The year is 1866. You are Daniel Stockton, a veteran of the American Civil War and general in the Aizu Domain's military. You've come to Japan looking for work, and with the nation on the brink of war, there is an ever-increasing demand for men such as yourself. Last time, you made contacts within the Dutch shipbuilding industry and set off for Belgium.Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ZapQMArchive:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=BoshinInfo Paste:https://pastebin.com/L50nUu0V
Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Though the nation is young, less than a century old, it has become a center of commerce and culture in Europe. Belgium’s proximity to France and the Netherlands has created an interesting mixture of cultures. As your train enters the city, you see that the architecture is markedly different from the buildings in the Netherlands, taking clear inspiration from Spanish design aesthetic. As you finish donning your jacket, you regard yourself in the vanity mirror placed in the corner of the car’s cabin allotted to you. The train stopped at the Belgian border during the night for refueling and an exchange of official papers. During that time, you were informed that the Belgian government was expecting your arrival, and would have a party of diplomats awaiting you at the station. You step into the common area of the private car, pleased to see your officers already awake and enjoying breakfast. “Good morning,” you say as you seat yourself. “Good morning, sir.” Sato hands you a newspaper. “The gazette from home.” You look over the paper, an Associated Press issue edited by none other than Sarah Holman. This paper is written primarily for the rapidly-growing population of English-speakers from around the world that have settled in the Edo area. The stories that jump out at you first are somewhat concerning. ‘SATSUMA LORDS OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZE CHOSHU LORDS-IN-EXILE.’ Reading through that story provides a rather troubling picture of events occurring back in Japan. The Satsuma Domain, long disloyal to the Shogun, took in the Choshu lords after the fall of Hagi and Hofu. Apparently, they have officially recognized the former lords as still being the legitimate holders of the now-Shogunal lands, and have vowed to ‘resist all unjust aggressions from the petty tyrant in Edo.’ The next headline that jumps out at you is equally disconcerting, ‘NEW EMPEROR ENCOURAGED BY ANTI-SHOGUN DISSENT, AN IMPERIAL RESTORATION?’ Skimming through the article, you see it is mostly speculation, though there are reports that Satsuma emissaries recently traveled to Kyoto for unspecified talks with the young, new emperor. “Grim stuff,” you say bluntly. “We may return to a bit of a quagmire, politically speaking.” Nakajima nods, taking a sip of coffee. “We can deal with anything the Satsuma traitors throw at us.” “So we can,” you nod. “On perhaps a less dour note,” Sato begins. “What shall our planned itinerary be for the mission to Belgium? I know we will be meeting with the national government, but after that, we will have almost a week to ourselves.”
A week would likely be enough to make meaningful contacts in only one of the three major Belgian cities. Brussels is the political capital of Belgium, and if you were to spend the whole of your mission there you could likely curry extra favor with the Belgian government. That being considered, Liège is the industrial and military center of the nation, as well as being on the way to the North German Confederation, your next stop. If you made a bit of a detour, you could go west to Antwerp, the financial hub of Belgium, and arguably the Low Countries as a whole. >”We will focus on politics, as much as I detest the thought.” (stay in Brussels)>”The industry of Japan could use outside help in its development.” (go to Liège) >”The realm’s finances will need to be set in order, perhaps sooner rather than later.” (go to Antwerp)>Write-in.
>>4419280>”The realm’s finances will need to be set in order, perhaps sooner rather than later.” (go to Antwerp)
>”The realm’s finances will need to be set in order, perhaps sooner rather than later.” (go to Antwerp)we need to seriously deal with the monetary problems of the shogunate
>>4419280>”The realm’s finances will need to be set in order, perhaps sooner rather than later.” (go to Antwerp)One more on that
“The realm’s finances will need to be set in order,” you remark. “Sooner rather than later. We will pay a visit to Antwerp and see about securing government funding.” “Very well,” Sato says. “I shall arrange it once we depart the train.” “Good.” You feel a slack action in the cars as the train slows down. “Speaking of which, we must be close now.” Indeed, you are. The train pulls into the station and your delegation disembarks to the greeting of a military honor-guard, as well as a delegation from the Belgian government. The soldiers of the guard are dressed to the nines, outshining even your resplendent dress uniforms with their polished cuirasses and dragoons’ helmets. It is quite a spectacular greeting from such a small and militarily unimportant nation. From the group of suited men, likely diplomats and politicians, one man exits the crowd and approaches you with a friendly smile. He is perhaps in his late sixties, and seems rather more like a grandfather than a statesman. “Hello, members of the Japanese Delegation!” He shakes your hand first, followed by those of your officers and diplomats. “My name is Charles Rogier, foreign minister of the Belgian Kingdom.” “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Rogier,” you reply when he turns to you again. “I am General Stockton of the Shogunal Delegation.” “Well-met, General.” He smiles, gesturing to a line of carriages. “His Highness and the other national ministers are at the Royal Palace.” “Right.” You nod. “Men, to the carriages please.” You all board the carriages and are soon headed toward the Belgian Royal Palace. You and your officers, as well as Keisuke, share a carriage with Rogier. “You are an American, yes?” Rogier looks to you as the carriage begins trundling over the cobblestones. “I am,” you nod. “Incredible,” he remarks. “To think you would travel so far from your home, becoming a general in a distant land, only to travel across the sea to yet another distant land.” He chuckles. “Truly, quite the adventure.” >”I suppose so.” (indifferent)>”Hardly. Just the life of a soldier.” (humble)>”My career has let me see more than I ever thought possible, I’m thankful for it.” (agree)>Write-in.
>>4422732>>”My career has let me see more than I ever thought possible, I’m thankful for it.” (agree)
>>4422732>>”Hardly. Just the life of a soldier.” (humble)The life of a man that can live no other way, a man who has felt the Calling that so many others have felt
>>4422732>”My career has let me see more than I ever thought possible, I’m thankful for it.” (agree)
>>4422732>”Hardly. Just the life of a soldier.” (humble)Come on, people. We're no great man
>>4422732>”My career has let me see more than I ever thought possible, I’m thankful for it.” (agree)>>4423295We may not be a great man but our life has surely been an adventure
>>4422732>”Hardly. Just the life of a soldier.” (humble)
>”My career has let me see more than I ever thought possible, I’m thankful for it.” (agree)
And now we wait a month or longer for a Zap QM response
>>4427368Still worth it
You think back to all the places you’ve been, the miles you’ve logged. Certainly, by now you’ve been all across the world. Most of the people from your hometown will never leave the state of New York. Chuckling, you bashfully agree. “My career has allowed me to see more of the world than I ever expected. I’m thankful for it.” Rogier nods knowingly. “I have only left Belgium to travel to the surrounding nations.” Gesturing out the window, he sighs. “My duty keeps me here, though I would quite love to travel across the seas, perhaps to America or the Orient.” “Perhaps you got luckier than you thought, sir.” Sato chuckles. “Your duty practically obliges you to go adventuring.” “Ah, the life of a soldier.” Rogier nods. “I had the opportunity to go down that path, when Belgium was still struggling to be more than an idea whispered among revolutionaries. I was a commander in the militia during our revolution against the Dutch.” He chuckles longingly. “But, the life of a statesman was more suited to my demeanor.” Thinking back to your own experiences, you wonder if that might be your future; you can’t keep fighting forever, eventually the war will end and you’ll either have to go into civilian life or fade away as any old general does. Part of you grimaces at the thought of playing politics though, and you can’t really see yourself going into the business world. A disturbing thought crosses your mind; all you know how to do is fight. Worse yet, you’ve grown so used to it, that the thought of doing anything else seems a bit strange to you. Shaking the thought from your mind, you return your attention to the conversation. Keisuke is talking with Rogier, clearly intrigued by the tale of how Belgium came to be. “Of course, it helped that the great powers of Europe were still fresh from dealing with Napoleon.” Rogier leans forward. “And they were keen to avoid another large European war.” “I’m afraid I know little of Napoleon,” Keisuke replies bluntly. “I have heard mention of him many times, but not so much of his deeds.” Rogier nods slowly. “Napoleon was a general who declared himself Emperor of France, then nearly conquered Europe. His wars and the ones waged against him re-drew ancient borders.” As Sato begins asking Rogier something, Keisuke looks over at you. “A general declaring himself Emperor…” Leaning in, he whispers. “Perhaps a solution for the situation back home? Have the Shogun march into Kyoto and declare himself the new Emperor of Japan?” >”Bad idea.” (shoot down the idea entirely)>”I doubt we have enough domestic support to just march into Kyoto.” (pessimistic) >”It’s risky, but with enough support from the Daimyos it could work.” (entertain the idea)>”Well he’s practically the de-facto Emperor already, it would just be a formalization of what’s already the case.” (support) >Write-in.
>>4428768>”It’s risky, but with enough support from the Daimyos it could work.” (entertain the idea)I mean it its possible, but the emperor still has many support from foreign powers. We also need more support of foreign powers. We can't go full napoleon because it will put way to many targets on our back. (btw Belgian here and love that you mention my country.)
>>4428768>”I doubt we have enough domestic support to just march into Kyoto.” (pessimistic)
>>4428768>”It’s risky, but with enough support from the Daimyos it could work.” (entertain the idea)
>”It’s risky, but with enough support from the Daimyos it could work.” (entertain the idea)it would have to be planned VERY CAREFULLY to work, and the whole plan would likely take years if not decades to implement, but it could happen (at least in this alternate universe)
>>4428768>”Bad idea.” (shoot down the idea entirely)
>>4428768>>”Bad idea.” (shoot down the idea entirely)
>>4428768>>”It’s risky, but with enough support from the Daimyos it could work.” (entertain the idea)
>>4428768>”Bad idea.” (shoot down the idea entirely)The Emperor in Japanese conception isn’t quite the same as European monarchs; he derives his legitimacy through supposed direct descent from Amaterasu. That’s not really a claim you can force transfer of. While Stockton himself may or may not realize this, it’s a little surprising that it’s a Japanese person suggesting it. There’s a reason the shogunate’s existed in the first place, after all.
>>4431653This, there's a reason why even after 600 years of various shogunates the Emperor was still around
>>4431653We could force the Emperor to adopt the Shogun then retire. Such adoptions were a long established practice.
>>4431653>>4431660 Well, the Tokugawa and Matsudaira dynasties can trace their lineage patrilineally back to the first Emperor, Jimmu. So it might not be impossible for a Shogun from those dynasties to lay claim to the Imperial throne, under extreme circumstances. That being said, the common people might not be so easily persuaded of such legitimacy, something a member of the nobility might not initially realize.
“It’s risky, but with enough support from local lords, it might work…” You frown, considering all the variables at play. Keisuke chuckles, nudging you with his elbow. “I appreciate your loyalty to the cause, but even with all the support of the Daimyos, it would not be possible.” Elaborating, he continues. “The Emperor, even though he may hold little real power, is descended from the Goddess of the Sun.” He shrugs. “Technically the Shogun is as well, but any claim on the Throne would be a flimsy one. None of the temples would support such hubris from a Shogun, and that would likely cause a massive revolt among the peasantry.” Keisuke crosses his legs casually, reclining a bit in the carriage seat. “It would cast our cause firmly into the jaws of total doom.” You raise an eyebrow. “Then why ask?” The statesman rubs his chin, regarding you with a playful expression. “I wanted to see what you would say, if faced with such an extreme proposition.” Chuckling again, he pauses to take in the nature of the conversation between Rogier and Sato before continuing. “The sensible manner in which you approached the idea was refreshing, though. Most would have not even considered it.” “Well when you explain it further, I can see why.” You frown. “But,” Keisuke replies quickly. “Considering even the audacious and impossible options with a level head is an important skill to possess. It explains why you are such a proficient battlefield commander.” Nakajima, who has also been participating in the conversation with Rogier, seems to notice your whisperings with Keisuke. “Sir, is something the matter?” Keisuke looks out the window, clearing his throat. You grumble, realizing that your previous conversation is probably best not mentioned among a group. Particularly given the treasonous and downright heretical nature of it. “Oh, we were just discussing…” You frown. “This beautiful architecture,” Keisuke exclaims from beside you. “These buildings are absolutely incredible.” He gestures to the stonework on the fronts of the row-houses you pass. “Ah, yes.” Rogier nods. “This part of the city is quite well-known for the beauty of its buildings’ facades.” He smiles and leans forward, pointing. “There is the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, if you are a fan of grand architecture, you should pay it a visit. It was just recently restored by expert artisans.” Looking, you see the cathedral in question. It is a grand structure, built of heavy stone, with two belltowers on either side dominating the local skyline. Keisuke’s eyes widen as he appreciates the structure from afar. “Shall we pay the cathedral a visit, General?” You grimace internally. That will throw off your schedule for spending time in Antwerp, meaning you would have less time to make financial and business contacts.
>”Of course.” >”It would interfere with our itinerary.” (attempt to keep the mission on-schedule)>Write-in.
>>4434383>Let Keisuke visit the cathedral while we're networking
>”Of course."befriending keisuke might pan out well in the future, gotta have connections in the japanese goverment
>>4434385>”Of course.”Sometimes a request is an order phrased politely.
>>4434383>Let Keisuke visit the cathedral while we're networkingThe Jews in Antwerp ar pretty big in the diamond industry. We can't favor one religion over another.
“Of course,” you reply. Looking at your compatriots, you nod. “It would make a nice detour from business.” “Indeed,” Rogier replies graciously. “The cathedral is a lovely place to see, and the neighborhood around it is quite wonderful as well. Many shops too, if you wish to take some souvenirs back to your home country.” “Certainly,” Keisuke smiles. “After all, international exchanges of goodwill and culture go both ways. Being able to bring back the many fineries of Europe for our people to see would do well to bridge the gap between Europe and Japan.” Soon, the carriages arrive at the palace, and you all disembark to stately fanfare. As you enter the foyer, a bearded man in a military uniform approaches you. He is maybe thirty, rail-thin with a long nose and cold eyes. He shakes your hand, eyes wandering over your uniform and decorations. “I assume you to be General Stockton of the Japanese Delegation?” “You assume correctly, sir.” You bow your head slightly. “And you are?” “Leopold, King of the Belgians.” The King nods curtly, no indication of any kindness or friendly nature within. This man is strictly business. “Strange, an American holding such a high rank in the army of such a…” He trails off. “Foreign nation.” You note a strange difference of intonation when he says the word ‘foreign.’ “He is a titan of both strategy and tactics,” Keisuke interjects. He steps forward, shaking the King’s hand. “We were fortunate to find such a skilled professional to retain, particularly in these trying times.” The statesman changes the subject. “General Otori Keisuke, Army Staff and Foreign Minister, at your service.” “A pleasure,” Leopold says coldly. His eyes track slowly across the members of your delegation. “Though, I have heard the Japanese Shogun is in France. Why then does he send his associates to meet with the King of the Belgians?” >”Because he can spend only a limited time away from Japan, and cannot then visit every nation in Europe.” (honest)>”It is a matter of pragmatism. Belgium is a tenth the size of France, with a purely-defensive army. Is it not understandable for the primary foreign outreach mission to focus itself there?” (blunt)>”Your highness, France is already an ally of Japan’s, and the Shogun wishes to strengthen that bond. I apologize that you will have to settle for his two closest subordinates instead.” (backhanded insult)>Write-in.
>>4447532>”Because he can spend only a limited time away from Japan, and cannot then visit every nation in Europe.” (honest)
>”Because he can spend only a limited time away from Japan, and cannot then visit every nation in Europe.”be honest here, blunt is not the best and insulting the genocidal sociopath is not a good idea, especially since he is clearly a massive racist and probably doesnt have a high opinion of the japanese, probably to an even lower degree than many europeans.
>>4447553Guy wasn't really a genocidal sociopath. He only gave a fuck about the riches. Sociopath for sure because he didn't give a fuck about their lives. Didn't aim for the extermination for the blacks he just wanted their recources and didn't give a fuck about the workers. Guy was maybe the biggest corporist of the world. (It's like the East India Company, but with less regulation and restraint. That was how the Congo was.)
>>4447829It was also something he could temporarily get away with. Conquered land, far away from his people and thus facing no popular uprising about how he handle it. Thus removing the offending and noncompliant population was a swift clear and relatively easy road. Had he conquered say Holland and applied the same measure... Well in a few months at most he would have faced a coup.Its not dissimilar to what is done today if only wastly exaggerated, but if you can not be bought you will get removed if you are active on a serious political scene.Similar thing happened over here, we had a proto trump business man who had a lot of popularity, building churches, villages and owning a football club that as soon as he entered politics and started getting gains was immediately brought up on charges of corruption and sentenced. Fastest corruption trial ever seen.Now thing about 2 centuries ago and of people who can not object in any way that would threaten the power that be over them but are fucking inconvenient and won't play ball...
>>4447532>>”Because he can spend only a limited time away from Japan, and cannot then visit every nation in Europe.” (honest)
>>4447532>”Because he can spend only a limited time away from Japan, and cannot then visit every nation in Europe.” (honest)Diplomacy here. Not totally sure why we would go for the backhanded insult to a King, but at least we know enough to recognize it as an insult.