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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Pier

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How many units do you have defending now, before the Royal Marines come and take it all back?

Also, what are the plans to knock South Africa out of the war?

Do you think you could sail to the Horn, and link up with the Italians in Ethiopia, pushing through Sudan and Egypt?
 

Surt

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I'm not impressed with the allies response :)

btw. do you play with any mods to remove the most obnoxious bugs in the AI production, like the UK building 100's of transports?
 

Rensslaer

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My apologies to those who are waiting for an update!

I've been in Iowa, visiting my son for Parents Weekend at his new college. Met his friends -- very nice -- and watched him play a football game. He got to play several plays (good for a Freshman), and made a decisive tackle as one of the other team almost squeezed around for a touchdown return on kickoff. Nicely done!

I have an update mostly done, but not yet ready. I also have another fiction scene halfway done, to come after the update.

You'll see both in the next couple, three days.

While you're waiting, if you want to read a bit more, please keep in mind the AARLand Choice AwAARds, which are underway for voting right now. This is NOT fishing for votes, as I've earned enough awards in my time. There are plenty of other deserving authors out there who deserve to be recognized. But your participation in the voting is very welcome -- voting is down from past award sessions.

Thanks!

Rensslaer
 

Rensslaer

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I’ve been dancing my small fleet, with my small army, around the South China Sea between Hong Kong, Borneo and French Indochina for several days, now, trying to maintain some sort of balance against the British and French defenders. Fortunately, the ships they have here are mostly transports, rather than warships. The Dutch, however, have made us wary with their destroyers and cruisers, which do still roam.

30SepKuching.jpg


Our transports have now grabbed our second infantry division from Hong Kong, and have brought them to influence the war in Borneo. The plan was to have the one infantry hold Kuching, while the other lands behind the enemy to attack his rear flank – a trick which has worked before, in Africa. We’re hoping one or the other will cause the enemy to end his attack. Fortunately, the British cease their attack. I speculate that they are starting to feel the effects of being out of supply. There’s another British unit (it’s an HQ) is still in the province where we’d like to land, and so I choose not to pursue the landing I’d intended. He’s needed elsewhere…

In Africa, the garrison division we’d landed at Accra (one of the earlier examples of landing behind the enemy), now comes under attack…

30SepAccra.jpg


The enemy, as I’d noted, has a mixture of regular and motorised infantry. They are currently cut off from supply, but not OUT of supply (a critical distinction), and so they are still able to attack with considerable strength. We have units retreating, and other units who have moved elsewhere (the guy in Abidjan, on the other side of where the British are at Kumasi, having left to invade Lagos). There’s not a lot left to do anything with, and my garrison cannot withstand this attack for long.

Meanwhile, to update the South China Sea situation, the division which was not needed in Borneo slips into Saigon in the nick of time, just as the French arrive on its outskirts! Now, this, as you might see, is not the HQ unit we’d expected, but rather a full French infantry division. Hmm…

1OctNickOfTime.jpg


The Allied colonial forces are certainly better situated and deployed than they were in my v1.1c game. No matter. With both, Saigon and Haiphong in our hands, now, these French divisions will begin to experience the lack of supply conditions which are now starting to hamstring the British in Borneo.

In West Africa, our cavalry has defeated the British Royal Marines again, and pushed them further in the desert while claiming Diourbel. Now, the cavalry turns north, to establish a buffer around Dakar. Our tac bombers, as you see, are assisting the battle in Kumasi.

5OctDiourbel.jpg


In Borneo, by October 7, we find that the British have brought another infantry division to the fight, and he attacks in concert, now, with the earlier division, which has waited through his combat delay. The infantry division we landed at Haiphong has been replaced by an HQ brigade, and the division taken now to land in Kuching to aid the defense. The British HQ is still in the way, and so my intended flanking attack is still impossible. This will have to do.

7OctKuching.jpg


Here’s where it gets a little fuzzy. I’m figuring it out from memory, all the complicated interactions here. I think there was an infantry division and a garrison at Kuching, who won that battle. I must have removed the garrison to replace the infantry division at Saigon, and then brought that infantry division over to Kuching to replace the garrison, because now I have two infantry at Kuching, defending.

The HQ, meanwhile, has pressed inland from Haiphong to take the industrial center (1 IC) and resource bonanza at Hanoi. Now, the French not only can’t get supplies to their troops in Indochina, and not only can they not ship anything out, but I’ve begun shipping out enormous quantities of resources from both, Haiphong and Saigon.

8OctHanoi.jpg


You’ll notice, if you peek up at the resources indicators, that I now have a surplus building in each of the resource categories. I even have tried to cut down on the amount of rare materials being shipped, because I don’t need as many as I have access to, and I’d rather have energy resources.

As of the 8th of October, my battle in Kuching is still hard pressed, but my battle in Accra is not so much. The garrison is holding, though that won’t last forever (notice the dwindling organisation on both sides, but especially on mine). The good news is my little expedition to scout Ascension Island (which found it occupied) is about (on the 9th) to arrive at Abidjan.

8-9OctAccra.jpg


That tooltip shows the crowded conditions in Kumasi – two garrison brigades (mine) fleeing to Accra, two British regular infantry and one motorised infantry defending on what supplies they have remaining, and we’ve now committed not just our tac bombers, but also our FW 200 naval bombers to the fight, attempting to bomb the British into submission (the British have no airfields nearby, my having occupied Abidjan, Accra and Lagos.

Soon, my garrison attacks Kumasi from the rear, and the enemy gives up. If they’d kept going, they would have lost. And now, we know we have them in a spot, because their supplies will not hold out forever. Theoretically, they can still get supplies overland from the Mediterranean, or through the northern regions of Nigeria, but that’s a tentative supply line at best. I’m hopeful, and yet I’d still like to cut them off completely if I can. My garrison, with its 1 kph speed, is not going to do the trick. There’s also still a French armoured division nearby somewhere.

9OctAccraWon.jpg


At Kuching, by the 10th, the enemy still hasn’t run out of supplies (the northern unit has, I think, but not the southern one – my memory’s fuzzy again, trying to explain what I see in the screenshot). But it looks like my divisions will stand fast at Kuching, for a while, anyway.

10OctKuchingProbs.jpg


If that corps HQ would just reach its destination, I’d be able to get a lever to use against them, and could start to apply the kind of pressure that will bring victory. Until then, I’m just hoping my organisation (which is lower than the British in any case) lasts long enough for either a second landing to their rear, or until their supplies run out.

What a struggle! Very frustrating. But… very fun at the same time! :D
 

unmerged(148626)

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I must say this small scale mobile warfare is very interesting!
Like Ali said : Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Except of course, bees die when they sting... so don't do that. :)
 

unmerged(87183)

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Were starting to see some heavier battles here. Good update, let's hope the English run out of supply soon!
 

Kayapo

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Still following with interest. Thanks for the update.

ps: Congratulations to your son and to you.
 

Enewald

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I must say this small scale mobile warfare is very interesting!
Like Ali said : Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Except of course, bees die when they sting... so don't do that. :)

It ought to be move like wind and escape like thunder. :p
 

Lord E

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It seems like the allies have begun to understand the danger posed by your forces, and they have begun fighting back. But you are still able to uphold your advantage and that is very nice, keep pressing forward and grabs as much resources as you can before the allies start sending in even larger forces, because I fear it is just matter of time before your forces will be seriously outnumbered…
 

Stuyvesant

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I read there's a French armored division lurking in the shadows in Western Africa?!? I realize the terrain is mostly jungle, but I'd still hate to have to take on armor with cavalry or garrison divisions...

As Lord E points out, it seems that the Allies are paying more attention to you and directing forces your way as appropriate. In matters outside of your direct control, you can hope that the heavy hitters in the Axis tie up more Allied forces. What does lie in your control is to deny the Allies as many ports as possible. Hopefully, keeping the Allied supplies low will be enough of a counter to offset their quantitative superiority.

I never thought I would be this interested by (essentially) this tug-of-war on the margins of the World War. :)
 

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Are any more brigades or ships coming through the production line? Or are the supply/upgrade/reinforcement issues draining all Ic?
 

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Nice update. Very interesting battles and lots of activity. While I did note that your resources are growing, I am concerned about your manpower supply and what the loss of men might mean to your ability to pursue these tactics.
 

LaBretonniere

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I, too, would like to see the current production queue as it stands. Anticipation of new units and fortifications is all part of the excitement too! (And perhaps where your Research queue stands as well?)
 

Rensslaer

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Do the French and British colonies in Africa contain significant resources or is the war there about base control, or both?
Actually, I've counted about 30 IC on the African continent (VERY spread out, but also largely undefended). There are also some enormous quantities of resources across the continent.

Not a lurker, just a latecomer. I must say how impressed I am with the Portuguese performance. Though sad to see them in the axis after so many years as Britain's friends! This aar has really rammed home the important difference mobility for gar divs has been in HOI3 vs HOI2. Even with very slow mv rates, just being able to use them offensively at all is adically different. Thanks for a great effort.
Thanks! Welcome, Jemisi! Glad to have you along, and interested! Yes, if I were stuck on shore (as I should be, with the Royal Navy against me, but they're not responding effectively... some explanation in a second...), I'd be in trouble. Offensive garrisons may be a bit of a concept shift -- I rather enjoy it though!

Good work all around. Soon you will have all of the ports!
Aha! And you've hit upon the real power of my strategy. Yes, I'm trying to take over IC. Yes, I'm trying to take over resources, and deny them to the enemy. Yes, I'm trying to kill the enemy in the small ways I can. But ports are the key.

Why?

It's for a number of reasons. One, ports equal supply -- supply for me, and supply for them. If I trade a port (by taking it over) with the enemy, suddenly I have the supply and the opposing forces don't.

Two, ports equal resources. They're channels to get resources out from their source and to the home country. When you take a port, those resources stop going to the enemy (so long as there's not another contiguous enemy-held port, even if they still control the resource provinces), and the resources start flowing toward you. Ironically, as my needs for convoy ships increases as I take ports, I'm unintentionally relieving the enemy of the need for so many! :rofl: So when the German U-boats sink British shipping, they have plenty to spare, because I'm relieving them of duties. Nevertheless, I'd much rather have the ports than let them use them.

Three, ports are bases for everything -- naval raids & patrols, scouting ships, and for staging offensive operations. Before you take the port, the enemy has all these advantages. Afterward, they're all yours.

Consider. Those ports are threats to me until I take them. The enemy can use them against me. The enemy's ships -- the Royal Navy in particular -- can use those bases to launch offensive patrols and invasions against me. Once I take it over, they can't do that. Plus, I get to use that port for the same purposes. New ports protect my rear areas, because they can't be used against me, and they extend my offensive reach, allowing me to reach that next target.

One phenomenon I'm seeing -- one which partly explains why we're not seeing alot of enemy patrols from the RN which could be very dangerous to me -- is that the enemy lacks fueling ports. Each port has a maximum range per ship type/model which it can support. Beyond that range, offensive operations (patrols or invasions) are impossible. They're limited only to transit from one naval base to another. THAT is key! I'm creating a buffer between myself and the Royal Navy by taking over their bases.

From the British Isles, their ships can go to Bermuda, the Caribbean, British Guyana (S. Amer.), Ascension Island, the Falklands, or all the way down to South Africa. They have nothing in between. Ascension (a level 1 port) can help them some, and I'd love to take it one of these days, but it can't quite make up for the loss of so many other local African ports.

Long answer to a short question -- but it's probably the most important key to my overall strategy, so I wanted to elaborate!

I am curious to see what happens when France folds. Will the colonies revert to Free French control? Will Vietnam be given to Japan and, if so, will Portugal lose its provinces? Does the new version make a difference? I know you have played ahead and I imagine these questions (and many others) will be answered in upcoming posts.
My nature (as you know) is to leave you in suspense about this! :p But since this is partly about strategy, not just storytelling, I'll tell you that when it happens, you'll see me take all territory which I'd already taken -- I keep it. Everything else becomes Vichy, except for small portions of the empire.

You are certainly providing a hell of a distraction! The Allies definitely seem to be having a hard time dealing with your marauding formations. Keep it up! :D
Distraction, YES! :D I'm enjoying it, of course.

How many units do you have defending now, before the Royal Marines come and take it all back?

Also, what are the plans to knock South Africa out of the war?

Do you think you could sail to the Horn, and link up with the Italians in Ethiopia, pushing through Sudan and Egypt?
Your last two questions are long-term issues. Yes, eventually I'd like it if I can get to that, but not right now. I don't have the offensive range, yet, to reach the Horn, and South Africa is WAY too strong for me to move against offensively right now. As for my number of units, I've added maybe one or two divisions since the beginning of the war, but not alot. Mostly, I'm just shuffling units from place to place -- a daring, dangerous strategy that so far has worked out.

I'm not impressed with the allies response :)

btw. do you play with any mods to remove the most obnoxious bugs in the AI production, like the UK building 100's of transports?
I'm not impressed with it either. :) Part of it is intentionally my fault -- intentional disruption as explained in the above dissertation. But part of it is simply weakness in the AI, which I hope will be fixed in v1.3. The fact that I'm a minor power, attacking as an "irregular" military force, I'm sure throws the AI, which is primarily designed to oppose other great powers. No mods. The massive transport construction is not as bad in v1.2, but not as "fixed" as it should be.

I must say this small scale mobile warfare is very interesting!
Like Ali said : Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Except of course, bees die when they sting... so don't do that. :)
Thanks! I'll try not to die when I sting, though as I've mentioned, there IS some risk to this approach... :rolleyes: Welcome, Immermann!

It seems like the allies have begun to understand the danger posed by your forces, and they have begun fighting back. But you are still able to uphold your advantage and that is very nice, keep pressing forward and grabs as much resources as you can before the allies start sending in even larger forces, because I fear it is just matter of time before your forces will be seriously outnumbered…
I think you're right. I've seen one or two instances where the enemy has tried to block my tactics. I'm hoping I'll see more, but this challenge is good. It keeps me on my toes. As for being outnumbered.... I'm putting my trust in Germany and Italy for this! :) We'll see if that trust is well placed, or not!

... What does lie in your control is to deny the Allies as many ports as possible. Hopefully, keeping the Allied supplies low will be enough of a counter to offset their quantitative superiority. ...

I never thought I would be this interested by (essentially) this tug-of-war on the margins of the World War. :)
Thanks! :D You made my day! And, yes -- you also recognized the central point of my strategy.

Are any more brigades or ships coming through the production line? Or are the supply/upgrade/reinforcement issues draining all Ic?
I, too, would like to see the current production queue as it stands. Anticipation of new units and fortifications is all part of the excitement too! (And perhaps where your Research queue stands as well?)
They're coming. I'll show a production screen soon, though I don't think it's right away. The 2nd gameplay update from now should probably have it. I'm still able to put about 1/2 or more of my IC toward production. My tech isn't advancing quickly enough to need much IC for upgrades, and I'm not taking enough casualties to need much reinforcement yet.

What will you do after controling all of the African Coast (and maybe Indochina)?
Well, you're seeing my initial strategy in its middle- to final-phase. Next, I need to protect Angola and Mozambique from the South Africans. That's a real threat there, and I need to deal with it, or else I'm in trouble.

Thanks also to Quetzilla, Enewald, and Kayapo for your comments!

Hey, thanks everybody, for your comments and readership! Any new lurkers out there? Or stubborn old lurkers? :p

I have a narrative update coming up next. Should be up within 24 - 36 hours from now. Sorry, I've been a little busy.

Thanks again!

Rensslaer
 

kigrwik

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I join the choir in saying how impressed I am with your successes so far. Having grabbed so much with so little resources, it's amazing.

I'm more used to the 50+ division stacks of the eastern front, so I find this micro-war in such huge and open areas truly interesting.

I miss the small-scale scenarios from HOI2; I remember enjoying the Brazil vs Argentina war. This reminds me of it, with the added benefit of the rest of the world war in the background.

So far so good, keep it up !
 

JeferyPickle

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I am very impressed with your statiges thus far. with very little industry you still mange to grab almost all impportant ports controled by the alllies in africa Bravo
 

unmerged(58610)

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I'm guessing you're going to try to grab as much French terrotory in Africa and Indo-China that you can before the Germans finally realize where Paris is amd the French surrender.

A British fleet operating out of South Africa would be very bad news for you.

Fortunately, you are keeping South African units out of the battles against the Italians. Your campaign in Borneo may keep New Zealand and Australian formations at home. That means the British have to tuse their own troops to re-inforce in Egypt. If they draw troops out of India, they run the same risks as the French in Indo-China and finding Portuguese troops occupying their ports.

The British have to use a sizeable chunk of their fleet to escort the troop transports to Alexandria, leaving less to spare to attack Portuguese.
 

Rensslaer

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Império Novo

Focke-Wulf200Final420.jpg

The ever-present thrum of Chita’s engines had the power to either lull someone to sleep, or to fill one with a sense of exhilaration. To Ari, tonight, they did neither. He was comforted by their presence, but he was on duty and he could not allow himself to succumb to the relaxing vibration working on his muscles and eardrums.

Next to him, though, Paulo deSousa dozed, his body turned slightly within its harness, and his neck awkwardly taking some comfort from a non-regulation pillow he had brought for the trip.

Everyone else on board, Ari suspected, was also asleep. This far abroad, distant from any known airbases, in the middle of the night, on an unexpected journey across uncharted lands, it would be by the oddest of chances that anybody might have the ability to reach up and harm them. Even so, there was so little chance of an attack being seen before…

He would wake them near dawn.

Peering out from his windscreen, Ari could see two hemispheres – the heavens above, all dark but for the half moon and a million pinpoints of distant bright, and the dark circle of the earth below, its rolling jungle canopy perceptible only by its almost uniform texture, revealed by the faint illumination of moonlight, along with….

There. A flash, as if from a strobe. For just a moment. And then again. He could see the mirrorlike reflection of the Upper Congo River peeking through the carpet of trees, stark against the background not due to the intensity of moonlight, but because of the improved quality of its reflection. So long as the general trend of that river’s direction pointed south or southeast, he was on course by dead reckoning. Once the river began to bend back west, it would be time for Aaran to “shoot the stars” from his observation dome so he could determine their location, and thereby define their course, with his sextant.

There was an enormous amount of trust placed in an airplane’s navigational officer, Ari reflected, especially in wartime. If they misread their sextant, or their chronometer, or their almanac, or their map, or if any one of those instruments was damaged, they could find themselves searching at random for one of the world’s precious few aerodromes. There were perhaps three or four, that Ari knew of, within 1,000 kilometres of their location. Without precise navigation, each would as well be 10,000 kilometres away.

As for that 1,000 kilometres, that would place them at their destination within fuel range, but not with a lot of leeway. From Inhambane, Mozambique, they would stretch their legs for a journey through Italian or neutral territory, across the Indian Ocean to Kuching, Borneo, where Portuguese soldiers were locked in a desperate battle for their very lives.

FW200Africa.jpg


After some time, Paulo stirred. Coming alert suddenly, seeming to not know if they were in combat or not, he sat bolt upright, and looked out the window. It took him a moment of sleep-addled confusion to realize he couldn’t see anything because it was night. He groaned, and wiped his face with his hand.

“Good morning,” Ari said, dryly.

“Yeah. Sorry – nerves.” Paulo shook his head, as if to dispel his bewilderment. They had reason to have “nerves.” For the last several days they had been engaged in heavy combat – ground attack missions against the British in the jungles of the British Gold Coast colony. They tried to avoid flying low enough to be vulnerable to “ground fire,” but sometimes if they were bombing trucks or tents in the forest, they had to get in close just to see them. Marques, their crew chief, had put his men to work patching up the two or five holes they came back with after several missions.

Twice, they’d had a scare. Once, Pascoal, in the back, had screamed and shouted and cried the Holy Mother’s name all the way back to base, where it was found out the projectile had passed through his entire foot without breaking more than one bone. Now, he kept the little plug of rubber that had traveled from the sole of his boot, through his foot, and somehow been found among his shell casings as they were cleaning up. It was a good luck charm – a now-cherished memory of his baptism by fire. The other time…

“Hey,” Paulo said. “I’d meant to talk to you about that problem we had.”

“Oh?” Ari looked askance at his friend, defensively.

“I mean, what happened was entirely understandable. But we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Ari relaxed with relief, understanding Paulo’s sincerity. They had been in the thick of flying bullets and trying to find targets on a field of tall grass and scrubby trees when Paulo had shouted, “Ari, to the left!” in order to bring the pilot’s attention to a small-caliber anti-aircraft gun which was beginning to fire tracers at them from the side. Ari had flown on, oblivious, and the gun had stitched their wing and fuselage, leaving one engine smoking and fuel leaking from their wing.

“Maybe you could just call me Skipper, or Captain, instead of Ari,” he suggested.

“Well, I’d prefer we stop using Ari and Aaran, altogether. We’ll call Aaran just Carvalho. Otherwise, the chance for confusion is still there, as you’ll still hear something that sounds like your name.” When Paulo had shouted his warning, Ari had been concentrating. His mind, focused elsewhere, figured Paulo was calling for Aaran, not Ari.

“Yeah…” Ari considered this for a time. This early in the morning, his thoughts wandered in a lazy arc. Carvalho. Oak. Why… “What kind of name is Carvalho, anyway?” he asked. “Why call yourself an oak?” Most Portuguese names had deep histories – not deep roots, he mused, with a touch of over-tired giddiness.

Paulo regarded him seriously. “You honestly don’t know?”

“Eh?”

“It’s Jewish.” He took in Ari’s shocked look – he really hadn’t known. Paulo straightened in preparation, as “the professor” in him took over. “Many of them took the names of trees, because it allowed them to keep some common ethnic identity.”

“Keeping their roots?” There! He had voiced it. Only he grinned, though. Paulo was on too intellectual a tack to find humor.

“Marranos,” came a weak, muzzy voice from behind them. “We are called Marranos, or Conversos” Aaran said.

Both men looked over their shoulders, embarrassed to be caught out discussing him in the third person.

“That’s silly,” Ari said, without fully thinking. “Why change your name, just because you’re Jewish?”

Ach! Paulo exclaimed, shaking his head. “Where did you go to school, again?”

Caught off guard, Ari simply said, “Well… France and Switzerland, actually. My father was in the foreign service.”

“When my family converted to Christianity during the Inquisition, they got rid of their Jewish names so they would fit in.”

“So you’re Christian, then. You’re not a Jew!” There was a hint of derision, there, which Ari didn’t intend, but which the others picked up. Something he’d been raised with, which remained ingrained, but unvoiced, from his childhood. “Are you?”

Ignoring the slight, Aaran explained, “For about 500 years, my family has been Christian. But people still give us trouble, because they still know the name is of Jewish origin.”

“Who?” Incredibly, this was becoming a learning experience for Ari, who had remained aloof from these sort of attitudes in his formative years. “Who would ‘give your trouble’ over that?”

“Most people don’t,” he said, tentatively. “But… For instance, my aunt was harassed at the passport office a few weeks ago. There was this German guy there, who singled her out and made trouble for her application.”

Ari’s brows furrowed, and Paulo fixed Aaran in his gaze. “Why was there a German there?” he asked.

“She said she thought he was there to instruct our people in security measures or something.”

As Paulo grumbled under his breath, Ari asked, “So what happened?”

“The Portuguese clerk said he wouldn’t give it to her, then led her out of the office, then quietly told her to see a man down the hall, who issued the passport.” Aaran grinned.

“Heh.” Paulo puffed a laugh. “That’s clever. That’s about what I’d expect… But Germans?!”

“I think, sometimes,” Ari shook his head, slowly, “that we’ve found ourselves some strange bedfellows. No one I know likes the Germans – their government, at least – and yet that’s who we’re chained to, eh?”

Paulo seemed lost in thought and concern. “We’re the junior partner. I can’t say that we have much choice, but to ‘be happy’ about it. We just need to make sure we don’t forget who we are, and be proud enough not to become lackeys.”

Deciding to insert an element of levity, Ari suggested, “Well, we’ll just have to change your name again, to keep this from happening. What do you want, now? Birds? Food? We could…”

Aaran threw his pillow at his captain, who chuckled.

Paulo patted him on the shoulder, shoving him slightly. “You, sir, are slaphappy! You need to go to sleep, so we’re no longer tempted to ask you to step outside…”