Monday, December 9, 2013

Little Wars

At the eleventh hour we finally managed to play a game of "Little Wars" to commemorate the 100th anniversary. It was planned for earlier in the year, but unexpected events caused a delay.

The battle was played with simplified rules and used nerf guns to replace the spring loaded cannon. Thanks to the Ascot Vale Trugo Club for hosting the event.

The states of Bluedonia and Greyland are perpetually at war. No one knows when hostilities started or why. This particular battle was fought around the village of Wellsville. Both sides believed it was of vital strategic importance, however the whiskey distillery may have had something to do with its significance. The Bluedonian forces were commanded by Generals Quinn (the elder) and Quinn (the younger) while the Greyland forces were commanded by Generals Robson and Hinchcliffe
General Quinn (the elder) formed his infantry into two flying columns and raced directly towards the town, with his limbered artillery following behind as quickly as possible. General Quinn (the younger) adopted a more leisurely approach on the eastern flank maintaining contact between his infantry, cavalry and artillery throughout the early march.

Advancing from the north, with the wind behind them, the Bluedonian army deployed their guns to provide support to the assaulting infantry. The troops under command of General Robson formed column of march and headed straight for the village, while those under General Hinchcliffe deployed into reinforced line as they approached and attempted to engage the enemy at long range.

Despite dozens of volleys of roundshot, the Bluedonians stoically marched at double time directly for the village and narrowly beat the Greylanders to the prize. They quickly deployed into firing lines ready to see off the greycoats. However, the plan almost fell apart as the first casualty of the day was actually caused by the Bluedonian artillery which inadvertently fired into their own infantry as they deployed.

All was not lost, however, as the Bluedonian infantry levelled their muskets and put forth a withering fire into the Greylander column.

It was at that moment that one of those curious events of war occurred, for General Hinchliffe’s wife, Hazel, arrived and briefly took charge of Robson’s battery. It is believed she had come looking for her husband to remind him to be on the lookout for good quality curtains that she could sew into a ball gown. Spying a particularly nice purple velvet through her binoculars, she sited one of the guns herself to deter the blue-bellies from ransacking the house where it hung. In a remarkable piece of shooting, she scored a direct hit on the Bluedonian soldier about to enter the building, and, satisfied with her work, she left again to sit under a tree and knit.

Not to be outdone, General Robson suggested his wife also take charge of the guns, but that proved a less successful stratagem.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the Greylander infantry sought shelter at the edge of the village. By this stage, the infantry under General Quinn (the younger) had also arrived on the southern edge of the town and immediately charged the easternmost Greyland infantry regiment, killing many and driving the rest off in an humiliating rout.

Honour was briefly restored when the Greyland cavalry squadron that had been protecting the flank gallantly charged the disorganised Bluedonian infantry, as they rifled through the discarded packs, running them down, but dispersing as they did so. Rumour has it that they were in fact racing for the nearby cat-house and the Bluedonians were merely in the way.
While they attempted to return musket fire, the remaining Greyland regiment was too weak to cause significant casualties and penetrate the village. The supporting regiments continued to fire as they closed, but the protection offered by the village buildings was enough to minimise Bluedonian casualties.

Threatened with the imminent arrival of the Bluedonian artillery and having effectively lost their entire east flank, the Greyland Generals offered their swords.

A truce was called, and terms discussed over a friendly game of trugo.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roland Aesteban

 “The enforcers are coming!” The message flashed through the under-slum like lightening. Roland stepped into the passage way. Underworlders were running in all directions, clearing the signs of anything illegal. Any vice you care to name, and some you might not, could be found in these vast secret worlds below decks. Yet Roland knew there was good here too. Born on one of the enormous void ships, he grew up amongst these people. Their only real crime was eking a living as best they could. He could see some of them taking up hidden positions. For every one he could see, there would be two more he couldn’t. If the enforcers wanted trouble they would get it.
The huge airtight door slowly opened to reveal ten men in arbites uniforms. Their leader announced “we are looking for Roland Aesteban”. For a moment panic struck him, but he quickly recovered. He had done nothing wrong recently, certainly nothing likely to require a full squad of men to come looking for him. This was something more.

He stepped towards them. “What is the trouble officers?”

From the centre of the group, a previously hidden man in a dark blue robe spoke. “Are you Roland Aesteban?”
Roland stopped. He surreptitiously glanced to his side to reassure himself his comrades were still there. Could this be a setup? Had one of the rival clans turned him in for something? “And if I am?” he replied.

“Stop wasting my time boy. If you are not Roland Aesteban take me to him immediately.” The tone was not one of menace, but of impatience. This was no enforcer.
“Yes, I am Roland.”

The robed man stepped from amongst the enforcers. “I am Lucien. I have been sent to deliver this to you.” He handed Roland a data slate. “Well read it boy”. After a moment he added “You can read can’t you?”
“Yes, I can read thank you” Roland grumbled as he activated the slate.

The council of the noble house of Aesteban has selected you to inherit a recently relinquished Imperial Warrant of Trade. You are to accompany the bearer immediately. Your ship awaits you. Congratulations Lord Captain.
“Do you accept?” Lucien pushed.

“And if I don’t?”
“If you accept, come with me now. If not...” Lucien shrugged.

Thoughts raced through his mind. His mother had always told him there were related to the mighty house of Aesteban, and he had read a great deal about their history in what archives he could find. Obviously, this was a chance to escape this life, but to what? Yet, he had no real ties here. He had lived on countless ships and space stations and both his parents had died many years ago on some other ship. Life was often short in the underworld.
 “You have five minutes to collect your belongings and make your farewells. I can wait no longer than that.”

“I will only need one”, he said, turning and re-entering his hab. He grabbed a small bag, threw in a data slate, a knife and the few thrones had had stashed away. As he turned to leave, his neighbour Jak entered. “What is going on? Is everything ok?”
“Yep. It’s just time to move on again. Sell whatever you can here and keep the credits.” He walked out and did not look back.