Interlude Le Morte d'Arthur
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Interlude: Le Morte d’Arthur


You asked for me, your Excellency?

General Knight. As Vespasian put it, I’m afraid I’m becoming a god.

You want to talk about your successor?

Heh, my successor will be whoever you approve. You’re the one with the army.

Well, I wasn’t going to say it right out. Any suggestions.

… General, I’m a dying man and I want to talk plainly with you. If you have a problem with what I say, then then you can do whatever you want to me, agreed?

*laughs* I think I know what this is about.

I have a successor, a grandson with an army to back up his claim as Caesar of America.

You know I once killed a man in a duel for casting… aspersions on my ancestry.

You’re too smart to be a Stoker. He never understood that there were types of strength that weren’t physical. That’s the mistake you Societists always make. There are so many other ways to be strong.

And here I thought you were supposed to be a Societist. *grins* If you have a speech about the strength of the ‘democratic peoples’ will’ or some garbage, you can spare me.

No, democracy is a shit system that only rewards the mediocre. Otherwise, I’d have become President decades ago and I wouldn't have had to become fucking ‘Caesar of the American Empire’. But there are types of strength other than force, you understand that?

I do. You’ve heard the news from across the Atlantic then?

Yes. Your slaves are rising, your allies are turning on you, your leader actually believes his own rot about the Final Society-

Now, now, I believe in the Final Society.

Then you’re just as much of a moron as Dart. Do you think he’s actually achieved a Final Society?

Watch yourself old man. You’re talking sedition.

Go fuck a horse, I’m dying, I'll talk all the sedition I want. But first answer my question. Do you think he really did it?

… he broke the machine.

Ha! Tell that to Metropolis. Tell that to Josephtown. Tell that to the fucking moon. Tell that to my empire if you like- those states only recognized me to get the vaccines and they'll flip the moment they see a chance. Does Drakia have the strength to subdue North America? Does it even have the strength to defend Plymouth?

*long pause*

*sighs*

No, we do not. We could barely get my army across the Atlantic.

Alright, here’s another one; does Drakia have the strength to defeat Russia?

*does not answer*

Can it put down the Bonded rebels? Defeat the Jihadis? When China recovers and comes for you with that superweapon of theirs, can it beat them?

*no response*

You know the truth, don’t you? You know that your empire couldn’t even beat Scandinavia. You know it could barely project power into North America when it sent you here and now it can’t project power at all. You know that the whole house of cards is falling apart back in Africa. You know that you can do whatever you want over here. And you’re a good Societist- you know that an empire too weak to defend itself doesn’t deserve your loyalty.

*Another long pause*

Assuming that I know the things you claim I know, what are you suggesting?

I’m suggesting that you need to think about you and yours. You can take your army back across the Atlantic and fight for a pat on the head- if the snakes even win- or you can stay here and try to fight off an entire continent. Or.

Or I make myself a third option. I have an army and New England at minimum, those are valuable bargaining chips.

Now you’ve got it! Josephtown and Metropolis won’t cut a deal with me- in their eyes I’m a worse traitor than Benedict Arnold. But I’m on my way out, and you-

They’ll understand that you did the right thing in the end.

In the end? Led me tell you son, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over my lifetime it’s that nothing ends. Nothing ever ends.
 
Arthur Klein. A bastard, traitor, sonuvabitch who probably deserves everything coming to him in the afterlife. but ill be damned if he isn't my favorite character in this entire TL despite it all.
 
As someone else mentioned, Klein is the type of guy that would join forces with the Devil just to undermine him in the end. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" fits him quite well in the afterlife.
 
A good sendoff to a character who, if nothing else was fun to watch.
No, democracy is a shit system that only rewards the mediocre. Otherwise, I’d have become President decades ago and I wouldn't have had to become fucking ‘Caesar of the American Empire’.
Even if this was true Klein, I think a system promoting mediocrity is always superior to systems that promote nothing but brutality and militancy to the point of suicide.
Ha! Tell that to Metropolis. Tell that to Josephtown. Tell that to the fucking moon. Tell that to my empire if you like- those states only recognized me to get the vaccines and they'll flip the moment they see a chance. Does Drakia have the strength to subdue North America? Does it even have the strength to defend Plymouth?

*long pause*

*sighs*

No, we do not. We could barely get my army across the Atlantic.

Alright, here’s another one; does Drakia have the strength to defeat Russia?

*does not answer*

Can it put down the Bonded rebels? Defeat the Jihadis? When China recovers and comes for you with that superweapon of theirs, can it beat them?

*no response*

You know the truth, don’t you? You know that your empire couldn’t even beat Scandinavia. You know it could barely project power into North America when it sent you here and now it can’t project power at all. You know that the whole house of cards is falling apart back in Africa.
Still, he is not incapable of making a good point. This is a fine takedown of Drakia's "victory"
In the end? Led me tell you son, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over my lifetime it’s that nothing ends. Nothing ever ends.
You do like that quote, don't you EBR?
 
Klein has practically immortalized himself forever with his actions. People hundreds of years from now will be talking about Klein, I assume, as he had a key part in almost every war from the World War to the Final War.
 

Deleted member 96212

I mean, executing people by tying them to the mouth of a cannon and firing it is a thing that the British did in OTL India and Africa.

Yeah I never commented on it because I was halfway through the story, but when I did see that it was an OTL practice it was a real "holy fuck" moment, in the sense that if it had been fictional I would've thought of it as laughably outlandish.

I also remember it being mentioned in the TL that Drakian soldiers - back when it was still a Dominion - participated in such atrocities. Did this ever factor into Indian decision making years down the line?
 
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