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The Death of a Regiment


Captain Enema
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Dellion,a long serving member of the Legion, is on his knees with his hands clenched in a furious silence. Looking down at the body of of one of brightest and best students, Major General Charles White, he truly finds himself with absolutely utterly nothing to say. He’s on his knees holding White’s hand as the doctor covers the body of the leader of the African Legion during the Kickapoo Revolt with a blanket. “Dellion, he’s gone,” Beckwith whispers as he struggles with his own sense of shock and loss.

“Shut up and go away,” Dellion whispers harshly.

“Beckwith, come here now,” Denard orders from his cot where he’s getting treated from the after affects of surviving a nuclear explosion.

“Sir?” Beckwith asks.

“The Empress, what is her status?” Denard demands.

“Secure for now from the reports of it. She was well away from the blast zone. 4th Regiment took the brunt of it. They were returning to their billets in the city that was hit,” Beckwith replies.

“What remarkably bad luck,” Denard sighs as falls backwards into his cot.

“What are our orders sir?” Beckwith asks.

“How many did we lose?” Denard replies to Beckwith’s question with one of his own.

“Reports indicate 4th Regiment is no long in existence,” Beckwith replies.

“Sweet Allah preserve us,” Denard mutters.

“Sir, WHAT are our orders,” Beckwith demands with a tone of great strain in his voice. A strain that isn’t all that surprising given that dozens of his friends and comrades were just slaughtered in a nuclear detonation.

“Beckwith, you will leave a battalion of men here to police this area and to attend to our wounded. You will contact the Legion Council and request an immediate draft of replacements to fill our ranks. Above all, you will prepare the 1st Regiment to proceed directly to the disaster area and you will assume command of the area in the name of Austria. People are going to send help from around the world to support the Empress. You will ensure they are properly protected, supported, and utilized during their stay here in Austria. Do you understand me?” Denard asks Beckwith.

“Yes sir, and what will you be doing?” Beckwith asks.

“Once I get another unit of happy juice pumped into me, I’m going to go over there and smack Dellion around till he comes out of it and go to the Empress. Whatever she needs, she gets, her damn nation just got hit with a nuclear attack. Today we all become Austrians, no matter where we were born,” Denard replies.

“Sweet merciful Christ,” mutters Beckwith.

“No my friend, the lord will play no role in this. Put out a quiet word to the Legion. No blood debts are to be asked for in this matter. It’ll be obvious why in a few weeks,” Denard mutters as he sits up onto the cot and wishes the room would stop spinning.

“Ok sir, the 1st is to proceed to the detonation site and provide what aid and support we can,” Beckwith clarifies.

“Go man, just go and do your duty,” Denard mutters as he finds his feet and stumbles over to Dellion and places his hands on Dellion’s shoulders. “Dellion, we all need you now more than ever.”

“Go away Bob,” Dellion snarls.

“Dellion, the Legion needs you damn it. Nearly five thousand or more of our boys are dead and dying. We all need you and mostly I need you. More importantly than both of us, the Empress needs you. Our losses are trivial in comparison to what she just took,” Denard insists.

“Ok Bob, only this once, after this I’m done,” Dellion quietly says.

“I think we both will be,” Denard replies.

“What is first?” Dellion asks.

“Follow me,” Denard replies as he motions for his radioman to help him as he leaves the tent. The two men walk through the devastated Legion encampment and say nothing as they watch their Legionnaires render aid to fellow Legionnaires. Denard leads Dellion to very heart of Vienna, past the Empress's Guards, into her inner sanctum, and finally they kneel before her.

Denard and Dellion, the living breathing soul of the Legion, enter the tent and come to a stop in front of the Empress of Austria and bring themselves to their best imitation of attention. Denard brings his hand to a rigid salute and says in an even firm voice, “Empress Maria, we stand before you as subjects rather than servants.Our 1st Regiment is providing what aid it can, our 2nd Regiment will be going into the blast zone shortly, the rest of us are regrouping around our losses, and we are waiting on your orders.”

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Hofburg Palace would be unusually quiet for Denard and Dellion's entrance. The guards stood at attention along the walls, their eyes never moving and only one captain had been there to receive the two Legionnaires, all the other familiar faces had since vanished. They were taken up to the the Empress' personal study at the top of the palace that overlooked Vienna and the palace gardens. It was night by the time of their arrival and the city seemed to sparkle from the window, the only thing blocking them from the fantastic panorama was the silhouette of the Empress herself at the glass.

Once the captain closed the doors behind them, Maria turned with a smile on her face, though her tender happiness quickly vanished as she began to walk towards the Legionnaires. There was no anger on here face nor in her voice, only the look of raw eyes and a face that had cried too many tears in too short of time.

"I assume you are both here to talk about the loss of Legionnaires at Hörsching?" She sighed, "The missile was bound for Vienna. I don't know whether it was a blessing or a curse that it was shot off course. Damn foreign defenses that it wasn't completely shot down. I'm sorry. If this is about your resignations from service to Austria I complete underst-" But before she could finish her sentence, the Empress watched both men go down to their knees and bow their heads. "What is this?"

[i]“Empress Maria, we stand before you as subjects rather than servants.Our 1st Regiment is providing what aid it can, our 2nd Regiment will be going into the blast zone shortly, the rest of us are regrouping around our losses, and we are waiting on your orders.”[/i]

Her heart jumped at the display and her hand gripped the brooch at her neck as Maria nearly fell to the floor in disbelief. "But, you are both mercenaries. I...I don't understand...I..." Yet their faces showed no sign of a changed mind. Both men were kneeling in front of her with the highest degree of sincerity and in turn her face became stern. "Very well, Commanders, if you in service to Austria the first thing yes is that Hörsching must be cleaned. We have gotten sufficient aid from across the world to rebuild that section of countryside, it should take a few years however, but in the mean time there are other objectives that must be pursued so as not to lose face."

She walked over towards the large map on the far wall of the study. "One regiment of Legionnaires and another of Austrian Regulars will be sent to the Pacific Northwest, in North America. The Cascadians have promised us the territory of Vancouver from which we can solidify the Commonwealth's hold on North America. I know it sounds soon to be deploying across the world, but the North Americans will no keep this Empire down. We will recover faster than them and we will make them pay. If you can begin mobilization, I would be very appreciative. The army should be ready in a few days. Other than that, Hörsching, is our highest priority."

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Denard stands and says, "I'll have Dellion here speak with your General Staff and prepare accordingly. We do wish to request a small boon of you. The entire 4th Regiment, less a handful of our men, was vaporized by the blast. Would you feel at all upset with Legion building a memorial to the men we lost?"

Before he losses his train of thoughts he also continues and says, "And if you have time I wish a moment of your time in private to discuss a very important matter."

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"It wouldn't be a problem at all Herr Denard." She nodded, "In fact, consider the memorial paid for in full, from the Imperial Treasury. You are a Subject of the Empress and you will be respected as such. Aside from that," she turned to Dellion, "If you would please give me and Denard a few moments to ourselves, I would be most honored."

After the other Legionnaire had left, Maria returned to her desk and sat on it's top. "So, what do you have to speak to me about?"

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[quote]09:38 Maria_von_Hapsburg "What is it that you need, Herr Denard?"
09:39 Legionrepresentative "Ma'am, at what number of men does Legion have to lose before we are no longer just mercenaries?"
09:40 Maria_von_Hapsburg "I don't consider you mercenaries now. The fact that you and your men could take such a loss and still remain faithful to a country which has only served as your home for not even a year. Tells me something of loyalty."
09:40 Legionrepresentative "Indeed, which makes us ask why we need a contract," Denard says as he takes out the document and tears it up.
09:41 Maria_von_Hapsburg smiles
09:41 Maria_von_Hapsburg "I underestimated you and your men's boldness. I wish more of my soldiers had the same."
09:42 Legionrepresentative "Timid Legionnaires don't last long. At heart the Legion follows a code of honor. It's an odd one, but in the end we merely wish to leave behind the places we fight in a better shape than we've found them."
09:43 Maria_von_Hapsburg "I guess the Austrian Commonwealth functions in the same way, albeit awry, but still, no one's perfect."
09:44 Legionrepresentative smiles and responds, "What we hope is that the far away places you send us are brought under a proper state of civil governance. We are willing to risk our credibility as African Legionnaires and place our lot with Austria on seeing to it that fair and just governance are brought to the corners of the world which don't have them."
09:46 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Contrary to what people might believe, Austria is not a domineering power. The Hapsburg Dominion is one of the most tolerant in the world, I can assure you that no vile name will come to the Legionnaires so long as they are under the banner of Austria."
09:46 Legionrepresentative "Which brings us to the next stage in our relationship. What is the Legion and Austria to each other now?"
09:47 Maria_von_Hapsburg "A family. Brothers and Sisters, Herr Denard."
09:48 Legionrepresentative "Then what used to be Legion is now Austria and vice a versa. Our forces across the globe are at your disposal."
09:48 Maria_von_Hapsburg "As are mine." Maria said bowing her head and extending her hand. "Brother."
09:49 Legionrepresentative shakes her hand and says, "Sister, that's an interesting change of pace for me."
09:54 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Indeed it is sir."
09:56 Legionrepresentative "Now that we are one big happy family, what sort of formal role do you have for Legion? I'm having a hard time seeing us inside of your existing military structure given our own history and holdings in Africa and Australia."
09:57 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Not at all. I would like to treat the Legion as the French treat their Legion Estrange. A distinct part of the Austrian military, but with individual customs and training that sets them apart from our regulars. As to your holdings, I'm never one to hide my Imperialism."
09:58 Legionrepresentative "Perhaps an alternative might be in order for the place of the Legion? What Empress is a true Empress without a Imperial Guard?"
09:59 Maria_von_Hapsburg blushes
09:59 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Oh, you're too much Herr Denard, that would be delightful
09:59 Maria_von_Hapsburg ."
10:00 Legionrepresentative "I admit the idea appalled me at first, but then it amused me. Given our recent exercises the Legion favors the idea of being under your direct command. It also gives us a full time representative to the Austrian General Staff, which gives us more representation over the long run."
10:05 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Well I wouldn't worry, after our exercises and Angelika's recent showing of wanting to have something to do with the military. I think you'll find a much more direct command coming from Vienna. The Legion will be respected." She chuckled, "The Imperial Guard will be respected."
10:06 Legionrepresentative laughs and says, "Well we already have the Austrian Legion patches, I reckon we can put in an order for another consignment to reflect the changes."
10:06 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Beautiful."
10:07 Legionrepresentative "Indeed, and now if I may take your leave. A small matter of sorting out a nuclear attack and getting a regiment ready to deploy to North America needs to be supervised."
10:07 Maria_von_Hapsburg "Your are excused General, thank you."
10:08 Legionrepresentative "Empress, I stand excused," Denard replies as he leaves the room. [/quote]

Denard and Dellion return to the Legion. Denard looks over to Dellion and says, "Well ain't this some @#$#."

"I'll admit, it is indeed some @#$#."

"Right, so now we are Imperial Guardsmen, best order up some new patches. Get us a unit flash to wear over our current Legion patches," Denard says.

"Will do sir," Dellion mutters as he takes down a few notes.

"Also, 3rd Regiment, what shape are they in?"

"Pretty bad, they lost several hundred men in the nuke hit."

"Can we get them heading towards North America anytime soon?"

"I don't think it'll be too much of a problem. I can cull replacements from the 1st and 2nd Regiments which are relatively untouched."

"Good, do it. Also, I'm not sending a vanilla regiment to a theater of operations on another continent. Attach some modifiers to the 3rd."

"ADA, artillery, medical, logistics, engineering, and tactical air?"

"Yep, plus beef up their rifle battalions with a Whiskey Company, don't strip those men from the 1st and 2nd though. Get a replacement draft from Port Sudan."

"Roger, replacement company for each rifle battalion as well."

"Who we going to put in charge of this mob?"

"You."

"Me?"

"Yes you."

"Bob, I haven't spent this much time away from my wife in years."

"Take her with you, I hear North America is quite lovely. She'll enjoy it well enough, though I suspect your bank account won't, but hell that is what discretionary funds are for."

"Sweet merciful Allah, though she did say something about starting some sort of NGO, maybe this will keep her hands off my credit cards for awhile."

"Doubtful mate, charity costs money, far more than a shopping expedition."

"God help me."

"Nah mate, that again is what discretionary spending is for. I'll have our financial buzzards give her a generous credit limit with the Port of Sudan Bank under the condition she uses it for the expressed purposes of organizing an NGO of some sorts."

"That's generous of you."

"Yeah, but then I figure the publicity won't hurt us."

"War orphans and such as usual."

"Up to her, but I like where your head is at."

"Legion War Orphans and College Endowments Fund here we come, part three," Dellion chuckles as he remembers the scam Gentleman Johnny Germaine organized to fleece Legionnaires out of donations for Legion orphans.

"Oh god, you know who we should put on her board of directors for old times sake?" Denard asks.

"Baraby?"

"God no, I want something good to come out of this."

"Who?"

"My ex-wife."

"Hmm, didn't she threaten to murder you if she ever saw you again?"

"Son, that's why you are going to North America and not me.Drag the crazy broad along with you in the name of charity and doing the Lord's work."

"Ahh, I see, well played."

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