Part 25: Lei e Ordem
Ever wary of the threat posed by Shoshone raiders, the armies of Portugal prepare for greater conflicts.
However, the likes of Pedro and Ashurbanipal staking claims on the remaining territories of Oda weren't what they had in mind.
The Portuguese affinity for copper craft is well-documented, and Pedro's near-exclusive control over the resource meant that he could continue to wrest advantageous trade deals from the Portuguese for it.
The newly-savvy politician in Enrico Dandolo also took an interesting step in attempting to break the Portuguese monopoly over ivory craft.
Apparently, the ship once belonging to La Venta in a previous conflict was now being captained by a Venetian Confucianist, who claimed that the ivory products still stocked aboard were the product of cruelty to Portuguese wildlife.
In response to this, the President launched an awareness campaign extolling the virtues of sustainable and humane Portuguese hunting practices, as well as the rich historical and religious traditions associated with ivory craft.
The donations offered to friendly world leaders in order to promote these ideas were an exceptional incentive.
Reports from volunteer forces in Brazil seemed to indicate that Pedro was learning not to continue pressing against Shoshone borders, but rather keep a stable force on defense.
This would not be the first shocking development of the current era.
Oda, feeling immense pressure from being the target of Brazil and Assyria, resumed diplomatic overtures with Portuguese Nihon, offering a pittance in exchange for ivory goods. Though the price was less than fair, the President authorized the trade, citing a willingness to present an amicable face to the significant numbers of Japanese citizens within the Republic.
What was even more shocking was the declaration of a ceasefire between the Shoshone and Brazil, apparently the result of sheer exhaustion on both parties. Pedro recognized that he would be a poor military ruler, and Pocatello recognized that he could not fight the Portuguese by proxy forever.
Cabo Rachado, formerly a city of farmers and fishermen, continues its urbanization through the creation of a famous research academy dedicated to agriculture.
In the interest of preventing further travesty with the Shoshone, Pedro also makes a move to renew mutual defence terms. Largely to his own benefit, of course.
In Lisboa, the President and Almeida receive a strange radio message from the research outpost in Melgueiro.
"The Sidon volunteer forces have sent us one of their generals. He's wearing ceremonial armour and riding a horse, he's..."
A booming voice issues from the background:
"Tell your President Khatun that I, Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis, shall forevermore dedicate myself to the righteousness and glory of your empire!"
(lol holy shit we got a khan.)
(Khan are normally Mongolian unique Great Person units, but completing the Patronage tree means Sidon gave us this one. Khan give Great General benefits, but have 5 base movement instead of 2, and also allows adjacent units to heal an additional 15 HP per turn.)
The strange Buddhist general observed Portuguese industry at work in Melgueiro before his reassignment to Bissau.
Upon his arrival, he would see the Portuguese armada positioned off the coast, and lament the fact that he was not trained as an admiral.
The northern coast of Belgrade also plays host to a number of other Portuguese vessels.
Meanwhile, the Japanese seek military talent from abroad, employing a reportedly scheming opportunist to guard their borders.
The Melgueiro expedition reports fantastic successes in unearthing Venetian artifacts of ages past, creating long-term research sites at their location.
Nagasaki also begins to grow in size quite quickly, as workers and academics flock to the city to see Portuguese Nihon firsthand.
Theodora makes a request for a renewal of the treaty of mutual defence, which the President was only too happy to oblige.
Whether by wire or rail, connections between branches of the Republic grow stronger and faster as time goes on.
To the rest of the world, however, history merely goes around in circles.
Still, rather than worry about events outside their control, the various Universidades around the nation continue their work of bringing the future ever closer.
The reclusive engineer of Cabo Rachado finally arrives in Melgueiro, and provides a significant contribution to the research station.
The turmoil of his journey inspires the migrant workers of Portuguese Rome to add to the restoration effort through modernization of infrastructure.
As ever they must, diplomatic relations and deals are renewed.
Oda would have done well to remember the lessons of diplomacy, without which he remains isolated by enemies and indifferent neighbours.
A Faroan inventor, acting on as much faith as utter lunacy, drives the latest of his self-propelled gliding machines off the top of the the mountains of Ponta Delgada, with himself acting as pilot. Onlookers watch in shock as his craft slices gracefully through the air, accompanied by the intimidating and bestial roar of its engine.
His example inspires other men of talent to travel abroad in search of opportunity.
While at the same time, he must lament the fact that his talents find their greatest applications in the field of battle.
An oil source is discovered in Portuguese Nihon, but its isolated position at sea prevents easy access to its source.
However, the Portuguese have at this point made a habit of turning impossibility into reality.
Thanks to revolutionary new practices in food preservation, another wave of invention overtakes the nation. A fever sweeps through the nation, as every man and woman fancies themselves capable of bringing another revolutionary invention to the fore.
Yet, as always, learning in Portugal is first predicated on faith.
Riding on a wave of creative energy, the enterprising Casa de Luanda funds the creation of the world's first offshore oil well in Portuguese Nihon.
After all, the new opportunities for trade presented by invention and diplomacy have given them the world's wealth.
Luanda and Lisboa continue to maintain their competitive rivalry, as Luanda completes its own piece of epic statuary.
Volunteer forces and national troops intermingle and train side by side in Bissau, preparing for the seeming inevitability of conflict.
Portuguese Nihon awaits a coming enlightenment.
Theodora requests another renewal of the treaty, and while she may be growing weary of the constant radio messages, the President agrees as always.
Ashurbanipal, meanwhile, seems content as ever despite ostensibly being engaged in international conflict.
Both Portuguese Nihon and the Daimyo's territories take on a distinctly Portuguese character, flush with cash and ivory goods alike.
The aircraft being developed in secret in a Bissau arsenal rolls out onto the runway, and Geronimo inspects its payload carefully. He is unsure whether to rejoice in the creation of such a new engineering marvel in his lifetime, or instinctively recoil at the notion of another weapon being developed to eliminate his fellow man.
The Azoreans are far less conflicted, as they decide to celebrate the creation of their invention by engaging in yet another harebrained building project in the mountains. Rumours begin to spread that the Azorean propensity for impractical building projects in mountainous regions is a symptom of altitude sickness.
As to the particulars of the new aircraft design, they are the stuff of the utmost military secrecy.
(Aircraft do not occupy tiles the way other Military units do. They are "based" on a city tile and you can initially stack up to 3 aircraft on a single city tile. They can attack any unit or transfer to any other city under your control within their effective range, but for early aircraft that range is very short. They are also divided into fighters and bombers, each with their own mechanics, but we will get into that later.)
The Portuguese intertwining of faith, science and commerce continues to please its allies.
However, the sense of impending crisis is almost palpable.
Diplomacy seems a pleasing distraction in comparison, even if the President complains about the seemingly routine nature of it all.
The Roman Anarchist movement is similarly impossible to be rid of.
Military innovation and buildup continues on both sides.
At which point the Shoshone deliver an ultimatum.
"We are a united front, each individual human in our land is a brother and sister to every other."
"We reject the governorship of other nations, as their creations and wealth are signs of their aberration."
"We reject their culture, which is an affront to our cultural traditions and those of our neighbours."
"We reject their sciences and teachings, as they are the tools that have wrought only destruction and misery upon other nations."
"We reject their music, for it speaks of sadness and longing when they know no such thing."
"We reject their diplomacy, as it is the means by which they exercise their tyranny."
Salazar, who was listening to the broadcast, snorts audibly.
"We will not be another victim of their machinations. We will show strength and independence on our own terms."
"We will not be their lap dogs, they are not our masters to whom we beg for scraps."
"Our mark on the world will not be an artifact in a Portuguese museum."
"We are Shoshone, we are Order, and our voice will carry through into eternity."
"Well, it looks as though the Byzantines will be their next target." Salazar says suddenly. Almeida merely shakes his head.
"How can he claim to be the voice of all Shoshone, when he is the only one speaking? The 'we' is positively monarchical by comparison." Almeida adds.
The President merely shakes her head as Almeida hands her a missive from Theodora, she had accepted the proposed exchange of finances for another open research exchange, though her typed reply betrayed her nerves.
"I am pleased as ever that you are willing to continue displaying such generosity throughout the years." The printout reads.
"My people understand that we owe much to the Portuguese, being our historical liberators and lifelong friends."
"That we can speak and act on common terms is a blessing the likes of which I would have never thought possible."
"Your generosity, faith, and wisdom is a blessing to us all, and we hope that you will continue to grant it to us."
In Rome, a group of Shoshone beset by an anarchist faction is rescued by a defence force emplacement tasked with chasing them down.
They thank the Portuguese individually, even if they cannot do so as part of their government.
The Melgueiro Expedition claims the Venetian Antarctic, and begins drafting up plans to welcome more scholars and even tourists to the snow-filled wastes.
The buildup at Bissau hits a breaking point, and Kublai smiles at the sight of an army and navy to be feared.
With so much support for the ivory trade, its ban at the World Congress seems an impossibility.
Theodora asks again to renew the terms of mutual defence, fearing for the future.
Her fears are well-founded.
The Portuguese, however, are prepared for just about anything.
(The Carrier is a unit that holds Air units, starting with 2, and its promotions apply mostly to the benefit of its own defences or carrying capacity.)
Bissau continues to build up, as supplies are fed to the ever-increasing garrison of forces.
Cabo Rachado quickly becomes a famous vacation spot for civilians hoping to escape the chaos in the East.
There seems to be peace in solidarity between Byzantines and Assyrians.
Even Pedro takes the time to beautify his formerly war-torn capital.
Hope lives on that the new age brings peace and stability. Even if the cost of that stability is great.
Portuguese Nihon flourishes in a time of innovation, and a famous local confectioner-turned-entrepreneur creates an equally famous chocolatier and public park, creating a significant source of revenue for the locals.
(The Customs House built by Great Merchants provides a per-turn cashflow boost, or they can be sent to a City State to get a large one-time bonus to Influence and money.)
Ceuta begins construction of the world's first dedicated hospital, which may be increasingly necessary in the near future.
Under Salazar's supervision, however, the Universidades begin a project that they say will have a much greater impact on the opponents of freedom.
During a short discussion with Ashurbanipal over the radio, Almeida bursts into the office.
"Byblos troops have just opened fire on a Shoshone cavalry unit."
"So they've done it then, the fools." Salazar speaks tersely. "Fine then, we will be rid of them in short order."
A secretary follows Almeida into the room, arms full of a flurry of diplomatic missives. The massive multinational coalition created by the Portuguese has pledged their full support in the conflict against Pocatello.
"We must not forget why we are doing this, Antonio." The President reprimands him carefully. "Our aim is to protect our allies first and foremost."
The subsequent message that Dandolo was also declaring support for the invasion of Byzantine lands went entirely ignored.
"I'm going to the emergency convention of the Congress tomorrow, gentlemen. What do I tell them the battle plan is?"
Almeida speaks first.
"Our policy of passive aggression has not withstood repeated incursions on the part of the Shoshone, I will admit this. However, there is no cause for us to invade their territories in a defensive war. We can bring this conflict to a close without targeting their cities or infrastructure. This I can guarantee will bring lasting peace, given our relative advantages at both land and sea."
"And just what makes these Shoshone barbarians deserving of that fate, Almeida?" Salazar retorts. "Are we so merciless as to let them languish under a despot who calls himself the manifestation of his peoples' voices under no pretext but the continuity of leadership? No, his ideals are an affront to everything we stand for, and we will not abide by them any longer. We will liberate every city under his command, and suffer the indignity of his presence in the East no longer. Only then can we guarantee peace."
The President looks over her two aides with some consternation as she feels a headache begin to build.
"I'm appreciative as always of your commitment to your causes, senhores." the President says tersely. "However a compromise of some sort may be in order, and I see that once again I must defer to the will of the people on that matter."
Taking a few steps out of the office, the President clutches her head as the migraine begins to set in, and thoughts on what course of action must come next flood into her mind...
For tonight's vote, we will determine the fate of the Shoshone.
Strike at their armies only, leaving their cities alone.
Wiping all of them out, through city capture and destruction.
A compromise of some sort.
...oh also venice declared on the byzantines too but we didn't counter-declare because of a peace treaty, maybe we should beat them up too i guess i dunno...
Please vote before Sunday evening, and thank you as always for waiting for this post.