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A deal, A Deal! A GREAT BIG DEAL!


Captain Enema
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[b]Port Sudan/Austria[/b]

[quote] legionrepresentative says, "Hello, this is Legion Unlimited, Port Sudan, how might I address your call?"
10:19 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Yes, this is Frederich Kant of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, I had heard about the African Legion's work in the mercenary business and am under orders of the Empress to inquire about your services."
10:20 legionrepresentative replies, "Our services are dependent upon your needs. At the moment our forces are available for hire. I think you'll find out prices reasonable in comparison to other private military organization rates."
10:22 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "I was hoping to talk about price, many of the other military companies that we have inquired about charge rather exuberant rates and their service is rather, sub-par. Austria's ambition as a world power, especially given her size, requires the strength of men where we can find them. What are we exactly looking at in terms of manpower and the cost of such...
10:22 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry strength."
10:25 legionrepresentative thinks for a moment as he checks his notes. After a long silent pause he says, "At the moment we have three available brigades ready for hire. These are self contained brigade combat teams. Two of them are infantry, quite experienced men, most of the officers served in the Kickapoo Revolt in Legion. Most are on a temporary deployment, but can
10:26 legionrepresentative easily be retasked. The last brigade combat team is an heavy armored regiment. Also filled with experienced men and they bring their own equipment, though we'll be upfront and tell you now their armored vehicles are getting fairly long in the tooth so to speak."
10:26 legionrepresentative flips through a few more papers and hums quietly as he tallies up the actual costs involved.
10:27 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "That can be repaired, the Empire has the technological prowess to fix material and if we can, Athens or the United Federation can do it for us."
10:27 legionrepresentative replies, "This certainly can work to both of our advantages in terms of costs. Where exactly are you thinking of deploying them?"
10:28 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Can they be versatile?"
10:28 legionrepresentative replies, "With training a good hard fighting man can serve anywhere needed."
10:29 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Then they can be deployed to Austria Proper, the homeland has the capabilities to support extra men. The further reaches of the Empire are in disarray. No point in sending men to die where the future of the land cannot be guaranteed."
10:31 legionrepresentative replies, "We legionnaires are rough men. Service on the fringe of society comes naturally to us. Besides, service far from home and country might not be to the liking of native Austrian troops. We Legionnaires rather enjoy it and we'd be saving you quite the way in manpower and training costs."
10:33 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Well at the moment, the Empire's Commonwealth is engaged in a civil war in the territory of the former United Kingdom of Idaho-Montana. Hopes are that some vestige of Austria will remain after the war's conclusion, which should come in a few months...
10:33 legionrepresentative elaborates as he says, "Does your government wish to involve itself in this affair directly?"
10:33 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry If after that time your men could be deployed to the Pacific, Her Grace, Grand Duchess Angelika, would surely approve."
10:34 legionrepresentative asks, "Does your government wish to involve itself in this affair directly?"
10:36 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "We are already involved, but the government of the Third Cascadian Republic has already sworn fealty to the Grand Duchess, all that is left is a mop-up operation of rebels and the war will end. I don't want your men to burden themselves, only to have to move later."
10:37 legionrepresentative responds, "Very well then. Austria it is and then onto the Pacific. I'm going to fax you a copy of our rates sheet. If you will take the time to look it over I think you'll find it quite reasonable. We do require certain funds to be placed in escrow in the event that things go sour for either party. Meaning, we'll ask that a percentage of our wages and...
10:38 legionrepresentative operating costs be paid in advanced to a third party account. Once paid they'll be held and if needed refunded to you in the event we are unable to complete our contractual obligations or paid to us in the event of early termination of contract."
10:40 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "That sounds superb, I have no problems with that."
10:42 legionrepresentative continues, "Further death, disfigurement, disability insurance polices are required for each and every Legionnaire. We can either purchase those polices on a group rate through a Legion provider or if your government has a national scheme that can be used. We simply do not want out families left holding the bag that tends to be left from the fates of war."
10:43 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Oh not at all, they will be cared for as Austrian soldiers would be. In fact, if it is not a problem. Her Imperial Highness would appreciate if your soldiers would consider joining the Austrian Army, full out. Of course you have the option to leave, as mercenaries, whenever you wish. But perhaps we can provide a home for the Legion of Africa."
10:46 legionrepresentative coughs in surprise as he thinks long and hard about the offer. He finally replies, "Perhaps a role as auxiliary soldiers in the sense of the old Roman empire can be established for the short term. The Legion Council will have to consider your offer very carefully prior to accepting it. Please take a look at our rate sheet and give us a call back when you...
10:46 legionrepresentative are ready to make a hire."
10:47 legionrepresentative pushes the send button on his fax machine and dispatches the Legion rate sheet to the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
10:47 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Very well, good day to you sir."
10:49 legionrepresentative replies, "I'll be here for the rest of the afternoon, please do not hesitate to call if you need further information," as he hangs up the phone.
10:49 *** Austrian_Foreign_Ministry is now known as SarahTintagyl
10:49 legionrepresentative once he hangs up he calls the Legion Council contact number and relays the details of the conversation to the Legion Council.
10:49 legionrepresentative oi sarah.. call back and tell me we have a deal.
10:51 *** SarahTintagyl is now known as Austrian_Foreign_Ministry
10:51 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Excuse me, I placed a call here earlier."
10:53 legionrepresentative replies quickly, "I do recall such a conversation earlier, thank you for calling back. I've forwarded our conversation to the Legion Council. They want me to inform you upfront that the home of the Legion is always going to be Sudan, but a more exclusive hiring relationship between our two organizations can be worked out in time."
10:53 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Not a problem, hopefully it can be a relationship in the works."
10:55 legionrepresentative says, "The example cited by the council is that of the Gurkha Tribesmen and the old British Empire. Time will tell. Have you decided what sort of force structure you are interested in retaining at this time?"
10:56 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "If possible, a microcosm of a regular army. Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery. Cavalry as armor of course."
10:57 legionrepresentative asks, "In essence a combined arms force that is capable of operating independently?"
10:57 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Yes."
10:58 legionrepresentative does some quick work with his calculator and replies, "This will require a rough commitment of 20 to 25,000 men if logistical support detachments are included."
10:59 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "If necessary, the Imperial Army can supply logistics."
11:01 legionrepresentative says, "Legion logistical forces are more combat oriented in nature. Meaning they are designed to keep our men supplied in battle and during operations. The expendable supplies for those operations would be very much appreciated, it would certainly streamline our supply situations if we were using Austrian equipment."
11:01 legionrepresentative (logistical troops in the sense of unit detachments for truck drivers and security teams for convoys.)
11:02 legionrepresentative (actual logistical support would have to come from Austria.)
11:02 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Of course, we can arrange that."
11:04 legionrepresentative taps a few keys on his computer and brings up an article on Jane's to quickly brief himself on the Austrian Army. After a long moment he finally says, "Yes I think Legion forces in your service are going to require a full re-equip. Our forces use the old full jacketed 7.62 round. Great for desert fighting, not so great for close quarters combat typically
11:04 legionrepresentative found in European theaters of operation."
11:06 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "I will let the Minister of War know of the precautions."
11:06 legionrepresentative says, "Though this ought to make the movement of the men to Austria much easier. We'll be just moving men and not equipment."
11:07 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "And we'll be ready to receive you with open arms."
11:08 legionrepresentative says, "Right then, the escrow account number and a contract will be faxed to you shortly. Once the financial bother have been arranged we'll start transporting our men to Austria. Do you have a specific arrival point in mind?"
11:09 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "If you could make for the port of Trieste, it has the capability to receive you there."
11:10 legionrepresentative thinks for a moment before saying, "Well we can start putting our men on ships in the next few hours, but we do have one slight problem. There is a naval blockade in place on the coast of Australia. Any solutions for getting around this?"
11:12 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Simply let the Australians know that you are now hired by the Austrian Empire. If they dare fire on your ships, the Empress will personally launch a crusade of conquest against them and you gentlemen will have your first objective."
11:13 legionrepresentative says, "Fair enough, the ships will sail once our contract has been signed. Is there a specific person you'd like to request to lead this force?"
11:13 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "I believe you have better experience than I, sir."
11:15 legionrepresentative thinks for a moment before saying, "We'll send along one of our more seasoned officers. He lead our forces during the Kickapoo Revolt and during a few other small engagements."
11:15 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Very well, she shall be introduced to the Empress upon arrival. Austria thanks you."
11:17 legionrepresentative says, "Legion thanks you. Once the documents have been signed, escrow payments made, we'll begin transferring our forces. We'll fly an advanced party directly to Austria to prepare for the arrival of the bulk of our men. We do have certain dietary and religious requirements that have to be observed, but that is nothing the proper blessings can't sort out."
11:17 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "Good to hear, the payments will be wired once this conversation ends."
11:19 legionrepresentative says, "Well then, I suspect we both have a great deal of work ahead of us. I wish you good day and perhaps we can meet in person once I arrive in Austria with the Advanced Support Element?"
11:19 Austrian_Foreign_Ministry "I will be along with the Empress, it will be a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir."
11:21 legionrepresentative concludes with, "God speed to all of us then," as he hangs up the phone and quickly makes another call to confirm the contract with the Legion Council.[/quote]


[b]Independent Australian Capitol of Kimberly[/b]

"Right then boys, we've got paying work for a change and these clowns in Pihana aren't amounting to much of anything. We are pulling out, with the exception of the First Battalion, and immediately redeploying to Austria. Any questions?" Major General Charles White asks.

"None sir, just happy to be out of this pit," Beckwith states.

"Tip top lad, we'll start boarding ships in an hour," White orders.

"Our heavy equipment?" Deltrane asks.

"Put it in storage, we'll keep it here in Kimberly, no telling when it could come in handy," White explains.

"We do have those warehouses along the waterfront that we can park the vehicles in and put them up on blocks," Deltrane muses.

"Yes indeed, get it done," White says as he walks out of the room.

[i]Kimberly[/i]

The men of the Legion Armored Regiment and the 99th through 104th Independent Infantry Battalions start putting their equipment into storage. The clips are carefully unloaded, ammunition given a light coat of oil, and weapons properly treated with a layer of grease. Racks are constructed out of wood for the storage of the weapons, and boxes are roughed up for the ammunition. Weapons are secured in locked warehouses, ammunition is placed in specially created munition depots that are constructed in a local park after bulldozers are brought in to create high berms.

Security teams are put into place to guard the warehouses and munitions depots along with security zones that are given a variety of dangerous looking signs that indicate all sorts of terrible things happening should someone try to wander their way in. Further, the security zones are provided with flood lights that keep the area well lighted at night along with razor wire fences, motion detectors, and video cameras. A second fence is installed and a strip of anti-personnel mines is seeded for extra measure.

While this work goes on the vehicles are brought into Kimberly and drained of fuel, munitions, and oil. The fuel is carefully placed in sealed steel drums that are locally constructed. The tanks, APCs, and other vehicles are carefully treated with a layer of grease after being thoroughly washed to remove foreign debris and such. Once they've been prepared for storage the warehouse are locked, security teams prepped and placed, and the crews quietly depart the scene.

The 105th Independent Australian being left behind with three additional rifle companies pushes out their perimeter to include all of the city of Kimberly. Orders have come down, the city is theirs to keep, but the rest of the sham involving Independent Australia may well be dropped should future conditions require it. As this happens the men of the LCDF, otherwise known as the Gentleman's Gun and Rod club quietly make their way to sea and return to Macau to seek out other opportunities as their coffers have been quite enriched.

Within two days of hard work the Legion forces set to sea in their ships from Legion and locally confiscated Pihana vessels. No point in leaving a perfectly good cargo ship behind. The ships also fly, and very proudly so, an Austrian flag. The captains of the vessels have been order to inform any naval forces that attempt to block their exit of the scene of their recent hire by the Austrian Government and to only inform the offending naval forces of the Austrian intent to obliterate them should it be absolutely necessary.

[b]Port Sudan[/b]

Several thousand other men make their way to the docks as they quietly wait to load up. The men from Australia are some of the best Legion have to offer, but certainly not enough to satisfy the Austrian government. These forces are hard, well trained, and most of them recently returned from the training schools of the Kingdom of Cochin. Their officers are veterans themselves along with the majority of their NCOs.

[b]Advanced Logistical Support Party[/b]

Twenty five veterans of the African Legion begin boarding the 747 to make the flight to Austria. They are led by Rol Mbembe of the former Sudanese Defense Force who served quite valiantly in the Kickapoo revolt. Rol has several mid ranked officers assisting him who are all experienced logistical officers. A quiet looking chap in the back chooses not to make his presence known though. He's wearing no insignia of any sort and has even shaved for the occasion.

Who would have guessed the Mad Dog had it in him to clean himself up for the occasion?

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[i]Trieste, Austrian Empire[/i]

Empress Maria stood at the airport terminal in the Port of Trieste, flanked by General Maximilian von Hess, the General-in-Chief of her armies, and Frederich Kant, the Foreign Minister as the trio waited for the advanced logistical entourage to arrive from Sudan. Kant stood relatively flustered, constantly drying his aging brow with a white handkerchief and looked out as the plane landed, as scheduled at the terminal. His anxiety was understandable, he thought, especially given how much he had praised the Legionnaires from Africa and how they would be the perfect addition to the Austrian army, much better than the other options the Empress herself had considered.

"I do hope these men are everything you make them out to be Kant. I will be sorely disappointed if I'm being handed a bunch of rabble that General von Hess will have to train before we send them out to the frontier."

"Not at all Your Highness, the gentleman on the phone assured me of the Legion's strength and conviction on the battlefield."

Von Hess laughed as he stroked his mustache. "Taking the word from a man on the phone, Kant, I'm saddened by you. You should know better."

"They're world renown Maximilian, don't try to remove yourself from that fact. These men are more reliable than others, who else were we going to hire? Germans? Irish? Athenians? They have too much loyalty to their own countries. With these Legionnaires, we can build their loyalty to Austria and Austria alone."

Maria smiled and nodded, "It is a bonus, yes. Though I hope who ever their commander is doesn't repeat the problems that Emperor Ferdinand had in the past."

"Which was?" Said Kant, fluttering his eyebrows.

"The mercenaries mutinied on the Imperial Army and the general had to be assassinated and such a failure would look poorly on your appointment as Foreign Minister."

"I assure you that nothing of the like will happen Your Highness. These men," Kant said pointing out the window as the Africans marched down the terminal hallway, "Will extend Austria's borders across the world and with Princess Theresia's marriage to the Chinese Imperator, our influence in the world as perhaps even a Great Power, is secured."

The trio moved over to the entrance of the terminal as the African entourage marched through the doorways and the Austrians, minus the Empress herself gave bows of their head. Maria instead approached the Legionnaires with her hand outstretched in friendship and Kant stayed by her side for the introductions themselves. They cleaned up spectacularly well, especially for Africans, who he believed were going to be rather gritty and harsh. But the smiles they shared for the Empress' and Her Highness' own rosy cheeks gave off the feeling that the meeting would be a total success as Kant shook the hand of the Legion's leader, Rol Mbembe.

"Herr Mbembe, it is a pleasure to finally meet you in person. I would like to be the first to welcome you to Austria and introduce you to Her Imperial Highness, Maria Magdalena of the Hapsburg Dominion. Along with General Maximilian von Hess, Commander of Her Highness' armies of the field." He turned back to Maria and smiled. "Your Highness, my I present the African Legion, Austria's new military force."

"A pleasure, Herr Mbembe," Maria smiled, "Welcome to Austria."

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Rol Mbembe is no stranger to pomp and circumstance. He's the only surviving child of the former President of the Republic of Sudan. Part of the reason why he was chosen is his pedigree and high degree of sophistication in front of proper company. 'God help me, if Denard does anything crazy I'm going to drown that fool in a lake myself,' he thinks to himself as he steps forward to be recognized.

Luckily for all involved Denard is content to quietly remain out of sight for the time being. He has his own role to play in this affair that was agreed upon by the Legion Council. In due time his presence would be formalized, but for now he's another tight faced Legionnaire Logistical Officer. 'Rubbing elbows with royalty eh? I wonder if they are anything like that French bird that put me up after that sod Greenly did that number on me?' Denard thinks to himself as he hard eyes follow Rol's progress.

"Ma'am, we stand ready to serve," Rol states as he comes to a stop exactly six feet in front of Empress Maria and Hess. Mbembe stare is exactly two inches over the head of the Empress, his back straight and stiff as a board, his uniform impeccable, his medals for valor numerous and well polished.

Running from top left to bottom right the Brigadier's medals are as follows; Legion Medal of Valor First Class, Legion Medal of Valor Second Class with three additional award pips, Legion Wound Medal with four additional pips, Legion Distinguished Service Cross, Legion Force Recon Combat Medal, Legion Infantry Award, Legion Airborne Combat Award, Republic of Sudan Bravery Award, and the Kickapoo Revolt Service Award. Each and everyone of the medals was earned the hard way, Legionnaires are not given medals as decorative items. An astute eye looking at Mbembe and in turn the men behind him might notice that nearly to a man they wear some sort of visible scar or multiple scars on their hands, necks, faces, and so forth. Had some of them taken off their shirts they might have been mistaken for some sort of medical experiment gone wrong.

More than one of the men had set off the airport metal detector, much to the amusement of the Port Sudan International Airport Customs authority. Logistical Officers in the Legion typically are men who once served in the active duty units, but due to age or being wounded they are given duties in the rear. Regardless of their age or impairment all are still required to pass the Legion's monthly fitness examinations and qualify on their personal weapons every three months. Personal weapons being something that are in short supply amongst the Legionnaires standing in the Airport.

At least Mbembe hopes weapons are in short supply amongst the Legionnaires. 'No telling who decided to get cute and try to smuggle a grenade launcher onto the flight. Probably Denard,' Rol thinks to himself as he waits for the Empress to continue. One thing he learned long ago from his father, leaders of countries aren't made to do anything, they exist to make others do their bidding. The difference between a just and able leader being they make others do their bidding to serve their people. The run of the mill dictators that seem to end up dead on a regular basis tend to go the other way with getting their bidding done.

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"Walk with us please, Herr Mbembe." Maria said as she turned her feet and gestured for the Legionnaires to join her and her associates as they walked through the airport terminal towards the motorcade outside. "As Minister Kant informed me, you and your men specialize as professional soldiers for hire. I should tell you that I am an imperialist by trade and an expansionist in thought. Austria might be a little state and I might be a little girl, but I have rather large dreams in Europe, North America, and anywhere else in the world where Austria is able to extend her dainty fingers. Which is precisely where you and your African Legion comes into play.

The Austrian army only numbers about a hundred thousand men, barely enough to constitute any kind of imperial ambition and with the Imperial Family engaged to various other foreign nations, it will soon be required of the Empire to be able to be present across the world. As what is expected by a proper ally. What I would like to ask you then, Herr Mbembe, is what can I expect out of the Legion? If I send you off on the far frontiers of the world to fight for Empire and Empress, can I expect to hear about victory and success? In addition to Austria's own imperial ambition, the Legion would be expected to serve along side the Imperial Army to defend what colonies we have and the homeland itself. Surely you are aware of the recent news in Europe. The rumor of war between the South and the Northern sections of the continent is a very real threat. If war finds itself on Vienna's doorstep that would be another objective for the Legion to defend."

The doors of the airport opened as the Empress and her entourage stepped through to the clear air of Adriatic coast. "As to equipment, your soldiers, if you choose to accept the contract and swear fealty to Empress, Empire, and Holy Mother Church. General von Hess can take care of the arrangements of logistics. You'll be equipped with everything an Imperial soldier has in his or her arsenal. It isn't because of production or material we are so small, it is solely because our population isn't like that of the Chinese, Germans, or others. However, if you have any other questions, if I could hear them now. I'm late for an address." Maria smirked, "The Empire is going to war with the Pravus Ingurian Rebels."

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"You can expect the fullest measure from each and every Legionnaire in completion of our assigned duties. No matter where you send us you can expect us to carry out our orders or die trying. When not fighting or training you'll find the Legion hard at work building. Each and every Legionnaire is trained as an Infantryman first, his military occupational specialty second, and does a three month training assignment in a labor battalion," Mbembe says as he silently wishes Denard would step forward and handle this bit, but knows that he is on his own.

None the less he carries on and says, "Do be aware that the Legion has a reputation for showing mercy to civilians, dispensing justice where it is needed, and going extraordinary lengths to care for captured enemy belligerents. We've discovered too many crimes against humanity after the fact to want to take part in any of them ourselves. You can expect the Legion to take active roles in local charitable groups, humanitarian projects, and take an active interest in the communities which they are stationed."

He quickly thinks over the larger implications of imperialism and relays the message of the Legion Council and says, "The Legion Council has no current issue with imperialism. Past empires have shown themselves both incredibly inept at ruling distant lands and quite able and just rulers. It is believed by us that modern communications, education, and transportation makes it nearly impossible to impose an unjust regime on an unwilling people for an extended period of time. The frequent collapse of governments around the world illustrate this point as their inept leadership and clown-like governments betray the interests of their own peoples. This has lead to the perpetuation of a great deal of suffering by the citizens of far too many nations. This has brought the Legion Council to the conclusion that just and responsible rule from an outside party is far better than no rule at all. If Austria can be the provider of that rule to those who need it, then the Legion is happy to play a part in it."

In the background Denard remains silent, his eyes and ears following the events. 'How far have we come? Once we fought to keep Africa free of colonialism and now we fight to bring imperialism to those who can barely wipe their own behinds.' It is an old argument with him, he's debated it with the Legion Council. The end conclusion is rule from an Imperial power is far better than what most of these nations are giving themselves. Perhaps the chance exists to uplift them given time, but as of now, most aren't fit to rule themselves let alone an outhouse.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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[b]Outside Trieste[/b]

"Fall in!" the NCOs of the African Legion shout as they rush to assemble the collected 25,000 Legionnaires into a semblance of a formation. Major General Charles White stands on a platform and takes a megaphone into his hand and looks out across the sea of faces. In that sea he notices a slew of familiar ones and this brings a small measure of relief to his heart.

"Legionnaires, DENGALI!"

"DENGALI!" the 25,000 assembled men scream back.

"Now that we have the formalities out of the way, allow me to explain in detail why we are here in Austria," White says as he clears his throat.

"Do we get to kill some Europeans?" an anonymous voice asks from the crowd.

"Only if we are ordered to do so," White says with a smile. "And when we do get those orders, be assured I expect you all to remember the code which we live by. What I have in my hand here is a signed contract employing the African Legion to serve the government of Austria. And by serve I mean more than likely we'll be sent away to some distant land and be asked to fight people who sure as heck don't want the Austrians there in the first place. However, their governments failed their people, their governments abandoned them, their governments left a vacuum to be filled and good Austrian administrators, police, and medical services will fill that vacuum."

"Sir, trucks are arriving," whispers one of Whites assistants.

"Thank you," White whispers back as he motions to a cloud of dust in the distance. Once the Legion's attention is firmly riveted upon it he says, "Those should be our new uniforms, rifles, boots, and kit to get us geared up. We will equip ourselves by company. This process will take no more than 48 hours. Once complete we will prepare to do some training to shake some of the rust off you boys."

"LEGIONNAIRES LOVE TRAINING SIR, AS LONG IT IS HARD TRAINING!" the 25,000 assembled men roar.

"Well you'll get plenty of that," White says as he turns to his assmebled staff and says, "Get them moving, try not to let them burn anything down, and I fully expect bedlam to break out within five minutes. With 25,000 Legionnaires someone is bound to screw something up. Get it sorted out quickly when it happens."

"Yes sir," the collect officers say as White motions to Willi Mugabe to follow him.

"You sure about this Willi?" White asks.

"Positive, best training ever for them and the Austrians will get a chance to see what they are paying for," Will Mugabe replies.

"Alright, I want an advanced party with a medical company and support detachment to set up aid stations and supply points along the way. Confer with Austrian Military authorities and keep them aprised of our route and needs," White says.

"Already done," Mugabe replies.

"Why am I in charge?" White asks.

"Because I don't want to be," Mugabe says with an air of indifference about him.

"Sounds like a load of codwallop to me," White mutters as he leaves Mugabe/Denard to his work and walks off to mingle with the waiting Legionnaires to get to know some of the newer members.

"Sir?" an officer quietly asks White.

"Yes?" White responds.

"Bedlam sir, took 3 and a half minutes," the officer responds.

White sighs and tries not to laugh.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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When 25,000 men all start marching more or less at the same time it is bound to draw a few curious eyes. Particularly more so when they are heavily armed and in uniform. Legion Flags snap in the breeze as the regimental color bearers of Legion march, alone, ten meters in front of the first rows of their regiments. Company standards, battalion standards, and other flags are nonexistent in the Legion.

No explanation has ever been given, but rumor has it Denard himself said, "If we give a flag for every single damn company and battalion we'll spend the next 30 years fighting over who gets the one in pink. Regimental flags only damn it!" The Legion Council having an amusing sense of irony decreed the flags of the old Legion 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Regiments be taken out of storage as those units were reconstituted to serve under the command of the Austrian Government.

Battle streamers hang so thickly from the 1st Regiment flag that at times the Regimental flag is confused for being a yellow porcupine on a stick. This sense of history has always worked well with Legion. It reminds them where they've come from. It helps them see the future towards which they are going. It keeps things in perspective for them as it ensures they are clearly focused on the simple but effective battle cry of, "Dengali" that makes the Legion strong in the face of adversity.

As tradition demands just as soon as the command is passed to begin the march the 25,000 Legionnaires in unison chant, "DENGALI!" The echo of the shout dies away as the assembled Legionnaires advance down the Austrian freeway which has been blocked off by Austrian Police outriders to prevent some sort of unpleasant accident. One by one the Legion regiments peel off as they advance onto the lessor used side roads of Austria and take their individual paths towards the Legion's training area deep in the heart of their new employer's homeland.

As they leave the freeway hungry eyes closely follow them. Eyes belonging to the infamous members of the Legion's Special Operations Groups. The operators of the 1st through 3rd Legion Special Operations Groups lead by Rol Mbembe himself break away as they too go about their assignments. Training in the Legion at times can take on a ruthless edge and Mugabe had been very candid when he said he wanted to shake down the Legionnaires to the very edge of their wits the entire two hundred and fifty mile march to their training area. "Remember boys, no killing anyone or anything. Keep a low profile and if you get caught by Austrian authorities show them your ID cards and surrender immediately. Call Legion Overwatch in Trieste and we'll send someone to bail you out."

"Copy sir," the men sound off one by one as they begin loading up into their vehicles. While the Legionnaires are marching the SOG teams are riding into battle in small four door sedans. It might not seem fair to the average outsider, but in the SOG the prevailing culture dictates that if you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough. They certainly don't intend to make this at all a pleasant experience for the newly formed Legion regiments in Austria.

"Sir, just what are we supposed to call ourselves?" one of the SOG Troopers asks.

"Beats me, I reckon White will come up with something," Mbembe replies.

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[b]Somewhere in Austria[/b]

The streets of the small Austrian village shake as the 3,500 men of the 1st Legion Regiment, colloquially known to the Legion as 'Les Miserables', march through. Their backs straight, their heads held high, their regimental flaps unfurled, and the flag of Austria held even higher. It is a statement of loyalty of the Legion to their employers. While the Legion revels in its unique history, the flags of the Legion are always flown just a bit lower than the flag of their employer.

Though truth be told as the men of the Legion wind their way through city, through villages, through hamlets, past farms, over bridges, and meet more and more Austrians they find it hard to see them as employers. Certainly neither Legion or Austria hold a common heritage or language, but at the root of it all they are both more or less motivated by the same thing, to get by in life with most of their limbs more or less intact.

Well not in Colonel Mustapha's case, but when you are by reputation a crazed bomb thrower and demolitions expert as he is it hard to keep track of all of your fingers and toes. With him being the exception, the rest of Austria and Legion tend to prefer to keep things a bit more intact. Rightly so as Private Barnaby, the perpetual Legion Private is quoted as saying, "You can't steal a case of beer out of a liquor store with most of the fingers on your left hand missing Mustapha."

Mustapha's reply is short, "Rank hath its privilege, you go do it," as he dismisses Barnaby from further thought. In retrospect Mustapha later admits that perhaps this is a poor choice of words for the notorious Private Barnaby who over the years has managed to lose more promotions than he's actually earned. Meaning he has to be promoted to senior private six more times before actually attaining the rank. However, in Mustapha's defense he's busy making sure the outriders are constantly moving forward and juggling a tangled supply situation and misses the bit where Barnaby sneaks off to rob an Austrian convenience store, where he miserably fails and is promptly caught.

That little mishaps takes White at least an hour to unravel as he ended up giving Barnaby a public bollocking in front of an irate Austrian store owner for his temerity. That and fining the man three months pay, along with confining him to base for the next six months. White leaves a card with the store owner indicating his private number should the Austrian authorities wish to pursue the matter on their own, but politely explains that the Legion column must keep moving and that Barnaby is going to be well supervised in the future.

This matter sorted out, or so White hopes, the Legion column departs the small village and makes its way towards their nightly laying up point. They are all of about three hundred yards outside of city limits when the entire 1st SOG Team of 80 men unloads on the 1st Regiment's 1st Battalion from a well concealed ambush with their LILSW rigs strapped to their weapons. The men battle it out for nearly an hour as White watches the confusion of the 1st Regiment as the men run in every which direction trying to outflank, surround, attack from behind, attack from the front, attack from above, use mortars, use artillery, call in air strikes, and try perform just about everything at the same time but a good old cavalry charge.

"Well, nothing some more hard training won't cure," White mutters as he grimly takes notes.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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The men of the 3rd Regiment, the Rue De Hommes, advance in company sized units in total silence as they move through the countryside. It isn't exactly easy to find large batches of open terrain in modern Europe, but they've managed to hit a fairly agricultural area and their commanding officer Beckwith decreed, "Off the roads lads and into the woods, don't trample anyone's potato patch and be ready to help the locals where you can, consider this a good will tour of sorts."

As the men advance they do so with their eyes wide open, mouths shut, and weapons slung onto their shoulders. It isn't until they reach properly designated areas that are picked by the Legion Outriders that they ready their weapons and break formations. They go from a tight silent unit marching in unison to squad sized groups hugging the earth as they practice their basic infantry skills. Sure now and then an Austrian civilian, police officer, lost twelve year old stumbles across them, but a few quick silent words from a Legion translator assures them of their lack of harmful intent and group photos are taken and the Austrian civilian sent on their way with a pocket full of Legion souvenirs.

Occasionally the men of the 3rd weather a sniping, a snatch and grab, and a simulated ambush laid by the 2nd SOG teams that are constantly harassing them. More than once Beckwith is called to the scene of a reported incident to find a few Legionnaires tied to a tree with their pants pulled down around their ankles. "Damn SOG troopers, just a right proper hilarious bunch aren't they?" Beckwith asks no one in particular.

And so it goes as the Legion Regiments march, drill, train, and hone their rusty skills as they advance deeper and deeper into Austria. As they pass through cities special detachments put on performances for the local organizations that range from shooting demonstrations, native Sudanese singing performances, simulated hostage rescue performances, carnivals for small children, and the occasional ambush set up my SOG teams.

To say that the SOG Teams aren't having the time of their lives would be a complete and total lie. After the first ambush of White's column the word was passed by Mbembe for the SOG teams to keep their antics outside of populated areas unless they have had a chance to confer with local law enforcement beforehand to prevent a mass panic. So far the local Austrian authorities seemed pleased with the opportunity to participate in the shenanigans of the Special Operations Groups. More than one promise of a return visit for follow on training opportunities is given as well as Mbembe orders his teams to make themselves available to work with local law enforcement to provide realistic training.

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Denard and White quietly confer under a tree. Behind them the men of the 2nd Regiment are setting up camp for the night. "So far the reports are getting more encouraging," White comments.

"Reaction times are improving to ambushes, sniper attacks, and other SOG nastiness," Denard responds.

"They are even getting more proactive about how they deal with the SOG."

"I noticed," Denard says as he motions to the silent observation teams that are busy setting up hidden observation posts for the night.

"You see the left hand?" White asks.

Denard looks over to the secondary teams that are the bigger threat to infiltrators as they will quietly move forward once the sun goes down and take the place of the OP teams who will quietly pull back. "Yep, clever to an extent, but useless given the SOG's night vision equipment."

"You missed the thermal blankets."

"Oh now that is clever," Denard admires the secondary OP teams as he eyes their use of thermal blankets to dampen their infra-red signature.

"Yeah, gotta remember, starlight scopes are so old school, times have moved on."

"True, very true. Well, time to start getting nastier with the SOG boys them. I'll pass the word to Mbembe to prepare to launch notional mortar attacks and to start using simulated mines. That'll keep the lads light on their feet. The end game though is the most important part," Denard concludes.

"Verily much so, and I've gotten started on that."

"You found me a nice mountain?"

"Oh dear me yes, it is a right big old thing."

"Good, we'll position a full battalion up on in and have the rest assault it in a full on battle. I want the SOG teams raising all sorts of Cain in our rear areas as well. The lads got rusty over the years we need to impress upon them the importance of rear area security."

"This ought to be interesting."

"Indeed, and we are going to do it as a demonstration for the Empress Maria as well, so be prepared."

"Allah save us," White mutters.

"We are in a Catholic country now old friend," Denard chides him.

White looks sour for a bit and he finally mutters, "God save us and all that."

"Much better lad, let's go make the rounds. I think it is about time I dropped this facade. Most of the old lads recognize me and are playing along. I doubt it'll keep up much longer though."

"Want me to inform the Austrian government of your presence?"

"Yes, best to make it official."

"You going to be taking over?"

"Hell no, I will continue in my advisory capacity of all things Legion," Denard insists.

"Damn it," White mutters.

"Shouldn't that be Allah curse you?" Denard asks.

"You said it yourself, we are in a Catholic country."

"God bless my soul!" Denard snorts in return as the men set about visiting the camp of the 2nd Regiment.


[b]To: Austrian Military Command
From: Major General Charles White
Regarding: Change of Status for Legion Personnel[/b]

Willi Mugabe, isn't really Willi Mugabe. He's actually Robert Denard, otherwise known as Mad Dog Bob Denard. He came over with the Forward Logistical Party to lend his assistance in the training of Legion forces in Austria.

His status is officially changed from Advisor to Legion forces in Austria to Special Advisor to the Austrian Government regarding all things involving Legion.

A bit wordy I know, but I'm freely admitting I'm at a loss for a specific title for Denard. Dellion ought to be wandering in shortly as well if I'm not mistaken. Feel free to keep them both busy as they are quite the pair.

Training is going as expected and I'm pleased to announce that the final exercises for Legion forces in Austria will commence in two weeks time. We formally wish to invite the Empress Maria to a day in the field with Legion Forces. We'll be hosting a special dinner for her consisting of traditional Sudanese fare and Legion style entertainment after, should she be interested.

I will say that for Europeans the Austrians have thus far impressed the Legion with their hospitality and friendly nature. We are finding your nation to be quite enchanting and to this point Legion has absolutely no regrets with entering into the service of a European power such as yourselves.

Best of Regards,
Major General Charles White.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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[b]To: All Legion Forces in Austria
From: Denard
Regarding: Dengali Day Celebration[/b]

Gentleman, the 25th anniversary of Dengali is upon us. Tomorrow we'll be entering into the 3rd week of our training in the fields of Austria. During this time we've moved hard, trained harder, and gone from a mob to a rabble to what we have now, a force we can properly title as the African Legion.

In honor of Dengali we'll be stopping in place. We shall observe one hour of silence tomorrow from eleven hundred hours to twelve hundred hours. During this time only priority communications are to be made and those personal communications between Legionnaires that are deemed necessary to continue our work.

After we conclude our hour of silence you are all free to spend the afternoon mingling with the civilians of Austria. Let me remind you all that I will personally come kick each and everyone of you in the balls if we have some sort of incident. Be polite, explain the reasons for our free time, mingle, and let the Austrians have a chance to get to know us. We've enough English and French speakers in our ranks to communicate with the Austrian population. Europeans, despite their disadvantages of being Europeans, do tend to be either bilingual or trilingual.

Again, I expect you all to be on your best behavior. Special Operations Groups you have your own orders as well. During this time you will meet with local police authorities and make yourselves available to them to assist with police related matters that involve the Legion. I expect your language speaking abilities will come in handy should some of our boys get a bit too rowdy. All Legionnaires will be in full uniform, you will leave your weapons in our camps, and you will properly bathe on the morning of Dengali Day.

STAY OUT OF TROUBLE..

-Denard


"Oi, is this the same Mad Dog who got drunk and tried to have his way with Corporal Barnaby?" a salty looking Legion NCO asks.

"I reckon so, you think he's on the piss mate?" another NCO asks back.

"Must be, but I rather not get a kick in the wedding tackle, so we best pass it on to the lads that if they act the fool tomorrow we'll have em all on latrine duty till retirement day."

"Agreed mate, after you," the NCO replies as they get busy spreading the news.

White watches from the distance and he chuckles. The training had shown a definite improvement in the operational capabilities of the Legion forces in Austria. It had polished, honed, and prepared the men for their upcoming graduation exercise in a week's time. Not that White ever worried that this wouldn't happen, but at times he wondered if the luster of the Legion had faded over the horizon with their fall from grace when the government of Legion collapsed.

"You look like you have something on your mind," Beckwith says to White.

"Just thinking," White replies.

"Enjoy your Dengali day tomorrow," Beckwith says.

"You were there right?" White asks.

"Yep, nearly got my fool head blown off three times."

"What was it like on that last day?" White asks Beckwith.

"Mate, let me put it to you this way. None of us expected to survive. There were about one hundred of us trapped in a dry river bed thinking those Marxist Liberation Army villians were going to over-run us. God they tried, how they tried, but they failed, and eighty three out of four hundred and fifty of us walked away after three hard days."

"Sounds grim," replies White.

"You've had your own Dengali," Beckwith replies.

"Yeah, but the Kickapoo Revolt wasn't anything like Dengali. Hardly anyone mentions it anymore," White mutters.

"You reckon that has to do with the fact that we have so many Kickapoo regulars joining up with the Legion after and it is considered impolite to remind them of their defeat?" Beckwith asks.

"It could be, but I don't ever remember passing an order for such a thing."

"Somethings soldiers don't really need to mention to another soldier. We are all Legionnaires today, no point in dredging up the past," Beckwith concludes.

"Unless that past is Dengali," White counters.

"Well, that's not the past, Dengali is our future," Beckwith counters the counter.

"Always the future with you old salts," White says with a laugh as he carries on with his inspection of the 3rd Legion Regiment.

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[quote]
[i]General White,

Personally I am not well aware with the reputation of Herr Denard, though I am sure that the Legion's delightful stay in Austria is attributed perhaps to his good works of discipline and other means of military communication. To be honest, while I doubted the Legionnaires at first, you have all become a welcoming addition to the Austrian countryside and military machine, which I may add, is not all that large. From what I understand, Austria will soon be receiving a parcel of land in the Pacific Northwest. The Empress has made it quite clear that our intentions in North America are to stabilize the rotting carcasses of devolving American nations and implant them into the Austrian Commonwealth, the plans are fairly murky at the moment. But such is the mind of Her Majesty, playing everything by ear.

I will, however, send word to Her Majesty that she is invited to your display. I'm sure she will be very thrilled to attend such a fun-filled day.

Sincerely,

Maximilian von Hess
Austrian Chief of Staff[/i]
[/quote]

The day of the actual event, Maria found herself being driven by town car across the back roads of Austria towards the rolling fields of the eastern Alps, where the mountains just began to meet the low laying plains that led to the capital and other points east. It was four in the morning and the sun had not yet come out from the eastern hills and the Empress inside the heated car was wondering to herself just how early it could be that the sun wasn't shining on Hungary and Vienna. There were no mountains to hide it, so it had to be damn early for her to be driving in utter darkness.

She had been told that it would be a long day and to get as much sleep the night before. Von Hess' description of what she would actually be doing with the Legionnaires was also cryptic. It had been ages since Maria had donned the gray suit and beret of the Austrian Officer's Corp and her rank as Commander-in-Chief stood out on her gold epaulets, she also had been unsure whether to wear boots and fatigues or heels. Given that she hoped she wouldn't be put into a training line, the Empress had opted for heels, but Von Hess had suggested she bring boots, fatigues, and even a canteen. Hearing that, the Empress' face had dropped nearly to the ground. The thought of having spent the night in Hofburg Palace only to be marching around Western Austria with a bunch of Foreign Soldiers was not her idea of a good morning.

Sighing, she took off her suit as the car came to a stop and rolling up her sleeve made a small bicep. "Well, you still have this," she smiled and threw back on her suit as one of the soldiers opened the door.

"Sizing yourself up against the Foreign Legionnaires, Your Highness?"

"Kind of futile, don't you think?"

"Not at all, I'm sure they'll whip you into a hardened warrior in no time Highness and I mean that in the best way possible."

"I hope so Captain." Maria laughed, "Or I'll cut out your tongue."

The Captain gulped as he led the Empress into the Legionnaire's camp and Maria prepared herself for the greeting of the century.

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A token honor guard greets the Empress Maria. The tired looking men frankly stink high to heavens from their recent exercises. The thundering of simulated machine gun fire, mortars, and close air support can be heard in the distance. The leader of the honor guard, Denard, brings the men to a salute and impassively waits for it to be recognized. If one where to look closely they'd notice that several changes have taken place to the general appearance of the Legionnaires.

First, their sleeves all bear new unit patches. The flag of Austria, surrounded by the black lettering that spells out the Austrian Legion. The patch comes in the shape of the African Continent, which is a reminder to those who wear it where they've come from. A closer inspection of Denard's patch shows it topped with a small patch that identifies him as one of the few remaining veterans of the Battle of Dengali. Under each patch is a second smaller patch with the identifying marks of the specific Legionnaire's Regimental designation. These men are from the Legion's Fourth Regiment. This can be seen by the patch that bears the words, "4th Austrian Legion Regiment, 1st Battalion."

"Ma'am, The Austrian Legion stands ready to receive you as hour honored guest," the Sergeant Major of the Austrian Legion intones very solemnly. All present know the significance of this event. It is nothing less than the swearing of loyalty and fealty to the Empress Maria. The men aren't particularly sure why, but they all seem to agree that so long as the Austrians honor the contract, they would honor their leader with their fullest loyalty. To the Legionnaires somethings don't need to be put into words, the changing of their name to the Austrian Legion ought to be sign enough given the history of the Legion.

"Marsh Bob," a voice calls from the tent.

Denard's eyes slightly twitch to the tent as he struggles with the overwhelming desire to not turn away from the Empress completely. A second later Denard's long suffering radioman and all around assistant comes running out the tent, up to Denard's side, and says, "Marsh Bob, the Major General says we got casualties and we need a medical evac up on the hill ASAP."

"Ma'am, allow me to turn this over to my 2iC, Colonel Mustapha. Don't let him talk you into handling any explosives. I have to get up slope and see what is brewing," Denard says with an embarrassed look on his face as he motions to Mustapha's left hand that has two fingers missing. With that being said he turns, grabs his radioman by the collar and takes a running leap into the nearest jeep and takes off at full speed for the site of the reported accident.

Colonel Mustapha, the notorious bomb maker of the Austrian Legion, watches in dismay and finally turns and looks at the Empress Maria and says, "Well that was unexpected. Welcome to the Legion Ma'am."


ooc: will clean it up for spelling later. I'm not on my home computer. :)

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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Maria watched oddly as Denard ran out of the tent off to relieve casualties. She frowned and looked back at Mustapha, "Well I hope they're going to be okay, I'd hate to see everything you gentlemen planned for me get thrown out the window. I was looking forward to it a great deal and still am. Though if I may ask, Colonel, General von Hess who told me of my invitation here was rather cryptic about what I am actually doing with you men all day. I mean, not that I mind, but I was asked to come here at four in the morning, its only four-thirty now. I can't imagine that its going to be just sitting around and watching drills for sixteen hours. Or at least I hope it won't be."

She smiled, "So what exactly is on the agenda for me today?"

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"Ma'am, Denard will be back in a bit I suspect. Until then I'm going to take you over to the command center where we'll get things started. We are about to conclude our mountain training evolution. I'm sure the wounded will be fine, wouldn't matter anyway, half the Legion could be dead and they still wouldn't stop an exercise in motion. Your mission should chose to accept it will be to lead the 1st Legion Regiment into simulated battle in order to defeat the men of the 2nd Legion Regiment. 3rd and 4th Regiments have been hard at it for the last three days trying to beat the crap out of each other over that hill, now it is the 2nd and 1st Regiment's turn," Mustapha informs the Empress Maria as he motions towards the command tent that is set up a short walk in the distance.

[b]Denard[/b]

"They going to be alright?" Denard asks as he watches the three men being loaded into the ambulance.

"Bumps and bruises and maybe some broken bones," White responds.

"That's good to know and as to the rest of this exercise, no matter what no one goes soft. If she ever suspects we set it up to let her win she'll be dishonored. Either she wins or loses on her own merits. Besides, it'll be interesting to see how she performs under pressure," Dellion says.

White nods sets off for the command center as he says, "Agreed."

"Glad you made it in time," Denard says as he watches White depart. The two men board Denard's own personal transport with his radioman and make their way to the rear of the Command Center themselves.

"Yeah, me also, who is leading the 2nd Regiment?" Dellion asks.

"Beckwith," Denard says in an even voice.

"With Hardcastle in command of the 1st?" Dellion asks.

"Yep, Ian will do alright, he did well in the Russova affair and in the recent skirmishes in Australia."

"What are we supposed to be doing?"

"Dellion, we watch, we wait, we quietly advise the Empress. Above all we learn. We must come to understand her as she must come to understand us. This way there are no major misunderstandings later," Denard concludes as the two men quietly make their way to the command tent.

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"Me? Lead a regiment into battle?" Maria nearly fell over in shock. Her military history had been the necessary training that she had taken while in exile. Living in the Germanic Union for the better part of her childhood and adolescence, the Empress had picked some knowledge of tactics and strategy, it was hard not to living in one of the most militarized countries aside from the Dalmatian Reich. She had gone to school at the University of Berlin and in doing so, she had picked up some courses on military history as well as a physical education course on the basic training of Germanic soldiers. Maria didn't consider her in the best shape or the best tactical mind, but she could hold her own. After all, there wasn't much to lose here.

"Well, if I do, I'm going to have to change. I can't imagine going into battle with heels on." She chuckled and excused herself from the tent. A few meters over in the darkness with a flashlight her aide had given her, the Empress placed on her fatigues, her boots, and her beret. Maria didn't even want to imagine herself in the mirror, she probably looked hideous. Still she moved back to Mustapha's tent and then beyond towards the command tent up the hill a decent ways. Without an Austrian aide around her now, the Empress turned General opened the flap of the tent and walked in, nervously with a feigned since of pride and confidence to see just what she was getting into.

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The Empress Maria is escorted into the Command Tent and the men inside of it immediately come to attention. As per Legion protocol covering wartime battlefield etiquette the promptly return to their duties once the proper respect is rendered. No salute is given, that gives away the recipients identity as a person of a higher rank. "Empress Maria, I stand relieved of command," Major General Charles White nods and steps away from the command table.

"Empress Maria, we stand ready to follow your orders. The First Regiment consists of 3500 men. They are currently located in these positions here and here. The terrain ahead of them is flat, but heavily wooded. The 2nd Regiment is believed to be located here and here," Colonel Ian Hardcastle informs the Empress as he motions to a unfolded map on the table in front of the 1st Regiment's Battalion Officers.

"Empress Maria, I command the 1st Battalion of the 1st Legion Regiment. We are the Les Terribles. We occupy this position here and here. According to Legion tradition it is afforded to the 1st Battalion of the 1st Regiment as a place of honor due to the dangerous nature of the objectives. The 1st of the 1st always gets the real crap jobs," Lt. Colonel Mwabi Dulani says as he introduces himself.

"Empress Maria, by tradition the 1st of the 1st always complains about everything. The 2nd of the 1st always gets the truly difficult objectives. You'll see that we are located here and here," Lt. Colone Bari Metanal says as he too introduces himself.

"Empress Maria, it is true the men of the 1st and the 2nd Battalions have difficult objectives. They have reputations for toughness and determination that is only surpassed by the men of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Legion Regiment. The 3rd of the 1st can trace its linage back to Dengali, the crucible of the Legion. You'll note we occupy these positions here and here," Lt. Colonel Oscar "The Grouch" Gaun comments. With a little keen observation it is easy to note that Gaun wears a Dengali patch as well above his newly attached Austrian Legion shoulder patch.

"Empress Maria, don't be impressed by the boasting of these men. The Twisted Sisters are the Queens of the battlefield. I lead the 4th Battalion of and we are the Hell Devils incarnate of war. Where we stride, men tremble. You'll find us here and here and we await your command to destroy the opposition," Lt. Colonel Syani Ralun comments as she stands and looks at the Empress impassively. She silently wonders if anyone has told the Empress about the 4th of the 1st undeserved reputation for cannibalism. 'Sheesh, someone gets drunk one time and tries to eat someone,' Ralun thinks to herself.

"Empress Maria, these men and women are mere mortals. We are the gods of the battlefield. We rule it with our steel and fire. Allow me to introduce you the 3rd Artillery Battalion of the 5th Legion Artillery Regiment. You'll find my battalion of one hundred fifty five milimeter howitzers positioned here, here, and here. 12 howiters total, all ready to serve you," Major Jamal Rustafi says as he quietly waits with his fire control officer.

"Empress Maria, you can't be gulled into accepting the confidence of these men and women. The men of the 1st Special Operations Group, all eighty of us stand ready to ply our deadly trade. I'd point out where we are located, but I'm not entirely sure myself where my men are at. They'll let us know when they spot the enemy using their burst transmission radio gear. I do know I told them to head to the east to here, and to the west here to try to feel out the flanks of the 2nd Regiment's positions. They travel on foot in teams of four and myself and my 2ic will be coordinating their signals traffic for you," Lt. Colonel Gene Simons informs the Empress.

"DENGALI," the Legionnaires shout as both Denard and Dellion enter the tent.

"As you where boys," Denard says as he joins the Empress and the other officers. Denard and Dellion quickly walk over to Guan and as with tradition dictates. The three men quietly say, "Dengali, never again," and nod to each other to acknowledge the sacredness of their oath as they return to their duties.

"Empress Maria, I apologize for my abrupt departure earlier. The three injured men are being transported to a hospital for treatment as we speak. I've sent them to a Regional Civilian hospital with an interpreter. Might as well be sure they get a good look over by some of your fine doctors while when we have the chance. I'll be serving as your Intelligence Officer and Dellion here will be quietly observing all of us for an after action briefing as per standard Legion training protocols. Do you have any questions at this time?" Denard asks as he motions a young looking private to bring him a chair, a cup of coffee, and something hot to eat. He's not the only one with warm food and coffee on his mind.

Major General Charles White slips out to get in a quick shower and something to eat before he goes to inspect the men of the 3rd and 4th Regiments. It'll be a long day for him as he spends it getting the men into camp, getting them cleaned up, and getting them bedded down for rest after an intensive review of their performance. The review for the 1st and the 2nd is yet to come as theirs will be held after their final exercise is concluded. This puts Dellion in the spotlight as his duties are about to commence.

Dellion quietly fades into the background and opens a notebook and readies his ball point pen for taking notes. Everyone from the Empress to the lowest private in the Legion's performance was being evaluated. That's the Legion for you, always evaluating just about everything possible.

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Maria stood at the war council table between a feeling of utter confusion and utter confidence, in truth this was her first real engagement and it felt all too real as though the practice nature had all disappeared. In Austrian war councils, she had always left the decisions to her generals and advisers, it seemed as though after she was done here, such military bureaucracy would be a thing of the past and it would be Austria's Empress to be able to lead her men into battle. Though deep down she prayed it would never come to that.

After the introductions to each of her junior officers, the Empress nodded happily. She fixed her beret and placed her hands behind her back. "First things are first ladies and gentlemen, this Empress stuff is not going to work. If you are going to address me, 'General von Hapsburg' will work just fine." She looked at her watch and sighed. "Well its nearly five o'clock and the sun should be rising soon so if we are gong to have our morning engagement then we had best start planing our opening attacks against the enemy positions. I'm positive the damn Swedes and Lutheran !@#$%^&* are doing the same thing in the camp across the field." Maria barely knew what she was saying at that as in a flash of history, the Austrian countryside was brought back to centuries earlier. She was defending in her mind much more than some meaningless land between Vienna and Innsbruck, no, instead she was the only thing that stood between Catholicism's total defeat at the hands of Gustavus Adolphus and his North German Allies.

"Colonel Hardcastle," she said pointing to the map on the table. "If you could show me again the current Imperial positions. I haven't been able to get a good look at the terrain of the area and I don't want our men marching through unstable ground that could prove to be disastrous to any eventual attack." Maria cleared her throat and nodded to each of the commanders playfully. "Gentlemen and ladies, right now we are the only thing that stands between the Lutherans and Vienna. If Vienna falls, then the Catholic League will fall with it and Southern Europe will be at the mercy of the reformists. Every person here knows his or her duty to Austria. This is more than just the crown now, this is our future as citizens and as people of Europe. We must and we will not let the capital fall.

After Colonel Hardcastle gives his report, I want a report from each of you on the capability of your regiments and what you can honestly expect out of your men. Then we will create our network web and once confident enough, begin our attack against the Swedish and Lutheran Forces. I have faith in each one of you that we will prevail here." Then she turned to Denard. "As for you sir, you will be my personal guard when we ride out to battle. I chose to lead from the front, not from the back. A lady is capable of heroics just as much as a man is. People should know their commander is willing to perish for her beliefs as well. Now, Colonel Hardcastle, your report."

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Mustapha, Guan, and a few others silently bite their tongues. They make no mention of the fact they are incredibly devout Muslims. Besides, it wasn't as if General Von Hapsburg is asking them to line up and convert enmasse. Their premission briefing had included the cultural differences between Austrians and the average Legionnaire. Part of those differences being religious, but while the difference in choice of belief is significant it isn't entirely insurmountable.

Hardcastle smiles as a large grin breaks out of his deeply tanned yet white face. "General, recon reports shows a deep river between us and the Lutherans. Those damn heathen dogs who Alla... God shall have us smite in his name are taking cover behind it and I suspect they are waiting to come at them."

"SOG teams scouted the approaches earlier and have detected three reasonable locations to ford the river. I reckon they are already heavily defended by the enemies of the true church. To what extent remains to be seen," Denard adds in as he circles three locations on the map with a red grease pencil.

"The soldiers of the god march in battalions of 700 men and women each. 2800 men divided into four line battalions supported by a services and support battalion with additional units of artillery, special operations group men, and a company of military police for rear area security. On paper we mass 3500 men, but with the temporarily attached units we stand at around 4200 men. Thus far I've ordered each company to slowly push a company forward until they come into contact with the Lutheran swine or the river. All four companies are advancing on schedule and do not seem to be meeting any opposition as of yet," Hardcastle briefs the General onto the rough situation.

After Hardcastle each battalion officer gives the General a quick sketch of their positions, their current activities, their actual strength, and their supply situation. All four battalions are equipped for a three day engagement, all are at full strength, and they positioned in a line running north to south and currently are on a slow advance to the west. Special Operations Group teams are farther north and south attempting to work their way into the Lutheran rear areas so that they might bring their special brand of attention to the supply trains of the heathen Lutheran scum.

Denard finishes eating his breakfast, drinking a cup of coffee, and checking a few messages before he stands. "Knowing those Lutheran swine this command center is probably going to be a prime target for their special ops teams. General, I suggest that we let these battalion commanders return to their command centers and we make ourselves less conspicous," he says as he motions for his radioman to collect his personal gear and waits for the General to give her orders.

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