Author Topic: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War  (Read 1431 times)

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Offline Konisforce

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Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« on: August 27, 2012, 11:46:49 AM »
Excerpted from Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking People, written in the wake of the first Great Rebellion.  Introduction to the volume “The Aether Age”.

In the pantheon of monarchs, English and otherwise, we have thus far seen numerous examples of monarchs whose personal frailties have steered the course of nations far from true.  It is a happy expedient - the sort of which history is so fond - that led an aged and infirm monarch to chase down a path which should have led to folly but instead led to the greatest discovery of humanity.

After James Watt’s accidental discovery of the existence of aether, he spent years attempting to understand exactly what it was he had discovered, for it was far from clear.  He first thought it might be a new sort of explosive, but for the fact that his garrett room stood intact.  Attempts to recreate the exact conditions were unsuccessful, perhaps because he believed that the rudiments of the steam engine were necessary to the replication of the event.  As we now know, it was the precise mixture of air, fire, earth, and water which spontaneously formed a pocket of the aether element sorium within the area of the steam engine, the ignition of which created the phenomenon.

Watt spent years in correspondence with others, attempting to elicit their help without revealing too much of what he had come to believe was nothing more than a feverish dream.  His searches led him to order in ancient Arabic and Chinese tomes, newfangled inventions from the Americas, and mad professors from around Europe.  Homestead Heath became a crossroads of fringe elements, and his reputation among the Royal Society plummeted.

Meanwhile, King George the IV was leading the British people into a life of leisure.  His lax approach to governing - and his profligate spending - had seen the splendor of the monarch’s residences increase along with the power of Parliament, and the coffers wane along with respect for the Crown.  His later retreat to Windsor Castle was unsurprising, and his corpulence became the butt of jokes.

There is a certain minority among the learned who delight in belonging to the ‘fringe’ of the establishment; in toeing the line between scientific genius and superstitious madness.  With James Watt’s death in 1818, his papers went to his son who, fearing his father’s later behaviour might sully the man’s reputation, kept them locked away.  Only the most persistent devotees could gain access to them, which led those fringes of the Royal Society to find and continue his work in partial seclusion.

The Aether Demonstration of 1821 is well-known, and little else needs to be said about it.  The initial reaction of the Royal Society was to cry fraud, which drove the men to King George IV in Windsor, who besottedly funded their efforts.  Two years later, the first aether reactor capable of sustained power output was created.  The discovery of trace amounts of sorium present in the air made it possible, and the search began for other aether elements.  By 1825, all the basic elements of the aether were known and the discoveries of James Watt were legitimized.  King George, in keeping with the reclusive trends of the later years, invited in new Royal Society members only on the conditions of secrecy, anathema to the scientific establishment’s sense of openness and peer review..  Many balked, but many more understood the monumental nature of the opportunity, and relented.  It was in November of 1825 that the famous phrase was uttered, “We have rendered moot the laws of Sir Isaac Newton”.

The fundamentally different nature of these elements led to a number of rapid and astonishing discoveries, and the need for further materials was made paramount.  The mining town of Ashington, in Northumberland, became the site of a grand new British Army encampment, which coincidentally served to put 10,000 Royal troops between the public-at-large and a newly-established mining and research center.  Using the small amounts of aether elements available to them, the Royal Society fellows crafted tools and machines to allow them to dig deep into the coal seams near Ashington where further minerals were to be found.  More and better minerals led to more and better tools, and soon there were aether elements in industrial instead of simply scientific quantities.

While most believe that the true militarization of the Empire occurred under the reign of William IV, in truth it commenced as early as 1826 under George the IV, who wanted more and better guards for the scientific station and, one can assume, himself at Windsor.  Early horse-drawn gauss cannons and hand-held laser weaponry, built with the latest aether technology and harnessing sorium-powered aether reactors, terrorized the sheep around Ashington throughout the latter half of the 1820s.

Much has also been said about the most fearsome of these weapons.  The old concepts of personal protection were given new life with the advent of aether technology.  Soldiers in plates of light-weight duranium armor, powered by an aether reactor to give them abilities beyond human strength, bore the inevitable name of ‘knights’, though the official nomenclature styled them as Heavy Grenadiers.  When the Duke of Wellington, then prime minister, was finally given a demonstration late in 1829, he was said to have remarked “By God, with five hundred of these Waterloo wouldn’t have been so near-run a thing!”

With the death of George, William IV ascended to the throne on June 26, 1830, at the age of 64.  He was the oldest person ever to be crowned Monarch, having served faithfully in the British Navy as a midshipman all the way to Lord High Admiral.  What drove “The Sailor King” is unknown but extensively speculated upon, but his seven years as King of England are the are without equal.

The next seven years are known by various names in various parts of the world - The Conquering, The Great War, The Subjugation, Darkness, and the Dependence.  Most in England still call in The Empire War.

In the spring of 1831, three units of heavy grenadiers were the spearhead that invaded France.  Resistance was so disorganized that the armored units had to operate in platoons simply to find enough enemy units worth the effort to fight.  The follow-on troop landings at Calais established a beach head for the old-style cavalry and infantry regiments, as well as the few old-style artillery units still in service, all of which would serve as occupying forces.

France fell in May.  The lowland countries and Denmark fell in June, and the Austrians and Prussians united in July, and made their stand.  The heavy grenadiers had far outpaced their old-style compatriots and were accompanied by a single cavalry regiment and two regiments of foot.  The British forces were outnumbered - by some conservative accounts - nearly 45 to 1.  Nonetheless, the results were never in doubt.

By mid-morning the day of the battle, the 1st (Royal) Heavy Grenadiers had literally leapt over the ranks and file and destroyed the combined artillery of the Prussians and the Austrians.  Thirteen knights operating under Colonel James Martin had successfully captured or killed every commander of the opposing side.  The actual casualties were relatively low compared to an engagement like Waterloo, and the effect was total.  The total might of Prussia and Austria had been swept aside with casual contempt.

By August Spain and Portugal were subjugated.  By September, the Kingdom of Sweden surrendered and was made a client state, and the first occupation forces had finally established themselves in Berlin and Vienna.  The knights were in constant motion, breaking up attempted rebellions and disturbing any troops coalesced around a leader.  The bureaucratic underpinnings of the newly-formed Colonial Administration groaned under the weight of new territory, and yet King William IV pushed onward.

In November, the British forces accomplished the seemingly impossible - they marched on Moscow, straight into the teeth of Russia’s General Winter.  Supplies streamed into St. Petersburg before the ice set in, and the knights settled into the occupation of Russia’s major cities for the winter.  It was a testament to the fear they inspired that only three-score were required in Moscow to keep any insurrection at bay.

With Europe effectively conquered, the King turned his eyes toward the wayward colonies of America, against whom he had fought in his early life..  His ministers managed to impress upon him the logistical difficulties of such a conquest under any circumstances, not to mention the extra stress placed upon the system by the continued occupation of most of the Continent.  Along with Parliament (which was, it should be noted, somewhat cowed by the King at this point) the Reform Act of 1832 was passed.

The basics of the act had been mooted long before 1832, but without much success.  The changes wrought by James Watt’s steam engine and the Industrial Revolution had redrawn the landscape of Britain, draining men from the countryside and causing them to coalesce in cities that had barely existed before.  The Reform Act redrew the borders and addressed this issue, as had been the original intent for years.

However, the King’s priority was not, to be fair, the even-handed nature of the voting districts of Britain.  In the model of ancient Rome, the Reform Act also laid out the path toward citizenship of the conquered peoples.  It built the constitutional framework for partial self-governance within the British Empire, through the formation of national Parliaments and a single grand Continental Parliament.

While his eye had fallen upon America, various ministers also pointed out the vast and rich lands neighboring British India.  The Reform Act also sought to both free the British East India company to act by legitimizing it, and to bring it to heel by folding it into the government.  The House of Burghers was brought into being and incorporated as the third in a tricameral system of Parliament.  While it is now understood and logical, the idea of having a body of government whose seats are filled, essentially, by overt bribery was a strange idea.  But by having a house of Parliament whose members bought their seats at auction, it essentially provided an outlet for a vast quantity of wealth that would instead have gone toward corrupting the other two chambers.  The British East India Company and its various allies purchased 55% of the seats and immediately set to work legitimizing their use of force.  The 1st East Indiamen Knights unit of heavy grenadiers followed not long after, and the East India Company planned its own invasion of China and the Far East.

The United States had been aware of the Sailor King’s interested gaze for nearly a year before the hammer fell.  They spent vast chunks of riches, time, and energy attempting to subvert the secrets of aether technology from the British Empire, or to research it themselves, or to obtain some of its weapons, but it was all for naught.  A single year was not time enough to undo the lead of decades which the British Empire held.  Had they, perhaps, bowed to the inevitable and prepared to resist an occupying force rather than a conquering one it is possible they could have raised the cost too high for the Empire.  But pride went, and then they fell.

The conquering of the United States in mid-1832 effectively ended resistance to British Rule.  Lands on which British boots had never before trod sent diplomats with their unconditional surrender and welcomed British viceroys to oversee them.  The Colonial Administration dug in to the unenviable task of governing a suddenly-tripled Empire, while the Expeditionary Forces rooted out the last opposition and the East India Company took the coastal cities of China.

Japan and Korea held out until 1834, and some portions of South America - still imbued with the revolutionary zeal imparted by Simon Bolivar - fought on long past the inevitable.  British commercial interests followed close on the heels of the pacification forces and the colonial mercantilism that had waned with the independence of America surged back to the fore.  

As William IV entered the sixth year of his reign, the abolition of slavery throughout the Empire became his latest goal, and the underpinnings of the Emancipation Proclamation were laid down.  He worked on it throughout the year, neglecting to a degree the further pacification projects necessary throughout the Empire, and ignoring the huge burden that the sudden freedom of countless slaves would place on the already overburdened Colonial Administration.  He wrangled with increasing resignation against his ministers as they inserted exceptions to the Act.  The Proclamation was set to be handed down on June 26, 1837, the 7th anniversary of the King’s reign.  However, he was taken ill at the beginning of June, and the trajectory of his long decline seemed to show that he would not make it to his 7th year.  The Emancipation Proclamation of June 18th, 1837 abolished slavery throughout the British colonies with a few notable exceptions, America among them.

Two days later, the morning of June 20, 1837, King William IV died at Windsor castle.  Having no legitimate children, the crown passed to Alexandrina Victoria, a secluded, rather melancholy child.  Having turned 18 less than a month previous, she was given control over the entire world.

The story continues in Part 1: The Teenaged Queen
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 11:16:01 AM by Konisforce »
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Offline IanD

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 03:20:04 AM »
More please!
IanD
 

Offline Konisforce

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 09:22:30 AM »
Heh, sure thing  :)

I've played and have notes through the first jump tech and extra-solar colonies, and I figure I'll buzz through the story part up to about there since nothing much is happening.
Come take a look at Victoria Regina, an old-timey AAR
 

Offline Beersatron

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 10:23:02 AM »
Loving your style of writing, very detailed!
 

Offline Shinanygnz

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 12:45:06 PM »
I agree, excellent read  8)
 

Offline welchbloke

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 12:30:03 PM »
I also agree.  great read; more please!
Welchbloke
 

Offline Bgreman

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 12:57:35 AM »
This is really well done, dude.
 

Offline Konisforce

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2012, 10:02:11 AM »
Thanks, all!  I'm trying to hurry up and get to the good parts (I'm 14 years down the road in the game) but I keep finding details I wanna write about.

Let me know if it feels like it's bogging down or anything.
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Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: Victoria Regina, Prologue 2: The Empire War
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2012, 10:49:43 AM »
Not at all, the detail and the behind the scenes story are a far more enjoyable read than just a rehash of the logs. Looking forward to reading more.
 

 

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