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May 20, 2019 3:05 PM
and meets Peter Pevensie
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"I can, but the issue with that is permanency; the moon's shadow does not cover the entire hemisphere, so I would be obliged to keep moving it minutely so that no one area became too hot or too cold. Doable for a time, but not my first choice, given the other options. Let us gather everycreature here before attempting to relocate them to your world. I am certain the royal pocketbook can cover the cost, and I will vouch for my citizens, as I assume other rulers will for theirs. We may need to set up guides, but for now the important thing is to get people out as quickly as possible."

Nightmare Moon crosses the room to stand in front of the door. "If I have this correctly...." she mutters, and closes her eyes. I am a Princess of Equestria, and it is my right to access any part of it. Pegasopolis should be no different than Canterlot in that regard. This door will take me there. With that thought fixed in her mind, she reaches out with her magic.

The door opens to a silver cloudscape. Nightmare grins triumphantly and closes it again, so time will remain frozen. She turns to the others. "Are we ready?"

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"Well, I'm not quite ready to give up on getting the door to go to Narnia yet; it sounds like you could still do with more help and it's possible we just need someone young enough to be allowed in."

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"If you think it's worth trying, we have the time. Frankly, the more I hear about this Aslan the less I like, but he may yet help. Shall I take one of you to fetch your cousin? Cousins?"

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"I'll go."

Because he's pretty sure Edmund is up to something and he doubts he'll be any help with it.

He opens the door, and they leave.

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He takes the door, but waits until they've had enough time to get out of a horse's earshot and smell then closes it.

"Professor, you were there at Narnia's creation. In some ways you have a stronger connection to Narnia than any of us. We think you should try the door."

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"We don't have any cause to distrust Nightmare in particular. But nor have we vetted her thoroughly and of course the rings could be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. So for the time being we're trying to keep her attention away from your and Polly's journey."

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"Yes, Your Majesty."

He opens the door.

It leads to the same corridor as Edmund closed it on.

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Edmund takes the door back.

Susan asks Bar about Milliways' political situation and gets hot chocolate. Lucy explores the garden. The Professor gets tea with milk and sugar and attempts to explain to Susan that Aslan is not an aspect of God but the whole of God. Lucy comes back from the garden much quicker than anyone expected now with wet hair.

Some other students come by. Lucy shows them the exploding stars and the garden and explains that the door now leads to a magical bar in another world and Peter is her brother and that he and a flying unicorn fetched her here when they found it.

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From Reading to Eyton is a little over a hundred miles.

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She's not going as fast as she could, for Peter's sake, so that leaves them with a bit of time to talk.

"Would you mind sharing more information about your government and the ongoing war? History, key figures, things like that."

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Peter would not mind sharing.

Britain is ruled by a King, but in practice military and diplomatic decisions are made by the Prime Minister or by people answering to him. The House of Commons makes laws and the Prime Minister is appointed by and answerable to it. There is also a House of Lords, composed mostly of hereditary aristocrats, which adjudicates the interpretation of laws and can delay their implementation. The House of Lords also includes appointees of the King and Bishops who are supposed to represent God ("I'm afraid you'll have to ask Lucy or the Professor if you want someone who understands how that works").

The colonies have their own governments, headed by Governors, Governors General, and High Commissioners appointed by the Emperor on advice from the Prime Minister, typically but not always from the aristocracy. The government structures under that vary; some have mostly retained the pre-colonial systems while others have established parliaments modeled on the British one.

Peter gives his assessment of key British political actors. He considers George VI and Winston Churchill to be intelligent, honourable, and firmly committed to doing whatever they have to to win the war. There are other politicians who he judges foolish, untrustworthy, or naive.

18 years ago, conflicts that started with the assassination of an Austrian nobleman escalated into the "Great War", which resulted in the collapse of the German empire and the impoverishment of Germany. A faction formed in Germany who blamed the collapse on weak leadership and imagined machinations by Jews, an ethnic group already stereotyped as scheming and untrustworthy, and sought to establish a new, larger empire with a more powerful leader. A man named Adolph Hitler rose to leadership of that faction and consequently was elected Chancellor of Germany, after which he turned the German Republic into a dictatorship and established strict control of every aspect of life.

In Italy, a faction with a similar policy of government control of all aspects of life and aggressive militaristic expansionism marched on the capital, and the King of Italy ordered the military to stand down and appointed its leader- Benito Mussolini- as Prime Minister, replacing the previous democratically elected Prime Minister. Mussolini has since been strengthening his power and could likely now retain power even without the King's support.

Mussolini and Hitler established an alliance, and began invading neighboring countries. For a while the British government pursued a policy of appeasement, but soon it became clear that this would both constitute a betrayal of their allies which Germany was invading and ultimately result in German conquest of Britain itsself, and the Prime Minister declared war.

Peter can give extensive details on the subsequent war. Germany and Italy have now conquered France, which is separated from Britain by a narrow channel, and began bombing British cities. The President of France and the Queen of the Netherlands- another country the Germans have conquered- have fled to England and continue to command their overseas colonies and military forces.

At around the same time, Japan, under a nameless Emperor, had begun invading its neighbors and enslaving, torturing, and in some cases raping their populations. Last year, Japan allied with Germany and Italy and began attacking British colonies. Also last year Germany and Italy attempted to invade the USSR and Japan began attacking the United States of America; these were both large and powerful countries which had previously been neutral and subsequently became allies of Britain.

Peter gives his assessments of various military commanders (he apparently knows a lot about military strategy) and foreign political leaders. He regards Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the USSR, as untrustworthy, noting that he rose to power through political maneuvering often at the expense of his former allies. He regards President Franklin Roosevelt, and the American leadership generally, as naive and easily swayed by trivialities. Hitler seems obsessive in his hatred of Jews even for a Nazi and is treacherous but deeply overconfident. Mussolini also tends towards overconfidence. The Emperor of Japan chooses to defer in most matters of governance to his appointed Prime Minister, Hideki Tojo. As well as being militarist, Tojo believes the Emperor to be descended from a god- "I think probably wrongly?"- and therefore entitled to absolute power, and seeks to obtain and use that power on the Emperor's behalf.

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Nightmare has her eyes forward but her ears flicked back, and she nods intermittently to show she's listening. When it seems like Peter is done, she says, "We have something similar to your House of Lords in Equestria, I think, only ours are on the whole self-serving and useless and I have always despised appeasing them. As to the rest, am I correct in understanding there is functionally no difference between your leaders and any other human, with the possible exception of the Japanese Emperor? If I stripped your king or Adolph Hitler or whoever naked and put them in a room alone, would they have any inherent power?"

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"They would not. Separated from our kingdom as we are, the only things my family gain from our titles are skills and perspectives we would not otherwise have needed to develop and the loyalty of the few people in this world who owe allegiance to Narnia."

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"What is the reason these various faction leaders have not simply been killed, then? Any of them, on either side. You have all these machines, surely you have invented something that can kill at a distance. Why not just drop a mountain on them, say to the ones that are left that you will no longer tolerate this nonsense, and be done with it?"

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"We don't have projectiles anywhere near the size of mountains, so we'd need a pretty good idea of the target's location. And the furthest we can currently fire anything unmanned is around ten canters, and much less for our largest bombs. When troops get within firing range of a city any military or political leaders there can retreat to rooms buried deep enough underground that none of our weapons can touch them.

Of course there are Germans who'd kill Hitler given the chance. There have been times when a king or a president was assassinated. But any weapon that can kill from across a city will be kept in an army base, too big to use without being noticed, and too slow to do much with before someone can kill you with a shorter ranged weapon."

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"Hmm. And of course you wouldn't have shields or wards... at least not magical ones, because you also don't have teleportation or...." She curls the side of her mouth in an apologetic grimace. "Forgive my indelicacy, but it appears your species has not progressed much further than throwing rocks at each other at very high speeds, at least when it comes to warfare. Not necessarily a poor thing, if that is all the other side has come up with too, and far be it from me to malign the usefulness of a well-placed rock, but I am trying to think of any reason this should not be as simple as it sounds. I am absurdly powerful compared to most ponies, but even I would be a fool to let hubris blind me."

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"They also have munitions which explode into fireballs, and containers of poisonous gasses which they can spread over a large area to kill anyone who breathes there or burn any exposed skin. They may have invented other weapons along similar lines which they haven't yet chosen to use. And I haven't heard of them having any protective or offensive magic, but it's possible they have some which they keep secret."

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"We can't plan for what we don’t know about, so let that lie for the time being. Fire I can deal with easily, as long as it is not balefire, which I doubt you have. It uses magic as fuel. The gas.... I'm not sure. I can create an airtight barrier, but the problems with that are obvious. Would they hesitate to cast -- er, deploy -- it on their own troops?"

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"They haven't yet, but I wouldn't put it past them if the stakes were high enough.

We do have masks which filter poison gases from the air, including ones for horses"

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Nightmare blinks. "Then, forgive me, but what is the point of the gases at all? Are these masks hard to make, or otherwise cumbersome?"

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"They're easy enough to make that all of our soldiers and many our civilians have them by now. But they're hard enough to make that achieving that took a lot of resources. And it's difficult to breathe while wearing one. Also, the masks for horses only protect the nose and mouth, not the eyes, meaning you would still be at risk of being blinded."

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"Which I do not consider acceptable as collateral, no. Hmm. There have been a few recent advances in the field of alchemy, in Equestria; I wonder if those same principles couldn't be applied here. Do you know the composition of any of these gasses?"

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"I believe one of them is pure chlorine. I don't know the composition of the others, but the information is publicly available."

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"And as such we can acquire it from the Bar at very little risk. If my guess is right, I may be able to render these gasses inert, but I'd like to do more research before I commit to a hypothesis." The lush green beneath them is giving way to more densely-packed buildings; Nightmare recasts her invisibility spell over both of them, though they won't look any different to each other. "Where do you expect your cousins to be? A school?"

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"Yes; Experiment House. But having never been there, I should ask directions in the town."

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