Book 2 - Text Updates 018

Book 2 - Text Updates 018

Charlescomm was formally allied with no side in this battlespace, and so the six of them had taken their turn at dawn.

Following the well-trodden road, they sailed up to Haggar's column undetected. Silently, they passed along its seven-hex length, using veils to blend with the roadside trees.

After relaying full intelligence on the dispensation of Prince Sammy's units to Charlescomm, they settled into positions. Lindsay and Paris ended turn at the head of the column, Miley and Brittany at the rear. Hilary and her partner Avril took up a risky blind, directly over the heads of Prince Sammy's leadership stack. They kept the rising sun at their backs, relative to the warlords, and spent most of their juice to shine out their shadows. It was tricky, but worth it. Nearly everything the Haggar warlords said was relayed through Hilary to the capital.

Charlie himself was not receiving, so the intelligence was handled at the tower by Fox Force Five. Since yesterday, communications through the Arkendish were blacked out, which always put everyone in a bad mood. Hilary missed Charlie more than she ever could have said. It meant so much to know she could call him any time (though of course, she only did so on business). Being cut off, even for a turn, left her with an ache in her chest.

That ache had moved to the pit of her stomach when Sammy ordered the column to restack for maximum veil-spotting. "Watch the skies," he'd said.

She relayed this information with everything else, and even queried the tower for any updates to her orders. But the tower had nothing for her. Minutes passed, with no indication that any veils had yet been blown. Within this hex, Sammy did not even seem to be following his own directive. He rarely glanced up at the sky, and never directly sunward.

It was good. But Haggar's turn would eventually start. That would bring fresh spot checks, and there was nothing they could do about it. With this many scouts and warlords, one of them was sure to be spotted. And Haggar had plenty of archers.

Oh, Charlie... Don't let me go without hearing your voice one more time.

 

---

Glowering, Prince Sammy paced around the dirt road in a semicircle around her.

"What's Charlie giving for the release of a captured Archon lately?" he snarled. "What're you worth, huh?"

Hilary's left leg was broken below the knee. This and her other injuries left her in a heap on the ground. She had not been wounded in the fight. When the arrows began to fly and Avril fell, Hilary had unveiled, descended, and surrendered. But that was not good enough for the Prince of Haggar.

She lifted her head and looked at him with her good eye. "Over nine thousand," she said.

Sammy spat on her again.

"So I've spent twenty-seven so far," he said. He slapped his fist into his palm, then shook it at her. "You think I won't make it thirty-six? Start talking!"

She was about to repeat her call-script cue: "Details about my mission, and a wide variety of other intelligence points, are available for a negotiable fee." It would probably get her croaked this time, she felt.

But then, the warmth. The well-being. There was a jagged gap in the front of her smile, but she did smile.

"Please hold for Charlie," she told Sammy in her smoothest neutral/professional voice. With difficulty, she sat upright. Then she held up her fingers, and framed the Prince's beastly head.

 

---

This thinkagram was the kind where they could all see and hear. There were diagrams and pretty pictures, little colored bars that were supposed to mean things. Sammy let him ramble. This guy was smooth. He was going on about coalignment of interests or some other claptrap, but Sammy had him. He'd caught this pail of crap in the act, shot down three of his spies and captured one...yeah. And the turn had started early. Good day so far.

"Shut up," he said, partly for the benefit of the warlords standing at his back, but mostly for the pleasure of telling the dude to shut up. His guys snickered. "You don't get it. We're hip to your game, man. Jetstone keeps going on about it. About how you wanna wipe out all the Royal sides. Well they're prob'ly right! You're spyin' on us now...prob'ly have an ambush waiting, right? Got just the right set of these little chick toys waiting up the road when we move. Sucker play, right?"

"Ambush?" said Charlie. He cleared his throat. "Capital idea, Highness. And funny you should mention it." There was a pause, then the image in the Archon's hands flickered, first to a ghostly female face, then to a very familiar scene. Sammy stared at it. The great lighthouse tower, the harbor below, the sun over the water. It was just like the scene on the Royal crest, except that waves were actively rolling in to the beach.

"This is a current view of the City of Haggar, Prince Sammy. The stationed complement in your capital is a bit meager, isn't it? Only one-hundred-ninety infantry, mostly on the outer walls, eighteen heavy units, fifteen small flyers, two warlords, two casters, and seven courtiers. Seaside, you have two level two vessels and a level four, with an available complement of seventy-five infantry, seven small flyers, one heavy flyer, and one more warlord."

Sammy said nothing. But he knew these numbers were exactly correct.

Charlie continued. "Available within one turn's move would be three heavy flyers, twenty-one small flyers, sixteen infantry and no warlords, plus one more level three vessel with twenty four infantry. The next unit the city will pop is a non-heir Royal warlord, in nine more turns. Congratulations in advance, by the way. What do you think of this intelligence assessment so far?"

There was mumbling behind him. Sammy still said nothing.

"Look. To spell it out for you in very small words, Prince: no, I do not want to wipe out all Royal sides. I intend for the Royal Crown Coalition to put Gobwin Knob down hard at the Battle for Jetstone. And you are going to help. Because if I were to plot an ambush against Haggar, do you suppose I would have placed that ambush in the field, where you are strong? Or at your capital, where you are weak?"

Sammy again said nothing, and this time his warlords were smart enough not to, either.

"So. On this turn, you and your forces will do exactly as I order. If you deviate from my instructions, then that picture of the sun rising over your pretty city will happen exactly one more time."

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Was reading the text update for the third time when I noticed this tidbit:
Quote:
Following the well-trodden road, they sailed up to Haggar's column undetected. Silently, they passed along its seven-hex length, using veils to blend with the roadside trees.


Anyone get the feeling that they "blended in" by holding two leafy sticks in front of their face?
A couple of points:
One of the comments about "Full Service" archons is that they can be used to attack other Charlescomm units. That means that all Charlescomm units don't necessarily go at the same time.

So these 6 archons could be running under Charlies personal banner, and there could be others that are 'hired' by Jillian that take their turn with the alliance, since they are technically her (hired) forces. That gets around Charlie needed an alliance with anyone. (and as far as her being able to afford it, Charlie could simply give her a special deal: 1 schmucker a turn, including expenses).

Also, due to the very fluid, relativistic way time works (ok, it's dawn in GK, GK's turn starts because no-one else is in it's battlespace. Over at the big party, GK's turn is delayed half an hour after dawn because the unallied mercenaries go first. If Charlie's archons are not able to reach GK's column this turn, they may go 'first' in their battlespace simply because there is no way GK (which would go second in any case) can get into an engagement with them on their (earlier) turn.

I wouldn't be surprised if Haggar's city turn had started at dawn (or appeared to, at the city), with no-one else in their battlespace. So if some of Sammy's column had the move, they could return to the city before they started turn (which makes sense within the Erfworld's temporal network).

Erfworld has a very wibbly, very wobbly timey wimey ball.
Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
You've seen the subject of 'control' brought up on Parson's rounds in the text updates. The concept of 'volunteers' and 'asking' when units are of different hierarchy is a foreign concept. They don't have children, and the process of education is in its infancy at best, a side that doesn't make war is a myth; old FAQ being the closest thing, and even they did mercenary work. Standard labels don't apply in 1:1 correspondence. By the standards of Erfworld, Charlie could actually be viewed as a loving/considerate ruler of his subjects.


"Maggie, in order to save Gobwin Knob you must now sleep with all the RCC commanders. At once."

Somehow I don't recall Stanley doing that.

Nor Slately.

Nor Don.

Of course, you could then start listing the many sins against their subordinates that these rulers committed. But that kinda misses the point- Charlie ain't no better at the "respect your underlings as moral agents" department.

The one thing that mitigates all this is something I've been saying in an older debate (about decryption ethics), and that is that in Erfworld, there are (almost) no moral agents: beings that can decide for themselves* what they would rather be doing, that have independent* thoughts, attitudes and emotions etc. This interpretation has the advantage that it allows one to react in horror at the moral abomination that Erfworld is and declare that it does need breaking, whatever the control source is.

Or, maybe Archons are as willing to be prostituted as the Cow was willing to be eaten in the Restaurant at the end of something or other. But that just seems a tad convenient of an interpretation, don't you think?

EDIT:

*: okay, we are all inescapably subjects to the laws of nature and free will is an illusion. Very clever.

Not to start a determinism vs/and free will debate, so for the purpose of what I'm saying it's enough that someone be indpendent of the will of any other person; at least in theory, you are not compelled by anything like physical laws to do as someone else pleases, and if you do that, it can safely be said to be your choice.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
You've seen the subject of 'control' brought up on Parson's rounds in the text updates. The concept of 'volunteers' and 'asking' when units are of different hierarchy is a foreign concept. They don't have children, and the process of education is in its infancy at best, a side that doesn't make war is a myth; old FAQ being the closest thing, and even they did mercenary work. Standard labels don't apply in 1:1 correspondence. By the standards of Erfworld, Charlie could actually be viewed as a loving/considerate ruler of his subjects.


"Maggie, in order to save Gobwin Knob you must now sleep with all the RCC commanders. At once."

Somehow I don't recall Stanley doing that.

Nor Slately.

Nor Don.

Of course, you could then start listing the many sins against their subordinates that these rulers committed. But that kinda misses the point- Charlie ain't no better at the "respect your underlings as moral agents" department.

The one thing that mitigates all this is something I've been saying in an older debate (about decryption ethics), and that is that in Erfworld, there are (almost) no moral agents: beings that can decide for themselves* what they would rather be doing, that have independent* thoughts, attitudes and emotions etc. This interpretation has the advantage that it allows one to react in horror at the moral abomination that Erfworld is and declare that it does need breaking, whatever the control source is.

Or, maybe Archons are as willing to be prostituted as the Cow was willing to be eaten in the Restaurant at the end of something or other. But that just seems a tad convenient of an interpretation, don't you think?

EDIT:

*: okay, we are all inescapably subjects to the laws of nature and free will is an illusion. Very clever.

Not to start a determinism vs/and free will debate, so for the purpose of what I'm saying it's enough that someone be indpendent of the will of any other person; at least in theory, you are not compelled by anything like physical laws to do as someone else pleases, and if you do that, it can safely be said to be your choice.


Charlie (so far as we know) has does not order the archons to be taken advantage of by anybody. His business is, as is quite obvious, entirely focused on the military applications of being able to rent powerful units. Once the contract has been agreed to, then whatever actions undertaken by/to the archons is the sole responsibility and fault of their new commander. If he chooses to force the archons to be his bitches, then it's on his head. Charlie probably will know about it, but can't be held responsible for an order that he didn't issue.

I had more points to make, but I can't remember what they were.
Ehbobo wrote:
Charlie probably will know about it, but can't be held responsible for an order that he didn't issue.


That's terrible logic. If he wanted them to be considered purely for war applications, he would've outfitted them with chastity belts or something (Maybe as simple as, I dunno, a suit of light armor, or... pants?). As it is they wear short, somewhat provocative outfits and they are anatomically correct. He has to know that'll be the first thing to come to a dude's mind when he rents them out like that (And in fact would add a definite incentive). A leader is always responsible for his own units, whether or not he's letting somebody else borrow them. By ordering them to follow somebody else's orders, you are absolutely taking direct responsibility for his actions.
Ehbobo,

I guess Reclaimer answered that pretty well.

There's more ways to be a criminal, and some of them don't involve doing the deed yourself. Charlie effectively set up a system where, for a fee, his Archons can be used no questions asked. Now, he may not be the one doing the nasty stuff to them in person, but in thus pimping them plays a determinant role. So yeah. All he needed to do is establish a system in which all contracts have clear limits, including limitless ones.
Reclaimer wrote:
Ehbobo wrote:
Charlie probably will know about it, but can't be held responsible for an order that he didn't issue.


That's terrible logic. If he wanted them to be considered purely for war applications, he would've outfitted them with chastity belts or something (Maybe as simple as, I dunno, a suit of light armor, or... pants?). As it is they wear short, somewhat provocative outfits and they are anatomically correct. He has to know that'll be the first thing to come to a dude's mind when he rents them out like that (And in fact would add a definite incentive). A leader is always responsible for his own units, whether or not he's letting somebody else borrow them. By ordering them to follow somebody else's orders, you are absolutely taking direct responsibility for his actions.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Ehbobo,

I guess Reclaimer answered that pretty well.

There's more ways to be a criminal, and some of them don't involve doing the deed yourself. Charlie effectively set up a system where, for a fee, his Archons can be used no questions asked. Now, he may not be the one doing the nasty stuff to them in person, but in thus pimping them plays a determinant role. So yeah. All he needed to do is establish a system in which all contracts have clear limits, including limitless ones.


Reclaimer, changing what they wear won't do a thing. If their client wants to he can, no matter what. And in a world where there is really no reason for sex to be considered amoral, Charlie won't want to include a clause forbidding the client to force it upon the archons.
Ehbobo wrote:
Reclaimer, changing what they wear won't do a thing. If their client wants to he can, no matter what. And in a world where there is really no reason for sex to be considered amoral, Charlie won't want to include a clause forbidding the client to force it upon the archons.


When they wear short skirts and hover above you all day... There's a line between functionality and putting the goods on full display. If you've ever seen a female Marine in full battle gear (Vest, helmet, rucksack), you'd understand that some outfits just don't arouse certain thoughts.

Prostitution might not be amoral in Erfworld, but it's not the hallmark of a loving and considerate leader anywhere that I'm aware of. Forced prostitution is and always will be amoral in every circumstance ever.
I'm sorry, the whole forced-sex debate seems stupid to me.

Obviously, forcing ANY female - or any person, really - into ANY form of sexual contact is very, VERY wrong in our world. I hope there's no debate on that issue.

That said, in Erfworld commanders anywhere can force ANY unit they have to do ANYTHING they want, regardless (with the possible exception of a Warlord trying to override an Overlord's orders, or a unit disobeying an order because Duty commands them to act in the best interest of their side - neither of which are likely to come up in this debate).

I understand that sex with multiple partners - one at a time, assumedly - is different from sex with a single partner, whether forced or not; that seems to the issue. Sex slave vs. Prostitute slave. BUT a unit on a given side normally is outranked by a lot more than one person. So...

Please explain why Charlie allowing certain people (who pay an EXTREMELY high price for the full-service contract, the most expensive contract you can get from Charlie, that effectively makes the Archon your unit) any better or worse than ANY SIDE ANYWHERE IN ERFWORLD where every Warlord, Caster, Overlord/King, Heir/Prince, or unit that naturally pops with the "Leadership" ability can force ANY unit on their side to do the same thing.

Because honestly, it seems the "abuse" the Archons suffer is significantly less than what likely happens behind the scenes in EVERY side in Erfworld. At least for them it's limited to a specific duration and it carries a large cost, so it can't be repeated too often. Moreso, people usually don't buy the full-service contract for THAT service, they buy it so they can send them to die without paying the non-return fee, and just happen to make use of that clause beforehand.

Charlie is not an Erf-pimp. He sells his units. Once they belong to you, you can only do the same things to them as you can your other units. No more, no less. I think the individual who harms them is the ONLY one responsible. I find it highly unlikely those individuals are doing anything to the Archons they don't do to their own units anyway. They have the power, and power corrupts.
Thank you. Just what I've been trying to say.