VILLESEN, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF SERENIERRE 25. September. 1957 As Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Delacourt had seen the month of September as a horrible disaster. The September Campaign launched by Field Marshal Blum had cost him valuable resources in men and weaponry all across the north-eastern front. In the Politburo meeting held that day, he had laid bare the situation to his fellow members of the Communist Party's senior most institution. They had listened quietly and gone on to console the General for the many volunteers he had lost. No one could, and this is quite true, have imagined that Blum was such a capable commander. "Be that as it may," Charles Bertrand spoke, "Which paths lie open before us now?" "The Revolutionary Guards have done their duty to the nation and the people of Borovanger," Elisabeth Martinique responded to her colleague's question, "And the Central Committee of the Commissariat of People's Deputies has decided that all military operations in Borovanger will henceforth be handled by the Military of Serenierre. The particular purpose of the Revolutionary Guards' operations in Borovanger was to make an opening for us at a time when we could not get involved in the awful situation directly because of our regional constraints. Now that the Confederation government has been established and recognised, we can get the relevant approvals from our friends in Saulot to grant an allowance for an expansion of military forces." "Will this permission be connected with any transfers of occupied territory?" "No," Madame Martinique responded, "Until the final peace is achieved, we will not be transferring territory over to the Confederation... at least legally. Although administrative responsibilities have been transferred over to Saulot over the former lands of the Prometheist Commonwealth. But Serenien military law applies across all territory occupied by our Army for the purposes of establishing order and ensuring that troublemakers can be dealt with effectively and briskly." "I suppose that General Renaudiere shall be granted command over the entire situation." There was a nod of approval from all present. Nothing more was needed to be said. HEADQUARTERS, 5TH SHOCK ARMY 25. September. 1957 In a tent, the commander who conquered Santo-Miguel, the first Serenien general in all of history to do so, sat next to a fan with a glass of cold whiskey in his hand. He had been informed a few days ago by the High Command that he would be given charge of the entire campaign in fighting the fascistic-Ortegan royalist army in the north. The fight to topple the Prometheist Commonwealth had earned him many laurels in Villesen. He had every intention of ensuring he left this campaign a general of equal stature to General Mazarin - the current chief of staff of the Military. He and his subordinates had decided that for the moment, it was best to lie low and let the enemy think that they had the upper hand. Let them rejoice, he had said in a meeting, they have yet to see the storm which awaits them. And what a storm he had in mind for Vallespir. In structuring an offensive, General Renaudiere had given reflection to the campaign plans for a theoretical war with Bourgogne. A ferocious all out assault of armoured divisions and self-propelled artillery battalions moving briskly and crushing the head of the enemy. So far, this aspect of his forces had not seen much action, the takedown of the Prometheists had been an entire infantry-driven affair. Now, in the north, his tanks would be put to use in a greater way. Often, in quiet moments such as this, as he sipped his whiskey or perhaps smoked his cigarette, he would wonder what his adversaries were doing, and over his life he had had many adversaries to ponder about. But he wondered what Field Marshal Blum was doing in that instant. He had found it rather amusing that in a country as small and weak as Borovanger, the sense of self-importance in the Prometheist regime attached to its commanders, that there existed a rank of field marshal. It was understandable if great powers such as Bourgogne chose to grant such grand titles evoking a majestic figure of a man leading his strong and mighty army across the fields of battle but to envision a Field Marshal in the employ of a military which did not have ships, nor much of a air force, and no tanks - at-least none that had been sent to the fields of battle, as yet - it was rather precious. And Renaudierre was not alone in that assessment. That very same thought, in all truth, had passed through the head of every member of the military and political establishment of Serenierre - from Serazin to Martinique to Mazarin - when they had heard that a pocket of Prometheist resistance was being set up by this hitherto insignificant commander in the army of fallen state. How wrong, it seems, they all were. As much as he hated what he stood for, Renaudierre did come to admire this strange unknown man who had with so little working for him, managed to successfully hold Vallespir and push back the Revolutionary Guardsmen a good distance in the north. Unlike the ideologues in Villesen, he could, as all military men can, with stoic grace appreciate the successes of a commander in the field of battle. He took another sip of whiskey and went back to reading a progress report on his desk.