2023.06.06 18:56 RagingCain Some Helpful Tips For New Players
2023.06.06 18:39 somebodyNamedDoyle Pros & Cons of D4 from a Lazy Person
2023.06.06 18:37 Galaxy_the_nightwing First Impressions part 47
2023.06.06 18:22 Waelder TCF PATCH 3.4.0 - 07th June 2023
submitted by Waelder to TheCycleFrontier [link] [comments]
Read the patchnotes in the game's website: https://thecycle.game/news-and-media/the-cycle-frontier-patch-3-4-0Hello Prospectors!
Patch 3.4.0 has been cooking behind the scenes for a little while now, and it's finally ready to be served. Complete with seasonings, a tall drink, and a few changes that might catch your interest, we're following up on some changes from 3.2 and 3.3 while also addressing some issues that have been highlighted by our community. On the menu today will be additional AI changes, a balance pass on some of our early game weapons, the usual stomping of a few pesky bugs and exploits, an adjustment to Tharis storm cycles, and yes, an adjustment to Progenitor Slags. We recently discussed in our Discord Server that we're taking some time to focus on repaying technical debts and relooking into systems to have more flexibility with our code in order to make things more smooth, however a lot of these things are not necessarily "player-facing" so we will use these notes to focus on changes that you will see and experience directly within the game. As always, be sure to let us know what you think of the new changes after you've downloaded the new update, and we will continue to monitor and address them as soon as we can. Onto the notes!
Balancing/WeaponsWeapon Balance, my old friend, it's nice to see you again! As a fun fact from our data, the three weapons that are the most requested to receive a balance pass are the Manticore, AR-55, and C-32 Bolt Action. This is something that we are always investigating and keeping tabs on behind the scenes, but after our feedback from the 3.2 patch, it seemed there were a few weapons that needed a bit more than just a damage value changed, so we've made a few more changes to lightly poke the meta to encourage a nice mix of weapons and keep things feeling fresh with your encounters. The vision that is planted in our brains here is to make sure our early game weapons feel like early game weapons without nerfing them into the ground or making them unusable in engagements with higher-geared players. However, with a TTK this short, sometimes that perfect balance can be hard to find. Having said that, minor changes are the plan for this one, let us know what you think!
Manticore (MK1 & MK2):
Matchmaking ChangesWe've heard your feedback that something just doesn't feel quite right, and we've noticed it in our matches as well. In order to address it, we've done some deep dive investigating to answer a few questions: Is matchmaking working as intended? Is "beginner matchmaking" working properly? Now this covers a really wide range of variables and not every player's reported issue can lead to the same outlier in the way our game matchmakes, but we've made some major changes to the way our matchmaking registers and removes players on a server, to prevent server over population, which we believe should fix squad separation issues as well. We intend to continue keeping a close eye on this topic, so please don't hesitate to reach out and let us know if you experience or notice any differences!
Anti-Cheat ImprovementsFighting cheating is our number one priority, and we are aware that for some of our players the current state of the game is not ideal. As with every patch, 3.4.0 will contain various backend improvements and tweaks to our anti-cheat formula. In addition, we have added new systems to the game to help detect and prevent the kinds of cheats we have found to be the most common. While we would love to go into detail about exactly what is being changed, any info we give on our methods is unfortunately information that can be used to circumvent those methods. Regardless, we do expect that these changes should have a noticeable effect on the state of the game, and we will be monitoring them closely after they go live and adjusting them as necessary.
If you would like to contribute to the games anti-cheat efforts, reports are always one of the most useful resources at our teams disposal. Simply sending a report in-game can go a long way, and you can also make use of our #reports-and-appeals channel in our official Discord server if you would like to give some more detailed information to our anti-cheat team or would like to include a video clip with your report.
We hope these changes go a long way towards improving your experience on Fortuna, until next time Prospectors!
Known Issues & Things We Are Working On™While some of these issues might take a bit longer, we are still investigating and aim to find fixes and address these as soon as we can.
2023.06.06 18:10 tay_tot clever business card idea help?
2023.06.06 17:58 HardlyStrictlyCrabby DIY odyssey key fob programming
2023.06.06 17:56 breathingwaves Some things that have helped me (long post)
2023.06.06 17:45 compound-interest Now that every company has played their hand, here are my predictions where each new headset will fall into the market
2023.06.06 17:17 justcallmepickles MIL deliberately does things with our children that we ask her not to.
2023.06.06 17:06 No-Butterflys Not sure where to start
2023.06.06 17:04 Due_Ad_972 My random review of tears of the kingdom. MILD SPOILERS.
2023.06.06 17:03 LordIlthari Monsters Chapter 77: Blood and Booze (Or, two paladins have a fistfight in a gay bar)
I am The Bard, who taught men their first magics, which to this day endure when all others have. It is written into the blood and bones of all you have built, and so I shall never die.
I did not teach you how to dream. I only taught how to tell a dream to another who you would never know.
The phone rang. Karna didn’t bother to pick it up. The message machine clicked for a moment, tape starting to turn backwards as new words were written onto it. It clicked again, stopping dead. Karna didn’t look up from his meal of leftover takeout. He finished his noodles, checked again to see if there was any shrimp left, and sighed as he threw the box at the bin. It bounced off the others already filling it up.
He sighed, rubbing his head and eyes. Healing magic could cure a hangover. It couldn’t do anything about dehydration. He needed to get up and get a drink. He went over to his cabinet and looked around for a glass. When he didn’t find a clean one, he grabbed a coffee mug instead. It was the last one. He was also out of coffee. Irritating. No matter how much of it he drank, he was still tired. It just meant he couldn’t sleep.
Sex helped, a bit, but when it didn’t, things were worse. Lying alone in his own bed, at least he could toss and turn and work his sheets into tangles trying to find some position that would let him finally fall asleep. He could slip out of bed for a nightcap, a strong one, to try and help. With another, there was nothing to do but lie there, still and silent, trying not to wake the man or woman next to him.
Trying not to think.
Impossible to sleep, then suddenly too much sleep. Blink and it was three-thirty in the afternoon. He stood at the sink, filling up the mug and draining it repeatedly. The call was probably from work. Worse, it might be his mother.
”Karna, what the fuck are you doing with your life you useless bastard. You’re not immortal, it’s all slipping away, one day, one minute at a time, and here you are doing nothing with it.” He said to himself. “Because you’re too tired to anything and still can’t sleep.” Of course, he knew why. His mind, treacherous as a serpent, betrayed him then, in the dark, in the solitude. Every wound he had suffered, every scar erased by healing magic, those were nothing. He was a paladin, the training had gotten him used to the sight of his own blood a long time ago.
”Practice for healing magic. Isn’t that what the old sister called it?” He wondered aloud. “Tch. She was kind of a bitch. Still is. I wonder if she’s calling me to yell at me too? Of course, I suppose I deserve it. I-“Then he stopped himself, and slammed the mug down, forcefully. It hit one of the plates in the sink, and it cracked. Karna swore and picked up the mess, picking the shards of metal out of his sink and throwing them in the boxes in the bin.
He sat back down in the one seat he used at his four-person table. It was covered in books, loose change, an unopened letter from some survey, a candle, a mug, miscellaneous bits of stationary, a comically large six sided die with red and black patterns, and off directly to his left a stick of deodorant and bottle of cologne. Those last two were the only things he’d used on this table in a while.
He sat back in his chair and sighed. “Yeah, you know exactly what you’re doing with your life. Nothing of any use to anyone. Well. Useless is better than detrimental, so hey, at least there’s that improvement.”
He hit the button to play back the latest message from his telephone, and picked it up, placing the receiver to his ear. At least he could listen to his messages. That would be something for the day.
”Hey, Karna. It’s Bas.” Karna’s head slumped forwards. He hadn’t expected him to be calling to call him an idiot. “I’ve tried coming by your place a couple of times to visit, seem to have missed you both times.” Or he was asleep, or drunk, or otherwise being a bad cousin. “So, I figured I’d give you a call and leave you a message. Just checking in to see how you’re doing. I know… things have been rough, for all of us, and I know you were taking things hard.” I know you’re weak. “I hope you’re doing well, and hope you understand, if you’re not, then, well, you’ve got my number, and you know where I live. Even though my apartment’s not exactly stellar.” I know you could reach out. But you won’t. You’ve been given everything, inherited power, your house, your money, and you still do nothing with it. I have nothing our society considers important, but I am still a better man than you. “Hope to talk to you soon. Adonai watch over you.”
That last bit was a bit odd. Adonai. The old invisible god, or God, as those that believed in such a thing insisted. Karna wasn’t entirely certain that this wasn’t just a clever way of disguising atheism, given that philosophy’s associations. Why in the world would Basil mention it now? As far as he knew… well he really actually didn’t know anything about Basil’s beliefs. He presumed, given his training, he was a follower of the western philosophies, which were philosophies more so than religions. They were fairly popular these days, a sort of secular spirituality, a substitute for the holes growing in Ordani religious life.
When you’ve fought and killed a god in living memory, it becomes harder to worship them. Beyond that, the old rites simply that, old rites. A series of rituals nobody really believed in anymore. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen a cleric. He paused. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen a cleric he hadn’t been fighting to the death with. The gods really didn’t seem to have much of a place in a modern society. It was probably arrogant, but part of the point of the gods was meant to be that they were something so much bigger than oneself, that there was nothing that could compare. They were monumental figures, but when the monuments can be torn down by mere men, was it a monument worth believing in?
It was that way then. Some people turned to the western philosophies, realizing that their religious needs, the desire for mystery, for reverence, for prayer, meditation, moral laws and sacred communities were met there, without gods. Some, Basil included, turned their gaze towards an invisible, supposedly omnipotent, God. Well, the gods were supposed to be omnipotent, but if nobody could even prove your God existed, well, then there wasn’t any fear that anyone could kill Him. And then, there was the other kind. The kind which were kind of a bad joke.
He remembered his days in the warm sun, under the abbot’s orchard in Hearthfire Abbey, amid the warm red walls, the golden light of the day filtering through the green leaves, the bright red apples highlighted against a blue sky. Quite literally simpler times. He remembered the grave beneath the tree. Senket Zarathustra. Of course, that wasn’t really where she was. She was a few miles up the road, in a chapel nobody paid any mind to, next to six other graves, two empty. How much a contrast that was, compared with what was in the abbey. Her image, glaring down from tapestry, immortalized in statuary, and everywhere revered. Saint, they called her, but what was the difference between a saint and a god, when you treated one like the other.
They had made gods for themselves, gods born of and midwives to, their own people. A god that was distant enough to be worshipped, but near enough to be known. Something understood, something relatable, and something that had bested other gods before. Gods borne of the people of godslayers, for what else could they be? Of course, every pantheon needed its devil, its fallen angel. And now here he stood, a useless bastard, but also the same kind of thing as their gods and their devil. What a bad joke.
But at the same time, a joke they had believed in. A joke he felt the obligation to make a truth. A joke he had failed to make true. Up on a pedestal, and down in the dirt. That was what paladin of Order Undivided meant now. A hero, until people had no more need of them. Good, he wasn’t even a hero in the first place.
He shook his head. It was going to be a few hours before any clubs opened. He was going back to bed until then. It didn’t do him any good to sit awake stewing.
Basil was getting worried. He’d tried paying visits and making calls, but there was no contact. He quietly sat through office hours, grading the first assignments of the year. He was starting to regret assigning an essay, particularly to his 101 class. Fortunately, it was early in the year, so he was able to work through his office hours without being further disturbed. He finished his last paper, capped the red pen, and stood up. It wasn’t that far out of his way to visit Karna again, and this time he wouldn’t be ignored.
He made his way through the city, until he came to the Red Street. It had another name, but people remembered not what was given, but what was done. Fifty years ago, the blood of black and red lions flowed, as Elsior faced down her old mentor during the height of the black rebellion. The street’s architecture was eclectic, a mix of the old buildings which had survived the battle, and newer designs built up out of the ruins left from a clash of titans.
There were alleys off the street where you could still see the gashes left in the ground by arcane blades. It was a street where history lay heavy in the mortar and the air. It was also a decently affordable neighborhood, as the old houses, while historical, were also old, small, and lacked modern amenities. He was still never going to afford any of them on a teacher’s salary, even with his stipend as a paladin. Of course, Karna would have had a bitch of a time paying for his house as well, but he had simply inherited it.
Basil shook his head, as if to throw the jealous thought out of his mind. “You’re a grey-eyed monster already. Let’s not add green to the mix.” He growled at himself, as he kept walking up to Karna’s door and knocked. No response. He sighed, looking through the door. Only two of his eyes saw the normal spectrum of light. The others varied from arcane, ultraviolet, infrared, and a curious ability to see electrical signals. The end result was an overlapping view of information, an in-depth view of the world that saw the surface and the depths of everything. It had been a bit of a rude surprise for his parents to find out their son saw their brains at the same time he saw their faces. The practical upshot of this at the moment was that he saw Karna was clearly not at home, and had left a trail of lingering celestial energy behind him.
Well, Karna or another aasimar, but they were fairly rare. Even with the increasing numbers of extraplanar citizens in the union, there weren’t many descended from angels. Basil wryly considered that it might be the former keeping out the later. Baatorites weren’t strictly speaking enemies with most angels, but the distaste between the two species was deep, ancient, and mutual. As such, there was only one trail to follow.
Basil sighed when he found the end of the trail. It was a club, and of a particular sort. He didn’t need his enhanced vision to tell that. Technically speaking, strip clubs and even prostitution were legal. Practically speaking, everyone in any of them used pseudonyms. He sighed and headed for the entrance. The bouncer at the door, a towering ogre, raised a hand. “If you’re carrying, head around to the side entrance. They’ll check your swords there. No weapons in the club.”
”Not planning on starting a fight. Just looking to meet someone.”
”Yeah, well check em anyway. We’ve had boyfriends throwing hands with one another because they were looking at the guy on stage a little too hard, we don’t want em doing it with swords. That’s the kind of domestic dispute that doesn’t just get the cops involved, it’s also a bitch to get out of the floors.”
”Well, I’ll keep that in mind.” Basil replied, and headed around the side. He stepped in, greeted by another bouncer, a dragonborn. He always found it amusing how it was always one of the larger races as a bouncer. Given their job, it made a certain degree of sense, but it occurred to him he’d never seen a gnome as a bouncer. Then again, he didn’t go to many clubs. He checked his sword in, and left a pseudonym.
The dragonborn looked down at the paper, and narrowed his eyes slightly. “What’s the T.D. stand for, Mr. Law?” He asked curiously.
Basil shrugged. “Hells if I know, it’s an alias, same as everyone else is using here. I mean, look at the guy above me on that list, when was the last time you ever met somebody actually named Flamingo?”
”The guy kinda looked like a flamingo. Aasimar type, maybe his wings are pink.” The bouncer replied.
”If he’s the person I’m thinking of, no. Let’s hope they don’t start changing.” Basil replied.
”Cousin, and why’d you assume ex?”
”The only people I’ve seen who’ve been drinking that much and going home with that many different blokes are the ones going through breakups, and you’re the only person I’ve seen go looking for him, so I know he’s not a whore.”
”Nah, just a dumbass. Thanks for the info. Here’s hoping you have a quiet night.”
”Yeah, try to keep it that way for me.”
”I’ll do my best. Believe it or not, I hate fighting.” Basil replied, and headed past the dragonborn into the club proper.
To give the club some credit, they had a pretty decent band going. A small number, playing as much with style as they did skill. That was to say, a decent if unspectacular amount. The rolling tones of the lead singer washed over an atmosphere of casual conversation and lewd humor. Basil cocked an ear at the sound. He would have sworn he’d heard the woman on the radio at least once. He watched her closely for a moment, along with the rest of the band, but didn’t recognize them. Then again, he didn’t go to many concerts.
As the double bass thrummed, the piano crooned, and the saxophone danced center stage, he made his way through smoke and other scents towards the bar. A teifling danced a lurid show in the center of the building, sweat glistening on blue skin from the lights. One of Basil’s eyes kept a lock on the man, tracing the electrical signals running under his skin to enact their sensual motions. It wasn’t exactly something he was looking to copy, but it was an interesting interplay to watch. Dancing wasn’t something often done alone, done for the show. It was interesting to compare the flow of signals of this to more traditional forms.
He kept most of his eyes forwards through. He had a job to do, and he preferred white to blue anyways. A brief thought entertained his mind of what Zeal might look like in such an outfit. He snapped it off immediately, jaw snapping shut in anger at himself. That was wrong, and a bad place to go. He couldn’t allow himself to think of her, think of anyone, that way, but especially her.
He focused himself. He had a job to do, and he was going to die alone. The only thing anyone would ever love of him would be an illusion. Any intimacy would have to be built on lies. Throw those thoughts out of his mind. They would only bring distraction, and disappointment.
He centered himself, and took a seat next to Karna, as the aasimar knocked back what was looking like probably the sixth shot tonight. How the hell was he even paying for all this? He rapped the bar twice with his knuckles. “First time here, got mezcal?” He asked.
”Mezcal coming up, though I can’t say it’s gonna be quite as good as home’s.” The barkeep replied.
”I am home, just grew up away from it.” Basil replied. For all his illusions, he always forgot to cover his chultan accent. Then again, recognizing his voice was part of the point for the man next to him.
”Basil?” Karna asked, turning slightly. “You’re straight, well, nearest to it, the fuck are you doing here?”
”Checking on you, and about to drink a theoretically decent mezcal.” Basil replied. “I’m worried about you.”
”Well fuck off, you don’t need to be.” Karna replied. “Another.” He requested. Another shot of strong absinthe filled his cup.
”Might want to slow down there hoss.” The barkeep warned. “The kind you’ve been having is a hundred thirty proof.”
”That so? Huh. Would have thought it was about a hundred twenty. Guess I’m getting better at drinking. Stands to reason, it’s all I’m good at or good for.” Karna replied, clearly about as drunk as someone on their seventh shot of one hundred thirty proof absinthe should be.
”Politely, bullshit.” Basil replied. “Though you are going to manage to be the first paladin to ever give yourself liver cirrhosis at the rate you’re going.”
”Paladin. What a bad joke.” Karna spat. “Paladins are heroes, we, we’re not fucking heroes. You got closer, and you’re, well, you. Me. I’m just a fool. So what if I ruin my liver. I’ve ruined everything else.”
Karna went for his glass, but Basil put his hand over it, stopping him. He looked his cousin in the eye, gentle, pitying, but firm. “Karna, we should go. Let’s find somewhere, a park or something, and talk.”
”We should, as in you should get your hand off my drink, and then pull that pole out of your ass. Dancer might need a spare.” Karna spat back. “I don’t need to talk, I need a damn drink.”
Basil didn’t move. “Cut the crap and calm down. You’re drunk already, and clearly not in a good place. If you’re going to be this way, at least we can do it at a safe distance from anyone else.”
”Oh fuck right off.” Karna replied. “What, am I embarrassing you? More so that I already have? I know I’m a fucking disgrace okay. I saw it with my own two eyes and can’t stop seeing it. The least you could let me do is drink myself to death in peace so I stop being a bother for all of you.”
The bartender was steadily shifting away, looking towards the bouncer who sighed and began to approach. He briefly made eye contact with Basil, who tried to give him an apologetic smile and flicked his eyes back towards Karna. The bouncer nodded. This wasn’t the first time he’d seen this.
Karna continued. “But no, you can’t do that. Can’t just let me be a failure in peace. You’re not content just being the better man than me, being better in every way but looks than me. You have to prove it, have to rub it in. I already you’re better, okay, don’t need to slam my nose in it with this stupid pity schtick.”
”When did I say anything about that? I’m the weakest member of our party!” Basil protested. “And what the hells does that have to do with any of that. You’re my cousin, my family, and beyond that my friend. You clearly need help, so of course I’m going to try and help you.”
”I don’t need help.” Karna snarled back, green eyes glinting red with a dangerous, gleaming light. “LEAST OF ALL FROM YOU!” He roared. The red light flared. Basil flinched, covering his eyes as the roar slammed into his mind and ears at the same time. He focused, piercing through the growing crimson fog.
The music kept playing, a hidden tape rolling, but the band pretending to sing had stopped. The club had gone silent, save for that. The patron’s idle gossip and chatter was muted. The bar was silent, patrons slumped over on their chairs, the bartender and bouncer were on the ground, foaming at the mouth. Karna and Basil were the only two people conscious in that building.
Karna stared in stunned silence, quiet horror at the scene. Some part of him processed exactly what he had just done, rationality quietly ticking away behind a fog of alcohol and badly managed emotional issues. It only intensified the later, a combination of terror and guilt forming into a blossoming rage. Then he saw Basil’s face, saw realization peeling back and something shifting in how he looked at him, saw a cold fury, a hatred, spreading across his face.
Basil looked himself, horrified at what had just occurred, and mind flashing to the street in front of Zeal’s home. This was the exact same scene. The same power as Alexander, but now being used instinctually. He had no idea what had actually happened to these people, if Karna had meant it or not. One thing he did know for certain. He had to stop this. If Karna was out of control there was no telling how many people could be hurt so he had to end this now.
Karna opened his mouth, but it was too late. Basil whirled, placing a palm on the bar to leverage himself from a sitting position into a whirling kick. His heel hit Karna squarely in the face, with every ounce of strength he could muster. A sucker punch, meant to be a knockout blow so he could take the aasimar down, end this spell, and get him out of here before anything else went wrong.
Karna snapped back out of his chair, it tumbled to the ground, and the back of his head hit the floor hard. His headache roared, but he rolled over coming back up to his feet, coming to a ready stance. He might have been depressed and drunk, but he was still a paladin, better trained than most and tougher than pretty much everybody. It was going to take more than that to knock him out.
Basil kicked him squarely in the nuts.
Karna doubled over in pain, and Basil kicked him in the face again. Basil had trained under paladins and monks alike. His skill with his own limbs was on par with his swordsmanship. His training under the paladins in the tradition of Jort made him an expert at sneak attacks, sucker punches, and practical, dirty fighting. In other words, he was effectively an expert at kicking people in the nuts. He went for a chop to the throat, trying to finish the fight right then and there.
Karna caught his hand, and broke it by squeezing his fingers. He looked up, bloody eyed and berserk. “Ah. Fuck.” Basil swore. Then Karna threw him. Basil went flying, arm broken, and hit the wall shelves, covered in a hundred forms of expensive booze. The impact shattered his collar bone, and he kept going until he hit the solid wall on the other side of the bar. He landed hard on his face, shirt torn to ribbons and bleeding freely.
His hand and shoulder reset themselves, and shirt tore entirely as he burst his extra limbs out of it, and slammed them down to pick himself up. He drew in a breath, and Karna threw a chair at him. Basil dodged upwards, onto the ceiling as the chair smashed a hole in the wall behind him. He rushed his cousin, gathering shards of broken glass with his spare limbs and a bottle into either hand. He flung the glass before him, forcing Karna to cover his face. Then he hit him on top of the head with both bottles, dropped them, and hit him on both sides of the throat with a chop.
Karna struggled to breathe, nearly blacking out from the impact, and but threw a wild, blind punch. Basil evaded most of hit, but even a glancing hit was enough to send him flying. He caught his momentum on a support pillar, swinging around it with his tendrils. His ankle hit the side of a table and shattered. He wheezed in pain, falling to a knee on top of the table to mend it.
Karna roared and charged like a bull, giving Basil scant time. He palmed a lighter from one of the unconscious men lying next to him, and jumped clear. Karna smashed the table into splinters beneath his fists, tearing skin and breaking bone, but healing them just as quickly as he damaged them. Basil flicked the lighter open, and threw it. The expensive alcohol covering Karna caught light, stunning and blinding him as Basil set him ablaze!
He hit the flaming angel with everything he had before the fire burned away. Fists, feet, elbows, knees, tendrils. A devastating combination of every move he knew to put a man on the ground flew out of him. He hadn’t really trained to get into a bar fight, but damn if it wasn’t coming in handy. He finished with a powerful drop kick in the aasimar’s solar plexus, sending him staggering back against the bar, breath torn from his lungs.
Basil breathed heavily, as his cousin slumped, then swore as Karna got his feet under him, and pulled his head up still more than ready to go. He swore louder as Karna gripped the sides of the bar, and tore the granite countertop off of it, swinging it at Basil like an improvised weapon.
Basil leapt, running along the side of the countertop as it smashed through everything it came across. Fortunately, it was swung high, missing the unconscious clubgoers, and shattered when it hit a load bearing column, though that cracked ominously. Basil landed on his cousin, spines biting into him and wrapping around bones to anchor the assassin. He’d seen a similar technique used by velociraptors when they hunted, using their massive claws to hook onto larger dinosaurs. Once attached, the smaller reptiles would begin to eat their prey alive. He wasn’t planning on biting Karna though, instead he raised up his boot and began to stomp his cousin’s face, over and over and over again, desperately trying to bring the berserk paladin down before he brought down the building!
Karna flared his wings and soared upwards, slamming both himself and Basil into the ceiling. Basil fell off, and Karna grabbed him by the face. He slammed them both down into the floor, smashing Basil’s head into the ground once, twice, three times, then threw him with enough force to scatter blood across the entire club and snap the assassin’s neck. He watched as Basil hit the pole the dancer had been, ahem, performing with, and his illusion vanished.
Horror overtook him as he saw Basil’s true form break in two, snaped apart by the force of the impact, and fall like so much meat onto the stage. He rushed forwards, hands shaking as he realized what he’d just done. He reached for Basil’s head, bloodied and broken. But his hands went through him. His emotional pain was then matched by physical pain, as he felt a steel stripper pole strike him directly between the legs.
Basil didn’t let up, as he dropped the illusion and his invisibility, and beat his cousin into the ground with the broken pole. He went for joints, broke ribs, hit below the belt with every opportunity and he did not stop. He didn’t know what it was going to take to put Karna down but he did know that if Karna got back up, he was actually going to die. It was nothing but the good fortune of his unusual anatomy that had kept him breathing with a broken neck, and his healing magic to allow him to ever get up again. He wasn’t going to get another chance, and so he beat down his cousin until the pole was bent beyond all recognition and the stage was slick with golden blood.
When he finally stopped, Karna was finally, mercifully, down. Basil knelt by his side, mending him enough to make sure he could be moved safely, though not enough to bring him back into consciousness. The patrons were beginning to stir to consciousness. With a grunt, he picked up his friend, hoisting him over his shoulder, and covered both of them with a spell of invisibility.
Slowly, shakily, he retrieved his and Karna’s weapons, erased both their names from the registry, and slipped away as people began to regain consciousness and the police arrived. Then, he began the slow, tired business of carrying Karna back to his house. He grumbled as he went. “You are far too skinny to be this heavy, and put up way too much of a fight for me to need the extra weight of lugging your ass out of here. You stupid overpowered twink.”
Karna woke up with a splitting headache, and a slightly less splitting everything-else-ache. Paladin healing factors worked wonders, but if you took a beating that was going to make you ache for a week, you were going to ache for a week. He remembered what happened, and started to wish he didn’t. “Oh fuck. I nearly killed Bas. And… yeah, the rest of the club. I’m not going to be allowed back there.”
He rolled off his couch and got a drink, of water this time. He looked at his liquor cabinet, walked over, opened it, and grabbed a bottle. He emptied it into the sink. Then he emptied the rest. He looked down at the drain, drew in a deep breath, and focused himself. “I need to apologize. I need to talk. I need help. And I need to get my life back on track.” He resolved. “I can’t let that happen again.”
He clenched his fists, and opened them again, hands still shaking. There was a knock at the door. His first thought was that it might be Basil checking on him. The next though was that it was the police. His third thought was that it was Basil, and the police. Well, either way. Apologies would be made, he might just also need to call a really, really good lawyer, and probably a bank to take out a loan to pay all that property damage.
He opened it, and saw another aasimar looking back at him.
”Hello Karna.” Alexander replied. “I heard you had something of a rough night, powers going out of control, a rather ugly bar fight, that sort of thing?”
”Yes. How long am I going to be in jail for?” Karna asked.
”Not at all, I’ve covered the damages and fortunately, nobody has any memory of last evening. Dominion Flare has that useful side effect.”
”Dominion Flare? What I did has a name?”
”Of course. It is your inheritance after all.” Alexander mused. “Though, you might be the first one to awaken it while drunk, though you’re not the first to cause some degree of damage with it. These things happen, it simply requires training.” He looked Karna squarely in the eye. “And beyond that, I strongly suspect you may be looking for some help getting yourself back on track.”
2023.06.06 16:56 mrsmikusa Cats and birds
2023.06.06 16:41 rysio11 Help Identifying Replacement Parts for Old Water Heater
My hot water heater on our old 1989 Glendale Class C has stopped working. It looks like the electronics board has some heat damage, so I'm not sure if it got stuck on and overheated or what. My plan is to replace the thermostat, E.C.O. switch, igniteflame sensor and clean up the burner with a wire brush. I have confirmed that the orfice is clear, but not sure if there is an easy way for me to check the operation of the gas valve.submitted by rysio11 to GoRVing [link] [comments]
The nameplate inside lists the water heater as "Atwood DSI-6". I cannot guarantee that the water heater is original, but the control board is marked 89-07 and since it is a 1989 production, I assume it might be. I cannot find a lot of info on the DSI-6. All the other part numbers and stickers are too worn out to make out now. This includes the part number on the 'gasliter' control board and the wiring diagram on the inside of the access door.
I was hoping someone here could help me identify appropriate replacement parts here. I need info on:
a) the control board: it is a 'gasliter', the sticker is too worn out to read anything and I don't see any other part numbers on, except a '1462-73 rev C' on the PCB itself. It has the edge slot connector and a 'sparkplug' type connector for the sparker and a female spade connector for what I assume is the flame sense.
b) the ignite flame sensor has matching connectors to the control board (male spade and a female 'sparkplug' cable). It has 3 'prongs' on the igniter side, so I understand one of these is the flame sense and the other two are the spark and 'ground' for the spark.
c) the E.C.O. and thermostat. These I unfortunately moved too much while removing them and rubbed out the part numbers. One says 82C on it, so I assume this is the standard 82C/60C set and I can confirm I have the right size at my local store.
Would anyone be able to help me idenitfy these parts or list suitable replacements? Most of the boards and igniters I have seen have just two prongs on the igniter (so I assume that the flame sense is built into these two prongs). Since I am replacing everything, does it matter if it is a two-prong system or three? My understanding is that control and safety-off are done by the thermostat and ECO, spark and flame confirmation by the two-prong igniter and so the only other parts are the gas valve and the switch inside, so since I am replacing the ECO, thermostat and spark/flame detector, do they have to match the original or is there a 'universal' set I can use.
Is there an easy way to confirm the operation of the gas valve? If I momentarily put 12V on the red (relative to green) should this open the gas valve or is anything else I need to do?
Any help here is appreciated. My local RV parts store was not much help and just wanted to sell me a new water heater or send out one of their techs locally for a very expensive visit.
2023.06.06 16:25 Aryeh987 Hindenburg Research Accuses Tingo Group of being just another Nigerian Prince Scam.
We are short Tingo Group Inc (NASDAQ:TIO) because we believe the company is an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials. Tingo, headquartered in New Jersey, claims to have several business segments focused on providing mobile phones, food processing and an online food marketplace for farmers primarily located in Nigeria.Tingo was created and run by "Dozy" Mmobuosi who is identified as a "billionaire" in the press and even tried to buy the soccer team Sheffield United. Dozy claims have made the first mobile payment app in Nigeria, but Hindenburg claims to have contacted the actual creator of said app who says that's a lie. Dozy further claims to have gotten a PhD in "Rural advancement" from a Malaysian University, but Hindenburg claims that said university has no one by that name in their register. Dozy was previously charged with 8 counts of writing hot checks in Nigeria in 2017 but letter settled the case in arbitration.
In 2019, Dozy claimed to have launched “Tingo Airlines” and posted social media messages encouraging customers to “fly with Tingo Airlines today”. Media outlets later uncovered that Tingo had photoshopped its logo onto pictures of airplanes. Dozy later admitted to never owning any actual aircraft.
Tingo claimed its mobile handset leasing, call and data segments generated $128 million in revenue last quarter (~15% of total), claiming these services are provided through an agreement with Airtel in Nigeria. The type of license they claim did not exist until June, 2023.
Our checks with the Nigerian Communications Commission showed it has no record of Tingo being a mobile licensee at all, despite company claims of having 12 million mobile customers.
2023.06.06 16:18 pere-jane What's with local breweries having nearly zero NA options?
2023.06.06 16:12 Used-Insect-757 Were Marathas as cruel as Mughals?
Answer:submitted by Used-Insect-757 to librandu [link] [comments]
The Marathas were opportunistic, no more or less than Afghans, Mughals, or Rajputs themselves. The cruelty of Maratha raiders stemmed from this very fact, therefore to term them as evil would be a gross over-simplification of history. Evil, largely, is benign. Cruelty, on the other hand, is a sum total of desires & the opportunities that present themselves, & the available means to fulfill them. An evil person would always choose the bloody way & look to denigrate his defeated foes. An opportunistic person would be as cruel as long as he'd get the message across, & then look to parley. The Marathas were master diplomats & were known to be chivalrous to the fallen foe if it extended their interests. If not, then well, a sword stroke it had to be. Marathas raiders were indeed cruel. The Bargis, as the raiders of Bengal were called, were known to be sadistic. Hacking of facial extremities was almost a sport for them, & they did not discriminate between a poor Vaishnavite monk or a rich Muslim landlord. Many a temple became a victim of their wanton looting, for example, as was the fate of Muslim shrines. This was almost a habit for them, for they knew little else. In fact, when the Maratha forces had gathered around Delhi on the Emperor's invitation for a campaign against Abdali, the restless light Maratha cavalry laid waste to many towns, some of them the Emperor's fief no less. And had it not been for the Jat Rajah of Mathura, the maidens of Delhi would have been butchered or raped to death.
The Bengali poet, Gangaram explains the Bargi raid as follows:
Men took to flight with their property, ... when suddenly the Bargis came up and encircled them in the plain. They snatched away gold and silver, rejecting everything else. Of some people they cut off the hand, of some the nose and ears; some they killed outright. They dragged away the beautiful women, tying their fingers to their necks with ropes. When one Bargi had done with a woman, another seized her; the women shrieked in the agony of ravishment. The Bargis after thus committing all sinful acts, set these women free. Then after looting in the open, the Bargis entered the villages. They set fire to houses, large and small, temples, and dwelling places. After burning the villages they roamed about on all sides plundering. Some victims they tied up with their arms twisted behind them. Some they flung down and kicked with their shoes. They constantly shouted, 'Give us Rupees, give us Rupees, give us Rupees.' Where they got no Rupee, they filled their victims' nostrils, with water or drowned them in tanks. Some were put to death by suffocation. Those who had money gave it to the Bargis; those who had none had to give up their lives. It was only after crossing the Bhagirathi that people found safety."Vaneshwar Vidyalankar, the Pandit at the Court of the Raja of Burdwan is more explicit in his condemnation of the Bargis:
"Shāhu Rājāh's troops are niggard of pity, slayers of pregnant women and infants, of Brahmans and the poor, fierce of spirit, expert in robbing the property of everyone and in committing every sinful act. They created a local cataclysm and caused the extirpation of the people of the Bengal villages like a [ominous] comet... In one day they can cross a hundred yojans. They slay the unarmed, the poor, women, and children. They rob all property and abduct chaste wives. If it comes to a battle, they secretly flee away to some other country. Their main strength lies in their marvellously swift horses. Such was the tumultuous ocean of Bargi troops.”_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
But their raiding nature was not intrinsic. If a King, as the Maharanas, would come to learn at a great cost, was to surrender this or that tract of land in lieu of so & so the amount of the Chauth, the Peshwa would be happy enough to look the other way. And it would be in his interest, for to break that promise was to count on a long campaign. The Maratha band of raiders would learn this lesson the hard way when the aging Alivardi Khan, the Governor of Bengal: a very capable & just ruler, murdered the raiding Maratha party that had hitherto chosen to pick the ransom & leave Bengal be but had reneged on the promise. Here, it is extremely easy to paint a bleak picture of a foe that knows nothing but pillaging & plunder but in the same campaign, Alivardi Khan was aided by a Maratha General who had no love lost for Alivardi's foe. Now, this was purely a matter of personal enmity between one Maratha General & the other, & there was certainly no element of altruism involved. But isn't that how most humans act? History isn't as much a lesson of evil vs truth but a struggle between 'their' ambitions & 'ours'. The Marathas, similarly, were sometimes goaded to raid tracts of land by wannabe rulers & feuding Viziers. So they also played the part of the referee in armed struggles, as much as they would pick a feuding family & choose a side, thereby goading such men to a fight. The Marathas would simply observe & sweep through whoever would survive the day. They parlayed with the Mughal Emperor, & did his bidding for tracts of land or for suzerainty of some subah. It was therefore not uncommon for them to extend the Emperor's cause so long as they benefited & ditch him when the act could promise greater riches. The Emperor on his part, acted no differently either.
A Note to the other readers:
Now, this seems a lot different than the meme history of screenshot historians of Facebook, youtube & beyond. Suddenly, it seems that the Hindavi Swaraj & all that talk is nothing but air. That it was. Certain incidents of Maratha struggle with the Muslims have been overplayed & the Maratha excesses against Hindus or Hindu Kings have been overlooked, & a later interpolation of the Maratha desire to create a pan-Hindu state neatly explains everything. One does this by scouring the digital archives on the internet, taking a screenshot of some particular paragraph, & then selling it around as the primary source of 'our' great Kings, & 'their' wretched invaders. Cherry-picking history to suit one's agenda or somehow to justify own political position is an endemic fraud. If only we had fewer historians of such kind around, or better, no social media altogether.
Source: The Fall of Mughal Empire Volume - 1 by Jadunath Sarkar
2023.06.06 15:51 Meaning-Plenty KUNAN POSHPORA – THE OTHER STORY
Beneath the horrors of the mass rape committed by Indian troops in the twin villages that night in February 1991, lies the untold story of systematic torture of men, carried out by the same forces with the precision and deliberation of a planned military operation.A Meeting in the Park
In June 2013, a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, by fifty Srinagar based women, supported by human rights group Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil society (JKCCS) had resulted in a Magisterial order for the further investigations of the mass and gang rape by Indian army personnel of the women of Kunan, and neighbouring hamlet Poshpora, in Kupwara District of North Kashmir on the night of February 23rd-24th 1991. The police, it appears from the lack of any remotely investigative activities in the villages to have done little if anything, by way of following the court order in the last six months. On 14 September, 2013 they asked for and were granted an additional three months time for further investigations, without notice to the survivors who are legally represented in the case.
However, the closure report, which police had failed to file for twenty – two years, and which had been presented before the Magistrate of Kupwara just weeks before the Public Interest Litigation, in March 2013, had yielded several important previously unavailable official documents. These included a hand drawn police map, a nominal roll of 125 army personnel (including several officers) who were admittedly part of the operation and in Kunan-Poshpora that night, statements from victims, witnesses and army men mentioning specific locations, times and incidents, and the official medical reports of some of the rape victims. JKCCS had decided after some deliberation that if the police did not appear to be doing any investigations, they would themselves, aided by the new documents, attempt to rescue from oblivion the events of that night. Over the last three months, they have been engaged in a process of interviewing villagers, explaining to them what the police papers say, seeking clarifications, and attempting to piece together as coherent a narrative as possible given the constraints of resources, the lapses of memory, the reticence of rage, grief and repeated recounting, and the deaths of crucial witnesses. On 24th August 2013, I accompanied a team of human rights lawyers and researchers from JKCCS to the village of Kunan, on one of their visits. I was told that their interviews with those of the women who wished to speak was almost complete, and the day’s planned interviews were mostly with men from the village. Previous conversations, as well as police statements showed that interrogation centres had been set up in the village during the operation, and witnesses referred to extreme and extensive torture of men, but this was not specifically recorded in the First Information Report, and formed no part of the official list of crimes that occurred that night, which consists of rape, house trespass and illegal confinement.
As in the police documents, Kunan Poshpora has become inscribed as a story of rape in Kashmir’s public memory. But something else also happened that night. A crime so commonplace in that age of cordons and crackdowns that even the men who were its victims, barely thought to mention it, attending instead like the rest of us to the outrage of the raped women. As Ahmad Ameen put it, ‘They let us go home after the crackdown, in the morning at about 9 am.’ [Some men were bleeding; others were barely conscious and had to be carried. One man told us he crawled home on all fours].‘That’s when we realised what had happened. What they had done in every house. Then all hell broke lose.’ Several of the men were somewhat laconic when the interviews began. ‘Joh karte hai, wahi kiya’, Rahim Dar said. ‘They did what they do.’ And indeed they had– with wood, water, electricity–those universal implements for the infliction of finely calibrated pain. JKCCS believes on the basis of preliminary conversations that between hundred to a hundred and twenty men from the two villages were tortured that night. A total of twelve men were interviewed during the course of the day I visited, by three teams of researchers. I think it was after the fourth time I heard mention of medical treatments for sexual dysfunction, that the true irony of the ‘emasculation’ metaphors that are so abundant in talk about the Kunan-Poshpora rapes dawned on me. What I often dismiss as misplaced patriarchal indignation had been repeatedly made flesh that night. ‘Oh! Come on’ I want to say aloud, every time I hear or read the words ‘rape’ ‘our women’ and ‘impotency’ in close proximity–‘It’s NOT about you!’, but this time it was. And it involved wires, needles and a portable DC battery.
A kind of unmooring from the realms of human language has characterised the description of the Kunan Poshpora rapes. District Magistrate S.M Yasin’s report speaks of being unable to put down in ‘black and white’ the acts committed by the ‘beasts’ for instance, and the rape survivors themselves talk of the chaos of a toofaan, of foul smelling shaitaans apparating through their black-outs and disassociated states as they lay in the dark . But, as I listened to the men, ranging in age from 90-year-old Lal Dar (68 at the time of the torture) to 40 year old Manzoor (18 in 1991) their torture seemed to bear a somewhat different relationship to language and the world. What happened to them was nailed to a scaffolding of banal bureaucratic and military terms—interrogation, information, identification, search, cordon, crackdown—and tethered to mundane physical objects and familiar places–-buckets, logs and planks of wood, helmets, torchlights, batteries, wood sheds, barns, streams and trees. As the men spoke I began to picture that night, not as an endless orgy of a horde of rampaging beasts, but as a quiet and efficient military operation, carried out by trained men. Four companies of men from the 4th Rajputana Rifles, 68th Mountain Brigade commanded by a Colonel K.S. Dalal, in fact, as the army itself admits in police statements. Alpha and Delta Companies were deployed in the outer cordon, Bravo and Charlie in the search and interrogation. While teams of ten to twenty soldiers, sometimes headed by an officer who they were heard referring to as ‘Sir’, went on a systematic house to house search, rooting men out of their beds, demanding to be taken immediately to militants or hidden weapons, strip searching them and burying them in the snow, their comrades were otherwise engaged. Most of the commissioned officers were deployed at the ‘interrogation centres’ according to the army. Two kuthars (large barn like outbuildings for storing grain, fodder and cattle) within yards of each other, belonging to Asad Dar and the village numberdar (revenue official) Aziz Shah, and Abli Dar’s home, on the main lane of Kunan’s maze of winding alleys, were quickly commandeered and their lofts or rooms converted into make shift ‘interrogation centers’, while their compounds formed a holding space for the men. All three were provided with the same basic equipment – a bench fashioned out of planks of wood, a large wooden log, a bucket of chilli water, a couple of wires connected to a radio battery forming a crude live-circuit, assorted sticks and ropes, a few chairs, and somewhere to suspend the men from–but adaptations were made according to available resources and geography. For instance, in Asad Dar’s yard through which the village stream ran, repeated dunking in its icy depths formed part of the standard procedure. At two of the compounds, Aziz Shah’s and Abli Dar’s where firewood was stored in the wood-shed a bonfire was lit, around which parka-clad soldiers chatted and drank, and villagers recovered from their water treatments. At Asad Dar’s kuthar a tall, fair and somewhat chubby faced officer sat on a chair before a wireless set, giving orders and flashing his torchlight. Downstairs, in all three yards, men squatted or stood in the snow waiting for their possible turns on the equipment. Occasionally when they went up, they saw a neighbour or brother who was before them in line, slumped on the floor at the head of the stairs. Some like Salim Dar, whose brother was a surrendered militant, paid a visit to two of the three centers. He still walks on crutches as a result.
The village of Kunan has changed in twenty-two years. It is no longer ‘the huddle of thatched and wooden houses’ that journalists described in 1991 (‘Indian Villagers Tell of Mass Rape by Soldiers’, The Independent, March 19, 1991). Buildings have been torn down, and rebuilt in brick, cement and tin. The chashma (natural spring) that emerged from the earth behind Aziz Shah’s kuthar has dried up, and only a muddy depression now marks the spot. Ghulam Afzal walked with us around the hamlet amidst squawking chickens and curious children, pointing out the sights– ‘this is where the Abli Dar’s old kuthar stood, that there- is his new house…this is the wood shed in which I hid, this is the nallah along which Naba ran, this used to all be clear ground then…’ For some reason, seeing those buildings brought home to me an intimation of what it was like to be a man from Kunan-Poshpora on that night, in a way even their words hadn’t.
What was it like, I found myself imagining, to be squatting in your own snowy barn yard, drowning in your tin bucket, broken and blubbering on your hard granary floor, blinded by chillies from your own store? And then all the hypotheticals began, as my mind ran on and on. How did it feel I wondered to hear the sounds coming from the village? Yah Khudaiyo! Yah Khudaiyo! Could you hear them over the sounds of the interrogation? Pakistan, Militants, Samaan, Information, Bol Saala! Could you hear them over the groans of your neighbours? Could you hear them over your own yells? Which was worse–to definitely identify the scream of a loved one, or merely contemplate if it was them, through the fog of your insensibility? What was it like to be told you could leave in the morning, to be given painkillers by the army doctor, (Capt. Dr Shyam Sundar accompanied the unit according to his own police statement), to come home and realise what had seemed so far like a recurring nightmare—another crackdown, agonising but vaguely familiar –had been another kind of visitation altogether? And then, to unable to leave or get help for two days, because of the army siege around the village? To have no family or neighbours to turn to, because everyone you knew, was in precisely the same state as you? What kind of courage did it take to be Abdullah the compounder, from neighbouring Trehgam who snuck into the village using the back route through Chopan Mohalla, to deliver what analgesics and first-aid he could knowing it to be hopelessly inadequate? Or most unimaginably of all, to be Abdul Wani. To return from an over night business trip to Srinagar and find your front door broken, your two sons in bed electrocuted, your wife and three daughters raped, and your family’s barn turned into the village torture chamber? How does one live with such knowledge? And having held one’s peace for twenty two years, how does one begin to tell a stranger with a note book, not about what was done to the women, not about what was done to the never to be named teenaged girls, but what was done to you, to your own aging and scarred body, all those many years ago?
That night is full of other kinds of silences, not as innocent but just as tortured. What can one say of Abdul Ghani, the police constable who was related to several families in the village who accompanied the soldiers on their rounds, and signed a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) the next morning stating that the villagers had no complaints? He appears in many accounts like some kind of will o’ the wisp with a torch light— relaying messages between houses and family members; accompanying one man back to his home to fetch more firewood, allowing him to peep in through the windows and see his wife on the kitchen floor but not to enter; giving water to a woman with a broken spine; getting locked in a cow shed for remonstrating with soldiers; carrying a cousin home on his back in the morning, weeping as he related what he had witnessed. How do we begin to disentangle the betrayal, the subversion, the unlooked for kindness of it all? Constable Abdul Ghani Dar’s statement of what he heard, saw, and did that night, would have formed a crucial part of the prosecution evidence, if the case ever comes to be tried in a court of law. But ‘unidentified gunmen’ murdered Abdul Ghani in his bed in 1993, pumping thirty bullets into his gut, rendering his words hearsay, and obliterating them from the legal record.
Several other critical eyewitnesses have died in twenty two years, including Sharif-ud-din Sheikh who led the fight to get the police report registered and the case heard in the State Human Rights Commission. Some have died as a result of their rape or torture that night, others from age, bullets or disease. By some estimates from villagers, fifteen of the rape survivors have had hysterectomies. Along the way I lost count of the many other surgeries, unsuccessful treatments, chronic aches, intolerable pains and nameless ailments I heard described. One, however stood out. Lal Dar, whose knee was shattered by a rifle-butt early in the proceedings, and who spent most of the night sprawled in the snow outside his home watching the comings and goings of the men, said that he subsequently had two surgeries, the second to remove his knee cap. He said he could not bend his left leg any longer. He finds it hard to pray.
It came as a surprise. I don’t think any one, even amongst the organisers of the event at Sher- e Kashmir Park, on December 10th, had expected that women from the two villages would come. It was assumed that the survivors would be represented by members of the Village Committee, elderly men folk from Kunan and Poshpora, themselves survivors of the mass torture that took place on the night of February 23rd-24th, 1991. But the women had come, almost thirty of them. They had arrived in Srinagar by Matador van, leaving their homes in Kunan and Poshpora at seven in the morning, when the frost was still hard on their windows. I had met some of them before, but it was different seeing them here in Srinagar. I couldn’t remember all their names; their biographies had come detached from their faces. Many of them hugged me.https://kafila.online/2014/01/20/kunan-poshpora-the-other-story-shrimoyee-nandini-ghosh/
I remembered S. though, one of the more outspoken survivors I had met— her sharp, twinkly eyes behind thick, black rimmed granny glasses, her wide smile full of crooked teeth, in a face wrinkled and brown like a walnut. We had met at Kunan, in August 2013, when I accompanied a legal research team, from Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) who was representing them in their recently renewed litigation against the Indian army. She had spoken fiercely about the injustice of it all; the many outrages that she read about everyday in the papers, her desire to see such criminals behind bars for life. Her anger was loud and visceral. But when it came to the actual events of that night, she had refused to answer any questions. She had a terrible headache, she said. She could not wait, she had blood pressure, she was dizzy—she had to leave, she always felt like this when she thought of that night, she would not talk to us anymore. It was the only interview that had to be abandoned half way. Today, she was complaining about the long journey, ‘bumping-bumping-bumping all the way.’ ‘We should have come by Sumo’, she grumbled. But, it seemed to me that despite this, she couldn’t quite mask her delight at being out in the sunshine. In the open, amidst the falling leaves, outside the shadows of their men folk, their kitchens, their village, the women grew garrulous. S. told me of her daughters, one married to a doctor, the other working at the Social Welfare Department. At one point, Gul Fatima, from the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, wife to a disappeared man, came over to the group of Kunan Poshpora’s women. ‘Where are you from?’ she asked them. ‘From Kupwara’ S. replied, naming the district. Then, a shadow seemed to cross her face. ‘Kunan – Poshpora’ she said. We’re here from Kunan Poshpora.’
Many of the women from Kunan Poshpora, did not wish to be photographed. The cameras made them uneasy. Some of their children, and grand children they said, did not know their stories. They huddled together and covered their faces with scarves, but the photographers persisted. It felt undignified– cringing behind shawls, cowering under ‘We Demand Justice for Kunan Poshpora’ posters, being asked to join the circle and sit in the appropriate place like an errant schoolgirl, when one had wandered away to avoid the cameras. In 2004, Manipuri women activists protesting the rape and killing of Thangjam Manorama had shocked us by their dramatic inversion of the figure of the cowering and shamed raped woman. Stark naked, they had stood in front of the Assam Rifles Base at Imphal, holding a banner that read ‘Indian Army Rape Us’. The photograph had made headlines across the world. I thought of it as I pleaded with a particularly intrusive photographer on behalf of the women to ‘please respect their privacy’. At this, he turned around and asked me, ‘Why have they been asked to come here, then?’ .I didn’t really have a good answer. It is true. We do need them. We want to have their pictures. We want to put faces to their tragedies, to commemorate their losses and violations. We need them to remind us that we remember, that we have not lost the battle against forgetting yet.
After I got home, the women of Kunan Poshpora, and their attitude to the news-cameras, made me think of a question. Would the agitations against the Shopian rapes in 2009, have been so angry, so volatile, so strong, if Asiya and Neelofar had lived? If they had survived, would we have heard of them at all? And if we had, what particular stories would we hear? Perhaps their rapes would have been covered up, as so many have been in the villages of Kunan and Poshpora, in the name of marriages, families, reputations, futures, for the sake of preserving innocence. A raped dead body makes for an uncomplicated heroine– worthy of both victimhood, and martyrdom. But a living rape survivor is a different being altogether. Her speech and her silences are more fraught. The women of Kunan Poshpora have been voices, not victims through these twenty three years. They have spoken back to the forces of occupation, before media crews, independent fact finders, the police, the state human rights commission and the courts of law. But, they constantly remind us– by covering up before our cameras, by getting dizzy, by blanking out, by her reticence before our questions, that we are all incriminated in her secret yet public shame.
2023.06.06 14:42 Johnny_Boy398 Africa Rework Proposal: Bêafrîka, Katanga, and the Mercenary Kingdoms of Africa
(This is part of a continuing series, links to which will be provided in the comments below)submitted by Johnny_Boy398 to TNOmod [link] [comments]
Bêafrîka State: Bob Denard, Jean-Bédel Bokassa and the mercenary state.
The term “warlord” has been abused by many as a catch all term for any armed african group. It brings to mind images of a barbaric, violent oaf seeking to enrich themselves with trinkets and money off the back of their military extortion: an example of the primitive and bloodthirsty nature of the african. This is certainly the purpose of the term for the Germans, who seek to paint all native armed resistance in this light in order to justify their own return to the continent. But despite this abuse of the term, and its unjust application, it is not made up out of whole cloth: bandits, criminal gangs and short sighted thugs do exist among the africans as they do in all people, and the chaos of the German collapse has given these characters the opportunity of a lifetime. In the former RK Zentralafrika this is seen most clearly in the “mercenary state” of Bêafrîka.
Borders of a successful Bêafrîka. Many post-colonial African nations are accused of being artificial: random lines drawn on a map for the convenience of foreigners, and thus doomed to be either failures or exploitive facades. The truth of this statement is debatable: what makes a nation “organic”, is it truly critical that one be so? Are the struggles of new African nations so easily encapsulated? The argument goes on but all will agree on this: Bêafrîka is an utterly artificial and extractive state which can only begrudgingly be called a nation at all.
The north-west of Zentralafrika has always been something of a hodgepodge. The initial conquest of the area from the Free French meant the roll back of any “nation building” expenditures in favor of reverting back to the old company rule. Corvee slavery, plantations and almost non-existent infrastructure was the rule even under the French, and as such the transition to German ownership was almost seamless. If the average native african noticed a difference at all it was in the flags and helmets of the whites who terrorized them: their managers and guards stayed essentially the same. As such the region was seen by independence agitators as ripe for their own movements to grow in. Though such resistance was kept on a tight leash by the Germans it finally burst forth in the northern incursion of 1954. Supported by Nigeria and with the German forces drawn thin by the ongoing Wester Russian War, socialist militants made a lightning strike southward in the hopes of toppling Zentralafrika. For a moment it seemed as if they would do it: the road to Leopoldville was only lightly guarded and the rebel numbers were, in theory, vast. But it was not to be: poor command structures and infighting slowed the rebel advance for long enough that Kommissar Krogmann and Seigfreid Muller were able to reorganize and counterattack with the aid of a new breed of soldier: the Mercenary.
Though having been present in the role of corporate security for years this war was the instance when the Congo Mercenaries truly became a force to be reckoned with. Restrictions on who could hold a gun were dropped and the ranks of mercs swollen with Europeans, Asians and Africans. Though typically small groups and far more independent than Krogmann would have liked, they were all well acquainted with their trade and often brought along their own equipment. They could move fast, hit hard, and there was no reason to suspect their siding with the revolutionaries. With the aid of mercenaries and the cash of selling off vast tracts of land to private holders the revolutionaries were pushed back, and the long guerilla war began. Some areas of Zentralafrika were essentially passive, or had other security solutions. But in the north it was the mercenaries and the garrison which enforced the German order. Names of these men would soon become minor celebrities to the military minded, and their benefactor Seigfreid Muller got a promotion. But for our story only three names matter: the French “mercenary king” Bob Denard, “black Napoleon” Jean-Bédel Bokassa, and “the tiger” Alexandre Banza.
Though it is the armed men who hold real power in their hands, the counter-revolutionary forces are not all German and French soldiers of fortune. The APL’s anti-clerical excesses and radical nativism also alienated the thin class of native collaborators and most of all the catholic church. Barthelemy Boganda was one such native conservative, being a native priest who has tried to act through the church to both reform and aid his flock. After the death of his mentor Marcel Grandin Boganda has become a leading figure of pro-native reform without resorting to violence or leftist radicalism.
With the alliance of French and German landowners paying for their protection the mercenaries, though still technically led by Europeans, became the foremost armed presence in the north. Battling against resistance internal and external by 1962 they have become a hated and envied force, and one which Krogmann is eager to bring into line. But the South Africa War will get in the way of any reforms, with mercenaries once again being called on to shoulder the burden of warfare and internal suppression. By the end of the conflict, no matter how it ends, the mercenaries will have become an even more entrenched force in Zentralafrika. Of course when Huttig takes over this will no longer be tolerated. Having already been humiliated by Muller before, Huttig will take great pleasure in dismissing and rounding up the mercenaries, forcing them to join his forces as regular conscripts without any special privileges. Or rather he would, if he had been fast enough to catch them. When news came of Krogmann’s death and Huttig’s assumption of control the mercenaries did not wait for the order to come: they fled if they were able, and if not they seamlessly transitioned from paid agents of the state to new warlords out for their own survival and enrichment. And more than anyone they congregated around the new king of the mercenaries: Bob Denard.
For the year Huttig’s reign lasts the gangs of former mercenaries will be yet another thorn in his side: raiding, bribing and leading his forces on goose chases. And thanks to Huttig’s destruction of any boats or airplanes he could not gain control over these same former mercenaries had nothing else they could do, unless they cared to gamble trekking all the way to Free France. But Huttig’s flailing attempts to bring them to heel was only one of many threats: in this same area socialist militants and petty warlords also sprung up, and sought to destroy the hated mercenaries themselves. When Huttig dies and the German forces retreat to Leopoldville all pretense will be dropped: the Pan-africans, Fang Gabonese and Cameroonian revolutionaries will all attempt to proclaim new states and to expel the gangsters of German capitalism for good. But with their attention divided and the mercenaries still possessing skill, fire power, and all the money the old landowners could scrap together the attempt will only be half successful. Right between the three of them the new Bêafrîka State will be proclaimed.
Born in 1929 Bob Denard first got the taste for battle during the French State’s failed expeditions against De Gaulle in the late 40s. Deciding that there was better pay and better leadership to be had in Zentralafrika he was one of the first mercenaries brought in through the “King of the Mercs” Siegfried Müller. Though he has little patience for the Reich’s racial code he is a brave commander and an ardent anti-communist. After Müller’s disappearance upon Hüttig’s ascension the stranded mercenaries looked to those bold and skilled enough to lead them, and found it in Denard.
Under the nominal presidency of Boganda, who was practically kidnaped to take the role, the new state is in perhaps the most precarious position of all post-independence states.Their domestic support rests on a incredibly thin strata of white landlords, a handful of native conservatives and a mercenary army which is already looking for a way out the back door. And opposing them is a very dedicated coalition of native nationalists and revolutionaries. It would be the most natural thing in the world for this ramshackle “state” to disintegrate. But there is one thing which can unite them, and can make them all take the risk of fighting it out: Money. Specifically diamonds, gold, and other precious metals which can be sold high on the global market. The mercenaries, native or foreign, have struck for fame in Bêafrîka with the process of becoming more than the lap dogs of the wealthy, but instead to be the wealthy themselves. Baganda hates this of course, but no one asked: the guns call the shots here. And besides, the APL has already branded him a traitor to the people: in the mercenaries' eyes he should be thankful that he still has his head. And so it is decided, the mercenaries would make their own little heaven, and all they had to do to keep it was win the war for it.
Against them stands the APL, their long-time adversary. When the war begins these Pan-africanists, supported by Cameroon and Nigeria, will take the fight to Bêafrîka. This would probably be a death sentence if it were not for the fact the APL is fighting a two front war with the Nationalists to their east. If the mercenary state should still fail it will be dismantled, with the surrounding states taking over its former territory. But if it should win this first war the gamble will have, for now, paid off. Bob, Bokassa and the rest will be able to begin bringing in the money as they use outright criminal methods to both extract and then sell the bounty of the land. The people, of course, hate this as does the nominal “president”. And within the mercenary ranks new fissures will soon begin to show. When faced with a united enemy these men were willing to work together, but now that the threat of death no longer hands quite so close the question of dividing the spoils has quickly turned into a feeding frenzy: it seems to be every mercenary clique for itself trying to carve out its own privileged fiefdom. And it is here that the reformists, such as they are, spy an opportunity.
Alexandre Banza, born 1932 to the Gbaya people, is one of the very few high ranking officers who have a ethnic connection to the land they now rule. His story is much the same as the rest of the black mercenaries: born to a poor family he saw mercenary service as a path to excitement, respect and advancement he would never get on his own. Intelligent, ambitious, and unscrupulous he would rise to become a commander of his own group before the Huttig takeover, and should he take power will rename his state the Bêafrîka Republic, embarking on a cynical campaign of “reform”.
The continued presence of white mercenaries is especially resented by the people, and none more so than commander of the presidential guard and de facto leader of the Bêafrîka State Bob Denard. As such soon after the emergency of war has passed Denard will be dismissed from his position and the two most prominent native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will be invited in to take command. Denard of course has no interest in leaving, and will arrest the president in his own residence, but not before word of the new decree leaked to the streets and the other mercenaries. So it is that the fate of Bêafrîka will be decided the only way a state built on mercenaries could be: with a shootout for control of the president. On one side is Denard: he has already made overtures to Free France and the OFN, as well as criminal contacts in Europe. By leveraging these contacts, and with the aid of the remaining white mercenaries who see his removal as the precursor to their own, he may be able to fight his way out and rise to power over the bodies of his rival warlords.
If Bob Denard and his presidential guard emerges victorious president Boganda’s days will be numbered. Unceremoniously removing and replacing him with a more compliant puppet who I will not even bother you with the name of, any promised elections will be delayed, and then delayed indefinitely. In the end even the facade of democracy will be left behind as the government instead relies on various emergency decrees and under the table deals, as well as outright coercion to cement its power. This is the true mercenary state, in which the armed and powerful take what they want from the weak and destitute: the state will see its revenues come from precious minerals and eventually oil, but just as much from the underground world of smuggling, arms trading, mercenary contracts on behalf of any who will pay, and even (if rumors are to be believed) human trafficking. Denard himself is not so unsophisticated as many of his henchmen: he portrays himself and his state as anti-communist crusaders who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect the people from the bolshevik menace. But it makes no difference to the people and to his neighborhood: unless those friendly to him such as the Free French and the Belgian regionalists are victorious both Denard and his state will find themselves facing external invasion sooner or later. When that happens, surrounded by disciplined enemies and facing ever increasing internal revolts, Denard will do what mercenaries do best: he will gather what valuables and guns he can before fleeing. But if this should not happen: if the Congo should remain shattered, and Nigerian ambitions fail, who knows how long the dream may last?
Living as they do in a half criminal status all mercenaries are well acquainted with the underworld. Under Bob however the state itself will come to resemble a crime syndicate, with Bob acting as the Mafia boss. More than any other single resource diamonds are the breadwinner for the “White King of Bêafrîka”, but taking a page out of Manchuria’s playbook drug production and trafficking are increasingly filling the ledger as well. The diplomatic denouncements are nothing: there are always back doors which money can open.
But all this is only if Bob and his people should win the battle for President Boganda. For the first time having the full backing of the streets and with a larger manpower pool to draw from it is likely that the native warlords Alexandre Banza and Jean-Bédel Bokassa will become the victors, chasing out the (competition) colonizers in favor of their own rule. They shall of course be rewarded by the eternally thankful president for their good deeds: Bokassa will take over as the new head of the presidential guard, while Banza will become minister of finance and foreign minister. But just as inevitably there is no throne on earth big enough for two people and so the former allies will soon look for a way to oust the other. The hope of the civilians lay in the victory of the Alexandre Banza clique. If he should succeed in arresting and disappearing his rivals Banza will seek to somewhat moderate the state. Rather than rely on naked coercion he will enforce the most basic of social contracts: in return for the country's obedience he will provide protection. Though the basic facts of the Bêafrîka State shall remain: a thriving underground, an economy based on raw export, and a army of criminals, the worst aspects of this rule will be softened and the “civilianization” of government give cosmetic reform to the regime, and finally permit the nominal president a level of dignity, even being allowed to push some of his catholic inspired social reforms. Though not much more than swapping a military uniform for a business suit this will go some way to providing a sense of normalcy, and allow the state to take a non-aligned stance rather than become the plaything of some foreign power.
On the other hand is the favorite of the soldiers Jean-Bédel Bokassa. You know him as the “mad” emperor of the C.A.R. otl, but there was always a method to his madness: one cannot remain in power for over a decade by being stupid. Where Banza seeks to normalize his regime and to be seen as a developmental junta rather than a warlord, Bokassa will lean into his reputation as a warlord, adding esoteric elements to bolster his rule over strangers. Under Bokassa the new system will be entirely personal: he will take the already weak state apparatus and effectively dismantle it, instead relying on personalized dependents to govern the capital city, and leaving the remainder of the country to its own devices so long as it bent the knee when ordered. No longer able to convincingly portray himself as a benign figure to a people who are mostly foreigners to him, he will instead tap into local superstitions to appear as the master of the occult, ruling as a man to be feared even beyond the grave and allegedly indulging in cannibalism. Perhaps even more importantly however he will make a hard switch from western backing to eastern, seeking the protection and the money of Japan. In this at least he will be fairly competent: negotiating the relationship with Japan through a mixture of bribery, utility, and threatened confiscations to wring out as much foreign aid and diplomatic backing as he can. Beyond this his rule will be one of chaos and decline with the people seeing their standard of living decrease yet further to a near subsistence level. But it will be a chaos which Bokassa alone is the ruler of.
Jean-Bédel Bokassa has been fighting longer than most: volunteering for the Free French during WW2, he was captured and ultimately released during the German conquest of Gabon. From there he drifted as a menial laborer until the northern insurrection forced the Reichskommissar to bend, and Bokassa was called up by an old french commander. From there he rose to be the de-facto head of his own suit by 1962, and now the undisputed leader of his own fiefdom. The extreme personalism and close relation with Japan will eventually result in his coronation as the sovereign of the Central African Empire.
Whether it be cynical pragmatism or esoteric terror the Bêafrîka State will remain a pariah among their fellow african nations. Cameroon and Gabon will consistently attempt to undermine and take over their territory for themselves, while even the Germans will see any government as traitors and rebels. Though its military may find a backer and its people may become cowed, the incredibly fragile state will come to an end sooner than later, unless they get very lucky. Any Nigerian victory will be a disaster, but a successful unifyer to the south and east would be a great threat as well. They were already founded in the war against one of those potential unifiers and all contenders for power recognize that a united Congo is a dangerous Congo. So, either through direct aid in the case of Denard or cheering from the sidelines Bêafrîka must hope for the victory of the regionalists and Jean Schramme.
Katanga, the Regional Alliance, and “The Belgian”.
For the Pan-Africans, the Republicans, the Nationalists and even the Germans survival is not enough: they wish to reunite the old Belgian colony under their vision of the future, and perhaps even seek expansion beyond that. But not all “congolese” feel this way: in particular the province of Katanga sees no reason why it should not be free to plot its own course. Wealthy in its own right with economic ties to the south the elite of the mining provence see no reason why they should be chained to a central government, and are at least partially supported in this by the people. Just what future this “independence” takes is is still up for grabs, but in the chaotic aftermath of Huttings death Moïse Tshombe, Albert Kalonji and Jean Schramme will form a triumvirate to lead the Regional Alliance.
Élisabethville slum. Katanga is the richest province in the Congo, as well as the one with the highest concentration of Belgians, and as such has seen the beginning of a modern city develop in its capital. It has also been the prime region for victims of the Congo Dam to migrate into, on account of its relative stability and high labor demand. This has all combined to put a great deal of pressure on those populating the land south of the lake and the development of modern slums alongside the growing city.
Katanga is, in 1962, the last remnant of Belgian colonial rule left after the German takeover. Not formally of course, that had been swept away along with Belgum itself in the 50s. But just beneath the German surface the old colonial trinity of church, company and stick still held true, and mostly under Belgian control. In the aftermath of WW2 and the establishment of Burgundy many Belgians had chosen to migrate into their old colonial territory, either for political or economic reasons. Their numbers would soon fill out the officer ranks of the Force Publique, the managerial posts of various new mines and plantations, and the pews of the catholic church. But it would not be the end of their difficulties: the old trinity clashed with Krogmann’s designs for the colony and after formally absorbing it in 1955 the contest began. Where the catholic church once held near total control over healthcare and education, not to mention religious life, Krogmann favored secularism for the european and promoted dechristianization for the native. His hopes for dissolving the FP and for removing french and dutch from the lexicon would be similarly resisted. By 1962 this contest of wills has continued to grind on, with the steady advance of germanization being constantly interrupted by economic and political expediency. The Belgian Katangaians find themselves stuck uncomfortably between German pressure from above and Native pressure from below.
This native pressure is on one hand from the educated evoles, always looking to improve the lot of themselves and sometime of their kin. But it also increasingly comes from the restless masses who have come under pressure from the fallout of the Congo Dam. As the Belgian congo moderately prospered the cities began to grow as well, with the colonial authorities making tentative attempts to accommodate the influx. But after the Congo dam and the German takeover both of these trends changed. Millions of refugees fled the great flood into the wealthiest regions they could go: Leopoldville and Katanga. The population of the cities exploded, and the subsistence agriculture still practiced by most Congolese came under incredible pressure as migrants and squatters proliferated. The Belgian authorities meanwhile were left without the resources needed to truly accommodate this change, and were left with only the Force Publique to try and keep the “indigenes” separate from the new “foreigners”. It was in this context that regionalist associations with the goal of protecting specific people, such as the Lula or Lunda, came to dominate the native political scene, such as it was. Both of these movements discovered that they had similar enemies: both resented German power and feared the “national” native resistance. But this did not yet mean they became allies.
Moïse Tshombe, the nominal head of Katanga. Born to a noble lineage and always wealthy, his desire to be liked and his lack of spin have made him into an ideal puppet for other interests. His current sponsor is the remnants of the old Belgian Union Minière, which comprise much of Katanga’s economy. Though not hated by any “his” government is in reality more beholden to his lieutenants such as Godefroid Munongo.
Katanga had lived in an atmosphere of tension even before the rise of Huttig and the advent of the “Afrikareich” did nothing to alleviate this tension. As part of Huttig’s program to fully disarm the natives and bring all armed forces under SS command he attempted to disarm the Force Publique and Belgian mercenaries, rolling them into its own armed forces. Prominent civilian Belgians were arrested and replaced with SS men, leaving both the Belgians and the natives angered. Under this new pressure some decided to give it up: the new regime could not be bargained with as the prior one was, and any resistance clearly meant death. But enterprising elements were not willing to take death laying down: most prominently this included Godefroid Munongo and Jean Schramme. Using their own wealthy connections and estates as payment they would form small resistance groups, and would be the first formal alliance between the Belgians and the regionalists. To cut a long story short when Huttig dies and the Germans retreat to Leopoldville, those SS governors who do not flee will find their lifespans much shorter than expected, and those brave or desperate enough to resist Huttig will return to power. In the face of nationalist calls to reunite the congo however, the regionalists will move first. With the lavish bribery of local mining conglomerates and the justification of “popular will”, the Belgian community led by Schramme and localist leaders will form the first concret result of their ad-hoc alliance: The State of Katanga.
In its first years Katanga is a divided and unsettled place, forced into unity by the common fear of external subjugation but beholden to competing political camps. The state itself is at least nominally led by Moïse Tshombe, descendant of the kings of the Lunda people and scion to one of the last wealthy native families. He is the figurehead of a poorly organized class of native elites and collaborators, most often independently wealthy and committed just as much to their own economic privileges as they are to the cause of regionalism itself. But despite this Tshombe heads the closest thing to a “popular movement” in the new state: the "Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga" (CONAKAT). Formed in the interest of protecting the livelihoods of the Lunda against the encroaching migrants it is through this party that the people are mobilized for war. Relying on traditional authority and elite connections in the name of a tribalism has been effective in at least countering the partisans of the republicans and nationalists which contest the provence. Just as in the other contenders the war is as much a mater of internal division as it is defeating external challenges. But in order to meet those external enemies the party has been obliged to do so with the aid of their “ally”, the Belgians.
Jean Schramme, despite his official profession, is less of a mercenary and more of a Belgian “contractor” who has a reputation for getting things done and resisting German encroachment. Coming to Africa soon after the end of WW2 he is part of a new breed of Belgians who consider Zentralafrika, or more accurately Katanga, as their true home and embrace the ideal of a paternal ruler of their “primitive” neighbors. Being a successful entrepreneur as well as part time leader of the “Leopard Battalion” Jean has become a prominent part of the Belgian expat community. But though he no longer wishes to return to Europe do not think he has forgotten what the Nazi’s did: the old motherland is dead by German hands, and he has not forgiven them.
Just as on the native side the Belgians are divided internally: German policy was frustrating and insulting, but it was also relatively stable and offered a protection against the natives surrounding them. To forgo this protection and risk battle with the world's superpowers in the name of an uncertain independence requires a boldness uncommon in men. But since when did the meek make history? Returning from his armed exile Schremme will find the FP and Belgian police in disarray, and take it upon himself to topple the last of the SS governors. In his mind there is no question: in order for the Belgians to be free and prosperous they must take the risk of rebellion against Germany and carve out their own state in the chaos. But despite his personal exploits he is unable to do this on his own, and so despite his personal distaste for allying with the native regionalists his own backers in the belgian mining and administrative class have forced him to make common cause with “their” evolese. Regardless Schremme has become the critical belgian commander in this rebelion, bringing the remainder of the belgian community with him whether they like it or not. He leads in a mercenary style, never far from the front lines and with a greater emphasis on personal bravery than more mundane things like logistics.
Though Katanga is the heart of the Regionalist Alliance it is still only one part of that alliance: to the eastern flank is Sud-Kasaï, led by Albert Kalonji as the vanguard state of the Luba secessionist movement. Both Kalonji and Tshombe claim to be protecting their people (Luba and Lunda respectively) from becoming minorities within their own land and from becoming the playthings of another foreign power, whether that be Germania, Washington or any other place. They are also both from prominent and wealthy local families, who have cooperated with the belgian colonizers for generations and have every personal incentive to resist foreign acquisition. As such their support is not primarily from the people, but from the oligarchs and the army. These are two significant advantages however: While other factions are scrambling to put together a military, a state, and to pay for it all, Katanga and her allies are able to fall back on the old colonial power structures, expanding the FP and leveraging oligarchical ties to slap together an army faster than their rivals. With the mix of audacious leadership, money and the Schramme loyalist mercenaries/formed FP officers the alliance may be able to snatch its independence despite the lack of international backing.
Map of regionalist victory, Azandeland acts as a placeholder for local authority (or lack thereof), Sud-Kasai is the Luba Empire. The immediate issue facing the regionalists will be export access: the states survival depends on the revenue from its extensive mining operations, and if that material cannot be exported it is worthless. For this Katanga must either negotiate a trade deal with the German remnants, or seek a detente with the self proclaimed frontline of liberation Zambia. Neither is eager to do this, but the world calls for what Katanga can provide, most of all Uranium. Eventually the market will win out, and one side will decide it is better to compromise principle than give the other an opportunity to gain access to the Katanga bounty.
IF VICTORIOUS the Regionalist Alliance will comprise an expanded State of Katanga, the Luba Empire, and a number of minor eastern powers propped up by Katanga. For the Luba and the Eastern chiefs the question of post war politics is an easy one: tribal traditionalism shall prevail as Albert Kalonji names himself king and the local chiefs are either bribed or threatened into compliance with the new order. While some may make efforts to modernize and advance their domains it will only be done under the watchful and occasionally helpful eye of Katanga. The only question remaining is who will be in control of Katanga itself. Jean Schramme is not a reasonable man, or at least not a moderate one: if he feels that he and the Belgians are not granted their proper place he may well try to overthrow Moïse Tshombe and install himself as the leader of the new state. The natives are less than satisfied as well: though free of foreign control it is clear to them that the old order is no longer acceptable: the people who fought and won the war for independence demand that their sacrifice be rewarded in some meaningful way. And most of all the question of race can no longer be papered over: The Belgians and Europeans remain on top, the migrants have been savaged, and the land and jobs available are not enough to satisfy them all.
To reconcile these internal difficulties a conference shall be held between the Belgian leadership of the army and company's one on hand, and the native oligarchs and officers on the other to see if a viable solution can be worked out. On the Belgian side the question is that of security and property: they wish to maintain the full roster of legal rights granted to them by belgian law, to keep their property and company concessions, and for a Belgian “veto” in the national government to ensure that Belgian rights are not trampled by some future populist government. On the CONAKAT side is a desire to renegotiate the terms of the “social contract”: to ensure a majority native voice in government which cannot be overruled by Belgian privilege, greater native ownership of property and the full abolition of any legal barriers to their advancement. However both sides are united in seeking stability and in their distrust of the congolese “masses”. Those masses are not without a voice themselves: through labor unions, dissident political parties and new officer associations the experience of warfare has made the people politically aware. If the result of the conference does not give some bones to the people it may find that its support is far too narrow to be stable.
Union Minière, once the undisputed master of the Katanga economy, has declined somewhat under German overlordship. With a majority of its shares owned by the Belgian state and its former leadership fleeing to America after the end of the war its foundations were shaky. When Krogmann began the great sell off and rescinded the Belgian Congo’s autonomy the company found itself in yet more hot water. Transitioning to a locally owned company within Zentralafrika itself the Union has been forced to cut back on its paternalistic spending to make ends meet. Beyond the typical demands for labor rights and wage increases the Kantaga people also wish for a return to the housing, education and social protection once afforded by the leviathan. With its place in Katanga once again secure this may just be possible.
A successful conference will be one of compromise. For the people a number of social protections and laws will be promised: greater state funding to education, hospitals, and housing will be promised, along with a hike in wages. In order to afford this the belgians will need to accept their privileged economic position comes with a responsibility to fund the state which protects it: though direct taxes may be a bridge too far a system of expected “gifts” and an expansion of the old paternalism into state guided policy may work out. In return for their material contributions the Belgians will receive legal autonomy, organizing their own political parties and keeping their land. The native oligarchs meanwhile would take the national stage, being granted privileged places within the Katanga economy as well as using CONAKAT as their vehicle for political dominance. Concessions and compromises such as these require that all parties trust the other to keep up their end of the bargain, and not simply alter the deal when they feel they are able. And in the aftermath of a brutal civil war and a political culture of corruption such trust is very hard to come by. But if these difficulties are overcome, and Jean Schramme is kept mollified, the new State of Katanga will be ruled as a collaborative oligarchy, keeping real representation out of the hands of the people and wealth in the hands of a few, but also a relatively stable and moderate government which is willing to compromise when need be. Unless it is a question of distrusted ethnic groups attempting to secede from the state or restart Congolese unification, in which case the Katanga Gendarmerie will be the only answer given.
But what if this conference does not succeed? What if the protests outside become too large, or the sides are too inflexible, or if Jean Schramme believes the rights of Belgians are being sold too cheaply? Then the Rule of Fire will come back and those with the force to crush their opposition will prevail. And in Katanga that can only mean one thing: Schramme and his allies will stage a coup, placing themselves in charge once again as an emergency government. Those unwilling to ally with him will be dismissed, replaced with those who are. The new mission of the state is the protection of “Belgian civilization” in Katanga, with Schramme attempting to revive the old trinity of Church, State and Company under his guiding hand. He never truly wanted to be in this position: he would much rather simply go back to his plantation and be master of his own little world. But he belives that his new homeland calls out for leadership and guts it seems only he can provide, and so he will seek to lead it into the future he envisions. One where the Congo natives are grateful and subservient to their betters, where all the structures of the trinity are led by Europeans to the benefit of all. Of course most of the natives have very different ideas about what the future should look like, and so Schremma’s Katanga will immediately be thrown into a bush war as the old civil war factions reform as guerrilla movements seeking to topple his dictatorship. The profits of Katanga are vast, especially if one is willing to sell uranium to anyone willing to buy, but how long will money and determination be able to hold against the will of the people?
At a stretch the white population of Katanga is 100,000, while the total african population is somewhere north of 1.5 million. This is before one considers the increasing populations of the Luba Empire and the eternal frontier of the Eastern Congo. And then there is the highly likely presence of hostile regimes on the borders: all the money in the world cannot win Schramme this Bush War, and he will either need to swallow his pride and accept democratization for the natives or accept the return of the Reich as suzerain. And even that may not be enough to avoid the rage of a people betrayed.
2023.06.06 14:42 doctorgecko Respect Yukari Yakumo (Touhou)
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