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The Princes Alliance by Christopher G. Nuttall (The Empire's Corps 21) Book

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The Princes Alliance by Christopher G. Nuttall (The Empire's Corps 21) Read Book Online And Download

Overview: Prince Roland was on the verge of winning the war.

Assigned to New Doncaster to train the planet’s armies and lead them into battle, Roland brokered a political compromise that allowed the government to win hearts and minds once the rebels were defeated in the field, then built a formidable military machine that could – and did – push the rebels to the brink of defeat. But Roland’s success bred hatred and his enemies, seeing him and his loyal troops out on a limb, launched a coup and left Roland stranded deep in enemy territory.

Roland isn’t one to give up. But, with a government preparing to use desperate measures to obliterate the rebels on one side and a crude alliance of suspicious rebel factions on the other, he must act fact to save the planet...

...Or watch helplessly as the civil war rages on.

The Princes Alliance by Christopher G. Nuttall (The Empire's Corps 21) Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
The Princes Alliance by Christopher G. Nuttall (The Empire's Corps 21) Book

The Princes Alliance by Christopher G. Nuttall (The Empire's Corps 21) Book Read Online Chapter One

Prologue II


(Former) Porter Plantation, Baraka Island, New Doncaster

“I suppose the real question,” Steve said, “is if we should do anything.”

Sarah Wilde kept her thoughts to herself, silently gauging the mood of the rebel leadership as they listened.  It had been sheer dumb luck she’d survived long enough to regain her freedom and forge a brief, although limited, alliance with General Roland Windsor.  The outsider general had come very close to killing or capturing her when his men had landed on the island – she was still awed he’d led the mission in person – and, if his own people hadn’t turned on him, he might have won the war overnight.  Sure, there would still have been a lot of rebel forces out there, but with the command-and-control network shattered beyond repair the government would have been able to deal with them one by one.  And Sarah herself would be dead.

Steve pressed the issue.  “The government stabbed its own troops in the back, but it’s not like those troops loved us.  They’re townies.  They should have been with us from the start.  Instead, they traded their services for a handful of baubles and got fucked.  Why should we do anything to help them?”

“A valid question,” Colonel Lopez said.  He’d sailed from his home base to attend the conference, despite the risk.  A single bunker-buster missile could obliterate two-thirds of the rebel leadership ... if the government had the nerve to take the shot.  It was galling, in a way, that the mansion’s greatest protection was the government’s reluctance to piss off the plantation’s former owners by blowing the property to hell.  “Why should we do anything?”

Sarah sighed inwardly, gathering her thoughts as all eyes turned to her.  It had taken every last scrap of political capital she had to convince the leadership to go along with the truce, even though they’d had little choice.  The government would have been delighted if General Windsor had been forced to continue the war against the rebels, despite being stabbed in the back.  And he’d have had no other option, if the rebels had tried to force him to surrender unconditionally.  Sarah might have done it anyway, if she’d calculated the rebels would win without major losses.  She doubted it.  Too many townies believed they’d be lucky to survive if they fell into rebel hands.

“Right now, our enemies have split into two factions,” she said, slowly.  “The townies – and General Roland – are prepared to be reasonable ...”

“Because they don’t have a choice,” Steve interjected.  “They’ve been bent over and ...”

“Quite.”  Sarah kept her face expressionless with an effort.  Steve was a brave man, and no one doubted it, but he had no head for politics.  “They tried to stay out of the fighting.  They only agreed to join the government because the government agreed to address their legitimate concerns, to cancel debt and restore political rights in exchange for service.  I think we can reasonably say those promises have been broken.  The townies have been betrayed by the aristocratic factions, by men who want to return to the days of yore.  We have an opportunity, a very brief opportunity, to reach out to the townies ourselves.”

Lopez leaned forward.  “But we could also let the aristos and the townies fight it out, then deal with whoever comes out ahead.”

“We can’t,” Sarah said, quickly.  Too many leaders already agreed with him.  “General Windsor does not have the shipping, after the betrayal, to get his armies to Kingston.  The government effectively controls the seas.  Without our help, and our own naval forces” – a grandiose term for converted freighters, sailing ships and motor torpedo boats – “he will effectively remain stranded until he runs out of supplies and his troops start to starve.  At that point, he will either have to surrender or start pillaging the islands for food.”

She paused.  “And in the meantime, the aristos will be building their own forces and readying themselves for the final conflict with us.”

“So he can surrender to us,” Steve said.  “Why should we even think of entertaining an alliance?”

“Because the townies were trapped between the aristos and our demands for a complete reworking of society,” Sarah said.  “The townies were – are – frightened of losing what little they had, either legally stolen by the aristos or simply repossessed after we won the war and took over.  It made them vulnerable, when the government pretended to take their concerns seriously.  We can at least try to recognise their concerns.”

“And we don’t have to keep our promises,” Lopez pointed out.

“That would set a terrible precedent,” Sarah countered.  “If the aristos had kept their promises, when this world was settled, the current crisis might never have arisen.”

She forced herself to wait and listen as the rebel leadership argued the question, hashing out the same arguments and counterarguments time and time again.  It wasn’t easy to refrain from speaking, to let them argue themselves, but she had no choice.  Her leadership position was nowhere near as solid as she might have wished, even before she’d been briefly captured by General Roland and his men.  The rebel leaders were both proud and practical men, reluctant to give up their power and fearful of the consequences if they did.  Sarah didn’t really blame them.  The rebels had always been a decentralised structure.  They didn’t dare risk the destruction of one cell leading rapidly to the destruction of the rest.

And yet, that limited our ability to take the offensive, she thought.  They’d worked hard to mount the offensive that had kicked off the real fighting and still lost.  It had taken months to get organised on Winchester and if the government had struck sooner ... she shook her head grimly.  We have a chance, now, to win the war.  But only if we act fast.

“It’s time to vote,” Sarah said, finally.  “Do we ally with the townies, and General Windsor, or do we stand aside and hope for the best?”

She let the words hang in the air.  Time wasn’t on their side.  She was fairly sure the rebels had rounded up all the spies and informers on the island, but she didn’t dare assume they’d got them all.  The databases they’d captured could easily have a few names excised from them.  The aristos had been fucking careless to leave such priceless intelligence lying around ... not, she supposed, that they’d ever believed they’d lose control of the island.  Idiots.  It wasn’t as if they couldn’t have encrypted the databases, or rigged the datacores to self-destruct.  The carelessness was enough to make her wonder if they were being misled.

“It’s risky,” Lopez said.  “What if they turn on us afterwards?”

“Then we’ll be in a position to fuck them,” Steve said.

“Charming,” Sarah said, curtly.  “Yes, there’s risk.  There’s always risk.  Anything we do, even nothing, has risk.  But this is our one chance to forge an alliance that might actually win the war.  We cannot let this opportunity pass us by.”

She waited, silently tallying the votes.  It really wouldn’t be easy.  There’d been no time for debates over the post-war world, when victory seemed as far away as the end of the universe itself.  Now ... if they won, they’d finally be in a position to make their dreams come true.  Sarah suspected she’d be fired, as soon as the war was over.  And then ... she sighed inwardly, wondering how long it would be before the rebels started fighting each other over the future.  They were capitalists and communists, socialists and fascists, legalists and anarchists and theocrats and hundreds of other political aspects, some so different from the others they were completely incompatible.  What would happen, she asked herself grimly, after they won the war?

But we have to win first, she thought.  Or else the entire debate will be worse than useless.

“We will ally with General Windsor,” she said, when the voting was finished.  Some of the leaders were more enthusiastic than others, the latter probably planning fallback positions just in case things went to hell, but they’d go along with her for the moment.  “And while we will hope for the best, we will prepare for the worst.”

“Yeah,” Steve said.  “If they betray us, we’ll make them pay.”

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