Funeral in Munich
Fiction by Mark L. Berch
From Diplomacy World #32
I suppose I should have considered my campaign in the northeast a success. My German armies had found their targets. But the French stab had soured the taste of success. The Russian player telling me I-told -you-so didn’t help, either.
Anyhow, Kie had been taken in F05, and I had saved Mun in S06 only by outguessing his A Kie and standing him out. But he had brought up fresh units, so my lonely A Ber was faced with the dreaded wall of A Kie -Ruh-Bur. If that were not bad enough, the Austrians had armies in Boh and Tyo. It was known that Austrian-Italian relations were not that good, and the Italian would have a choice to make with his A Pie. By diplomatic work was cut out for me.
After the Franco-Italian conference broke up, I collared the Frenchman and launched into my spiel: “Look, you need someone to restrain the Austrian. If you take Mun, I'll be crippled--and unwilling to do the task. What's more, the Italian, needing a build, will….”
He cut me off immediately. "Forget it. I want Mun and I can take it. I need that build and I'm not concerned about the Italians. Whatever I can't reach in the east, Austria is welcome to. Your funeral will be in Munich."
He was ready to say more, but did not deem that wise. I smiled and thanked him for his candor, which I could see he appreciated. I then zipped over to the Austrian, who had l kept his eye on us and had just finished talking to the Italian.
“If you're asking for support for A Ber-Mun, you're wasting your time. I’ve got….”
I didn’t let him get any further. "No, no, it's not that. I'm not concerned about France. He's sliding his armies to Gas and Bur to prepare for a war with Italy. I don't want you to take Mun. Who will check the French growth; at least, who will slow him down? You are in no good position to do that yourself. Let me keep Mun. You know I am no danger to you, as my attention will be taken up by France. Venice, you will notice I’m sure, is open.” I spoke slowly and repeated myself a few times. It seemed he was rethinking things even as I spoke.
"No dice,” he said firmly. “I want it myself. If I restrict his growth by taking Mun while I can, he’ll be more inclined to go after Italy rather than mop up against you even further. Plus I've promised Italy I’d evacuate Tyo, and I've run out of excuses for not doing it by now. And if I let you build this year, it's going to slow the business of my taking your Russian centers down.”
I continued to discuss things with him, but I could see there was no point in trying to budge him from his stance. I raised other issues, trying to see how much of Russia he wanted, trying to get him to keep talking of his plans, to get him to keep talking.
Orders were then due. As was our custom, each read his own. France started first, and ended his reading with, " A Kie and A Bur S A Ruh-Mun, A Ruh-Mun. Sorry pal, but I’m trusting Italy here.”
"Damn,” said Austria. "I wasted my move. I could have blocked Germany out of Silesia. I might even have taken Ven.”
“Venice?” inquired Italy. “You’d go for Venice?”
Before Austria could calm him down, France cut through and bellowed, “Your orders!"
Austria unhappily read through his, ending up with "…A Boh S A Tyo-Mun.”
France grinned and boasted, “Ha! He who opposes France fritters away his moves. Get thee to the east!!”
I then read mine, ending up with “A Ber Austrian A Tyo-Mun. "
France, who seemed to think he was supposed to provide commentary on every move, said, "I thought you were going to support A Pru-Sil with that, as a…wait…actually you can’t support the dislodgement of your own…um…Damn!” He then turned to Austria. "You fool. He supported you. It's 3 on 3 now, so he keens Mun. It's your fault. If you hadn't attacked I’d have gotten in."
Austria was unhappy and in no mood for France’s abuse. “Well, if you hadn’t attacked, I'd have gotten in.”
“That’s all right,” said France, starting to calm down. “It’s just going to take longer to bring Germany down, that’s all. That build wasn’t vital to me. I can…”
"Actually, you have a removal," said Italy. "I took Mar."
I waited until the rest of the orders were read and then, staring straight at France, said, “I took StP this year, and guess what open home center…I said, open home center…that build will come in?”
Yes, the game was looking up. The build, the units which had entered Sil and Den in the fall (not to mention F Bot, which was now free to move to the Baltic), the bad feeling between France and Austria, Italy's attack on France. Yes, there was a funeral in Munich, but the casket was empty.