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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

CatKnight

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So Heyward's joining the rebellion, eh? Good news. Thought I'd drop in and say you've got a mighty fine AAR going here.

Thanks Zachary! Welcome aboard!


This is pretty good stuff. Reminds me of Turtledove's writings. Keep up the good work!

Hi Roch! Turtledove? Is he the one that wrote the alternate history about the Confederacy?

---------------------------------
Comments:

Well, I won my first war ... not that I really consider the Iroquois that much of a challenge. I didn't even bother bringing the Continental Army into it.

Instinct tells me I might as well get the Cherokee and Creek out of the way, but that also exposes me to a lot more English territory that I'd have to try and defend against in the event of a major war. Having Savannah as a bottleneck just might be to my advantage right now - the north's going to be wild once the war restarts.

Economically I'm starting to strengthen - the Manhattan CoT helps alot. I'll want some more troops for the coming war, but otherwise I think game-wise this is a good time to sit back and build up my infrastructure. (Offices, not tech.)

Any thoughts?
 

unmerged(15337)

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CatKnight said:
Economically I'm starting to strengthen - the Manhattan CoT helps alot. I'll want some more troops for the coming war, but otherwise I think game-wise this is a good time to sit back and build up my infrastructure. (Offices, not tech.)

Any thoughts?

What you suggest sounds reasonable to me. It was definitely a good move to play trade hardball with the English.

Excellent story, too. If both Heyward and Carleton face heavy criticism back home, then they must have made a pretty good deal.
 

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Great storytelling and I can only wonder how (if) the HoI timeline and the EU timeline are going to get connected. The people in your story come alive and the ploy to place a Brit in a crucial position during the American struggle for independence, leaves me uncertain of where this will go. :)

Attention fully engaged, I'll be following this one!
 

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This is an active story to follow with all the jumping around. The maps are great and I am enjoying it a lot. Nice job!!

:)
 

unmerged(24591)

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Hi Roch! Turtledove? Is he the one that wrote the alternate history about the Confederacy?

---------------------------------
Indeed, one and the same. If you (or anyone else) find this interesting, "How Few Remain" is probably right up your alley. A novel of the Second War between the States....except I've never seen Pac-Man in his novels.... :D

Enough of that, though. Your story is just as interesting! I'm looking forward to the next decade. I smell some pretty good stuff cookin' :)
 

CatKnight

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JWolf: Well, the deal bought me five years, so it has to be pretty good!

Stuyvesant: Welcome! Well, I've subtlely alluded to the connection between HoI and the EU timeline. Tom's still wondering that himself. As for where it'll go...? That depends on EU's AI of course. :eg:

Stroph: Thanks!

Zachary: I was wondering if anyone was going to notice the cartoon :D

JRoch: No PacMan in Turtledove's writings? Ah well.

--------------

If vonBek's still reading, these next few chapters are for him. :rolleyes:
 

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Chapter 5: Paradise Lost (1 of 2)

To understand what happened to Tom Heyward, we must go back, beyond the Iroquois War and the events leading up to it, until just before England was forced to recognize American independence. Indeed, had people known that the not quite graceful acknowledgement was even now racing on a post ship across the Atlantic, things would have gone quite differently.

9th July, 1773
Savannah, Georgia province


The Pirate's House was aptly named. The second oldest building in the city stood on the east end of town, overlooking the Savannah River like an ancient castle may have overlooked its demesne hundreds of years ago. Even before the American question became inflamed, Savannah was regarded as a frontier town. Traders and explorers would gather here before foraying into Cherokee country upriver, and less reputable shippers who couldn't be bothered with Charles Town's port taxes or adherence to English law found safe haven in a town that didn't ask questions.

No questions from the Pirate's House either. Several long tables lined with benches filled the common area so as to mimic the mess of a man of war while lamps hung from gimbals in the naval style. The room smelt like a mess as well, with the curious mix of fish, grog and hard worked men peculiar to sailors. Most everyone here belonged to that curious trade, laughing, shouting and occasionally singing in voices pitched to be heard from the maintop in a howling nor'easter. No women, other than the servers. Indeed, no lady who cared a brass farthing for her reputation came to the Pirate's House - nor that many townsmen either: Getting drunk here was an excellent way to wake with a poppy-induced haze on a ship bound for God knew where.

This made it the perfect place for a little quiet business.

"Did you bring it?" Tom asked with his coldest reserve.

"Aye, for the good it'll do ye." A dark haired man with a rat-like nose and beady eyes pushed a flintlock pistol across the table. "Be careful. It's loaded."

That was a good thing, as Tom had no idea how to do it himself. He carefully cinched it in his belt and covered it with his cloak. "Pay the man," he told Johnny curtly.

The boy - no, a young man now - slid a purse across the table that clinked enticingly, drawing curious gazes. Rat-nose annexed the coins as casually as Heyward did the gun. "What are ye planning anyway, gov'ner?"

"That is none of your concern."

"Maybe yes, maybe no. I only ask 'cause I know some folk who… you might be saying, are willin' to take a private commission?" He smiled hopefully. Dental hygiene was not his strength.

"Maybe…," John offered, looking over doubtfully.

"You do not even know what I am about." The older collaquialisms were getting easier as time passed.

"Sure I do, gov. You're buyin' from me instead of ol' Master Taylor 'oo runs the store at market, so you don't want to attract attention. You 'n your boy here are new at this, I can see from your manner, so this be a personal gripe for ye rather than business. So, who ye upset at? Someone here steal another boy o' yours? No, you wouldn't have thought to get the gun 'ere. No, it's the lobsters you don' want seeing you, so either you're goin' after them - which would be dumb, pardon me, or some bugger stole your wife." Rat-nose paused and studied Johnny intently. "That's it. You want your woman back. Well, that don' scare me none."

Heyward had listened to this analysis with growing doubt. Was he really that obvious? With the last he began to breathe again, and drank from his cup, utterly crushing a surprising and ill-timed memory of Jessie at her flat, reading.

"It should," he finally said. "Her….suitor is quite powerful."

'Don' bother me, gov. Man bleeds just like the next, eh? Gimme the bugger's name and some more coin, and he'll just…vanish."

"I'd rather do it myself."

"Ah, wanna try it hands on eh? Well, your call of course. Don' say Narci didn't offer to help though."

"Narci? That's your name?"

"Aye. Well, nickname. Me boys call me that. Say I look like some Greek cove."

"Oh….well, thank you….Narci." After Rat-nose left, he turned on Johnny. "And you, did you get it?"

"The map? Yes, here." He laid it out.

savannahcity.txt


Savannah was built on a man-made plateau over wetlands. James Oglethorpe, the colony's founder, had apparently laid out the city in his mind well before it was built, for the streets and avenues were as straight as if God had laid down a giant yardstick for them to work off of. On the south side of the city were a series of hedges, trenches and redoubts, a new addition from the English governor-general.

Lord William Howe was no fool. He knew the Americans would be back. Loyalty and honor demanded they try and retake Georgia. He would have much preferred to carry the fight right back into the upstart colonies, but this damnable truce Carleton signed forbade it. Instead he fortified. And waited.

Ever since taking over command of the southern forces in November, Howe also puzzled what to do about his 'guests.' The Georgia assemblymen trying to coordinate with the rebel Congress had been executed out of hand. Most of the South Carolina assembly he paroled when the English retook Charles Town. He still had two guests though - a Doctor Lyman Hall, who'd openly consorted with this Congress and would pay for his crimes, and the head of the South Carolina assembly, who was too valuable to let go while the war was still in question.

"I'll be counting on you to get the horses," he told Johnny. "No heroics. Pay the man fair and square if you have to, the last thing we need is to get into a fight." Especially with English soldiers. Christ, what am I doing? "We then ride like fury for the west exit, and so to freedom."

"That redoubt's going to have soldiers."

"Hopefully by the time they realize something's happening, we'll be in South Carolina and they can …. er, we can kiss our hand to their company."

-----------------------------------

"Your name?"

"Private Daniel Lancaster, 78th Foot, sir!" The soldier looked down warily at the man confronting him. Black coat - a civilian. Just what he needed. Guarding this house was boring - the prisoners barely raised a peep anymore. He'd been standing for hours. He needed to piss. His relief was overdue. And now a civilian. Wonderful.

"My name is….Pullings." Heyward swallowed. "I'm the assistant judge advocate from St. Augustine. I'm to question the prisoners. Stand aside."

"No one may see the prisoners without a chit from the governor, sir!"

"Lord Howe is busy hunting right now, soldier. Shall we go disturb him? Shall I go and say that I am sorry to disturb him, but Private Lancaster thought this required his personal attention?"

"I have my orders, sir."

Heyward frowned. On to plan B. "Indeed. Look, how long have you been here?"

"Close to a year."

"No, I meant today."

"Little over nine hours." Lancaster frowned suspiciously.

"No breaks?" Thomas knew the answer. "Look, let me talk to them. I can make sure they don't escape, and you can sit down for a moment."

Daniel's bladder agreed wholeheartedly, but a soldier's life was duty. "I can't do that, sir," he said tightly.

At that moment another redcoat appeared, curly blond hair, deep blue eyes. And he was whistling.

"Tyler, where the devil 'ave you been?" Lancaster exploded.

"Eh? What's the matter wi' you?"

"You're overdue!"

"I think not."

"You don't think, you bloody-minded…"

Tom slipped past them, and through the door.
 
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Machiavellian

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Great stuff you have here.
I shall keep reading. I am looking forward to seeing how the politics shall develope from here.
 

unmerged(24591)

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AAK!!! You ended it too soon! Do the soldiers stop arguing long enough to notice he slipped by? The tension was mounting pretty good and then.....
 

CatKnight

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Chapter 6: Paradise Lost (2 of 2)

9th July, 1773
Savannah, Georgia province


Thomas Heyward closed the door silently behind him and stared down the narrow, dimly lit hall. One might expect him to be troubled, for what he planned now was nothing less than high treason.

Or was it? After ten months in this strange time and place there were only two possibilities. One, that this was some fantastically elaborate dream, or coma, or purgatory, or was otherwise not real. If so, then nothing he did here signified and thus, no foul. The other possibility was that this was real. Somehow he'd been thrown back in time nearly two hundred years. If so, then he had already broken the timeline. Where he came from there was no truce. A rebellion in the 1770s, yes, that much Tom remembered. It failed, however, put down amidst the usual horrors along with the Irish in the 1790s. If he'd already changed history … then did the world he knew, the nation he grew up loving, even exist?

Tom owed this strange version of England very little. He owed the United Colonies even less. There was a man here he'd unwittingly put in the way of death, however. And he owed Johnny quite a bit more.

"Ho, the house!" he called softly.

Doctor Lyman Hall stepped out of the sitting room and frowned. "Who are you in the shadows?" he demanded in a high, but strong voice. He expected to be hung, but a quiet assassination wasn't out of the question. Tom stepped into the lamplight. "Heyward? What the devil are you doing here?"

"I've come to get you out. Where's Preston?"

"Here." A big man in his late thirties, with short, bristly hair balding at top joined them. William Preston was the speaker for the South Carolina assembly before the governor there arrested everyone. "Heyward? Good to see you!"

Tom had to take the man's word on that. He'd never seen him before. "Pack only what you need, we don't have long. One or two minutes."

"I cannot leave," Hall told him simply.

"What!?"

"I cannot leave. I gave my parole I wouldn't try to escape."

"Aye, me too," Preston agreed.

"What are you…!?" Tom began. Then lowering his tone. "Are you crazy? You're going to be killed!"

Hall sniffed. "I know, but my family's safe in Carolina. I moved them across before the soldiers found me."

"So now you're ready to die?" Leyward demanded.

"I gave my parole," he repeated. "My word of honor. Without that a man is nothing. You know that."

"I know Georgia needs you. You have to help set things up when the English are gone!"

"The English aren't leaving," Hall smiled. "Your truce affirmed that."

"Not leaving. .. now. Did you really think we'd abandon you?"

"You did abandon Georgia, sir."

"Well I was wrong. Now grab your coat. And you," this to Preston, "your son's here."

"Johnny? He's…okay?" Preston gripped Tom's arm so tightly he gasped.

"Yes! And we both know he won't leave without you. Now come on, we don't have time."

"Hey, you in there!" Tyler's voice. "Come out, I want to talk with you!" They must have settled their argument. Damn.

"But parole…" Preston protested.

"Choose! Your word to people who want you dead? Or your son." Not receiving a response, he turned. "Guard, get in here! This man's sick!"

The door slammed open and Tyler ran in, looking around wild. Swallowing his fear, Tom swung with all his might.

And missed. Missed so badly, in fact, that Tyler didn't even register it as an attack. He simply stared. "Sir?"

"Over here." Hall gripped his side. He even managed to sound weak. Tyler approached warily.

William hit him in the back of the head, and the guard fell.

A mad dash to the rendevous, which with a complete lack of strategy had been set for the main road out of town. Johnny held three horses tightly by the reins, and turned his own horse at the sprinting men.

"Pa!"

"Not now!" Stupid, stupid, stupid! People were already raising the hue and cry, pointing and yelling. Two drunken sailors ran (sorta) in pursuit and called out. Heyward mounted as the first whistles blew their high pitched shrieks.

They galloped along the road out of the city, down the steep plateau and into the wetlands beyond. The thunder of hooves, a pained whinny from Tom's horse as he pulled the reins too hard making the turn. From here it was simple; up ahead the redoubt - a sharp right there, and then out. Easier said than done. Bells rang from the city now, and soldiers ran out of the redoubt, looking for something amiss. Four galloping horsemen qualified nicely. Once past the buildings it was over a hundred yards across open ground to them. Damn!

"Stop in the name of the king!" cried one soldier as they thundered past. Lancaster. What the devil was he doing here? Did these lobster backs never rest?

Christ, now I'm thinking like them. "Don't stop!" he screamed. His words were lost on the wind, not that anyone needed the advice. Fifty yards ahead he saw a puff of black powder, heard a report. Up ahead soldiers tried to turn a cannon. A CANNON!? Instinctively he turned away, costing him a few lengths, but there was no danger. A four-pound cannon like theirs still weighed nearly a ton, they'd never get it around in time.

Up ahead was a bottleneck of sorts. Two trenches ran nearly together at this point. The road itself was the only safe route across, and this just wide enough for a wagon. The soldiers ahead seemed to have realized their error - abandoning their cannon for rifles. A decision had to be made NOW - just keep going straight, over the hedge and thus run south and work their way around - or on to the redoubt, hope the soldiers were still disorganized and so race past them westward. Or maybe…

Tom heard the report just as William Preston's back erupted in a red spray. He cried out, straightened, and his horse immediately slowed. Leyward made a wild grab for his reins, missed, turned hard.

Preston sighed from his saddle, crumpling on the path. Tom stared down at him. Oh my God.

"Pa!" Johnny tried to dismount, but Hall checked him, grabbed his reins. "Let me go!"

"There isn't time!"

"NO!"

Preston tried to speak. What was he saying? Tom stared.

"Come on Heyward, it's now or never!"

"Stop!" Lancaster again, running between the two trenches as the black smoke from his rifle drifted behind him. Tom looked up. Growled. Fool. Why did he have to get involved? Animal. He could have just gone back to his barracks or to the tavern or whatever it was he did when off duty. Bastard. Heyward drew his pistol and fired.

Lancaster went straight down. So did Tom's horse as the soldiers at the redoubt fired a volley in retaliation. The horse screamed, bucked and collapsed. Providence was all that allowed him to dive clear of the dying animal, landing hard on the packed earth. Something hard slammed into his leg like a sledgehammer, and someone somewhere screamed. Then strong hands grappled him, and he knew no more.
 
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Machiavellian: Thanks, and welcome! As for the politics, that's a very good question. I'm as curious as you are. :D

JRoch: Well, I noticed it was getting a little long for one post. Plus, it gave you a reason to come back. ;)

-----------
Incidentally, I didn't expect quite the ending I wrote. This story's starting to take on a life of its own, which to me is a good thing. I hope you enjoy, it's probably going to be a bumpy ride!
 

CatKnight

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Chapter 7: The Devil Force-annexed Georgia

9th July, 1773
Somewhere in Georgia province



Running. His legs weren't moving, but he had to be running. The wind whipped past his face and distantly Tom heard the rumble of thunder. He opened his eyes long enough to see…the ground, rushing in front of his face at inconceivable speed. No rain. Curious, it sometimes did that in the southern latitudes...

"Tommy? Wake up, you sleepy head! You'll be late!"

Heyward woke with a start. He was in Jessie's flat, lying on her couch. "Late for what?" he mumbled.

Jessie stepped into view, a vision with beautiful auburn hair bouncing on her shoulders. She was wearing her best dress, yellow with pink flowers. She placed her small fists on her hips and stared down with something between amusement and indignation. "For work of course, silly!"

Of course. It'd been a dream. It had all been a horrible dream!

"Of….course." Slowly Tom stood, looking around warily. Everything was as it should be. There was her annoying black cat, Effie, giving him her usual malevolent stare. The room smelt of the violets he'd picked for her the day before. Outside he heard the occasional galloping horse and musket fire.

"Now, where was my….yes!" She put on a sky blue bonnet and turned. "How do I look?"

"Good. Listen…why don't we take the day off? Spend some time together? There's….there's some things we should talk about." I won't let you slip away again.

Jessie grinned coyly. "Maybe tonight! I have to finish getting ready for my recital! And you, sir," she added in a distinctly lower tone, "You have work to do!"

"What…? The factory can wait! Let me come with you!"

She laughed softly. "You can't go, sir." she said in the same queer tone. "You aren't done yet."

"Done? Done with what? LOOK OUT!" This as Jessie opened the door, revealing a Nazi SS officer standing there as politely as one could ask. Jessie didn't seem fazed at all, even blew him a kiss as the Nazi drew his pistol, aimed at her forehead, and fired.

The German stepped in, leering.

"YOU SON OF A *****! I'LL KILL YOU!" Tom charged, wrapping his hands around the killer's throat.
-------------

"Hold him!" Doctor Lyman Hall shouted, pushing Heyward back to the muddy earth as Johnny pinned his shoulders.

"LET GO OF ME!" Tom bellowed.

"Silence him! They could be anywhere!"

John Preston pressed something…a stick?…into his mouth and pinned him again. "Don't give up yet, sir. You still have work to do!"

Slowly, by halting jerks, sanity returned. Tom looked around, realized where he was. Silent tears streamed down his cheeks.

"I wish he stayed out a little longer," Hall muttered. He then grabbed Heyward's jaw, forcing him to meet his gaze. "Now, sir. Listen. Your leg is broken. I can set it, but there will be some discomfort. The English are all around us, you have to be as quiet as you can. Do you understand?" A reluctant nod.

"Fine." He looked at Preston. "Hold him still, whatever you do. Best keep the stick in for now." John nodded wildly. "Then, on the count of three. One. Two."

Tom screamed, a high pitched keening muffled but by no means silenced. He cried out again, thrashing under the boy's grip as his leg was forced into place.

"Okay, take the stick out. Don't let him up yet."

He lay there, gasping as Hall splinted his leg, binding it to a large branch - the only thing handy.

When he could speak again without whimpering, Heyward heard his voice from a great distance. "Where?"

"A few miles outside town. When you fell we scooped you up and ran for it."

Tom remembered William Preston's face - and that of Private Lancaster as well. He'd been so young, so utterly surprised the split second he was shot. "What've I done?" he whispered.

Neither man had much of an answer, and so they sat through a long, uncomfortable night. Occasionally they heard patrols shouting back and forth, but always far off.

They lit no fire, and after dusk it was pitch black. Insects whirred to each other in the trees, and somewhere a creature whooed or howled. It was hot and humid, and the mud from the earth soaked into his cloak. Tom did his best not to think, far less dream - every memory more painful than the last. What could he have done differently? Plenty of things. Plenty of plans that would have led to their unqualified success. His leg throbbed and itched. Jessie…

Dawn came, a dusky, orange sun low on the eastern horizon brought still more warmth if that were possible. Squirrels stared at them with open curiosity before literally racing over the trio before continuing their mad dash out of sight. Tom couldn't do much, and John didn't seem up to anything more than sulking - a very bad night for him as well - so it was up to Doctor Hall to come up with a plan.

"I know a few people who may help us," he announced. "I'll return as soon as I can. Try to keep the leg dry."

Little chance of that, though wedging a rock under his calf, thus raising the entire splint, helped nicely. John said nothing as he worked, didn't look up.

"I….I'm sorry."

He shook his head rapidly, tears in his eyes. "Wasn't your fault."

"Maybe we could have tried something different."

"No." He didn't want to talk about it, which was just as well, for in that direction lay madness. "I just…"

"What is it?"

"You know, sir. My mum's gone. Now my pa. I…I don't know what to do. I'm not apprenticed to anything. My pa always figured I'd run the banking house when the time came, but I don't know how to do that. I really don't want to either."

"What do you want to do then?"

"I want to kill them all," he swore viciously.

Tom chilled despite the morning heat. "Not all of them are bad …. they're just men doing their jobs, like us."

"Not like you! You didn't have to come here!"

Heyward shrugged. "I owed Hall a favor. And I wanted to help you." Fine job at that, mate.

John shook his head. "They killed my pa and God knows how many other people. They'll pay!"

"You know…" But of course he didn't know. He was hurting. Tom sighed, tried to take that into account. "We have a few years to decide. If you don't want your pa's banking house we can sell it, then you can stay with me. If you want that is. I mean, at least you wouldn't be alone."

"As your servant, sir?" Preston asked bitterly.

"You were never my servant. I was told to look after you." A lie. "In fact, if you must know you have been apprenticed all along." Another lie. "You'll stay with me, and if in a few years you still want to kill Englishmen … we'll talk about it. Okay?"

The young man, a boy no more, nodded reluctantly, shyly. "As you wish, sir."

"The name's Tom."

---------

The wagon creaked as it rolled up the post road to the Georgia border. The master, a thin man with a taste for tobacco grinned at the approaching soldiers. "Now friends," he muttered under his smile. "You just keep still and we'll be done soon enough."

Buried under a pile of hay, Tom whispered. "Are you sure we can rely on him?"

"He owes me a favor," Hall replied in the same tone.

"Which makes this the perfect time to make sure he never has to repay."

"You're mean-spirited when you're injured, did you know that?"

"Good morning, my friend!" beamed the wagoneer, slowing to a halt. The English had set up a checkpoint on the border, and two soldiers approached.

"What have we here?" demanded the soldier.

"Oh, just some hay for a friend over the river. That and some vegetables."

"Your friend doesn't have his own hay?" the soldier asked mildly. The other one looked up at Johnny on the box next to the master, who glowered back with loathing.

"Oh don't mind him, sir. He thought he had a date today. Lazy boy." The master cuffed him across the back of the head and gave him a warning look. Then, to the soldier: "My friend actually runs the tavern half-way between here and Charles Town. Perhaps you've heard of Ripley's?"

Of course they had. It was the only way station between the two towns. Business had dropped off since the war. While they talked, the other soldier worked his way to the back of the wagon and peered in. Boxes, hay. Nothing exciting. He poked his head around and nodded at his partner.

"Very well. God speed."

"Safe travels, my friend." The wagoneer nickered at his horses and they obediently trotted across the wooden bridge with a steady thump-thump.

"How long are you going to be in Charles Town … er.. Charleston?" Hall asked, reverting to the American, condensed name for the capital of South Carolina once they'd pushed the hay off.

"Awhile. Johnny and I have some business to take care of."

"Then I think I will join you if I may. My family is there now, and this is as good a place as any to begin planning."

"Planning?"

"To retake Georgia, of course. You owe my people a boon, Mister Heyward, and I intend to collect!"
 
Last edited:

Machiavellian

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Another fine update. The descriptions of the wood at night was particularly gripping.
 

CatKnight

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Chapter 8: Machievellian Games

13th July, 1774
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


"Then I believe it's time for a toast, gentlemen." John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, raised his cup high. "To liberty."

"Liberty!" chorused the members, and they drank a simple, fruity Bordeaux fresh from the docks. One of the members had already indulged himself at the tavern before this meeting, so he managed little more than a flushed, bemused smile.

"It has been nearly a year," Hancock continued, "and if I may say we're doing quite well for ourselves. Our businesses are all booming, wouldn't you say?" Like everyone in that room but the servant, Hancock was reasonably well off. His own wealth came from a small fleet that made the arduous journey from Boston to La Corunna or Bordeaux, and independence had been good to him. "The little mess with the Iroquois is all but over, and we can turn to other issues."

"Like the Cherokee, Mister President?" asked Joseph Hewes mildly. "They restrict Carolinan expansion, resist our attempts at settlement. They must be brought to heel. They do not even worship our Lord!"

"Hear him!" cried Reverend Witherspoon of New Jersey.

"A simple campaign like this last one can remove them as a threat to our borders for all time!" added Edward Rutledge of South Carolina.

"We discussed this, and we agreed…"

"I agreed to nothing, Mister President! Our country is healthy, our troops flush with victory! Why is it acceptable to grant more land to Pennsylvania and New York," he bowed to the silent and uncomfortable northern contingent, "but not to us? You wouldn't be trying to diminish the importance of your southern brothers would you?"

"Of course not, but…"

"Then please call the vote?"

Hancock grimaced at the secretary, who stood and coughed. He ruffled through some papers on his desk, found the one he sought and cleared his throat. "Resolution # 2,089: Resolved - that the Continental Army, under General Washington of Virginia with whatever reinforcements he deems necessary, shall immediately invade Cherokee country and seize their lands. Such land is then to be distributed according to the attached plan."

A Modest Proposal:
proposal74.txt


The secretary paused to make sure he actually had said plan, frowned at it, and continued. "Resources for this campaign to be paid from the national treasury." He paused again, cleared his throat. "New Hampshire?"

"Giving our soldiers more practice for the real war ahead seems reasonable. Aye."

"Massachusetts?"

"Now is the time to put our house in order. Nay."

"Rhode Island?"

"Nay."

"Connecticut?"

"Mister Rutledge, Connecticut is cut off from further expansion. Would you be willing to give us a corner?"

"I'm certain we can come to some arrangement."

"Then Connecticut votes Aye."

"New York?"

"We do need to get ready for the future. By moving into position! Nay!"

"New Jersey?"

Witherspoon shot up like he was attached to a cannon. "Aye!"

Three to three, and none of the southern states polled. Hancock frowned.

"Pennsylvania?"

"We need to consolidate. Nay."

"Mary-land?"

Rutledge stared hard at Samuel Chase, the head of that state's delegation, who coughed. "Aye."

"Delaware?"

"Nay!"

Five to four against, with the three states likely to benefit yet to vote. Hancock sighed to himself and began writing out orders.

"Virginia?"

"Aye!"

"North Carolina?"

Hewes sniffed. "Of course."

"South Carolina?"

Rutledge stood and smiled benignly. "The great state of South Carolina is proud to say…"

"NAY!" Everyone turned as Thomas Heyward limped in. He was leaner than they'd last seen him. Darker, not the skin so much as the eyes.

"Heyward! You're alive!" boomed Ellery.

"Of course I'm alive," he responded irritably. His leg hadn't healed quite right, though Doctor Hall was hopeful that it would eventually right itself. Walking from the dock uphill had been decidedly unpleasant.

"I am very happy to see you," Rutledge smiled a bit stiffly. "I was just about to say that," in a stronger voice, "South Carolina votes…"

"Don't do something you're going to regret," Tom warned coldly.

"What is your worry, sir? Do you even know what we're discussing?"

"The Cherokee. I know." He limped to the main floor. "What you gentlemen may not know is that beyond the Cherokee is what? More English land! The longer our border with them, the more men we'll need to put in the field to hold them back! As it is they can only come from one direction in the south, and that's along the post road!"

Thomas Jefferson, a young Virginian lawyer whose main contribution thus far had been drafting the response to England's admission of their independence, nodded. "You are correct, sir. But certainly you must realize they must know that as well, and that any future war will see Georgia very heavily occupied. No, our best chance lay in a maneuvering war."

"Hear him!" shouted someone.

"We were in a maneuvering war last year, and as I recall we didn't do so well." A few nods. "The Iroquois campaign succeeded because we pinned them down."

"I'm surprised you know of that," Rutledge sniffed. "You have been away for quite awhile. So, if you will just sit down - your leg is wobbling, sir - the more experienced legislators will take care of business. Indeed, I do believe you were replaced by Mister Lynch here, when you failed to return."

Lynch flushed and smiled politely.

"Mister Secretary? Aye." Rutledge beamed.

"Don't."

"It's done, Mister Leyward."

"No, it's not. You see, while you were off being a legislator, I was in Charleston looking in on the people we are supposed to represent."

"Charitable of you, sir, but I fail to see…"

"Such as Mister Harding, the governor designate?" Doubt flickered in Rutledge's eyes as Tom continued. "After some long discussions over what he wanted for our people, we agreed I should return, and send someone home - my choice as the new head of the state delegation." He handed the secretary a carefully written note. "Farewell, sir."

"Everything appears to be in order," agreed the secretary finally. Rutledge stared hard at the man, turned several shades of red, and stormed out.

Tom limped to his seat, and pointed at the tally board, a large, ornate wooden affair cut into thirteen slots. "Mister Secretary? South Carolina is in the wrong place. We voted nay."

Hancock moved the shuttle into the right position himself and smiled. "Well, given that it is six to six, I as president will have to break the tie. Therefore, I vote…"

"Don't you dare, sir!" Hewes shouted. "We know your affiliations for Massachusetts. Fail us now and the southern states walk!"

"Except South Carolina," Heyward sniffed. "And anyway, he doesn't have to." He pointed over his shoulder.

Doctor Lyman Hall stepped in and smiled. "Gentlemen, am I still welcome here?"

"Of course!"

"Georgia is occupied, sir!" Hewes told the president. "How can you possibly…"

"Georgia is occupied," Tom agreed, "but unless I missed something, you never revoked her right to vote. Did you?" he asked the secretary, who madly flipped through his papers.

"Cows, horses, procurement, saltpetre, taxes," he muttered aloud, then finally shook his head. "No. Georgia's vote is legal."

"Then Georgia votes nay," Hall replied somberly. "One major enemy at a time, eh gentlemen?"
 
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Machiavellian

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That last bit with Georgia voting was a fine addition, very welll recieved in my book at least. Though it sounded rather dangerous with the south threatening to walk. I'd hate to see the Civil war in this reality happen so soon after the revolution.
 

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I enjoyed the updates, some good scenes and the story just rolls on, with me anxious about what will happen next. So, now that you're not attacking the Cherokee, what ARE you planning? :)