We pick up the action with the Kingdom of Colores at the Governor-General’s estate just outside Travis Point on New Cypress. It is toward the end of a long multi-day strategy conference (the signal to wrap things up is the arrival of Smithers with the 2nd replenishment of the mobile bar)
As the formal conference breaks up, a smaller group lingers...
Governor-General Andres: …and so the Imperials are definitely making good on their threat/promise to enforce the peace between us and the 4th Reich. They are scattering their warships at nearly every possible flashpoint.
‘scuse me gentlebeings, …Smithers! more Whiskey!
Admiral King: Spread so thin like that, it’s like they are inviting the Reich to attack. Are the lessons of Ocrade lost so quickly?
-I’ll have another belt myself, thank-you Smithers
Gov-Gen: I agree, it is almost like they are daring anyone to open fire.
-Err…top me off there Smithers, that’s a good man!
Maj Guiscard: Some poor Imperial ship is going to end up being bait.
Adm King: AND with that homicidal looney tune, Quintilla in charge, that bait is going to be the spark that sets the whole Sector on fire. What’s our play Governor?
-Why, yes Smithers, I will take more ice this round
Maj Guiscard: Yes Governor, I have known you long enough. First you lay out all the bad news, then you reveal the “cunning plan”. So? Spill.
Gov-Gen: (jerking awake)Spill? Whisky? I never spill. What?, oh sorry, drifted off there for a minute. Plan? Oh, yes? Quite? Hold on
..Smithers, I seem to be a bit low here…
Smithers: I left you a second tumbler, Sir. On the side table.
Gov-Gen: Oh, Smashing, Darling wife? Could you explain the plan so far?
Lady Melinde: (rolling her eyes) The “plan” so far is to continue to build up our Sky and Surface forces.
Adm King: So we are going to do nothing?
-whoa Smithers, let me finish off the bottle …room seems to be tilting, don’t think I could get to the cart over there..
Lady Melinde: Far from nothing, but currently we only have an idea to drive a plan. We must first know more about the Imperial attitude toward their “peacekeeping” mission before we can call it a plan. An Imperial ship will arrive in 2 more days to take up station here.
Maj Guiscard: I would LOVE to know how a simple society wife can blithely state the timetable for Imperial warship movements.
The room erupts in laughter. (except for the Gov-Gen, he is quietly snoring in his favorite chair while his favorite hunting dog snores along at his feet). It is a poorly kept secret that the Governor-General’s wife has her own spy network, and frequently passes along major discoveries to the formal intelligence service (much to their continued amazement and chagrin).
Lady Melinde: The idea is to wage the “secret war” harder and better than the Reich. For cover, we are going to launch a very ambitious and splashy diplomatic initiative.
Adm. King: A fake diplommrbrm mumble brr….
Smithers! I..mrmbl mmmrrrbnn
Maj Guiscard: I think what the Admiral is trying to ask is: a fake diplomatic initiative?
Lady Melinde: Not fake, quite real. We are sending a very high level diplomat on a grand tour of the Sector. Trust me, every head of state will request a visit from this Ambassador. The event of the year, wherever she goes.
Maj Guiscard: She? Who, in the entirety of Sector Six, carries that level of exclusivity and affection?
Lady Melinde: Why Princess Sophie, of course…