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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The plot against Britain

"A lot has happened since the so called 'peace with honour' in 1921 with the German Empire, three years after the fall of Paris. Most important of them the 1925 revolution, leaving Britain in the hands of the Godless syndicalists and their socialist lackeys. Ever since then Britain has been reduced to a few old bickering men in Canada.
A lot of questions remain about the tragedy that was the Great War, the catalyst of all our misfortunes. Why was Allenby recalled from the Middle East when he was so close to Victory over the Ottomans, why did we pull back from Salonica and the Veneto, leaving Italy and Greece defenseless? Why did the Japanese government make peace with Germany so easily and most important of all, how could Britain fall into the hands of the Revolutionaries in just six weeks?
Answering these questions has been my sole dedication since 1925, the day I was forced into exile. However, I am just an old man now. It is time for a new generation to continue the search for the truth. I can only hope this old journal of min can assist you in finding the thruth...

Yours sincerely, Sir Laurence Montague Smith VC"


Index

TBA​
 
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A mysterious phonecall

1 january 1936 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Karel van Doorn woke up with a major hangover. He really didn’t know he could still drink that much just a few months after his 34th birthday. But still, he had something to celebrate besides the new year. After 5 years of service as political reporter in The Hague for a major Dutch newspaper, he now was a free man once again. In all those years most of his articles only dealt with Prime Minister Colijn finding yet another way not to spend government money. The only article he was truly proud of was ironically the one that lead to his discharge. He had accidentaly stumbled upon at the rather strange dealings of several well known politicians in the aftermath of the British Revolution of 1925. The Anglo-Dutch oil conglomerate Shell’s assets around the world where quickly seized and nationalized at the Dutch governments orders, giving the new syndicalist government no chance to profit from seizing the British part of the concern. However, several key instalations in Nejd where seized by the local authorities days before the British government had to go into exile in Canada, suggesting the Dutch government acted long before a British defeat was certain. The Prime Minister at the time was former Shell CEO Colijn, the same man that rose to power once again in 1933 during the current economic slump. Karel smiled, ironically the article that made his name as a journalist was the same article that lost him a job. Now he was just another freelance journalist, hoping to find someone buying his articles.


Hendrikus 'Hein' Colijn. After serving ten years of service in the colonial forces as adjutant to General Van Heutz, Colijn became a conservative member of the Dutch parliament. Later he was CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Prime minister from 1925 to 1926 and as Prime Minister from 1933 on.


Karel now really felt the effects of drinking like he still was a student. As he stumbled toward the toilet he looked at the ‘cause’ of his alcohol abuse. It was the charming young student that had dragged him along to have a ‘few beers’ with her friends. He just couldn’t say no to Elsa. He had met the 22-year old during his report of a SDAP-manifestation [1] in The Hague, now a year ago. The young, fiery woman had drawn his intention immediately. He had invited her for an interview and one thing lead to another. Sometimes he felt some shame for having a girlfriend so much younger than he was, but most of the time he simply didn’t care what other might think. They where both happy and that was what mattered.

Suddenly the quiet of the early morning was broken by the sound of the telephone. Karel simply tried to ignore it, if it’s important the caller would surely call him back later. The ringing persisted while Karel still moved towards the bathroom. “Karel, just take the bloody phone. I’m trying to sleep!”, Elsa was charming as ever in the morning. Karel sighed, he might as well take the call now.

“With Karel van Doorn”

“Mister Van Doorn. Are you the journalist that wrote about the Shell-scandal?”, the man on the other side spoke English, much to his surprise. It wasn’t just any English, it was the distinct British upperclass kind of English

“One and the same.” Karel wondered who the man was, “Who am I speaking to?”

“That’s not important now, I can just tell you I just might have an article for you.”

“Look sir, I’m not trying to be rude, but people don’t usually call this early just to give me some tip of dibious value.”

“I am not talking about just some worthless tipoff good Sir. I am talking about the kind of tipoff any journalist is dreaming off. It is related to your article on the Shell-scandal.”

Karel felt his head throb, not only did his hangover hurt, now he was harrassed by some strange Englishman with a so-called golden tip.

“Excuse me sir, but I’m very busy at the moment.”

“No you are not. You are an unemployed journalist sleeping off his hangover together with his much too young girlfriend.”

“Just how do you…”

“I apologise sir, but I have put some surveillance on you. The article you wrote was of the kind people can and have died for before. If you wish to know more please meet me tomorrow at noon at the Palace at the Damsquare. I will recognise you, untill then.”

The mysterious British man hung up. Karel now didn’t just feel queezy from the beer he had drunk the day before. Who was that man, and what did he wan’t from him? Just one way to find out…

#########################

[1] Sociaal Democratische Arbeiderspartij, or SDAP (Social-Democratic Labour Party). A moderate Dutch socialist party from the first half of the 20th century.
 
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I was going to move along and let others comment, but I changed my mind at the last minute.

WHOA!!!!

There, now that that's out of my system - great start! Looking promising :D

- Lighthearter
 

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Intriguing. Subscribed!
 

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Kaiserreich AARs always has a good following, may your latest AAR continue to prosper!
 

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What, he's not Brigadier Sir Laurence Montague Smith VC? Only way his name could possibly sound more stiff-upper-lip... well... Brigadier Sir Laurence Charles George Arthur Montague Smith-Clarendon, 3rd Baron Clarendon, VC, maybe.

Still - I'm in.
 

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Always good to see so many replies after the first update :D.

Lighthearter - thanks for choosing to comment.

Soulking - I find writing AARs is an excellent way of breaking writersblock for a paper, hence this new AAR.

Karaiskandar - always good to see a familiar face. Well, familiar name anyway ;). Hope this spiritual successor to what ItaliAAR has become can interest you.

Thundergate - see the post above.

c0d5579 - I am still considering which rank Sir Montague Smith should have. I agree brigadier is the most British rank around, but Major has a certain feel to it too. A lower rank also makes sure the man can operate under the radar, as the good Sir's history will soon be revealed...

I hope to have an update ready tomorrow.
 
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Karaiskandar - always good to see a familiar face. Well, familiar name anyway ;). Hope this spiritual successor to what ItaliAAR has become can interest you.
Of course! :)
 

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Nice :cool:

Does this mean that your Barcelona AAR is abandoned? :(

Anyway this one looks very interesting.

I'm always up for an international conspiracy :p
 

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Brigadier's still under the radar. Just ask Brigadier J. F. C. Fuller, or rather, ask most people who Brigadier J. F. C. Fuller was, and you'll get "Fuller who?" This from a man who was a proto-fascist military historian who may or may not have invented the concept of armored spearheads.
 

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:O I was listening to the soundtrack to The Ninth Gate when I opened this thread, and the ominous music was sooo good to your intro post which was totally awesome. I *love* mystery stories. Consider me subscribed! Really can't wait to see how this turns out.
 

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Karaiskandar - Glad to hear it.

Tommy4ever - I haven't got the intention of giving up on the Barcelonids any time soon. My CK AAR is just too much fun to write :D. For this one I can promise plenty of scheming and conspiracy BTW...

c0d5579 - Fuller isn't that unknown, even if his theories vary from brilliant to completely insane. Sorry, but Sir Montague Smith will be a major, the plot demandeth it.

Katapraktoi - just youtubed the music, agree it could be the themesong of the AAR. Hope I can satisfy some need for mystery with this AAR.

Unless a sudden bout of writers block strikes, I will have an update tonight.
 

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Looks interesting.

To be honest though I thought it said Karel van Doom not Karel van Doorn.
 

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Sir Montague Smith​

2 januari 1936 – Damrak Square, Amsterdam, Netherlands

It was a cold day in januari. Normally Karel would spend such a day in one of the many café’s in the city, drinking coffee and perhaps a few glasses of jenever [1]. However, instead of being in one of those heated café’s he was standing very exposed at a very cold square in a very cold city. He tightened the skarf around his neck in an effort to shield himself a bit better from the bitter cold. The skarf was a gift from Elsa and he was very grateful for it, even if the skarf was as red as Elsa’s political opinions. She just couldn’t leave an opportunity to ‘convert’ him go to waste. After waiting in the cold for a while Karel was approached by two men walking towards him.

“Ah, mister Van Doorn, we finally meet.”

There could be no mistake the man was British, dressed in a neat tweed suit as one would expect from a British upperclass gentleman. The most distinguising feature however was his brisk grey moustace. The mystery caller, was accompanied by a grim looking, muscular man in his late 40s. A bodyguard of some kind?

“I apologize for making you wait in the cold all this while. Unfortunately we had to make sure you weren’t being followed. Ah, but where are my manners, let me introduce myself. My name is Montague Smith, Sir Laurence Montague Smith to be exact. The gentleman accompanying me is Mr. Costers.”

The man introduced ar Mr. Costers gave a short greeting in Dutch, revealing a undenyable Flemish accent. A Brit and a Belgian in Amsterdam, an odd pair for sure. What would this Montague Smith fellow want with him? Only one way to find out.

“Mr. Montague, Mr. Costers, as much as I wish to listen to your story, I suggest we do it inside. I know an excellent café nearby. They serve the best coffee of the city.”

“Well, I personally prefer a good cup of tea, but coffee will do.”

The three men entered one of the café’s near the Damsquare. Through the window the Palace at the Dam was clearly visible.

“Magnificent view isn’t it Mr. Van Doorn, the Palace. Did you know the Palace was once the Cityhall of this city? From 1665 until 1806 to be exact. However it wasn’t until 1813 that it became a proper palace, when Stadholder Willem VI became King Willem I of the Netherlands.”


The interiour of the Palace at the Dam. The rich interiour was meant to represent Amsterdams dominance over the World Trade at the time it was built.

Karel was becoming impatient. He hoped to get some answers, not receive a lecture on the history of his city. However, the old man across him seemed quite fond of his historylesson.

“You probably know Willem didn’t became King on his own accord. He was made a King at the Congress of Vienna, when diplomats and dignitaries from across Europe redrew the map after the Napoleonic wars. Talleyrand, Castlereagh, Metternich, the most famed diplomats of history tried to build a new world and prevent war between their nations to prevent another series of wars like those that had just passed. They also tried to channel the energies of the French revolution into a direction where it couldn’t do any damage, using the threat of revolution as a pretext for reshaping Europe. Alas, their dream of a stable and peaceful Europe didn’t come true.”

“This is all fascinating, but what does it have to do with me?”, Karel was losing his patience now. Sir Montague only smiled in reaction. Mr. Costers looked a bit grimmer than he looked before, he probably didn’t like it when someone was rude around the good sir.

“Every story is worth being listened to, my impatient friend, but I will get to the point. I am told you have caused quite a stirr with your investigation on the Shell-scandal. Might I ask how you found out about Mr. Colijns questionable behaviour?”

Karel saw no reason not to answer the man, most of the scandal had been swept under the carpet already, with some minor officials being fired. Therefor he quickly summarized how he came in the possesion of the information. Originally he was o write a story on the conversion of the Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell to the fully Dutch Koninklijke Olie [2]. He found it odd that all possesions and installations in the formerly British colonies and protectorates of Northern Borneo and the Persian Gulf fell into the hands of the new company, even while the new owners of those territories might have been incligned to keep those valuable assets for themselves. When he started to investigate the facts more clearly, he found out that in several cases armed personnel seized the installations days before Britain fell to the revolutionaries. Also, such a well prepared strike would have to be prepared months in advance, long before the crisis in Britain came even close to being revolutionary. Such an act against a friendly nation was unheard off. Karel had tried to find out who could order such an operation and came to the conclusion only Prime Minister and former Shell-CEO Colijn could have the knowledge and recources to set up the operation.


The Shell facilities at Tarakan, Dutch East Indies.

While telling his story Sir Montague Smith listened intently to his every word, as if to find some clue for a puzzle. Even after Karel had finished his story the old man remained lost in thought. A minute or so later he finally spoke.

“As I thought, another case of a powerful man knowing something he shouldn’t. Unfortunately this wasn’t the only case. Mr. Van Doorn, you have uncovered a small piece of a puzzle I am trying to resolve for some time now. You see, ever since the fall of Paris in 1918 many remarkable turn of events have taken place. I am a military man, I can assure you the British strategy after Paris has been atrocious at best, almost as if people wanted us to lose. After the Peace with ‘Honour’ Britain tried to regain it’s power in the face of a new and hostile world.”

“People wanted Britain to lose? I can see Germany or the other Central powers profiting, but wouldn’t the fall of Britain hurt more people than it would help?”

“Well, many people and nations have profited from our fall. Germany is now the most powerful nation in the world, finally having its place under the sun, Japan now is the most powerful nation in Asia, South-Africa, Australasia and Ireland are now fully independent. Even the French have profited in some way, as the Commune is feared and respected in a way the Third Republic never was. Also, many groups within nations profited. The Red Scare that followed the fall of Old Blighty and France gave room to people as Huey Long in the USA, Petr Wrangel in Russia and the French Nationalists in Algeria to claim to be the defenders of the people. It also inspired Syndicalists around the world. As you can see, many people are trying to build a new world as we speak.”

Building a new world, channeling revolutionary energies, it all sounded so familiar. That’s it! The old man’s story about the Congress of Vienna. Powerful man reshaping Europe, perhaps even the world.

Sir Montague Smith smiled at him, “Judging from the look on your face you have put one and one together.”

“I know what you are trying to say, but such a plot… It sounds just so…”

“Unreal, sir? I agree with you, this whole story sound just too insane to be true, however I assure you…”

Sir Montague Smith’s words where cut short by the sharp sound of a gunshot and the sound of breaking glass. Karel was too stunned to act, he might even have been hit if it wasn’t for the mysterious Mr. Costers pulling him under the table. There Karel, now white as a sheet, looked into the moustacioud face of Sir Montague.

“You believe me now Mr. Van Doorn?”

“I guess I have no choice but to believe you now. People don’t kill eachother simply for telling horribly unbelievable lies.”

“I am sorry Mr. Van Doorn. I really thought I had shaken off those men. I am afraid that it would be best for you to leave this country for a while.”

Outside all hell had broken loose, as Karel heard the screams of panic and pain. A shooting in the heart of Amsterdam, one where people got hurt even, was not something that happened every day. Mr. Costers was now outside, trying to find out if their assailant was gone. Going abroad didn't sound too bad at the moment...

#############

[1] a kind of liquor, also known as Dutch gin
[2] Koninklijke Aardolie (Royal Petroil). The name with which Royal Dutch Shell uses the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

This update was a bit long IMO as I am trying to set the scene for Karels search for the truth behind the mysterious and sudden fall of Britain to revolution. I hope everyone can bear with it ;).

I don't expect anyone being too surprised that the next part of the mystery will take abroad. I will post some clues in a few days that might or might not reveal some of Karels future travels.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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So the Shell scandal had nothing to do with the shell scandall (1915)...
 

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Oh oh! I wanna read!