MISC: The Girl Who Saved The World Part 42
phillies at 4liberty.net
Fri Jun 3 22:00:44 PDT 2016
Readers will note that I re-sorted chapters a bit, so some of you may
have seen some of this before.
And for the chess- curious the Glorious Shield of Sarnath is the
Sicilian. Janie thinks it's badly busted.
The Horns of Hattin runs (colors reversed is equally valid) for white
a4 h4 Ra3 Rh3 Rd3 Re3 sometimes interrupted with PbxB or PgxB. I have
actually played against it.
“Interesting company the little girl keeps,” Kurchatov said. “I do not
recall an Eternal or the like who Plays, so I suppose Miss Wells must
have come up with her new move for herself. Those variations she
proposed all looked...flawed.”
“Victor,” Grandmaster Hornpiper asked, “I had had the same thought, but
then decided that if I were in her predicament I would have been
delighted to tell you about many variations on my move…the bad
variations. In her position, if I’d been asked about chess openings, I
would have talked at length about the Horns of Hattin opening, or
perhaps the Glorious Shield of Sarnath.”
“You’re mean, Honarius,” Ming said, not at all seriously. “Surely this
sweet little girl would not pull such an underhanded trick?”
“This sweet little girl,” Kurchatov said, “forced me to offer a tie when
we played, a tie she gleefully accepted. She had good chances of
winning, too, but preferred the certainty of a draw. That put her
ranking up considerably. She is highly underhanded.”
“Good for her,” Ming said. “She embodies the highest aspects of the
American gaming spirit.” The two Grandmasters nodded affirmatively.
“Gentlemen,” Krystal said, “I am happy to have the three of you
teleported home, it being late indeed, but I need to have a watch put on
the Wells residence and all three children. Baron Kamensky might be
smart enough to back off, but some of his backers are decidedly less
Secure Chamber Alpha
The Palace of Peace
January 13, 2018
League Chancellor Lars Holmgren tapped his walnut gavel twice on its
bloodwood sounding block. “Good morning! Gentlemen? Ladies? I know it
has been a very long few days. May we have order, please? This meeting
of the League of Nations Special Peace Executive is now in session,
Prince Wang taking any needed notes. Thank you, Prince Wang. I believe
we have all reviewed the recordings of Wednesday’s events. I have
circulated an agenda. Under the non-emergency rules, we begin by naming
“For the American Republic, Ambassador Thaddeus Buncombe.” Buncombe,
wearing a classic pinstripe three-piece suit with broad red, white, and
blue vertical-striped tie, leaned back in his chair. Now, he thought,
there would be the foreign kings and princes, their representatives, and
their pompously useless titles. He looked around the room. The Peace
Executive sat at a horseshoe-shaped white marble table, with Holmgren in
the middle and Buncombe at the heel of the horseshoe’s right branch.
The walls and floor were the same brilliant white marble, carved and
inlaid with what the European founders of the League viewed as scenes
showing the triumph of civilization. To Buncombe’s eyes those scenes
mostly represented Europeans trampling other parts of the world under
foot. Curiously, images of King George the Mad attempting to trample
America were conspicuous for their absence.
“For Austria-Hungary, Count Karl-Michael Ferencz .” Buncombe nodded
respectfully at Ferencz. King-Emperor Joseph III had spent forty years
requiring that his representatives be highly competent. The Count might
have a title, but he had surely earned his post.
“The Brazilian Empire, Ambassadrix Amanda Rafaela Mascarenhas da Silva.”
The speaker was a woman in her early sixties, hair a deep black, her
blouse, vest, and long dress a brilliant royal blue fringed in gold.
“For the Queen-Empress Victoria, the Third of her Name, Lord Reginald
Featherstonehaugh.” The current Featherstonehaugh, Buncombe considered
was considerably less arrogant than his father, who Americans could
readily imagine as one of the crown officials who cheered on King George
III, George the Mad, as he launched the 1774 British invasion of the
“For the Celestial Republic of the Han, Prince Wang Dongfeng.” Dongfeng
looked politely around the room, the blank look on his face masking his
“Speaking for the Emperor of All France, Napoleon the Sixth, I am
Imperial Grand Marshall Bernard-Christian Davout.” Davout wore the
polychrome uniform of a modern French Field Marshal. It was possible
that some color had been omitted from his ensemble, but if so it was by
oversight. For all his military decorations, Davout’s military
experience was quite limited. Davout’s country including its
not-protectorates from the Caribbean to the Eastern Mediterranean was
nonetheless an eminently civilized place in which an American could
consider living. Napoleon might style himself Emperor, but its local
governments including the Greek and Spanish Kingdoms and Venetian
Republic had an independence that only Frenchmen and Americans found
“For His Great and Terrible Majesty, the Supreme Warlord of All the
Germans, Kaiser Friedrich the Fourth and Greatest, I am Markgraf
Heinrich Moeller.” All the Germans, Buncombe noted to himself, if you
ignored the Austro-Hungarians, the Swiss, the Bavarians, and the
residents of the French Rhineland. The Germans were forever scheming to
recover the mythical past glories to which they thought they were
entitled, most notablyu large amounts of neighboring territory, their
schemes having as their primary effect solidifying the anti-German
alliance that included all of their neighbors.
“The Speaker for the First Speaker of the Mexica and the Inca.” Lord
Smoking Frog, Buncombe considered, never actually spoke his own name. In
his home country, for him to speak his own name might have been an
impolite way of reminding people that the Empire of the Mexica and the
Inca was in fair part run by the Maya.
“For the Osmanli padisahlari, the Emperor, may his wisdom increase
forever, has sent me, his Grand Vizier, Suleiman Pasha.” So that’s who
he is, a fellow I have never met, Buncombe thought. If the Ottomans
sent their Prime Minister, they are taking matters much more seriously
than I might have expected.
“Ambassador Fateh Singh of the Sikh Empire, Speaker for all South Asian
states.” Singh’s cloth-of-gold coat appeared to Buncombe to be wasteful,
not to mention cold. Similar criticisms might be made of most of the
other foreigners, none of whom had adopted the simple, frugal, not to
mention comfortable style affected by American diplomats.
“I am Saigo Shigetoshi, Legate of the Satsuma Daimyo.” Buncombe nodded
politely at Saigo. Relations between America and their Pacific neighbor
had always been friendly, each side recognizing that any other attitude
was pointless. The legal fiction that Saigo only represented the Satsuma
Daimyo rather than speaking for the Emperor and the Shogun was one of
the quaint aspects of doing business with the Japanese. Saigo’s seven
layers of polychrome kimono, besides being gorgeously colorful, managed
to be both warm and comfortable.
“Legate Hong Sangui of Manjukuo.” Hong carefully look away from
Buncombe. Relations across the Bering Straits had been frigid since the
Manjukuoans discovered that their failure to contest the ownership of
Alaska had given away huge gold and mineral deposits. Of course,
Buncombe considered, the Empire had been so little interested in Alaska
and places beyond that they had retained a Russian to explore them.
Hong wore pale yellow court robes, embroidered left and right with a
pair of five toed dragons, showing a close tie to the Imperial family.
A large scarlet fire sigil sewn on each forearm of the robes indicated
his performance on the Imperial Examinations, showing that he had
finished in the highest rank. The lower ranks test memorization,
Buncombe reminded himself, but the highest ranks were based on puzzle
solving. Hong hid a top-notch mind behind his refused shoulder.
“For Peter, Emperor of all the Russias, Princess Elizaveta Romanoff.”
The oldest daughter of Tsar Peter VI wore classical Russian court dress,
complete with a tiara. Romanoff ‘s coat and blouse and trousers were
brilliant scarlet spackled with silvery lace and trim. The platinum
alloy highlighted her long hair, faded by the decades from raven-black
to pure white. At 60, she preserved the figure she had had at 20, a
figure that hid her sharp wit and sharper memory. The figure, Buncombe
thought, was undoubtedly in fair part a consequence of her wearing at
all times a substantial tonnage of silk and precious metals.
“Colonel-General Wilhelm Christian aus und zu Dreikirch, League Secret
Political Police.” Dreikirch snapped to attention and clicked his heels.
Buncombe recognized his dress uniform. The New Hampshire State Guard
used the same color scheme, minus the pounds of gold braid and jingling
medals, for its winter camouflage uniforms..
“League Elite Persona Brigade, Brigade Leader Valkyria.” The tall,
blue-eyed woman now wore an ankle-length flame-orange dress rather than
her more familiar battle armor. The loose sleeves of the blouse failed
to hide her substantial muscles. Unlike many folks in plate mail,
Buncombe reminded himself, Valkyria was not stupid, just vigorously
rules-oriented. In some ways, rules-oriented could be worse.
“League Chancellor Lars Holmgren.”
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