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March of the Habsborg
Chapter 1 - The Arrival
Jupiter, Terran Home System, Sector 001
Stardate 50936.2


Well, perhaps a better byline would have been "somewhere near Jupiter", or, to be anally rententive, "in orbit around Sol-V". Suffice to say, the setting of this first installment is a point in space in close proximity (from an interstellar standpoint) to the fifth planet in the Terran home system, which is commonly referred to by laypersons as Jupiter. Granted, Jupiter isn't much of a planet anymore thanks to the unchecked gas-mining operations, but ...

Quickly, now! Divert your attention to that patch of empty space there. It is not really empty space, you see. What's that? You don't see anything, you say? Of course you don't see anything, because what must be observed therein cannot be seen. Now, now ... no reason to flash that constipated look across your face, the explanation is simple: that which we wish to take note of in that patch of space is merely disguised as empty space. If we were to strip away its camoflage (a neat trick, ranking right up there with our ability to survive floating here in the vacuum of space), we would see a small craft moving with great haste toward the center of the system. Toward the center of the system in a general sense, of course, because the craft's actual destination lies a bit closer than the star itself. One Astronomical Unit closer, that is.

But it is not the craft's destination with which we are concerned ... at least not yet. Watch the craft carefully now (again, a neat trick given that it cannot be seen). Ha! See that? A curious flash, and now the craft has disappeared entirely, whereas before it had merely been invisible. If we were on the bridge of that gas miner over there, we would surely observe the jump of 1.2 seconds by the ship's chronometer just before the great lumbering miner winked out of existence completely. But we are not, so we shall not.

Vienna
January 1, 1492


Now that is an interesting byline. First, we have the location setting, one of Europe's finest cities, and then we have the date, expressed in accordance with an antiquated calendar standard, and set long before said city's destruction in the Third World War. This would seem to imply that some sort of temporal monkey-wrench is about to be thrown into the collective work of history, but as of yet the author's intent is unclear. Perhaps we can do some investigating to determine what exactly is going on here.

We're standing in the middle of the courtyard of the palace occupied by Friedrich V, patriarch of the Habsburg family, Archduke of Austria, Holy Roman Emperor, and whatever silly titles he wishes to call himself. Could this be a clue to this mystery? Alas, it's damn hard to concentrate with that awful screeching noise up above. What could cause such a racket? Hmm ... it appears to be a meteor, hell-bent on embedding itself in the good Friedrich's courtyard. Prudence would suggest that we take cover in those shrubberies over yonder.

And no sooner do we prostrate ourselves than the object from the sky meets the ground with a mighty sound effect that even Lucas would be proud of. The object appears to be a cube, with faces measuring 20 feet by 20 feet. It's utterly ruined Friedrich's bric-a-brac; he'll be sore at that, to be sure. And look out, here he comes now.

"What in the Savior's holy name is going on out ... NOOOOOOOO!!! My bric-a-brac!" See, I told you so. "Who dares drop this ... this ... thing into my courtyard, thereby defiling the home of the Holy Roman Emperor of the Germanic Peoples?"

By this time, most of the population of the palace has assembled in the courtyard to see what all the ruckus is about, and they certainly get an eyeful as a portal opens in the face of the cube that Friedrich is standing next to. Out steps what the palace courtiers would only describe as a knight - a knight with skin paler than the driven snow and bizarre black armor that covers his entire body save for the left half of his face. The end of his right arm is a twisted monstrosity of tools the use of which only the mystery man himself could know.

This odd fellow strides up to the steaming Friedrich, who, in a regal tone, booms "Who are you, who dare to invade my palace and defile my patio?! I would know your name before I put you to death!"

With that, four more "knights" exit the cube, all looking remarkably like the first, and take up flanking positions around their compatriot. At last, the figure before Friedrich speaks.

"We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Will the arrival of the Borg on fifteenth-century Earth signal mankind's destruction?
Read March of the Habsborg, Chapter 2 - The Invaders' Plan to find out!
 

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OOC:

Here I am, in my (hopefully) triumphant return to AAR-writing.

After playing numerous games of Victoria and attempting to AAR several of them, I've given up. I just can't make factory-building interesting, no matter how many uncivilized nations I beat up on. Instead, I am offering this crapheap, which is based on my first game played with the 1.08 patch.

This AAR started off as comedy (big surprise) but, as future chapters will show, grew more serious as I continued. (As of now, the first four chapters have been written.) I grew to realize that the Borg just aren't well suited to comedy, and decided to adopt a spookier tone as they secretly began to assimilate sixteenth century monarchs. Still, after reading the first chapter several times, it still makes me chuckle in places, and I'd hate to scrap it. So at the risk of damaging the continuity of the overall work, I've decided to keep it. Just be forewarned that succeeding chapters will be much, much, different.

But still damn fine writing. ;)

Setup:
EU2 v1.08
Age of Exploration (1492) Scenario
Very Hard / Coward
Peter Ebbesen's SSREM and Asian Manpower mods are in effect

Nation: Austria

Rules:
- No non-CtD-induced reloads
- No manufactured CB's via throne-claiming or loansharking (merchant spamming, however ...)
- No colonization allowed, not even a single TP (colonial acquisitions via war are OK)
- Diplo-annexing is allowed, even in exceptionally silly cases (examples to follow)
- No flipping back and forth btwn. CRC and Catholic
- Knowledge of historical events shall be exploited (particularly in the case of those pesky tax-dodgers in Holland)

Goals:
Hard to say, really. I'd started off with the intention of seeing how large I could get without building a single colony, but as you can probably guess by the AAR's name and the identity of the protagonists, it became much bloodier as the game progressed. Nevertheless, even those of you who find megalomanical conquest AAR's boring (especially those done with powerful nations like Austria) may yet find this story entertaining, as it will show what can happen when you decide to fight the BB wars without having planned to do so from the start of the game. It remains to be seen just how futile resistance is. :)
 

AmbassadeBelgie

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'We are the Termiborg. Resistance is not exactly futile but the line will make things much easier for us."

Th :rofl:
 

Farquharson

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This looks like the beginnings of a great story, even if the Borg settle down and get serious about planet conquest. :rofl:

BTW
Very Hard / Coward
I don't remember ever seeing that combination before - I suppose it's part of the "Resistance is futile" scenario.
 

Sindai

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May actually make things tougher, since the AI will likely just sit tight and build up their ludicrous support limit-defying armies instead of attacking him. At least unless he hits the BB limit.
 

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Sindai: I hope it's better than the pun. :)
MAlexander06: Thanks. Hope springs eternal ...
JP: Creepy, isn't it? And that fixedsys font ... *shudder*
AmbassadeBelgie: Termiborg? Sounds Swedish ... ;)
Farquharson: Very Hard / Coward is, generally speaking, the hardest combination of difficulty and aggressiveness, for the reason that Sindai cites. Usually I start off at Very Hard / Furious, and then tone down aggressiveness to Coward once I've got 8-10 provinces (or more). That way, I get the best of both worlds: AI nations looking to eat me for breakfast when I'm small, and AI nations smart enough to stay out of my way when I'm big (BB wars excepted, of course). Since Austria starts off in 1492 with a good territorial base, I set aggressiveness to Coward right off the bat. The result is less senseless fighting between the AI nations and higher AI tech levels late in the game.

Next installment should be up soon.
 

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March of the Habsborg
Chapter 2 - The Invaders' Plan

Collective core dump follows:

... ERROR: Invalid chronological designation: stardate unknown. Begin recalibration of chronometer based upon local calender standard ... ... complete.

1492.1.8: Assimilation of leadership of human faction designated "Austria" complete. Assimilation of remaining faction population underway. Faction power rated as strong, but not dominant. Attempts to expand faction borders martially would likely result in resistance by neighboring factions. Calculated odds of martial success: 2.387%. Formulating alternative strategies ...
...
...
Alternative strategy selected:
1. Assimilate neighboring factions' leadership in a clandestine manner.
2. Politically join neighboring factions' leadership with Austrian faction's leadership.
3. Assimilate neighboring factions' populations.
4. Goto step 1.


Münich
October 3, 1492


Prince Wilhelm bid a good evening to the last few straggling wedding guests before climbing the steps to the royal quarters. He found his father, Albrecht the Wise still in the study adjoining his bedchamber. The Duke looked up from his Bible, a frown across his face.

"Surely you don't wish to keep your lady waiting, Wilhelm."

A wry smile crept across Wilhelm's face. "No, father ... I just wanted to bid you good night, and to thank you once more for arranging my marriage with the lovely Maria."

"Thank me not Wilhelm, for your marriage was arranged with the good of the family in mind. Maria's entrance into our court can only increase our standing in the Emperor's eyes, you know."

"True enough, father. I merely wish to express my gratitude for the many ... fringe benefits this marriage affords me personally."

"Duly noted. Now, go and tend to those 'fringe benefits', as you call them, and leave me to my prayers."

Wilhelm left without another word, retiring to his own quarters, where Maria awaited him. Or so he thought. Upon entering his bedchamber he found it was dark. He crossed the room, lit the torch on the opposite wall, and turned around to place the torch he was carrying into the holder by the doorway when the door shut with a bang. Maria had been hiding behind it, and had waited for Wilhelm to cross the room before closing it and revealing herself.

After overcoming his initial surprise, Wilhelm smiled. "Playing hard to get, were we?" Maria stared at him in silence as Wilhelm crossed the room and laid the torch in the doorway holder. "Now, shall we get down to consummating this joyous occasion?" he asked, always the sly lover.

Maria's answer was most unexpected. With a sweeping motion she grabbed Wilhelm, lifted him clear off the ground, and tossed him onto the bed. "Well, I can see that you'll father many strong sons for me," Wilhelm panted, trying to catch his breath. Without a word, Maria crossed the room, leapt onto the bed, and pinned Wilhelm's arms down. "My, you certainly like things rough, don't you, dear," he gasped, not wishing to spoil the mood. But the reply from his bride spoiled the mood faster than an ill-timed flatulation.

"I am Maria of Habsborg. We shall add your consciousness to our own. Resistance is futile."


1499.2.23: Matrimonial insertion of drones into Bavarian and Swiss factions' leadership complete. Specialization of tax collector drones throughout Austrian territory complete. Assimilation of Austrian population nearing completion. Expansion of territorial base desired. Possible targets:

France: No human-recognized justification for war. Superior military and economic resources. Odds of success: 4.639%
Poland: No human-recognized justification for war. Equivalent military and economic resources. Odds of success: 51.452%
Venice: Occupation of Habsborg-claimed Istria constitutes justification for war. Equivalent military forces. Superior economic resources. Odds of success: 42.568%
Friesland: Occupation of Habsborg-claimed Friesen and Gelre constitutes justification for war. Inferior military and economic resources. Odds of success: 92.457%

Analysis complete. Diplomat drone dispatched.


Milan
January 2, 1500


Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milano, paced back and forth in his courtyard, awaiting the Austrian diplomat with much trepidation. News from other states had revealed disturbing things about the recent inner workings of House Habsburg; some even believed the family was under the control of some demonic force. It certainly seemed that few who visited Vienna returned from whence they came, but that could simply be due to an ill-tempered Emperor, a common lament of the times. Still, Sforza couldn't shake the feeling that something was amiss ...

Out of the corner of his eye, Sforza spied the Habsburg representative entering. He saw nothing strange about the man, except for his curious black armor and pale complexion. Sforza began to feel at ease. He would meet with this man, discuss the terms of the Habsburgs' inheritance of Milano, and press his belief that the Duchy would be best ruled semi-independently. In his capable hands, of course.

Sforza greeted the diplomat cordially. "Greetings, good sir! I hope your trip was pleasant?"

The diplomat engaged in no such pleasantries. It stopped directly in front of the Duke and stated flatly, "We are the Habsborg. Milan will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."


1500.4.4: Peace concluded with Friesland faction. Control of Geldre province transferred to Habsborg. Assimilation of Friesland leadership complete. Assimilation of Friesen population underway. Estimated time to complete: ten Earth-years.

1505.8.1: Expansion of territorial base desired. Previous analysis remains applicable, with exception of military strength evaluation of Venice faction. Venetian strength has decreased due to war with Ottoman faction. Allies include Scotland, Savoy, and Hessen. Habsborg allies include Bavaria, Bohemia, and Friesland. Odds of success improved to 72.432%.

Analysis complete. Diplomat drone dispatched.


Is this the end of the merchant republic?
Read March of the Habsborg, Chapter 3 - The Enemy Within to find out!
 

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Sindai: Nah, surely the French will be pushovers, what with their army of 500,000, built in complete defiance of any support limits. :p You've just gotta love the AI cheats that are part and parcel of the upper difficulties.

Farquharson: Be careful with forced laughter ... you might injure yourself! :eek:

jwolf: Thanks for the compliment, but I really do suck at this game. We shall eventually see how futile resistance really is ...

Next chapter coming up.
 

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March of the Habsborg
Chapter 3 - The Enemy Within

Venice
December 2, 1507


Doge Leonardo Loredano strode into the war room to begin the daily meeting. He interrupted an argument between his top generals, Nicolo Pitigliano and Bartolomeo d´Alviano. "What news of the war, gentlemen?"

d'Alviano spoke first. "Doge, our forces in Tirolia have been routed and the enemy continues to cut off the city's lines of communication. We must leave the city while we still can!"

"And allow Venice to be looted by the vile Habsburgs?!" Pitigliano replied disgustedly.

"Venice is lost, as is Mantua," countered d'Alviano. "Zara still stands, and we can fight on from there."

"What of our landing in the Low Countries?" asked the Doge.

"Destroyed to a man," spat Pitigliano, "by an army under Prince Ferdinand."

"That's monstrous!" raged the Doge. "That force constituted half of our army!"

"Precisely why we must abandon Venice and continue the struggle from Zara! Doge Loredano, I implore you ... let us leave the city immediately!"

Loredano saw the desperation in d'Alviano's eyes and knew the proverbial jig was up. Letting out a heavy sigh, he rendered his decision. "Very well, Bartolomeo. Let us make for the galleys and sail for Zara. We are not beaten yet."


Collective core dump follows:

1506.5.3: Scotland faction forced to cease martial action. Seventy-nine ducats transferred to Habsborg treasury.

1506.5.13: Lombardia and Franche-Comte provinces captured by Savoy faction. Savoyard military strength precludes their ejection.

1506.9.22: Venetian forces in Zeeland engaged by Ferdinand drone. Futility of resistance demonstrated.

1507.12.2: Mantua and Veneto captured. Venetian leadership has fled.

1508.6.4: Dalmatia captured. Venetian leadership forced to concede Mantua and Istria in exchange for cessation of martial action.

1513.5.21: Assimilation of Friesen population complete. Assimilation of Bavarian and Swiss leadership complete.

1521.9.7: Assimilation of Bavarian population nearing completion. Assimilation of Genoese leadership complete.


Extent of Borg advance, 1523:
Screen003.jpg



Prague
August 29, 1526


As his carriage entered the city, Niccolo Corleone tapped his fingers on his knees nervously. He looked down at the letter from his Doge for at least the twentieth time since his departure from Venice.

My Dearest King Lajos,

It is with a heavy heart that I have learned of your recent ill health. I hope this letter finds you in better temper, for I believe that the fate of Christendom, nay, the fate of all Creation may rest upon your shoulders.

During the Republic's war with the Habsburgs nearly two decades ago, Savoyard forces captured the Habsburg garrison commander in Besancon. After lengthy interrogation, the Savoyards learned that this commander, and indeed the entire population of the Habsburg realm, was under the influence of a demonic force known as "Borg". It appears to have no motivation save conquest, and it has pursued this agenda through dark and sinister means.

Your Grace most certainly knows of the Habsburg annexation of Bavaria in the Year of Our Lord 1522. Venice believes this is the work of Borg, working through Bavarian nobles who had succumbed to the demon's control a decade prior. We also believe that leaders of Helvetia and Genoa have also come under the influence of this insidious Borg.

Your Grace's ill-health, coupled with Bohemia's laws of succession and the Habsburgs' claims to your throne, stand to give Christianity's greatest threat a tremendous victory. I beseech thee - you must not allow the Habsburgs to inherit the crown of Bohemia. Name a lesser prince as your successor, lest the forces of evil grow yet stronger!

Sincerely yours,
Doge Andrea Gritti


As the carriage pulled up to the palace gates, Corleone prayed he was in time. Stepping out, he cut the guard short before he could speak. "You must bring me to the King immediately." Before the guard could respond, Corleone showed him the back of the letter, with the Doge's sigil clearly marked.

Ten minutes later, he was entering the bedchamber of King Lajos. The nurse shut the door behind him, leaving Corleone alone with the King. "My Lord, I have come with much haste from Venice, bearing correspondence of the gravest import from the Doge. With your permission, I should like to read it to you."

No response issued forth from the ailing monarch. The nurse had told Corleone that they believed he suffered from the plague, and the messenger was inclined to believe her. Lajos certainly looked plague-ridden, covered with bubos as he was. Corleone was about to begin reading the letter when suddenly one of the bubos on the King's neck burst. Black tendrils issued forth from the lesion, covering the left half of Lajos' face. Turning to Corleone, the King finally spoke.

"We are the Habsborg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Barely able to keep from screaming, Corleone began turning for the door when his legs picked a most inopportune moment to go on strike. Falling flat on his posterior, he looked once more at the horror that was once King Lajos. One of the tendrils had snaked itself over the King's left eye socket, and was beginning to cover it with a red film. There was no need to keep from screaming then, for Corleone's vocal cords had joined his legs in a sympathy strike. After collecting himself off the floor, he finally summoned the coordination to lurch towards the door and fling it open. One of the palace guards was waiting there.

"The King ... " stammered Corleone. "He is ..."

The guard interrupted him. "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Corleone stumbled backward into a nearby corner of the bedchamber as the ex-guard and The Thing Formerly Known as Lajos of Bohemia reached out to him. Shutting his eyes and clasping his hands, he drew upon the only weapon he had to combat the monstrosities that were surely about to end him.

"Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum ... benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus ... Sancta MariAGGGGGGGHHLLLAAAAAAGGGGHH!"

Will Bohemia's assimilation spell doom for humanity?
Read March of the Habsborg, Chapter 4 - Evil Restrained to find out!
 

CatKnight

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Great start!

I've been watching the boards for awhile and just not joined. This AAR is great so far, I'll be keeping a close eye on it!
:rolleyes:
 

Yakman

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original. I like it.
 

Farquharson

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Oops! That garrison commander seems to have been imperfectly assimilated - surely spilling the beans like that is unacceptable behaviour! So now the secret is out, but is it yet widely known or will those who know be assimilated themselves before it can spread further? And yes, who is going to be able to restrain the Borg? Can't wait to find out... :D
 

Judge

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Welcome back. Interesting angle indeed and some funny lines too. Good start :)