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Late One Night In Paris

Captain Enema

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[b]De Gaulle International Airport[/b]

"And then we blew up their well for good measure," the dark nameless African man says as he regales the entire first class section of the flight with a graffic tale of war and death out on some nameless stretch of Africa.

"Sir, I must ask why one would deprive them of water, isn't that not a violation of the rules of war?" asks a fellow traveler.

"Well son, let me put it to you like this. Sometimes you gotta fight by the rules. Those times are when people are watching, like your mother or the international press corp. Other times you fight anyway you can to win. Those times are typically when no one is watching," he replies as he looks over at the stewardess and requests,"Can I get another drink, and don't forget the straw," as he motions to one of his broken hands that are secured in think heavy casts.

"But I fail to see how this justifies depriving an entire village of water," replies the uptight gentleman.

"Well son, lemme put it to you like this. You deprive them of water, you deprive them of their ability to fight. Just as soon as those varmints gave up their weapons we rebuilt the well and ended their insurgency that was killing off entire villages," replies the African as he takes a sip of the drink as the Stewardess holds it for him. He looks up at the woman and says, "Darling soon as I get out of these casts I'm going to buy you a steak dinner and take you dancing."

"I'm married," snorts the stewardess.

"You have a sister?" asks the African.

"She's a nun," the stewardess laughs.

"Tragic, but seriously you should let me buy you dinner, bring you husband along as well. I'd like to meet such a lucky man," he replies as he takes another sip.

The stewardess blushes and responds, "You behave, we'll be landing shortly."

"Oh dear, how will I ever partake in the fleshpots with these casts?" grumbles the African as he looks down at his legs in casts and his hands in their plaster prisons.

"I'd think that after all you've been through Denard you'd want some rest," Dellion comments.

"Dellion, you are a total fun killer," Denard mutters.

"I remind you that the President issued you strict orders to behave as a gentleman, which he clarfied is anything other than like you normally behave," Dellion helpfully reminded him with a sadistic smirk on his face.

"Dellion, you've got to loosen up a little my friend, what is the worst that can happen?" asks Denard.

"An international incident, me ending up in prison again, or you ending up in front of a firing squad," Dellion points out as he ticks each one off with a finger. He cuts the list short after running out of fingers, but it is rather obvious to those around that he could have continued for quite sometime had he chosen to do so.

"Very well, I'm a broken man," replies Denard.

"Stay that way for a bit, you'll be staying in the veritable lap of luxury and getting treatment by some of the best France has to offer. Do try to stay out of trouble," mutters Dellion.

"So why are you here?" asks Denard.

"Babysitting you, acting as a representative of the Sudanese Republic, and hand carrying some documents from the President to the Empress," Dellion informs Denard.

"What sort of Documents?" Denard requests as his left eyebrow flicks up in curiousity.

"A personal note from Mbembe to the Empress thanking her for taking a personal interest in your treatment and a request for a small office within Paris for me to establish a foreign consulate," Dellion remarks as he knows he's holding back quite a bit of information from Denard.

"Hmmm, our good President is up to no good," mutters Denard.

Dellion says nothing as he feels Gentleman Johny Germaine's eyes burn into the back of his skull from the seat behind him. Germaine's disguise has been suffienct enough to prevent Denard from recognizing his own distant cousin. Many might ask how Denard ended up with a cousin over the very white persuasion and they'd get the answer that Denard's great great great grandfather was quite the traveling man in his day, quite the traveling man indeed. The presence of Germaine indicatesyet another aspect to the entire President's agenda that will unfold as time goes on.

[b]on the runway[/b]

Dellion helps Denard into his wheelchair as they are allowed to depart the aircraft last. Dellion leans over as he pushes Denard up the ramp and says, "Sweet mother of god Denard, you must go on a diet," as he wheezes.

"Oh grow a spine Dellion," mutters Denard.

"I think I've crushed it," grunts Dellion as the pair of the men enter into the terminal from the boarding ramp attaching the aircraft to the building.

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"Your Majesty?"

"What?!" Therese picked her head up out of the papers on her desk snarling at the Foreign Minister as he walked into the room. "I asked not to be disturbed Charles, I have far too busy today to have interruptions." Indeed it seemed like that, across her desk was littered tons of reports ranging from the Ministry of Health, concerning the recent plague outbreak in the northern cities, to the Ministry of War on the movement to annex the rest of Valencia in a few days. The Scottish and Taeunasians had not committed any real military presence to the protectorate that they claimed and with the withdrawal of PEPTO it fell solely to France. Therese hoped that this would be claimed without problems, but nevertheless, she was mobilizing parts of the military near the borders just in case. Needless to say, she was in no mood to be bothered by potentially more stress to deal with. "Please, even if its something important, bring it to me later, unless someone declared war on us and then..." Therese shook her head. "There's no telling what I might do."

Talles quivered. "No, no, Your Highness, its nothing like that at all. In fact the news is a bit trivial compared to everything else, I just believed you would like to hear that the Acting-Foreign Minister of Sudan has arrived, a Monsieur Robert Denard."

"Oh." Therese ran her hands through her hair, nodded, and yawned. "Oh well if its only that." The Empress returned to her work, still casually noticing that Talles was still in the room. "You sent a limousine to pick the Ambassador up I take it?"

"Of course, General Delacour is on her way now."

"Well then I'll try to have these last few things done by the time he arrives to welcome him personally."

"Very good Your Majesty."

A few seconds later that Talles still stood over her, Therese closed her eye and shook her head. "This goes better when you aren't here to distract me Charles."

Talles jumped a bit and bowed quickly. "Of course Your Majesty, right away."


As Dellion and Denard wandered through the terminal of the airport they would soon find themselves flanked by a detachment of French Imperial Guards with a tall woman with blonde hair and brown eyes staring back at them in the center of the Guard. She was dressed in a General's regalia of the Imperial Army, her sword hanging low and her uniform a sparkling pearl white as she walked over and bowed to the Sudanese men. "Monsieurs, welcome to France, I am General Claire Delacour, Commander of the Imperial Guard. There is a limousine waiting out front to take both of you to Versailles, for Monsieur Denard's audience with Her Highness. If you would both follow me, we can get moving."

Claire led them both out of the airport to the waiting limousine outside and did her best to help Dellion load Denard into the vehicle, with great difficulty mind you. After that was taken care off, they set out through the city streets of Paris, given the Sudanese a small tour of the capital, at least to see the architecture, the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triumph, before leaving Paris and crossing the French countryside to Versailles. Passing through the black iron gate of the palace, Denard and Dellion would be introduced to the sheer brilliance of the French Empire. Aristocrats walked hand in hand throughout the courtyards as outside symphonies kept a beat of their movements and helped create a welcoming atmosphere to the two representatives. However, for as welcoming as this was, there was still the feeling, always in the air, of power and prestige. A true French Empire had not been developed in decades and French glory had not been returned in what seemed like centuries. It was only through the might of the Imperial Empress that France had achieved her Empire again and that feeling was written on every aristocrat's face. These people lived in the shadow that Therese had created for herself with the might of force and intelligence.

Claire led the Sudanese through the gilded corridors of the Palace after helping Denard out of the limousine once again and the tricky measure of getting the wheelchair up the stairs of the front of the palace. Which took a few other Imperial Guards. Once in the palace, they walked with a brisk gait through other rooms held by the aristocrats, until arriving at a large wooden door as a herald beat an announcement stick against the ground.

"Presenting to Her Majesty, Monsieur Robert Denard, Acting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Sudan, and Brigadier General Dellion."

The aristocrats bowed as the doors were opened where Therese stood aside her throne. She wore a military uniform fashioned in the style the Enlightenment generals, a sash ran across her chest, while golden epaulets hung down from her shoulders. Her blonde hair hung low down her face, covered the right side and her eye patch that only barely showed through. Therese smiled and bowed as she swung around and sat down. "Monsieur Denard, Monsieur Dellion, it is a pleasure to finally meet you both, if it has not been said prior, welcome to France." Turning to Claire, she nodded, signaling the General's dismissal. Claire bowed and left as quickly as she had come in as the door closed behind her. After this, Therese leaned back in her seat and crossed her hands. "I am under the impression, from your President that you have come her one to heal from French medicine and I have already promised my personal physician to you Monsieur Denard. Secondly, I assume you also have come under the responsibility as an Acting Foreign Minister of your state to the Empire. As such, given that you are really the first nation of Africa to show France even the time of day. The Rebel Army labeling myself as an Imperialistic Swine, you can see the series of problems here. But of course, where are my manners going into work so quickly. Please, Monsieur Denard, Dellion, what can this humble Empress do for you both?"

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Dellion and Denard are highly impressed with the character and quality of the French capital. Denard more so than Dellion as he has traveled more and finds such things more of an interest to him. As they are ushered into the presence of Emperess Therese, more so Dellion wheels Denard into the presence of the Empress they both remain quiet and respectful. A time such as this one shouldn't be ruined by a poor choice of words. Upon hearing the question of the Empress regarding Denard's status Dellion steps forward and offers a hand written note to her.

The note reads:

[quote]Empress Therese,

Thank you for allowing me to visit on such short notice. You'll find that I've sent Brigadier General Dellion along with Denard. For now I'd like to keep the two in close proximity and I hope that it would meet to your approval that Dellion should serve as the official Sudanese Republic Ambassador to France for the time being. I feel that Denard might need more time to recover before taking on any official duties, though I do believe he's fit to serve in an advisory capacity should you find he needs to be kept active and mentally stimulated.

Dellion is well versed in the rituals of diplomacy and has been tasked with setting up a French/Sudanese trade mission. His instructions give him considerable room to negotiate. With Dellion there is a third person attached to this group, one Mr. Johnathan Germaine who represents a sizable business array of business interests inside of Sudan who can contribute greatly to any talks of such an organization.

Again, you have my profoundest of thanks for assist Mr. Denard in his time of need.

Your Servant,
President Thomas Mbembe

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"Well." Therese said as she folded the letter, placing it in her pocket. "When you both return to Sudan, please tell President Mbembe of my eternal thanks, he is one of the most pleasant men that I have spoken too in a long while and Monsieur Dellion, I welcome you to the post of Ambassador to France, we will be speaking much more in the future to further our relations especially bringing France further within African affairs, much to the chagrin of your neighbors, but that's what makes everything so delightful. However, you both must be tired from your journey here, especially in Monsieur Denard's current status. Both your rooms have been prepared in the West Wing, I will have two maids take you there and prepare the rooms exactly fitting to your own styles." The Empress stood and stepped down from her throne. "You both are on vacation here so please enjoy yourselves and don't be a stranger, contrary to popular belief with my guests, I do like company and as to this Monsieur Germaine, I will have to speak to him as well. Dellion I think one of the first movements would be to secure strong trade rights between the countries and continue on from there." Therese clapped her hands and two maids walked in. "Annette, Blanche, please show the Sudanese gentlemen to their rooms."

The maids bowed and turned on their heels leading the two men down the gilded corridors once again to two rooms in the West Wing. "Monsieurs." Annette bowed. "Your rooms, if you need anything, anything at all, Blanche and myself will take care of you." They bowed again and the Sudanese could walk into the rooms. Sparsely decorated with flowers, vases, and a spectacular view out to the gardens below, where chamber music was gently drifting upwards to their ears.

The epitome of relaxation and luxury.

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Mad Dog Bob Denard is quietly sitting in his bed as the French doctor examines his various wounds. The doctor makes noises of disbelief and the plethora of injuries both old and new that criss cross Denard's frame. Dellion quietly hands the man Bob's medical files that display a lifetime of hard living. The doctor sits to the side and examines them. Denard and Dellion quietly talk to each other as they comment on the luxury of the room. Both are highly impressed and highly surprised that a couple of tired old African Legion troopers like themselves would be so well received by the Empress of France in such a manner.

The doctor ignores the two and finally says, "Monsieur, your recovery is going to be painful, long, but you will make a full recovery."

Denard looks at the doctor and asks, "Will I be able to get back to playing Xbox anytime soon?"

"Monsieur, you'll be playing Grand Theft Auto in no time at all providing you follow my directions."

"That's good to know, Dellion break out the liquor, the doctor and I need to drink to my good fortune."

"Excuse me Monsieur, but I must insist that you refrain from consuming any alcoholic beverages for quite sometime," intones the doctor.

Dellion looks at the doctor, looks at Mad Dog, and then quickly fills dead sounding void by asking, "Surely a drink now and again won't hurt him."

"Monsieur, would you like to take over Denard's treatment?"

"No," replies Dellion.

"God damn it, I'm a drinking man to my bones," grunts Denard.

"Monsieur, that is quite possibly one of the problems. Your own Legion doctors have warned you of your excessive drinking and the adverse side affects upon you. The medication you'll be taking will make drinking any sort of alcohol far too dangerous for your own health."

"Bob, maybe you ought to listen to the doctor," suggests Dellion.

"Damn it Dellion, Who the @#$@# is he to tell me what I can and can't do?" asks Denard in dangerous sounding rasp.

"Bob, the President wants you to do this for your own sake, the Legion needs you strong and healthy, and quite frankly I'm asking you as your friend to listen to the doctor," replies Dellion as he motions for the Doctor to leave the room. The doctor gathers up Denard's files and returns to his own office where he examines the records with a certain amount of surprise that one man could have survived some of the things listed on the pages.

"Don't you invoke the Legion in this matter," snaps Denard.

"I'm invoking our friendship," Dellion snaps right back.

"No !#$##$% friend of mine tells me what I can or can't do either," shouts Bob.

"Stop holler you dolt and remember that I asked you, I didn't tell you," barks Dellion.

"Bah, I'll consider it," snarls Denard.

"Actually, you'll do more than that," replies Dellion as he takes out another letter from the President.

It Reads:
[quote]Until Otherwise Notified you are placed under the direct command of Brigadier General Dellion.

President Thomas Mbembe[/quote]

"Oh that !#$#$#@!@#," growls Bob who slowly begins to realize he is trapped.

"It is for your own good, once you heal up you can have a drink now and again, but nothing like you've been doing before your capture," orders Dellion.

Mad Dog Bob Denard, founder and spiritual father of the African Legion, quietly sighs as he leans back into the pillows. After a long period of silence he finally asks,"That Empress is quite something isn't she?"

"I thought you might take a shine to her," chuckles Dellion.

"Anyone who actively wants to piss off her neighbors can't be all that bad for being a dyed in the wool imperialist."

"She wants glory and respect for her nation. We wanted the same for Africa once upon a time."

"Nothing wrong with that, but I worry that her quest for glory might turn into something more than just a simple quest for glory," Bob says as he rubs his tired eyes with the his hands.

"Bob, that is our job. The President wants us to keep an eye on things and to advise her in anyway possible. I have the sinking feeling both you and I are going to be quite busy in the coming weeks and month."

Bob says nothing as he considers the situation. Imperialism offends him greatly, but times are changing. The cry against Imperialism had become the cry for it. Attempting to stand against that tide would only bring him to his knees a more broken man than he is now. The African Legion is the home for more than just Africans. The African Legion is the home for all of those who wish to stand against tyranny on the African continent. Perhaps now is the time to make the Legion stand for more than just a force for change in Africa.

While he reflects on this he takes no notice of Dellion who is busy unpacking Bob's books. One might not take Bob to be much of a reader, but those that know him know otherwise. Bob can rarely be found in front of a television as most of the time he's busy reading, playing chess, or quietly fishing on some quiet stretch of riverbank. The books laid out on the table next to Denard show several prominent authors who specialize in the theory of modern war. Dellion can't help but suggesting,"You ought to consider seeing if you could attend classes at the French War College."

Denard looks over at him and says, "That isn't half bad of an idea. My knowledge of modern equipment, capabilities, and such are a bit rusty."

"Well, we've gotten old, that does happen."

"I said rusty, not senile," snaps Bob.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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"In truth I wouldn't know what to make of them Tressa." Said the elderly Madame Avenier, a plump woman with high gray hair and a bulbous figure that Therese nearly treated like a grandmother at court, though that could be said of many of the elderly women at court who tried to push themselves into the Empress' inner circle. Though it helped the Empress hearing the nick name that her parents and siblings had called her so long ago, in fact, in informal circles, the titles of Your Highness, and Majesty, were completely dropped. Madame brought the tea cup to her lips and turned to her side looking out at the gardens off of the veranda. "It is a beautiful day though isn't it and you look so pale, you need to get out into the sun more my dear. You'll turn into a ghost otherwise."

"I hadn't thought that I was that pale." Therese sighed and turned out towards the gardens, the tea cup still locked within her fingers. "But there really isn't much I can do, I don't like working outside because I get too distracted, otherwise I would always be in the gardens. Maybe even bring my entire office out as well. Anyways..." She said straightening her figure and looking back at Madame. "You were saying about the two Sudanese gentlemen?"

"Well they're quite the interesting characters, though from what I've heard of Monsieur Denard is quite the adventurer in Africa, quite gruesome too if I might add."

"You don't say." Therese added trying to maintain her interest. She would have much rather found things out about Denard from his own mouth rather than gossip. "Though I'm afraid I don't know much about what goes on in Sudan or really any of their politics. The entire land is quite a mystery to me. It isn't as cut and dry as many of the other African countries are, you know."

"Fascinating people, I was talking with Doctor Lavelle and he said that both Monsieur Denard and Dellion might as well been mistaken for common ruffians the way they get on with their conversation. All ready wanting to drink during what is sure to be a long recovery.

Therese chuckled. "I'm sure he means well Madame, he is a soldier after all and I know even Claire is prone to drinking fits, if I was on the field I would do. I mean I do so now with all the stress of this country. Its the only thing that adds a little color to my skin after all. So I'm sure I'll get along just fine with Monsieur Denard, perhaps we can exchange liquor cabinets."

"Just be careful Tressa, his reputation with women proceeds him as well, it wouldn't do you much good to be caught up in the wrong company of men. Especially if they are only interested in using you for your power and status, as well as..." Madame looked Therese up and down. "Your body."

The Empress nearly fell back laughing. "I can assure you Madame, that I don't intend to do anything of that sort and I believe Monsieur Denard knows better than to try anything of that nature with the Empress of France. I would be bad for both of us, well possibly good for him and who knows, me as well." She tried to stiffen a chuckle.

"Its not funny Tressa, soldiers are only after one thing, money and women, you have both."

"I am a soldier in my own right Madame." Therese said after sipping her tea. "If anything Denard and Dellion both will learn to respect me as a politician and as a military leader in due time. But the President of Sudan has sent them as advisors and I am never one to turn down military advisors, different tactics from across the world only add to the strength of one's army. Though I believe Monsieur Dellion will be joining us for tea soon, I invited him to talk about Sudan and the Empire's relationship and what is the best way that both countries could meet their respected goals. Of course I think the time of French power in Africa again is coming shortly and Sudan seems happy enough to help, so I think this entire visit from them will be most productive."

"Oh well I'd hate to bother you both." Avenier smiled and got up from her seat. "Until evening tea then Your Highness?"

"Of course Madame, I would be delighted." Therese waved her off and returned to her tea, looking out at the cool gardens below her and the legions of aristocrats that criss-crossed the gravel pathways and waited for Dellion to arrive.

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"What do you reckon she's after?" asks Denard.

"Information and understanding is my guess," replies Dellion as he whisks away an imaginary blemish on his jacket.

"Christ almighty Dellion, your jacket looks fine, go have tea with the woman," grouches Denard who is getting a bit tired of watching Dellion fuss with his appearance.

"Bob, I'm having tea with the Empress of France. Don't you think I should at least make some attempts to clean myself up?" asks Dellion as he finishes his preparations. Tea with an Empress, if that isn't as close as it gets to air assaulting into a minefield of potential disaster he doesn't know what actually is. He ignores Bob as the man continues to heckle him and dwells on his thoughts for a moment as he briefly hopes that his daughter is keeping out of trouble.

"You think Mikali would like living here in Paris?" asks Dellion as he finishes tying the knot on his African Legion tie.

"I think that wife of yours would be in second heaven here in Paris. She's an Art History major isn't she?" asks Denard as he puts on a pair of reading glasses and opens a book. Though he wouldn't mind going to tea with the Empress, he equally prefers to spend some time reading and taking notes. The good doctor had suggested a few volumes on French Naval warfare that he's wading through. Having a bit of experience with Naval Warfare in the aborted Republic of Somal participation against the Vietnamese he finds himself naturally curious on the subject now that he's resting easily in the heart of a major sea going power.

"How about Shelli?" wonders Dellion after he slips a few documents into a pocket and turns to face Bob. The last few days had gone surprisingly smoothly. The doctor had been most helpful with keeping Denard in good spirits. The books, impromptu French lessons to smooth some of the rough spots in Denard and Dellion's French, and rather enjoyable conversations on the state of France had kept the Mad Dog quietly civilized.

"You know, I have no idea, but I know she'd love to spend time with her Daddy," mutters Denard as he reads.

"And her uncle," comments Dellion as he quietly nods at one of the maids.

"Yes, I wouldn't mind having her around, you are quite fortunate having both her and Mikali," Bob grumbles as he buries himself deeper into his reading as he purposes attempts to avoid the subject. His own attempts at matrimony had not ended well. His Somali wife had divorced him, his first wife dead, his one son dead, his mother dead, and no prospects on the horizon for any sort of family makes the topic a touchy for Denard.

"Enjoy your reading Bob, I'll be back after Tea," Dellion says as he notices Bob's discomfort. He leaves the room and quietly vows to send for Mikali and Shelli. Prior to leaving he quietly motions to a maid and says, "Abelia dear, Mr. Denard mentioned he is a bit hungry awhile ago. We both know how he is about asking for anything. Do you think you might have the time to have the kitchen make him something to eat?"

Abelia, a young lady who has found herself charmed by the two Africans who have both been extremely polite and proper to her, says, "But of course Monsieur, I'll have a bowl of soup and bread brought up from the kitchen." The medications the doctor had prescribed for Denard left the him unable to eat a proper meal. Despite this lack of appetite it had been discovered that Denard quite enjoyed the variety and taste of the fine French soups. Adelia bustles about the room as she tidies it while as Denard smiles at her.

"Abelia, don't you ever take time off?" asks Denard as he seems genuinely pleased to see the young lady. From the very beginning he has been very polite and even gentlemanly towards the younger woman. Just yesterday he offered to have her boyfriend shot for staying out too late with his friends the week before. The offer had been turned down, but appreciated by Abelia. A bit later Dellion had motioned her aside and informed her that Denard, despite his reputation, was incredibly harmless and that she should feel free to converse with him and that she'd find him an eager conversationalist given his doctor's orders to remain in bed.

Further, Dellion went onto explain that is Bob's normal character to befriend everyone within shouting distance unless they are holding an Ak-47 or a machete and wanting to use it on him. Abelia wasn't at all sure what a machete or an AK-47 was until she asked Denard later. The answer had left her a bit horrified, but none the less she had made it a point to spend an hour or two each day conversing with Denard and finding herself enjoying his kindly and very private demeanor. He reminds her of a misunderstood uncle who has the reputation of being a rogue and a villain and who is tired of having to live up to that reputation.

Dellion smiles as he watches. He finds himself pleased that Bob is making friends and staying busy. He turns and leaves the room as he makes his way to the garden. His mind races at the possibility of having Mikali and Shelli near him. Just having the two of them around for any length of time makes his entire world a better place. The decision to have them join him as soon as possible firms up within him as he takes a seat in front of the Empress. He smiles at Therese and says,"It is quite the lovely day for tea your Majesty, my wife and daughter are quite fond of tea, while I enjoy in partaking in a cup myself on occasion."

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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"Ah I never knew you had a wife or child Monsieur Dellion, you will have to bring them to Versailles one day for me to meet them, if they're anything like yourself I would have to imagine they would be quite charming. However." Therese sighed and sipped from her glass. "I wanted to talk to you about your position here as Foreign Minister for Sudan." She folded her hands and began. "France is not, by any means one of the most well liked countries on Earth and I am not one of the most well liked rulers either. That said, I tend not to respect the criticism of the world that much given that it was that same world that allowed France and her people to be subjugated for years on end, much as I believe they allowed for a great period of time for nations in Africa to treat natives as second class citizens. I must say that the previous Italian Regimes, the Fascists, have given all imperialists bad names, now they see us all as slavers and feasting on our spoils which I can assure you is not the case at all. I am in the business of expanding my power and expanding the power of my people, it is as simple as that, but I am not in the practice of enslaving the conquered or the stability-deprived. History has shown, Empires which attempt some form of cultural genocide, never last much longer than a few years."

"With that kind of promise between us Monsieur Dellion, it would appear to me, considering that you are sitting in front of me and your friend is receiving care that our two nations trust each other to a relative degree. I am without a doubt, interested in expanding into the African market as well as Sudan's mercenary abilities are not something to be trifled with. Your people have a great deal of strength in dealing with the overarching powers of the world, especially when you are standing within the underbelly of Aphrike. Which would be a threat to any gains of French influence in the region. So I think we might be able to work together, your nation's tools, which I'm sure there are vast quantities of getting the edge on more powerful enemies, I would like to emulate."

"So I'd like to ask Monsieur Dellion, what can Sudan offer to France in terms of adding strength and influence and then in turn I'm sure that I can do everything I can for the benefit of Sudan."

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Dellion looks a bit uncomfortable as he reflects on the sudden change of events that has overtaken him and his nation. He looks at his open palms for a moment before looking up at the Empress and says, "Perhaps any discussion of what Sudan can do for France is best held with the new government of Sudan. I've received news that I haven't even shared with Denard that Sudan has just merged with its southern neighbor." Dellion reflects back on the message that he had been handed a few hours over that informed him of the very abrupt change of plans.

It made little sense to him, but then much about modern politics made much sense to him. For all his charm, sophistication, and good will he often has a difficult time deciphering the machinations of heads of state. Normally he prefers to be out in the field. Out there he's comfortable in an element he understands. Sitting in front of the Empress of a European nation as but a stateless individual has thrown him into quandary. His allegiance has always been to the African Legion and no one else, so the merge doesn't trouble him too much, but not knowing status of the Legion does.

What he doesn't know is the Legion had departed from Sudan prior to the merge with NoN. Some twenty thousand souls in the form of a heavily reinforced infantry brigade, helicopter squadron, supporting troops and thousands of dependents had been crammed into the ships of the Sudanese Merchant fleet that had been organized at the last second by Gentleman Johny Germaine. Even Germaine doesn't know where the Legion is heading, but even if he did he probably would with-hold the information anyway just to annoy Denard.

To conclude his thoughts he looks up at the Empress and says, "While the government of Sudan has merged with another the African Legion still remains a viable force and is currently relocating to points unknown to me at this moment. Perhaps the question you might seek an answer to is what can the African Legion do for you?" He shifts in his chair before saying, "The Legion itself is a unit that can act as a force multiplier. Our ranks are filled with veterans that speak a variety of languages. We travel light and rely on our wits. Putting us in an unstable situation provides a force that can train, lead, and stabilize an army several times larger than itself. That is of course providing the Legion has left Sudan, but as of now I have no way of knowing that."

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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Therese smirked taking a sip of the tea, placing it back down onto the saucer with an emotionless ting, though while the cup had no emotion, she most definitely did in her face. "Nations come and go like the tides on the ocean Monsieur Dellion. Sudan, France, Germany, these areas of the world never hold true to political boundaries forever, but it is not the state that is important, it is the people who make up said state. So you tell me of this legion and I say to you, Sudan has not vanished or anything, it just exists in another form which I personally find very, very interesting."

She shifted for a moment and tapped her chin. "Monsieur, France in all honesty, the Empire at least, is still in her infancy. Imperial gains aside, the world is becoming harder and harder to expand in, even with a great deal of power, which we most definitely possess. Economic expansion in Africa, America, and Asia through the French Mercantile Consortium, which brings along an amount of political and social power as well. I am willing to spend a great deal of capital and I'm sure Mademoiselle Valdez is as well to procure the Legion for French political and corporate movements overseas. I like you Monsieur Dellion, you and Monsieur Denard both and I would be quite upset to see either of you leave France so suddenly. With the chance of opportunity to serve her, I would hope you wouldn't let this pass you by. We can accomplish a great deal of things."

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"Ma'am the African Legion is definitely in the market for a new employer. The recent fighting with the Kickapoo renegades gleaned the ranks down to the hard core of the Legion. Our force structure, at last report, is about that of a reinforced infantry brigade. That puts at roughly ten thousand strong with I believe another ten thousand or more in dependents. Once the Legion locates a suitable settlement for the dependents, training battalion, service and support units, we'll be ready for active duty. The Council of the Legion will have to approve any and all contracts, but I highly doubt they'd turn down an offer of employment," Dellion replies.

Inside he worries, outside he calmly sells the virtues and merits of the Legion. He's done this before and he's sure he'll have to do it again. The offer of gainful employment from the French government is very tempting despite the worries of being involved with Imperialism. However, nothing at this time leads Dellion to believe that the French Empress is looking to undertake the traditional Imperialist policies of conquering by the sword. Being a part of that would simply be impossible for the Legion, but being part of the increasing the wealth and commerce of the French Empire wouldn't be all that much of an issue. The Legion has participated in such efforts before and more than likely the Legion will do so again in the future.

Dellion looks thoughtfully at the Empress for a moment before asking, "What role do you envision for the African Legion within the French Empire at this time?" It is a question he has to ask as the Legion Council will want to know before they make their decision.

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"As the vanguard of all French interests around the world. Think of yourselves as mercenaries Monsieur Dellion, expeditionary forces to safeguard our allies, along side the regular soldiers we will be sending. The private armies of the French South Africa Company and many of the other corporations led by Mademoiselle Valdez, to make sure that those areas of interest. The diamond mines in the Congo that I will be contacting the Carthaginian government about in the future, as well as other means for defense of our interests overseas."

Therese's eye narrowed. "There is also one more thing, Monsieur. France is not the only empire in the world. There are others that I am sure are threatened by our power and who we consider rivals, whether they know it or not. The Legion may function as a volunteer group as well, combating foreign imperialism that I find distasteful, while furthering France's own. Is that a suitable answer to your question?"

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"You'll need to define what you consider your style of Imperialism. The outright subjugation of native peoples isn't something the African Legion is likely to want to be a part of. Our most defining moment, the Battle of Dengali, started with us being nearly five hundred men strong, and finished with eighty three of us surviving to march away. We fought for a handful of bank notes, but more importantly to us we fought to stop a particularly odious bunch of thugs who had the notion that political change needed to come about through mass lynchings, rape, and murder. We stopped them cold and never looked back," replies Dellion as he slightly flinches when mentioning Dengali.

No man amongst the survivors truly likes to speak of the battle to even this day. Too much blood had been spilled, too many friends had died, and the pipers that played a sad lament on the last evening of the battle left them all haunted by the melody they produced from their battle torn pipes. Denard himself calls Dengali his worst victory and only tends to speak of it when he's two steps away from passing out face down on the floor. The annual celebration of Dengali is a day of quiet mourning for those left behind, and a stark reminder to the current Legionnaires that the African Legion has paid and will continue to pay the price of blood demanded by others for the rights of people to leave freely in peace.

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Therese jumped back, her hand over her neck broach and gasped. "Monsieur Dellion, I'm insulted, to be compared to those ravenous dogs that use imperialism only to destroy the beautiful cultures that have existed prior to their subjugation. If there is any one person that ought to burn in Hell, it is those individuals. I am not a xenophobe, I am an imperialist and I ask only for the power of France to be restored, it means stabilizing our borders and for the most part, placing as many rulers in power over foreign lands as necessary to remind the dominant power in the region and in the world. But for all my expansion, Galicia, Valencia, there was never even the slightest notion that Spanish, Galician, or Catalonian, should ever be forgotten and replaced by French. Sure, French becomes apart of their lifestyles, but that can go simply through immigration. The people are taken care of, they are taught their own music, their language, their art and literature, we all are. This is a Global Empire Monsieur, I represent, or at least try to, a new idea for the world. So my style of imperialism, is whatever benefits France at that moment in time. At times I am a conqueror, at times I can be a peace maker, so long as it benefits the Empire. But I am never a cultural eraser. That I promise, with all my heart."

"I do this for the Glory of France, for what I have desired my entire life. A French France and a France respected in the world and I deem respect by power therefore, I have bred myself this way. Strong, proud, determined. A warrior like yourself I'm sure, understands this."

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"I think these are a set of conditions that the African Legion can work with, I'll relay this information to Legion Council as soon as I can regain communication with them. For now how might I be of personal service to yourself and France?" asks Dellion who has hopes that he hasn't offended the French Empress too much. Still, he finds her response a touch dramatic. He refrains from chuckling at her expense as he knows that it would only create ill will between potential employer and employee. He's been in a few acrimonious relationships with employers before, they never go well for either.

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"An advsior Monsieur, a military man like yourself, knowing the outs and ins of foreign warfare, your service would be indispensable for me and I would be deeply honored if you would help prepare a list of reports and suggestions for improvement of the French military and the defense of the country. If you could do that for me, I would be eternally grateful, even if the Legion chooses another destination aside from France." She sipped her tea finishing it. Therese stood up, stretched and smiled at Dellion. "But do you care for a stroll Monsieur Dellion, I could use an escort across the gardens, and it is a beautiful night." She held out her hand and looked out towards the darkening gardens, lit by lanterns and the cool sound of fountains far off. "Monsieur?"

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"Ma'am, might I make a suggestion? Mr. Denard has been cooped up in his quarters for the last several days. Your request for advice regarding the defenses of France would be better suited for him given his sudden wealth of free time. Perhaps we could drop by and take him along? He's still wheelchair bound and will be for quite sometime, but the night air might do wonders for his spirits," Dellion suggests as stands to follow the Empress. He can't help but be reminded of his wife's love of her own garden, but says nothing and shows no change of facial expression. He thinks to himself, "Allah spare me if anything amiss where to happen to Mikali," as he waits for a verdict regarding the collecting of Denard or not. Either way he plans to bring the Empress's request to Denard's attention, anything to keep him occupied.

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