of dockworkers after work at a seedy club. Of course she was cute, that's not the point. Ugh, throwing him off.


When Reed announced that women would be needed on the frontlines as men were in the civil war, many people were shocked, but it was as if Jack was Santa himself and had brought Caroline's Christmas presents early. That's where they met up, in the Chicago Schools union that eventually joined the war and had been selected to undergo upgrade efforts to turn them into officers for the first official infantry division of the CSA. They'd both shared hell and even their little bits of heaven cutting a swath of destruction out of the old America. This postwar situation had been an adjustment for both of them after the battle highs for over a year. But it gave them time together. His guys from his unit talked often of them as opposed to him. Girls kept subtly suggesting when was he was going to pop the question, with a lot of giggling afterwards. You'd think some things would change, wouldn't you?


They'd been in this Atlanta office all day doing allocation of resources in the aftermath of the civil war. The (hopefully) Temporary Southern People's Syndicate was handling administration in the wake of the death of the old America and then Huey Long's American Union State. Funny, really then, that a lot of the cogs in the machine here were Southerners, even former AUS. Sure there was still hate, but the vast flow of rebuilding material from the North was helping feelings here. Or at least as could be seen by Diane, the cheery southern belle of a receptionist who gave him a slightly-more-than-platonic flowery touch to her drawl when she greeted him.


Dangerous territory. Well, hopefully Jack would be pleased when he heard this tidbit of news. After the remnants of the Junta and AUS surrendered their fleets to the CSA, one of the Committee's first acts was to expand the shipbuilding program. Not only were many of them gone, but many were old, and undermanned. With the CSA having a terrible manpower program, many simply had to be scrapped or transferred to illicit convoy duty. Now, after reconstruction efforts, priority was given to a crash naval program. The South could really do with the work, but that was easier said than done. Now though, some good news finally. The Committee would be pleased. Southerns would be too, since the pride of their would-be fleet was going to be completed after all.


"Look Carol, look, okay fine! Jeez. We'll get the reports in to DC. Wanna hit the town then? You did good today. Thought we'd be trapped here forever."


Caroline simply took the papers and threw them over their shoulder.


"Carol?"


"The Committee will get their papers." she said dangerously, advancing slowly.


"But, Carol...we need to-"


She shoved him with one finger, pushing him onto the desk. "They don't need it right away."


"Carol...going to town later? Remember? Town?"


She put her hands out on either side of him. Trapped. "We will..."

"C...Carol?"

"We'll get there...there's still a few hours left of work."


Whelp. Dangerous territory and all that. Maybe this is what they meant by socialist inefficiency...


===========================================================





The Civil War, for those who wanted to prove themselves, became their chance at getting a new deal, simply because circumstances had made it impossible otherwise. For the American Union State, it was Huey Long who did battle with the racist elements in his movement. Himself a remarkably tolerant man, he understood that race relations, while it couldn't be culturally forced from above, especially in their situation, the culture could be encouraged to change through mutual understanding. The one area he had supreme control over was the armed forces, and he would brook no racism in a fight to the death. Meanwhile, the manpower situation had gotten so bad for the Syndical forces that Jack Reed was forced to allow in formality what had already started happening and had been happening on the ground - full female participation in the military. While it upset a great varied amount of people, surprising numbers also came to defend his action, and both other sides ended up having to also allow at least female volunteers. What Jack or no one else foresaw was the damage it would do to the feminist movement, forever. Since female soldiers proved their bravery and willingness to sacrifice, it had looked like the feminists' basic premise was right all along. Too right. Alarmingly, to horrified domestic and international audiences, female soldiers proved they were just as human as their male counterparts and could be just as barbaric as them, and fully participated in and endorsed terror executions, slash and burn, mass rape, and wholesale murder, which unfortunately marred the conduct of all three sides. In a sense, the world never recovered that part of it's innocence ever again.




In the last month of 1938, normalcy was showing hints of returning to the Combined Syndicates of America. Homes were being rebuilt, roads were being rebuilt, pipes were being rebuilt for months. Indeed, a lot of work had been going on before the war was even done, when fronts could be certain they were clear from being hit again soon. While an odd tactic to certain warfare minded people who will study this later, it was necessary not only militarily, but politically and socially. It was truly miraculous how the CSA even managed to hold their territory when they did not have even enough troops to ring their lands, especially in face of the Junta's superior numbers of trained units, even if they had suffered mass desertions. Even worse, nearly all of the Syndicates soldiers were not regulars but militias of former working people. They did not have nearly the amount of discipline, or firepower of their opponents, and any of the Army regulars who defected, they had to be dispersed into militias (often with an upgrade to officer, which in itself caused issues with certain people in a "proletarian army") to give them backbone, which would have been broken otherwise.









The remnants of the AUSN and USN. The original CSAN ships had to be disbanded after protecting them from the USN's constant air raids had simply killed too many men, and they hadn't even been able to do anything. While many ships were old, Jack had at least hoped to protect the capital ships, but when he could not, he told Admiral Rickover that there was no other choice - without aircover, they were constant sitting ducks, and too many men had died for nothing, and they would have to be scrapped or given to the traders syndicates. To assuage Rickover and the CSAN, he promised that he would start orders for a modern fleet. Then the remnants of the AUSN and eventually USN fell into the CSA's hands. After pressing older ships into convoy duty, the newer and vital capital ships were kept as the nucleus of the first fleet. The older ships would be also retrofitted with modern attachments. Their previous names have been kept, both to honor the ships, and honor the Americans who crewed them, regardless of previous affiliation.



This would be controversial in the world, where socialists holding to old dogmas said that the people united would not be defeated, and that the mass rising would be inevitable. There were even voices heard in France about how it had not been a real Revolution. This was not the case. The Junta had superior amounts of units, and even if they were not at full strength, they were still deadly, as well as all the equipment of the former Army. Long's American Union State, while having a smaller military, had many more regulars in their ranks, and even special units like experimental motor infantry, and if that wasn't bad enough, many of the former military's most battle tested leaders (and on that note, they all, except for the deceased MacArthur, are on house arrest until what to do with them is solved in the People's Assemblies). American Syndicate members abroad increasingly were to find themselves trying to defend the Revolution in world talking spots. To radical Totalists, it (and it's leaders) was a revolution in name only, barely even worthy of the name socialism. To moderate socialists, it reminded people of the failed Russian Revolution that had ended up discrediting Communism as a viable political force for change decades ago. To nearly all shades of socialists, the talk of American exceptionalism from even Reed reeked of bourgeois pandering. While this new sort of socialism interested certain parties around the world, not helping the cause was much of this interest was from capitalist powers.









Many American cities and countrysides burned during the war, whether by pillaging bands, deliberate terror shelling and bombing, retreating armies razing them, or the horrifying attrition of fighting urban warfare. Most lands were lucky if the CSA only had to take it once. In the case of Atlanta, it had been fought over 19 times. There was little if anything left by the end. Interestingly, many foreign observers attached themselves in the various armies, making special notes of lessons learned in the shocking new era of fighting. No doubt, they would soon put them to use in the looming specter across Europe...





Yet, in the end, the CSA did prevail. The industrial north, by some miracle, had not really been touched by the scourge of war that had killed so many in the 2nd American Civil War. This would be vital because so many other regions of the country were in ashes. Hate was a boiling, burning factor. It was not even sure how America would come together after this. While proportionally less soldiers had died in this civil war then the first, it hit civilians much harder than the previous one ever did. It in the end broke the back of the American spirit to see so much terror, murder, rape, and pillage committed by what were their own fellow brothers and sisters, their neighbors, their own fellow citizen. Something meaningful would be needed to heal. Thus, Jack Reed emphasized to the fellow revolutionaries that something needed to be done. What he asked for next was drastic.

He asked with all the moral authority he could muster that Northern production of supplies, consumer goods, and resources like food would need to go to the conquered areas, even unpacified areas. It sounded like sheer lunacy, but Reed knew that the CSA could not play favorites, and that if there was any hope of Americans being together after this, they would need to treat their enemies as Americans. But such a strategy was dangerous, and could only be predicated on total victory.








Midyear, 1939, and recovery was happening, even without the lost states of the Pacific. The CSA was vulnerable at this time, with barely a Navy to call her own, so she used other risky ways like appearing to be a hotbed of revolution and hostile rhetoric to try to scare enemies from potential action, and get ready. Fortunately, Engineering and Research Labs found that newer equipment like radar and computers could give new life to even older ships. And taking less time to construct, while they wouldn't be able to challenge the entire Kaisermarine on the high seas just yet, they could be hopeful that even this obsolete Navy could take on newer threats and if not win, at least go toe to toe. Threats like Canada may be, to take an example. While it wasn't an extreme worry, one had to always be cautious of the King-Emperor next door. He could attempt it, but it was a risk that the Entente was less willing to make, as they were also broiled in war in India still.




When victory did come, to protect the Revolution, most troops had been sent to the borders on the hopes that if the CSA put faith in the other Americans and didn't subject them to harsh military occupation, they would take to CSA rule sooner. It was again, a fantastic gamble, but it worked. The supplies did much to give the CSA moral justice in the wake of the vacuum left by their erstwhile foes. One project that helped to give the wandering homeless and displaced some succor were the various radical construction projects undertaken, that combined with reconstruction, gave virtually zero unemployment. One project in particular was the naval rearmament program. When the USN and AUSN surrendered, their ships and sailors that were left came to the CSAN. Not only were there not enough of anything, but most ships were obsolete. The whole navy would need to be rebuilt. Even taking what was being built from the AUSN docks, it was not enough. More ships were needed. Thankfully, enough industry had recovered that construction could begin. But thanks to changing situations that came next year in 1939, fortunes, while not without threat, had changed for the better in the CSA, at least in most minds. By the middle of 1939, there was enough industrial strength that the still-temporary government could generate more state funded growth across the nation even in the poorest regions, fund three fully fledged fleets, fund full reconstruction, and still have enough to slowly start upgrading it's rag tag army into a real fighting force. But how the CSA got there is an interesting story in and of itself.


But as they say, that would be another story for another day.


=============================================================

Whew, longer than I had hoped for again. Well, American socialism is certainly taking off in some odd directions, now isn't it? But how long can that last?

I dunno how long I'm going to keep writing of the Civil War. Should I? It's important to the narrative I feel, but honestly, I can see if people are a little bored with it.


Everyone in general, thanks, especially for subbing! I've never done this before.


@Doctor Stein
Glad you appreciate! Though I'm not sure you'll be happy :p - Jack Reed absolutley disdains radicalism, and right now he's the indomitable leader of the Revolution. If he doesn't want radicalism, it's hot happening. So essentially, Totalists are frozen out for now. Granted, the Constitution hasn't been written, nor has the government formally been layed out. And Jack Reed is not doing too well health wise.


@Gukpa
Thanks! And that's sorta right. I guess you could say Arnold is a dictator in TTL, but that stretching it - he's been very vocal about his "temporary" nature, and he only interferes in the foreign affairs branch really, and basic executive tasks - the PSA legislature holds some power. I know, how horrible, right? Remember why the PSA even seceded and then went to war in the first place - it was Reed acting in a dictatorial matter, if even inadvertently, and then MacArthur becoming a dictator which was the final straw. He intends to hold elections once the immediate danger has passed or they have insurance.

I can see your single tear falling from here. :p
 
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Attalus

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I like it personally. :)
I wonder what awaits the CSA. Mexico and Centroamerica should be made allies but Brazilian totalism seems not to be likely to go along with the CSA's socialism
 

Asalto

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Looks like that civil war factions didn't really respect ''we're all Americans'' motto when ''pilage and plunder'' event appearred after capturing major enemy city in game. Altough even if they did that, I imagine generally cruel narrative still suits this setup very well considering flaming ideological diffrences. After all, many civil wars are much more devastating than various international conflicts so I'd imagine it's the case in this story as well. Nice start, of course I'll follow and good luck with upcoming updates!
 

Metroid17

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By all means, continue to write about the civil war. It's my favorite part of the Kaiserreich narrative and I think your interpretation actually does justice to the reality of such a situation.
 

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I like it personally. :)
I wonder what awaits the CSA. Mexico and Centroamerica should be made allies but Brazilian totalism seems not to be likely to go along with the CSA's socialism
Thank you! Well the CSA is certainly going in a different direction than usual. Which way? One can say. Mexico and Centroamerica seem like natural allies, yes, but Centroamerica more so. Mexico is still shaky as of now. One little *push* and sadly the whole thing may come down.

You have change one picture, no?
I did. It was too big and I was too lazy to resize. :p

Looks like that civil war factions didn't really respect ''we're all Americans'' motto when ''pilage and plunder'' event appearred after capturing major enemy city in game. Altough even if they did that, I imagine generally cruel narrative still suits this setup very well considering flaming ideological diffrences. After all, many civil wars are much more devastating than various international conflicts so I'd imagine it's the case in this story as well. Nice start, of course I'll follow and good luck with upcoming updates!
Actually, all the factions DID spare cities, surprisingly. This is what happened when you had the most lenient policy. If we had chosen harsher policies, it would have been even worse! You are right in that the narrative was generally cruel. But alas, maybe things can be righted now? Maybe. Civil wars are cruel things, indeed.

By all means, continue to write about the civil war. It's my favorite part of the Kaiserreich narrative and I think your interpretation actually does justice to the reality of such a situation.
Thank you! I will, though the 2nd ACW is starting to pass, it will influence events for time to come still.
 

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Chapter 2 – Shadows and Serpents, Part 02




Ship construction was continuing at a feverish pace in the Combined Syndicates of America. A top notch Navy was needed as fast as possible. As the CSA had not joined the Internationale, she could not rely on the great Republican Navy of the Union of Britain as the Communards of France could. And with the Civil War having destroyed most of what was an already older fleet, radical ideas and radical designs were needed. One of the most important doctrinal shifts was the proponents of naval air power had finally gotten some influence. They assured the Temporary Committee that these 'flattops' would be the future. It remains to be seen if this was to be the case.


What was starting to be informally termed Reconstruction, in a call back to a previous post-civil war, was continuing in the CSA. Now that the immediate hardships had passed, people started to feel more confident, not only in the Combined Syndicates of America, but even, maybe a bit now, in some of the values the original revolutionaries had decided to fight for. For Reed, the true victory was here. It was in the minds and hearts that Reed felt where victory was meant to be. This is where the real battlefield was to be. However, there were some issues still with the nation.

There still was no formal government for the Combined Syndicates of America. What had been called the Syndical Temporary Emergency Committee (increasingly being nicknamed 'steck')was the ultimate deciding body during the war, and it had transitioned to here today. But it was not really a government. It was more (bitterly, Reed recalled) looking like Lenin's concept of the Vanguard, but more by pure accident than purposeful policy. It all functioned very haphazardly though. This wasn't like the first Civil War, where authority was backed up in the South by Northern muscle and cogwheels. No, here it was all different. There was no government cogwheels, only the former. In the end, it became the odd case that the Combined Syndicates of America simply ended up using apparatuses from the pre-war federal government except where things were felt had to be changed, at least for now. Few in the revolution had any idea how challenging managing a government would end up being. It was as if we existed for war.








With the Pacific States of America having lost the entire West Coast, and with the Panama Canal in Canada's hands, the CSAN, even in it's weakened state, was planning on how to get future power projection, in the case of a worst case scenario, or to provide some stepping stone to the Pacific. One of the plans submitted by Grand Admiral Rickover was in the forlorn Falklands Islands, acquired from the falling British Empire by Argentina. It was sparsely populated, but the junta had been trying to promote immigration there to increase their share of the population. While somewhat successful, the growth and authoritarian nature of the Platanian regime discouraged most immigrants to La Plata in general. The Admiralty figured that in addition to making an excellent staging base, that the Combined Syndicates could do a better job. If the opportunity presented itself and the regime started to fall, they advised Reed, then he should take it. Privately, Rickover remarked that Totalist Brazil having control of the island would be "troublesome". Moderates knew what was meant by this.


How odd, Reed figured. It admittedly lent an air to normality, where not really much had changed...but then, what was the revolution for? You spend more time policing the Party inside than working on stuff on the outside Reed further mused, a little bitterly. It was amusing. In wrecked and whole cities alike, for those who hadn't fled, order was often being restored by the CSA “hiring” on many of the people who previously ran things. Many of the same cops , after simple “retraining” schemes, though cynics would probably more describe it as reeducation – a charge which was technically true. Many of the same mayors. Even some of the same judges. In a nation that didn't technically have any government at all. It felt more like some haphazard experiment than the actual nature of America at that point in time. There would need to be a government, soon.


But of course, that masked a lot of the hurt. It was remarkable, the strength of the American people here, Reed thought. People needed something to rally around – not even a majority were true believers in the CSA nor their vision (whatever that could be said to be). It started in problems like nearly all the generals and admirals of the AUS and former USA were still around, lounging in house arrest, in prison, even informally "back on the job". For a while, it seems like no one even remembered they existed. No one knew what should be done with them. It went deeper too, into calls from across the country for war crimes trials. But what would happen if those started? It could not be only Syndicate citizens who could testify – everyone had committed crimes. Reed knew that, but what could be done? Many questions, few answers. It all felt like everything moved in a haze.









In the world though, not everyone would wait for the Syndicates to get their act together. Nations were still preying on the carcass of the former American Empire. The Philippines had aligned itself with the Japanese government after an attempted Syndicalist coup, and the dismantling of the American presence there due to the civil war. That didn't mean Americans still didn't pay attention to the outside world, but it felt more like a memory than actual reality. Even when the Japanese claws sunk deeper into the Philippines' government, Syndicate citizens could only at best shrug and move on. It was another era, and it was looking less like it had been a part of America's past, and more the imaginings of a half remembered dream.










Without this deal, Syndicate planners were sure the PSA might look for allies elsewhere. A problem to be avoided at all costs possible.

But there could still be movement closer to home, that the Temporary Committee could act on. In the aftermath of the war, there was still the biggest piece of many unfinished businesses, the Pacific States of America. There was much debate on both sides of the Rocky Mountain Line (what had become the nickname for the PSA-CSA border) what would happen. Rumors counted more than truth here, but maybe that was since facts were in short supply. Neither side could guess what the other planned. President-General Arnold could only guess at what even the CSA's intentions were, and he had to guess the worst, short of actual facts. He had got along with Reed personally, very well, but now was a different matter. Arnold knew Reed had to answer to a collective, a group. One that was inclined to radical action. Mutual distrust was heavy in the air, and reinforcements on side of the border would cause reinforcements on the other. Soon, just about every family in the PSA had someone called up, many families more than one person.










Wild celebration accompanied the announcement. Many wanted to get their hands on the products of the Hollywood Dream Factory. Privately, many also wanted the...'other' movies made there.

But at the same time, people were fearful. The citizens of the Pacific, naturally were so. They had reason to be. While the PSA had bested MacArthur's junta, he was facing two other opponents, as well as roving bands of guerrillas everywhere, and mass desertions. While the Pacific American citizenry were a hardy folk, they had seen and heard what had happened in the rest of the States that had the misfortune to bear bloody conflict. They wanted to do anything they could to avoid that, but they had no faith they could avoid. This is where Arnold and Reed stepped in.

Reconstruction had been continuing in the CSA, but there was as ever, more and more a lack of supplies, for everything. And more than that, people in the Americas were tired. The civil war had been such a long and horrible slow burn that no one, now that the fires burned down, had the stomach for more. A war starting now, even for reunification, would be very badly taken down. So Reed went for the next best thing. Arnold was approached about a small summit to formalize the nature between their two states.













The formal results of the dropping of trade barriers. Both sides pledged to mutual understanding as their common heritage as Americans. With the crisis averted, both sides could start demobilizing. In the CSA, defense efforts could be focused up North against Canada, while troops got to go home and divisions could start going through upgrading, or in the case of still existent militias, training them into actual Army divisions. Meanwhile, nearly every family in the Pacific had someone serving in the military at this time due to emergency drafts, and now they finally got to go home. Celebrations were abundant, and production took off overnight as workers transitionted back into jobs just waiting for someone to fill. With the crisis averted, President-General Arnold, declaring his work done, and the emergency over, said elections must go forward. Stepping aside, the Pacific Democrats ended up winning that election. The President was offered congratulations by Reed, and Reed expressed his hope that the example of the PSA could inspire the CSA into organizing a government and elections soon. Maybe even, the PSA could help in organizing them.

While there were big tensions at times, especially over the Syndicates refusal to give up their claims over the PSA, it was productive and successful since each side acknowledged the other 'existed', and that this would not change anytime soon. And in a stroke of luck, Reed had offhandedly mentioned trade as a hopeful point. More than anything, Pacific negotiators had been hoping for some kind of opening. Industry in the Pacific had been suffering a crippling lack of inputs of power, of raw materials, of manpower, and with many factories and stores still having their trade links based on a united America, the civil war had disrupted that. And since the Pacific States were isolated internationally, things were even harder to come by. With an understanding that trade still existed in the socialist states, and that some sort of combination of old USA money (which both nations still used), and barter, trade could resume much as it was before. Once Pacific negotiators had seized upon this point of focus, Jack Reed had heard the fevered input from the (recently formed, and some would say interesting take on socialism) Merchants and Traders Union. They desperately wanted him to sign the deal. Further, this contained a great deal of hope, because it offered the tantalizing possibility of an eventual peaceful reunification. It was a deal neither man could refuse, and in the end, proved wildly popular. For the time being, America could breathe easy again. All Americas.











In other quarters of the world, they would carry on as before the coming of the CSA. The War in India was still continuing apace, neither side breaking. While the momentum had swung in the Entente's favor, it wasn't a pushover, anymore than other pundits had been predicting that Bose's Indian Red Army would be at the beginning of the war. In Europe, a major blowup in the Balkans had just been averted. Romania, especially under ultranationalist rule, had refused to overlook their compatriots in other lands. They had achieved a long cherished dream when during the death throes that was the civil war of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, during Hungary's moment of great greed, Romania sprung the trap, and ended up annexing Transylvania. Now again, it looked like Romania was getting ready to spring a trap on another unsuspecting opponent of theirs. Bulgaria had grown complacent in wake of their victory of the Weltkrieg. She didn't see the new threats on the horizon, or old ones made new. When Romania had asked for a plebiscite to be held over the disputed land of Dobrudzha, Bulgaria's first act was to dismiss the Romanians and issue threats. When Germany pointed out to Bulgaria that ascendant Serbia and Greece, while not formally allied to Romania, would probably join in on any potential war, it sent panic through Sofia – German aid would not be forthcoming if things went south. Thus, Bulgaria ended up deciding to transfer the province to Romania, since they knew they would lose any plebiscite anyways.











Meanwhile, closer to home, a fantastic series of events was about to take place. Cuba, ever since the coup, had been a relatively peaceful place, albeit with the Cuban Syndicalist Party's occasional Totalist commissars executing political prisoners in an attempt to root out “AUS holdouts”. But as the CSA was fighting a civil war on the mainland, nothing much could be done. Since the end though, American Reconstruction had spread to Cuba as well. Much goodwill had been engendered through this, and with the firm but fair discipline of Julio Mella, Cuba had seen new growth and prosperity in the post-war period. However, the threat from the Caribbean Federation and Entente loomed large over the island. Political foundation was still shaky, and if the conniving Entente wished it, they could even possibly execute a counter-coup. Thus, it was that Mella came to Reed with an offer...












The Cuban Navy was small, but had capable destroyers. They were immediately added to the growing nucleus fleet, which now finally had a full complement of destroyers.

Cuba was cursed if she was alone. In addition, she had nearly been a state in the old America. What he was proposing to Reed was simple. The vote had been a little too close to comfort, but the the Cuban Syndicalist Party had voted in favor of association (which really was a polite word for annexation). To Mella, there really were no downsides. Reed was the one who had brought the Revolution to North America, and Cuba was an eager participant. Further, Americans were still family to the Cuban people, Mella endeavored to explain. Now he had the votes, he simply had to take it to Reed.

The major worry was that Red America, in the midst of desperate Reconstruction, would not want to burden themselves with an additional territory that needed to be further developed. Cuba still had a long way to go, and taking it on would further problems with the Caribbean Federation, and Entente in general. While Puerto Rico had been absorbed into the Federation, it was MacArthur's Junta that had handed it over. Absorbing Cuba would start a panic in the Caribbean. Where that would lead, no one knew. For Reed, and for Mella though, there really was only ever one choice. The consequences whatever they would be, would have to be paid. In the end, Mella got his wish, and Cuba was incorporated as a state into the Combined Syndicates of America. Mella settled back down into his new job as the island's Chairman, a job title deliberately vague until the nature of states in the unon could be fleshed out. However...:










Though they knew the Caribbean Federation would have issues, the Syndicates were surprised at what came next. Needless to say, the Syndicates Cuban action wasn't appreciated at all.​
 
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IconOfEvi

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Chapter 02 – Shadows and Serpents, part 03








August 08th, 0400 hours, the outskirts of Calcutta

I don't think I'll ever get used to this.

“Oh bloody hell Joginder, at least you live here.” remarked a North American voice, but using old British slang. Joginder thought that it just didn't work on North American accents, but who was he to argue with a bunch of exiles? No, that old British slang worked much better with that sophisticated Punjabi of the administration.

“Yeh Jog, give us blokes a break, will ya?”. Crass, but clean. Only ever could be Australian.

“Well I don't either, Mark. And what are you complaining about Caleb, it's hot in Australia too! I'm from Punjab, it's different from this...”

Cpl. Joginder Singh Kalsi of the 10th Punjab Division of what was formally the Dominion of India, but really more often known as Delhi. But that had had reason to change. For the past year, Delhi was locked in mortal combat with the other pretenders to the Indian subcontinent. It started with the madness of the would-be Emperor, Ali of Hyderabad. To think he had the gall to declare himself the Kaisar-i-Hind! After his blatant power grab was the unraveling. His dominions started fraying. Then the Delhi government proclaimed his action intolerable and invaded. And from there, the Reds also came to feast on Ali's flesh. When all was said and done, the Traitor Princes were no more. Joginder remembered from earlier times, many agitators fired up either by the south, or by the east, trying to preach revolution, or replacing the foreign emperor for a national one. No, though, if he could vow. His father, and his father before him, and his before him, served honorably for the true Emperor. His mother said the clan would follow as long as the British remained honorable. They had proven true so far. When Delhi voted for war, Canada rallied the Entente to back them up. When the Red Army declared war soon after, again they took to the field in defense of their brethren.

It had been a long, torturous year, but the momentum had finally swung again, perhaps irreversibly, in their favor. The Deccan had been taken. Nepal had been liberated. They had finally advanced into Bengal proper. And it was an Empire wide effort. Though the lodestar had been lost, the unity was not. And thus Joginder found himself on the siege lines, in the middle of August, Calcutta dark, except for the fires which tried to burn, with a probable child of Exiles and a jovial Aussie for company. And they tried but couldn't because holy hell, it was raining. Monsoon season. Who the bloody hell starts a war with monsoon season a few months away? The Congress Party had clearly lost a few more marbles since their separation all those years ago. But he had to admit, after all these months with Mark and Caleb, he'd made friendships that would last forever.

“Some storms, ah? Well, they won't last too long. The bloody Reds are on the retreat” remarked Mark.

“Indeed, after that, it's only the holdouts in Burma, and then we're done. Probably will be home in time for Christmas after all!”, replied Joginder.

“Ah shyte, Christmas. I promised me sis I'd get her something nice from Japan when I came back.” Caleb added in, half to himself.

“Japan? Why on earth would you get goods from Japan?” Mark asked, quizzically.

“Ah, you know. They make special goods you really can't get anywhere. Trade links been on the up and up, all things considered. I know the Empire has issues with em, but I'm sure they gonna be fixed out, ya? For us in the Pacific, they're a real asset, ya know? Threat, but at the same time, opportunity.”

“Oh come on, why would Australasia start drifting to the bloody Japs? They will never understand you! What have they done for you?”

“Nothing much to say, really mate. They been good to us. Sure, the government tries to keep a lid on it, but it keeps driftin, you see...”

“Oh sod off now. What about you gents, Jogi? You're not as well, are you?” said Mark, with vigor.

“Well, its...complicated, Mark. We're about to be united, the princes are scattered, but...well, what if we can't take Britain back? If the propaganda was right, we'd have marched into London years ago...”

“And what bout you?” interjected Caleb. “You're the son of exiles. Forget Britain for a second, you're not even safe in Canada, mate. What if the Syndicates come for you eventually?”

“They can keep their promises and threats to themselves and shove it. No damn way I'll be an exile again. My parents we're, I'm not going to let that happen.”

“If worse comes to worse...you're always welcome here Mark.” said Joginder with a finality.

Far away, a siren blared, and flares started illuminating Calcutta.

“Roight, reckon we gonna start marching soon. Artillery barrage first.”

“See you gents on the other side then? For the Empire.” Mark said, putting his hand out.

Joginder and Caleb glanced at each other quick – it was as if they all had realized even now, a veil was starting to descend over them. Where would the future of an Empire be that could never return home? Where would the future take them? But it passed quickly, the veil. Wherever the Empire was, whatever the Empire was, perhaps it was here. Among these brothers, no force could shake them apart. They would rise again, or they would rise for the first time. But in the end, they would rise together. Caleb and Joginder put their hands out as well.

“For the Empire.”



======================================================





The Indian campaign, like the one before it a decade ago, was an exercise not only in reclamation, but in brotherhood building among the Empire. Here, a Delhian, a British-Canadian, and an Australasian soldier in Burma are relaying positions to their united fronts some miles behind. Whatever the other faults of the British section of the Entente, one could not say that it had been fraught with tensions as the Empire with the metropole in London had been. Banishment from their own homeland had chastised much of the Imperial leadership, and it was in this spirit of new brotherhood that the Empire worked towards. What had begun with the fleeing to Canada, the initial war in India, and continuing on to projects like the IEDC, Imperial mutuability with her sister nations was a strong principle. But for some in the Empire, this led to worry about what would happen if - when - the Imperials finally retook the mother country. Would Britain treat her sister nations as sisters once final victory was theirs, or would they revert to the old ways? The Empire would not last in such a case, not even loyal Australasia.











1939 continued to be a dearth of mixed news for the German Empire. Revolutions had been popping up piecemeal across the Empire, and for reasons unknown across the world, the Empire simply moved too slowly to ever deal with the problems. People had thought something would change with the Revolution of Indochina, but though reforms were tried, the political capital to station units overseas was generally not there. Especially as the Commune of France committed itself to ever more and more threats across the border. To address part of the problems, namely native policy in the far flung colonies, and to make the colonies themselves more self-functionary, the Reichstag decided to invest more funds and overhaul the economic policies concerning the colonies. But for some places, like Somaliland and Sarawak, revolution was already a problem. Combat units would have to be dispatched, but when that would actually happen, no one really could say. It was like a lethargy had infected the High Command, and no one could figure out why. Even when Ethiopia finally finished her civil war with her rebel Princes, the German Empire did not act, either to take advantage or to firm up support. It was as if Germany simply walked away from the world stage to focus on France.









But if Germany didn't want the world to turn, that didn't mean the world simply didn't turn. Small developments were continuing across the globe, but they would have big consequences. South Africa, British control and dominion over their country gone in the wake of the Revolution, had been trying to find it's way domestically, especially in face of the threat of Mittelafrika's proclamation, and subsequent independent administration. Both shared the threat of black discontent and nationalism, but in reality, there was little Syndicalist groups could do. While much of the world hounded South Africa's enactment of legal apartheid laws earlier in the year, it took the world by surprise when the ruling party reversed direction after massive discontent and buried the apartheid laws. A new framework would have to be drawn up, but parliamentary committees had ruled that the policy being advocated, apartheid, was an off base 'cure' to the original 'problem' – that of labor and demographics.









In the AUS, black and white soldiers found themselves fighting side by side, if not in defense of the values of the AUS, then at least their homelands. More men then Huey had ever dreamed of ended up serving. They would be sentimentally remembered for decades to come.

But besides there being little that Syndicalist nations could do, there was the what would they even do, because for all their preachiness of black liberation, all of the Syndicalist countries on Earth, like other nations, had race relations skeletons in their collective closets. For the Combined Syndicates of America, this was triply so. While official discrimination had been outlawed in a legal sense, it was harder to translate this onto the ground into practicality. On the ground, it could be illegal to discriminate between a black laborer and a white laborer, but in reality, it meant that a lot of hard working African-Americans suffered the scrutiny of their fellow workers, who it would be impossible to discover if they had gotten said positions with skill, or by favor. Even in CSA strongholds, in IWW strongholds, it was problematic. The American union movement had traditionally been averse to African-American participation in the workforce, since they tended not to join unions, And, as cadres in the union movement were loathe to admit unless their tongues had been loosened with a few drinks, the unions reflected the prejudices of their members. Even pre-war, this had been a problem, with pro-union legislation having adverse impact on minority owned businesses, and casual, unaffiliated laborers. Even with Jack Reed's efforts to try to organize more black workers into unions, and roll those into the “One Big One”, these efforts didn't work nearly to the extent that they were intended to.

Ironically, it was in the Deep South where race relations had healed the farthest. During the civil war, many African-American individuals wanted to sign up to join the AUS war effort, despite the hostility of many people in the AUS who bitterly opposed them, and AUS policy itself at times. Seeing how desperately black people wanted to fight for their homes and lives, and maybe something more, Huey Long had taken the brave step early in the war, and demanded that the armies of the AUS hence be integrated. Under fire during the war, black and white fought together, bled together, and died together. This had gone a long way towards helping people to understand and heal in the post-civil war world.

Also of note, not in the CSA, but the Pacific States of America, much of the tension had been over Asian immigration swamping them. But the fires of the war changed everything, and Asians had enlisted far out of their proportion of the population for the war, eager to defend their new (or old, in the case of multi-generation families) homes, their free lives, and prove that they too knew what it meant to be American. The aid and volunteers Japan had sent the PSA only cemented this goodwill, and now, the Pacific States and Japan are excellent partners. An alliance is almost expected soon, in a year or so by the postwar intelligence apparatus. Along with the massive demand for people and labor, Asians are a more familiar site in the Pacific States along with CSA defectors. Ironically, if the alliance happens, the PSA will, over time, come to be dominated by Japan, but it will have come via the will of the people themselves.










Despite focuses to the contrary, the people had not forgotten about Alaska, or Puerto Rico, or indeed, any of the 'lost lands'. Even Liberia loomed in the consciousness. But the common feeling could be summed up in the old Japanese phrase 'shikata gai na' - nothing could be done about it. It seemed to have been the case that separation indeed made the heart grow fonder. But if it made the heart fonder, it also fired the heart to see them with someone else. But that nothing could be done for their plight sapped the morale of Americans even now, and it hung like an albatross around the necks of American leaders, regardless of affiliation. At least in Alaska, it seemed American loyalism was still a thing. For how long though, that remained to be seen. The post-exile RCMP were particularly brutal, and with the expansion of their powers under C-10, even more so.

Closer to home, there was still civil war business plaguing the CSA Temporary Committee even over a year after the end. Canada, which had taken Alaska over during the war had not seen fit to hand it back to the Combined Syndicates, even though they were the successor government. Not even give it to the PSA, which claimed it. Syndicalist sympathizers in the Canadian government revealed that there was not even a plan to give Alaska self-government. It looked like Ottawa was intent on consolidating it's grip. Already a program had begun to encourage settlement in Alaska, open to immigrants from around the non-Syndicalist world. Both CSA and PSA citizens alike were imploring their governments not to forget about the Alaskans, but little could be done. Already, Alaskans had formed an armed underground. While they were no doubt not CSA loyalists or inclined, Reed and the Party's legacy and efforts to win the population had rested on his program of emphasizing the lenient and American version of their socialism. Thus, he had to be interested in all American affairs, even if they didn't concern the CSA directly. But in August, alarming news reached both Sacramento and Washington – Canada had been surveying in Alaska, and had turned up oil. Overnight, the importance of Alaska was ten fold. If Canada was not going to give it back then, it was certainly not now. Something had to be done, but no one could give a realistic proposal – it was simply too soon to challenge the Entente. Smedley Butler had at the last minute suggested he use his old military contacts, and talk to the PSA leadership of getting some kind of joint operation going, to funnel arms and supplies to the Alaskan resistance. But that all depended on who the PSA would choose as an ally in the near future. It was the CSA's official goal to try to encourage them to deepen ties with the CSA, but many leaders speculated this in all likelihood would not happen, and if that could not be arranged, then at least to make sure it was not the Entente that Sacramento ended up aligning with. Reed was certain the PSA was none too happy with Canada's stolen prize either, but he hoped beyond hope that he could convince the PSA leadership to not accept Alaska back as a price for entry to the Entente. While the chance was small, it was still a chance...










In more forgotten corners of the world, new pages were turning. In Central Asia, the self-proclaimed Caliphate of Bukhara, in a state which had broken off from Russia decades prior, had defeated another former Russian state, the Kazakh state of Alash Orda. Russia had not roused herself out of her slumber even though she had dedicated to retaking Central Asia years ago. And now, she declared that it had only begun. Preaching violent jihad and the overthrow of Western influenced societies, the Caliphate looked to no less goal than reuniting the Islamic world. In the short term, they intended to drive for India. Internal unrest was a severe problem in the Russian Republic, and as ever, the democracy looked fragile. But the world would have to turn, with or without Russia. But if they didn't get help soon, or fix their own problems soon, something would have to snap. Increasingly, officials in St. Petersburg talked about an action or a war to reclaim lost territory and get the population behind them, but so far, none coming. That however, was not assurance enough to Byelarussia, client kingdom of Germany. And so, she had embarked on the Ostwall project, in an effort to provide defense against Russia, should she awaken one day. It was not looking likely, but Byelorussians new from experience that Russia did not stay down forever.











With Iceland in their grasp, the Entente had the perfect staging base to Northern Europe.

In Iceland, moves towards the Encirclement of the Internationale was commencing. It wasn't exactly clear to CSA planners, but what had begun as a crisis in the Icelandic government had resulted in a brief sort of civil war, with British Republican and Royalist troops clashing in the country for the first time since the Revolution. It had, unfortunately, culminated in Iceland joining the Entente. If anything else, this put a stop to notions in the CSA Temporary Committee that the Entente when distracted couldn't focus on other problems. CSA planners began to worry more. Clearly, with victory in India closer, the Entente as a whole was feeling more and more bold, and so were looking to test the waters. The CSA would have to accelerate rearmament.













The next days saw many turnarounds. Chief among them was the brief civil conflict in the Caliphate of Bukhara, wherein the previously free roaming Islamic fundamentalists were reigned in in a very quick series of nights – rumor has it more than one person's blood was spilt. In any case, what path the Caliphate would take was left ambiguous for now – the clerics had been subdued, with little cost in blood. But the world would be wise not to take their eyes away from here. Meanwhile, of more alarming interest to the CSA, after the government had stabilized in South Africa, it was announced with great fanfare that the republic was looking to reconcile with their former masters, and join the alliance at the very least. Questions of what role the Empire would play became the subject of discussion.



And what the CSA feared most had come to pass. The Entente let the South Africans in with no problem. Already, the Empire's tentacles spread further. In the immediate term, that was two countries who in less than a month had aligned with the Entente. It would now be more difficult than ever to wage a campaign against Canada. Already, South African troops were being shipped off to India to finish the fight, and they would no doubt gain valuable combat experience.











Reduced to less than their core lands, the defeat of Red India was imminent. But something else would grab world attention shortly.

In India itself, the situation had recently turned. Initially, for the summer months of the war, it had swung wildly back and forth in the Deccan, and the entry of the southern states into the Commune's camp had disrupted war plans severely. But now, the tide seemed to have finally turned permanently, and in the favor of the Entente. The Red Army had already been pushed back to Burma, and if that wasn't bad enough, the Royal Navy surprised everyone and committed an amphibious landing in rearguard Burma. Once the operation was a complete success, defeat looked inevitable. Now the Red Army and their Burmese allies looked like they would complete a pincer movement. While Indochina had been for the most part ignored, that could not last forever. The Politburo in Indochina, never eager to get into the war in the first place, felt isolated, and with few options. Maybe the Entente would be pliable to a peace deal, but only for them. For Red India, this was their final stand. It hadn't been a cruel affair by any standards, since neither the Red Army themselves nor the Entente armies were committing to total war, scorched Earth in their fighting. But all the same, the Dominion of India was not going to let this war conclude on anything less than total victory and reunification of India. Once victory occurred in India, not only would India be whole again, and reunited, but it had given the Entente valuable time at war production and experience. Planners had suggested based on reports they heard, that the next target would be the Internationale themselves, such was the confidence of the Entente. It was not wholly misplaced either. How Germany would react to the return of two threats they thought were behind them, was if anything, anyone's guess. But few would be wondering that for long. Few in Germany would be wondering anything else for long.








The day of destiny had finally come.










=============

Well now, not that there was peace in our time, but yeah, that's definitely over now! Who are you pulling for in this contest of the world?​
 
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Dr.Livingstone

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Entente seems much nicer in this world. Go Entente!
 

Milites

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You're setting a high standard for quality updates! Looking forward to more.

Also, nice to see Best India kicking Calcutta's behind :D
 
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Attalus

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After reading Antonine and cookfl AAR your world seems too nice to be realistic :p

Anyway you are doing great :)
 
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