Nov 27, 2022 2:48 AM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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Good. Then she can start giving them stories while they find that person do that.

Do they accept complete tactical descriptions of every battle in the past three hundred years as a type of story?

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Oh yeah, the people who want the stories'll eat that up.

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Good.

Then assuming they can get her some kind of radio-based-device that can transmit and receive at a distance, she can start giving them history for four hours, with a brief pause for the explanation, then walk away with four hours of history's worth of these aforementioned devices.

And possibly a few healing wands, if they're reusable and do permanent injuries.

(Everyone working at the shop has almost certainly learned that aces can do healing, by this point.)

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The healing devices are little music players that do a healing song real fast. They are always-on and don't work that well; they recommend heavier-duty options for anything serious or long-term but this one is safe to distribute.

She winds up with a lot of radios and a bag to put them all in, but they're individually pretty little.

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She has her own healing, then.

And she takes off flying back to her army, radios and instructions ready for use.

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(A BRIEF PAUSE TO RECAP THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION, for people who lost track since the ADVENTURES IN SPACE:

There is a PLANET whose name has not come up yet with HUMANS and MONSTERS on it. The MONSTERS are not people. The HUMANS have NAPOLEONIC technology plus magic HERO CRESTS that can be used to HEAL and FLY and MAKE SOLID LIGHT and DISINTEGRATE MONSTERS, and live on the PEAKS, very HIGH UP because the air at ground level is TOXIC. People with HERO CRESTS are called HEROES and ACES and are supposedly ALL GOOD.

On this PLANET, there is a WAR going on between two factions, the HOLY LEAGUE and the COALITION.

The HOLY LEAGUE is headed by GRAND ADMIRAL NICOLAS MONTREGE, ruler of AMRATERRE, who is sort of the SPACE POPE, and is also slightly NAPOLEON, and is attempting to conquer the WORLD. He is an ACE and is doing this because ANGELS - actually ALIENS fighting a war with OTHER ALIENS - told him that the PLANET was going to be invaded by DEMONS. (OTHER ALIENS.) He has a significant minority of the continent as ALLIES and PUPPET STATES.

The main one we have met is LJUDIZEM, which was formerly subjugated under of GERONTMARKH, a member of the COALITION, and has now declared independence under JOSEF DINOT ZAPOJVEDI, also known as THE PRINCE OF SCARS, also an ACE and one of the HOLY LEAGUE's top GENERALS.

The COALITION is funded by WOLCYN, a REPUBLIC that HATES ALL MONARCHS but is allied with them ANYWAY, because the ADMIRAL is trying to CONQUER THE WORLD.

There are LOTS AND LOTS OF MEMBERS. We have so far met WOLCYN, as well as representatives of FIVE COUNTRIES that are currently INVADING LJUDIZEM and on which LJUDIZEM has CLAIMS.

The EMPIRE OF VZHOUDOUN, which is VERY HUGE and VERY BUREAUCRATIC and VERY SLOW and believes in the DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS, which is presently POPULAR.

The DOMINION of SIMOLYA, which is EVEN LARGER and threw the ambassadors of VANDA NOSSEO in JAIL for being RUDE.

The KINGDOM of GERONTMARKH, which is ruled by THE GOLDEN KING, MAREK GERONTMARKHEN, once called THE SPLENDID and THE STRONG, who claims to hold the title of KING OF LJUDIZEM in PERSONAL UNION and is an ACE and has THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN. It is PRETTY SMALL.

The KINGDOM of DESNAU, whose RULER demanded the EXECUTION of VANDA NOSSEO'S REPRESENTATIVES for the crime of LESE-MAJESTY. It is SMALL. Its has an ACE, EDELRICH DESNAUEN, who just bought a lot of RADIOS.

The KINGDOM of HAVRALT, which is TINY and LET VANDA NOSSEO OPEN A SHOP because it wanted MONEY and PROTECTION.

There are also OTHER COUNTRIES invading LJUDIZEM because INVADING LJUDIZEM IS PRETTY POPULAR RIGHT NOW.

LJDUIZEM hopes to escape DESTRUCTION by JOINING VANDA NOSSEO, which EVERYONE INVADING IT thinks is CHEATING, and is therefore trying to HOLD A VOTE ON THIS, which VANDA NOSSEO is ASSISTING with.

And now, on with the story!)

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As Gerontmarkh was explaining, it is against international law to try to seduce subjects into betraying their monarchs, and supporting secession attempts counts. Countries have legal rights to their territory, other countries do not have the legal right to try to take it from them, especially not countries that don't exist. Trying to assist with this is an act of war.

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Hm, that makes sense as an equilibrium a planet might settle on! Vanda Nossëo's feeling on the matter is that while they are happy to find ways to compensate injured claimants to disputed property, citizens are not property, and can decide what state they wish to belong to and exercise the franchise about what actions they want that state to take. They would like to clarify that they don't wish to convey any aggressive intent beyond this and will be acting only defensively! Their goal is zero casualties resulting from polling events and the aftereffects thereof and if anyone is found to have suffered from a failure to enact this policy perfectly they will be resurrected free of charge. Since it seems like some of these claimants expect to lose out in a vote, do they want to talk about possible compensation now, or put together a counteroffer for the citizenry to consider when casting their ballots, or anything?

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If the king of Gerontmarkh's subjects want to leave, his foreign minister (and son) clarifies, nobody will stop them. But they can't take the land with them! It's the King of Gerontmarkh's land, even if his subjects farm it for him! They ABSOLUTELY CANNOT exercise the franchise, they had a war about this! That discussion is settled!

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What is the King getting out of the ownership of the land, is it tax revenue or status or intangibles to do with how Gerontmarkh looks on a map or something else? They can make sure to mention the option to emigrate to a stable already-Vanda-Nossëo location when polling, in case people would prefer to do that rather than stay in their homes, and they can put together a pretty appealing pamphlet about what that will be like, if that would help.

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It is his country. The King defends his country, that's what he does, from internal threats and from external threats. A king is not a king if he does not defend his country. No king - no ace - no patriotic soldier - would rather give up an inch of dirt to an invader than die to defend it. That is what it means to have a nation. So you can say "intangibles," if you like, but what matters is that that is the duty of a king, and the king would not be a king today if he was not from a long line of kings who had done their duty.

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Okay, so is this about dirt, or about land area per se, or...?

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... It is about the land being the king's land. Every part of it. The forests are the king's forests, and the plains are the king's plains, and the mines are the king's mines, and the rights of the king's subjects are given to them by the king, out of his generosity or his self-interest, and are conditional on their fealty; any alternative is blood and chaos.

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Okay, so if they offer to pay people who want to join Vanda Nossëo to leave the area, such that the remaining people who don't leave are likelier to be those who'll vote to not join Vanda Nossëo and therefore experience locally customary dispute resolution about what country they belong to, would that help?

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... I mean, it is not against international law and is likelier to result in better outcomes for everyone, yes? They are still kind of - 

... He will need to be very, very clear, like he is talking to someone who has never heard of international law or natural law or justice or kings: "This is like going into someone's house with a gun and saying, I need to shoot you now, and when he protests, saying, 'well, or I could buy your belt, then I'd flip a coin and if it came up heads I'd shoot you, would you like that better?' There - there isn't any standing for it."

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"If everyone - all at the same time, telepathically," says the representative, "everyone in the whole world, all decided in unison, that they were going to pretend your king wasn't a king any more, all of the soldiers and tax collectors and advisors and farmers and merchants and your neighbors in other countries, would he still be a king?"

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"Yes," says the foreign minister immediately. "He would be. Royalty isn't a matter of votes, it's a matter of blood. A usurper is no more a king than Wolcyn's President is."

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"All right. And if everyone continued pretending this, for a thousand years, but he had descendants, would his son's son's son's son etcetera be the king of Gerontmarkh then, by blood?"

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"... Yes?" This is an absurd and ridiculous hypothetical but there is a very simple correct answer?

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"Then I'm afraid it turns out that this territory we're standing in while we have this conversation is not Gerontmarkh, but actually the sovereign nation of Brene, under whoever King Valya's crown would have succeeded to - looks like Forensics located a farmer named Edouard in Charente who fits the bill, fancy that - or more recently than that it's Vzhoudoun, or back when humans first settled this planet it was all the Admiralty throughout. But since -"

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"Sir! The kings of Brene were barbarians and usurpers from their first birth, and the Admiralty is fallen. Gerontmarkh has been given the crown from the Emperor of Vzhoudoun in the days of their glory, and their founder was rightfully crowned by a true admiral. Our rights as ruling sovereigns have been granted to us in perpetuity, and a grant so given may not be withdrawn. Marek Gerontmarkhen is the true king of Gerontmarkh, now and forever!"

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"So, from your perspective, Gerontmarkh is special, the situation that gave rise to it is an especially validating country-generation method, its succession history is an especially legitimate one, etcetera. But from our perspective, it's not special at all. Brene wasn't special. The Admiralty, whether or not it's reasonably construed as continuous with the polity that founded the planet, is a little unusual, but not in a way that makes it - from, again, our perspective - possessed of special privileges. Minister. Vanda Nossëo interacts with governments because it's smoother and more convenient than just trying to talk to every individual person on an entire planet one at a time. We pay attention to the existence of governments, at all, because it matters to the people who belong to them. As soon as that stops being true, governments - Gerontmarkh's, Brene's, Vzhoudoun, the concordance of demons from outer space, the angels who dropped your ancestors here in the first place - stop being special. We stop pretending there is anything more to governments than people making agreements and playing out roles. I'm putting it a little bluntly, here, because I don't know how to get across to you in a more delicate fashion that if Gerontmarkh is unsmooth and inconvenient then it can simply be addressed as its constituent subjects. Including the ones you don't want to allow the vote. Minister."

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His face goes white with anger.

"If you mean to declare war, you can do that. If you mean for the kings of the world to yield their crowns to you, that won't happen. In between there, there's room to talk."

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"We don't want a war. We don't want the crowns - but it sure seems like some of the things we do want sort of look like wanting the crowns, and I would love to figure out how we can present our actual wants so it doesn't look that way. Will you help me with that?"

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Calm down. Caaalm down. What Would Your Father Say actually that is kind of useless he would say to punch the alien ambassador in the face. "Kingdoms do not give up their land without a war. It does not happen." If they did, they'd be devoured. (If Vanda Nosseo attacks, he thinks, every country outside the Admiralty would instantly intervene to defend against them, and if the Admiralty was even slightly legitimate, it would, too. Monstrous aliens with magical powers from other worlds are what the Admiralty is for.)

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