Off from DayJob today. When I work my alarm gets me up at 0510. When I sleep in, that’s usually until 0700, which is when I awoke this AM. With little on my schedule, I closed my eyes for a moment.
1025. Yikes! That has not happened in years. With my whole “no coincidences” thing, I took this as a sign to do nothing today. Besides puttering about with some minor domestic activity – some ant block outside and dishes inside – I am committed to doing nothing. Well… maybe a little writing…
As the elder Carlyle was taking, a functioning automobile appeared from around the corner, Hill gave a look for Hardt and Connell to follow him back. Before leaving, Robert gave a grin and wink to Patel. She looked surprised.
Back under the trees and looking about for anyone listening too close, the CO explained the situation.
“The Canadians have offered Carlyle and his fiefdom exemption from all taxes – all of them, mind – for ninety-nine years if they sign a treaty with them. I, honestly, was a little surprised that leftenant Donne was so up front about it!” Hill began. “In return, free passage of any Canadians.”
“Any. As in traders? As in an armored group?” Robert asked.
“Any means any,” Rockford put in. “Least-wise that’s how I heard it.”
“That’s what?” Robert tried to recall the maps in his head. “A twenty-five by forty mile salient into eastern Kentucky? I cannot see how that will make High Command happy.”
Although he was speaking the obvious, Hill gave him another look.
“Nothing has been formalized and I wonder if dinner tonight is to see if the imperium has some kind of counter-offer.” Hill shook his head. “As if I have that kind of authority! But right after I tell this to y’all, I’m sending the same back to Tenth’s command. That give ‘em, what? Six hours to tell me what in the hell to say to these people!”
Their centurion was clearly angry for being put into such a situation.
“What can we do to help, sir?” Robert asked.
Hill stood to his full height and pushed his slightly-un-regulation black hair back while taking a deep breath.
“You and Mitch were schmoozing their men when I walked out, right?” They nodded. “Keep at that, all of you, and find out any and all that you can. Their dispositions, intentions, rumors, anything that I might be able to append to my imminent report to Command, even if it is late to them, you can still tell me before this dinner.”
All legionaries were expected to think. From centurions, it was demanded, whether military or political. The Empress and thus her army were committed to subsidiarity. But it did have its limits and their team just ran up against one.
“Hey, Jimmy,” Robert said. “Mitch asked if this was a dry county.”
“Hah. Drier than a bone. Seems the old man here won’t allow it,” Rockford replied.
“And now we have a reason to reach out to those poor, parched Canadians across the square,” the prince smiled. “How long have they been here?”
“Three days,” Hill replied, understanding where this was going.
“Three days without a drink. Wow.” Robert looked about with a wolfish grin. “What can we do for our fellow soldiers, mates?”
From close to the courthouse, they heard the motors of the two Canadian trucks turn over. Robert yelled back over his shoulder as he ran.
“Send your report, sir!” he called. “I’ll find out where their camp is so we can setup next door!”
Suspecting that Donne would be in the lead, he trotted to the passenger side of the second. Patel looked down to him.
“What?” she asked.
“Where’s y’all’s camp?” Charming, again. “We need a spot, too!”
“Huh?” Did she not understand his words? But she pointed straight ahead. “About a klick to where the road tees, then right to the City Park. It’s just under their reservoir.”
“Thanks, Miss! See ya’!” the prince called before running back to his unit. She was interested.
Encoding voice would take too long, so while Hill pounded away at a keyboard connected to a tablet linked to a comsat, Rockford was already trading more booze as well as coffee and a much higher grade tobacco than the locals had to a rapidly growing knot of people. Moonshine, freshly killed lamb, and smoked hams were added to their ledger.
“Right!” Hill shouted, sending his report and request. “Where are we camping tonight?”
With the levee of the little lake behind them to the west, the two Canadian trucks were parked on the southern end facing east for a quick departure if needed. There were tents under trees a few yards south. Hill had them swing around so that their three complimented the two, presenting what seemed a united front. Politics at the micro-level. Their CO then went to his opposite number, Donne, and asked if didn’t mind if they had a joint camp and could they split the sentry duties? Caught off guard by all this friendliness, Donne sputtered agreement.
“Then I’m off for a nap before this dinner we’ve been summoned to,” Hill said. “Sounds like lots of politics! Way over my head! Being from the South and all!”
Before the Change, those in the northern US held those in the south in contempt. It stood to reason the Canadians did as well.