"What Madness Is This?" Redux: The Union Forever

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Napoleon53, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. SuperZtar64 Lord Protector of the New Commonwealth

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  2. EbolaMan131 Dick Pound 2020

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    Oh yeah
     
  3. Murica1776 Building an American Tomorrow

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    Ok, I have a couple ideas for Underwood, depending on the direction of the TL:

    If the Union goes on to absorb Carolina whole and keep going, I'd say make Underwood like a latter day Nixon. Pretty insane (and something of a true believer) but relatively rational and calm.

    If the Union collapses shortly after taking Carolina, Frank could lead the resurgent Carolina nationalist movement and reconstitute the Confederation, albeit as a dictatorship. High Marshal Francis Underwood of the Reformed Confederation of the Carolinas anyone?

    If the Union keeps them a puppet, Frank becomes Chancellor and stays in power by hook and crook. Maybe if the Union collapses during his tenure, he takes advantage of the chaos to take pieces of the South (and maybe Cuba).
     
  4. Napoleon53 Order of Monocled Sirs ಠ_ರೃ

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    [​IMG]

    Copy paste, lol. Thank you for the fantastic map, Super!!!

    I don't like including other fictional characters. However, I may give a wink and a nod by naming some important government building or something after Frank. I could see something called "The Underwood School of Political Science" or something. lol Similar to my longtime idea of the stand-in for the Eagle's Nest/Greenbriar Bunker is "Point Overlook" high up in the Poconos as a reference to The Shining. This timeline is a practical glossary of cultural references. About any reference you can make in an AH TL, I'm gonna make them. XD
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  5. EbolaMan131 Dick Pound 2020

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    Perhaps make a True United States with of course him being a president for life and seen as a George Washington figure but with a lot of dark Nixon undertones
     
  6. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

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    People do shitty things for all kinds of reasons. For the vast majority of human history, brutality was the order of the day simply because of the technology level. Humanity, for the vast majority of its history, has had due to simple energy needs little option but to be hyper-tribalistic, clannish, brutal to outsiders, and unempathetic. Yes, empathy and kindness are objectively better for everybody in the medium to long term, including the group being unconditionally empathetic and kind, but until a couple hundred years ago, that was too damn dangerous for anybody to engage in regularly.

    What makes modern atrocities so fundamentally worse than ancient ones (and why I call out the Tawantinsuyu for setting up government-sponsored ethnic cleansing but don't waste time criticizing what the Yannomani do to each other in their limited spare time) is that when technology is developed to reduce the energy requirements of human life, the instincts to be a dick are no longer reasonable. What makes imperialism so much worse than a bandit raid? The imperialist power doesn't have to do it, and at least the bandit usually has the decency to not pretend he's doing you a favor as he does it.

    All that said--from what I've seen of the world, trauma doesn't make people evil. It just fucks you up. Post-traumatic growth is a thing, too, and overly comfortable living can fuck someone up just as bad. I personally believe that all traumatic events do is strip a person down to the core, put that core under stress, and then let you snap back into a new position. Whether that's for better or for worse, that varies. Some people become vulnerable and join cults. Others, like Hitler, are already a bit fucked up and just go worse. Others see their world burn around them and decide "fuck this shit, I'm going to save everybody I can" and spend the rest of their lives living like ascetic hermits and running the biggest free ambulance network in the world in fucking Pakistan while paying for the upbringing of tens of thousands of orphans.

    I think the #1 biggest problem I have with WMIT is that there's a kind of undertone of trauma-makes-people-evil that I don't like. Yes, the worst villains like Oswald and Steele and now Hendrick are just straight-up monsters from the get-go, but Burr and Goodyear have this sort of Freudian excuse thing going on that I'm not super comfortable with. Obviously, your TL, your philosophical point, but that's the #1 reason I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the Madnessverse.

    Anyway. As a libsoc (no particular tendency, I believe that obsession with doctrinal minutiae is socialism's #1 problem long-term, but I generally prefer councilist and anarcho-syndicalist ideas), I'm more than happy to call out the USA on our crap (from slavery to smallpox blankets to Operation Condor), but honestly? As powerful countries go, we're pretty damn good. Yeah, we treated the Irish and blacks like shit, but at the same time we were the first Western country to grant Jews citizenship and nobody here's ever given much of a shit about the Romani. We've been a successful democracy that even survived James Buchanan for over 200 years, while Europe was seesawing between populist quasidemocracy, violent revolution, and authtoritarian regimes. We have gone through numerous massive internal struggles wherein our stated principles have clashed with our baser instincts, and in the vast majority of those cases the principles have won. Slavery, Chinese Exclusion, civil rights--until quite recently, this country's been gradually getting better, in fits and starts and with plenty of bumps along the way.

    We sure as Hell aren't perfect, but the USA's done pretty well.
    US slavery was particularly nasty, though, and under the Roman model at least there was a significant class of skilled slaves who were socially expected to be treated with basic decency (by Roman standards) and were typically freed after some time and set up as clients. Slaves in the USA were no more valuable than a plow and broadly received nightmarish treatment. Not that the Roman model was good (it was, like everything else about early Iron Age society, a hacked-together nasty, brutal mess), but at least some slaves under that model were seen as people and not as machines.

    The humanwide failing was enslaving people at all, depriving them of liberty. The unique evil of America and the Congo Free State was treating people like hand tools.
     
  7. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition!

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    And yet the worst possible thing for an American slave was to be sold to the Spanish Caribbean plantations, where working to death was the norm rather than the exception.
     
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  8. Napoleon53 Order of Monocled Sirs ಠ_ರೃ

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    I totally agree, the US as a whole has been a force for good most of the time. This TL is just taking OTL US atrocities to over 10,000.

    And as for what I just said about trauma, I'm not referring to it making people evil, I was referring to my personal childhood traumas (which I won't get into on here) which turned me into a reclusive teenager who didn't trust anyone and thought everyone was waiting to hurt me too. (Btw, nobody worry about me, I am a normal guy now with a happy life, lol). I actually don't believe much in Freudian stuff. Never been a fan. I just know that villains who have believable backstories are far better than one dimensional "Hail Hydra! characters, which is more like 1.0 where the Union was obviously the bad guy vs. everything else, which I felt was a major weakness. Also, most of the most evil people in history I've read about had very messed up early lives. Ghenghis Khan killed his brother over a fish. Hitler grew up with a psycho dad who beat him severely (youtube reference). Kaiser Wilhelm II blamed his withered arm on his British doctor. It's compelling.

    Prophet Burr is a literal extreme PTSD case crossed with further mental problems. He doesn't have a Freudian excuse. Honestly, I don't even know if you could call him evil. He's just sick and nuts and probably has early on-set dementia. Goodyear has a traumatic childhood and has a reason to resent Canada, France, and the South for the death of his father, but that doesn't give him a reason to hate "Inferiors." He does that out of his own Victorian mindset. He's just evil who happened to have an awful childhood. So did millions of Americans thanks to the Shatter of 1801 and the War of 1812. People aren't having good times, he just happens to be one of them. Not every person who lost a loved one or home in 1812 has turned into an evil genius psycho obviously. That just happens to be what occurs with Goodyear. Maybe the pain of 1812 is what made him evil, or maybe he was already gonna be Lord Business regardless, or maybe he was going to be a mostly-failure like OTL. That's why he is a compelling character. It's interesting to think about why he's evil.

    But all in all, WMIT is entertainment. Don't take it all literally or completely seriously. Some things in this TL are there purely for story or to be weird/funny. Entertainment is my primary goal, and all my friends know me as the "funny history nerd guy."
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  9. Murica1776 Building an American Tomorrow

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    ^ Great convo going on up there. Anywho, here's another meme before I go to bed:

    Memem.jpg
    Murica1776 after reading about Carolina's alliance with the Union.
     
  10. Threadmarks: MAP OF NORTH AMERICA: 1911

    Napoleon53 Order of Monocled Sirs ಠ_ರೃ

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    MAP OF NORTH AMERICA: 1911

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  11. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

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    One suggestion I'll make is to give Europa and the Nordreich more transparently evil figures. Napoleona from classic was decent, but given that most of the top Nazis and Stalin's goons are showing up in the RU TTL, you should definitely put some real crazies in charge of the European powers. Georges Valois (a French fascist who's perhaps best known for his role in Kaiserreich as a potential Commie Nazi leader of communard France), Ulrike Meinhoff, Charles Maurras, Vikdun Quisilng, guys like that. Germany should get lunatics like Gregor Strasser, scum like Kurt von Schleicher, etc. My 2 cents, anyway.

    Anyway--when I say Freudian excuse, I mean, "I was hurt personally when I was younger and that's what made me evil". I hate that shit, it's way overused, and used improperly at that (only way it works is if you're using it to explain the backstory of an antagonistic character who is clearly established to have a decent side beforehand, and that's hardly ever bothered with). Which is why I've been pushing for Madness!Heydrich to be just as psychopathic and born-evil as OTL Heydrich--the man was so comprehensively and utterly vile on every level that literally just copy-pasting him all the way down to the part where his private journals were such an unholy Necronmicon of evil that they turned a diehard Nazi into a dissident who smuggled Jews out of Germany in less than 24 hours, is the only real way to do him right here IMO. Even your fertile imagination can't possibly come up with something worse than Reinhard Heydrich, because Reinhard Heydrich's complete lack of empathy would give the devil nightmares.

    IMO, the best villains you've written here are the ones that are still straight-up irredeemable monsters, because you give 'em interesting backstories and funny twists like "literally Stalin" and "evil JFK on crack". They're multidimensional, rounded characters, but they're also cheesily straight-up vile. And giving the European powers more like that should really help (Tsar Evil Kaiser Wilhelm-Khan is already a great start!).
     
  12. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

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    What's the level of development in Russian Alaska?
     
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  13. Threadmarks: CHAPTER 57

    Napoleon53 Order of Monocled Sirs ಠ_ರೃ

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    CHAPTER 57
    ASHTON'S ASH HEAPS

    3936.jpg
    Quebecois cavalry parade by one last time in Quebec City before heading to the front


    On the Plains of Abraham the trilliums blow
    Between the crosses, row on row
    And in the grass and dirt and soil
    lay the bodies of Yank and Royal
    Through shrapnel, steel, and fire they flew
    Just ordinary boys like me and you
    What madness, that they should die
    And be forgot as time rolls by
    On the Plains of Abraham the trilliums blow
    Between the crosses, row on row.
    Montcalm and Wolfe and then redux
    Just ordinary boys like me and you

    - Unknown

    march.jpg
    The men of the 1st Cohort, 2nd Legion, advance to meet the enemy

    December 1, 1911, was a bad day for Quebec. It's Queen, Marie I, sister of the Europan Caesar, waved goodbye to the Quebec Royal Army as it marched south to defend the nation from the vile grasp of the Yankee invaders. Crowds cheered and drums beat as the Royal Army, clad in bright white caps and light blue uniforms marched on. Thousands of troops were riding horses, prepared to go to battle with a lance and a pistol. Officers and generals, most of whom had never seen action in their lives, were leading the way. It was off to the front. Though many joked "Custer will be licked by Christmas," most knew what was happening, including the Bonaparte queen. The 52 year-old was the great-granddaughter of Napoleon the Great, a man who proclaimed luck to be eternally on his side. But now, in this new century, this era of grinders and machines and gas, Marie felt as if the Bonaparte luck was running out. As her soldiers saluted and rode off to war, she feared she might never see them again. With thoughts of such grim futures, it was no surprise to her Royal Council when she began laying out plans for the defense of the city.

    To the southwest, the worst fears of Quebec's monarch were coming true. The heavily fortified border was antiquated. The defenses had been built up around 1890, when Marie was sent by her father Napoleon III to rule Quebec, shortly before his death. She and her brother Napoleon IV, her elder by one year, had never been on the best of terms. Their constant bickering back in France was one of the reasons their father had shipped her off to rule Quebec. When her brother became Caesar, she begged him for more help in fortifying the border with America. She told him of the horror stories coming from Mexico. She had seen first-hand the rise of the Republican Union from regional powerhouse to a killing machine. Now it was too late. With the situation spiraling into a three-way war on the Continent and the likely prospect of a Britannic Union between England and Scotland, it was unlikely that any further aid would be incoming. She would have to make do with what she had. And it wasn't much.

    Just seven hours away, the Union Army Group I, the legendary "Lincoln's Hammer" was assaulting the border near the old town of Peterborough with a full force of 10 cohorts of 2000 men each (the American army had finally phased out "regiments" in favor of "cohorts" except for a few very old regiments that kept their original title). The mostly wood and brick fortifications the Quebecois had along the border did little in the face of American artillery barrages and aeroship assaults. The attack had commenced at 6 o'clock that morning. Now, as 120,000 men, the heart of the Grand Army of the Republic, pressed on, the Quebecois were reeling. They had never seen anything like this. The Quebec Army had mustered up a total of 250,000 men, but most were barely trained. Of that total, only about 100,000 were professional soldiers. Most had never seen combat. Wave after wave of Americans advanced, screaming "For the Prophet!" and "God Bless America!"

    As the 3rd Maniple, 1st Cohort, 2nd Legion, made a break-through through the heart of Peterborough, the Quebec infantry were panicking. The onslaught was driven by pure hatred. No matter how thick the hail of grinder and rifle rounds flying through the cold air was, the Yanks would simply press on. Though they were taking heavy losses, Lincoln's Hammer, was still whipping the defenders solidly. The small Quebec Royal Aeroforce was taking to the skies, even utilizing new machines named "aeroplanes" in combat for the first time. While this proved to be an ordeal for the Union aeroships, losing the USS Mad Anthony and the USS Zephyr very quickly on, the fragile planes were quickly destroyed by ground guns and the advance pressed on in a frenzy of blood and lead. The brave troops of the 3rd Maniple were the spearhead of this Union attack, their 120 men quickly being cut down to 50. But they still managed to take out key bunkers and grinder nests.

    The_Battle_of_Frontiers,_August-september_1914_Q70232.jpg
    Quebec Royal troops on the march in Peterborough
    The population of Peterborough was quite small, around 40,000, and most had fled north after the declaration of war. However, some 5,000 remained, stubborn and determined to not lose everything they had. Many formed the Peterborough Royal Auxiliaries, consisting of some 2,000 concerned citizens. Many of these volunteers were of Irish or even exiled Mexican blood, and they knew what their fate would be should Quebec fall. At around noon, the 3rd Maniple pressed the attack through downtown, and the Auxiliaries opened fire. The 3rd Maniple returned fire and took cover behind wagons and bodies laying in the street as they tried to deal with the civilian defenders. For a half hour, the militia actually held back the Union's finest. This advantage was quickly decimated, however, when Union artillery finally came into range. With deafening blasts, huge swathes of untrained volunteers were blown to pieces. The 3rd Maniple was now supported by the 1st and 2nd Maniples and with these reinforcements pressed the attack through downtown. The volunteers tried to keep fighting but most were finally breaking and running as the USS Grand Panama flew overhead, its below-deck grinders blasting away. As the men ran, the Yankees realized most were Irish and other sorts of Inferior and began indiscriminately mowing them down and bayoneting them in the back.

    Legate General Acme Ashton smiled as he watched the militia break finally. Ashton was watching the assault from the observation deck of his flagship, the USS Hellfire. It was from this state of the art vessel that he surveyed the carnage and directed his forces via a new invention known as "walkie talkies." Colonels were in charge of cohorts, and he walkied Colonel Buford Sims, the man directing the 1st and 2nd Cohorts of the 2nd Legion, Group I, and ordered him to show no mercy to those who resisted or who could be deemed a threat. "This is a war, not a charity operation. We have a enough damned Infees back home that barely their God-given station in life to start bringing in more that just took up arms against us.' Colonel Sims took this to mean any able-bodied man over the age of 15. As the Royal Army shattered and began to run north, Peterborough fell to the Union invaders. Troops went house to house, looting at will if they were Catholic, Inferior, had resisted, or were a mix of all three, but an unusual order came down to not trouble any Protestant Churches or known Protestant citizens. But as for the rest, which was the vast majority, their fate was swift and brutal. Squads roamed the streets, hanging Inferiors as they went. All through the night there was resistance. No matter where you were, you could here the pepper of Quebec grinders opening fire on Yankee invaders in the distance, or perhaps right next door. But the battle was tactically over. Despite initial bravery, the Quebecois were outgunned and solidly defeated. No amount of courage could save them from the guns and knives of American troops who thought the Return of Christ was at hand.

    Acme Ashton landed that night and set himself up a headquarters at the local jail. After an hour or two, a telegraph line was setup so he could wire McClellan in Philadelphia.

    "Cracking success STOP Papist dogs run like scared sheep STOP Will continue advance at first light STOP Will alert if sitrep changes STOP Naming town after Prophet STOP ALL HAIL STOP"

    Telegraph dated 11 pm, Friday, December 1, 1911, from Legate General Ashton to Supreme Marshal McClellan

    McClellan was very happy. Army Group I's assault was progressing wonderfully. However, it was a pain to lose the Mad Anthony and the Zephyr, but such losses were to be expected when assaulting a defended border. Despite heavy losses, American troops had not taken a single step back through the entire Battle of Peterborough. Immediately, Ashton had the town renamed "Prophetsborough" in celebration and to send a message. The Words of the Prophet were coming true. Manifest Destiny was surely at hand.

    This was hardly the only fighting raging that first day of December. On the contrary, the Battle of Kawartha Lakes was raging twenty miles northwest, with the 4th Legion handing the Royal forces there a vicious beating. The next day, Ashton regrouped his forces early in the morning and pushed on toward the crucial St. Lawrence River. The Battle of Belleville saw much of the Royal Army that had retreated the previous day finally receive reinforcements. However, many of these reinforcements were cavalry. They were very quickly about to learn a lesson in modernity. The Battle of Belleville was also a complete disaster. The cavalry were mowed down by Yankee grinders as fast as the gunners could pull the trigger. Horse and man were ripped to shreds and the screams of the dying were barely audible over the banging of the guns. Belleville was a Catholic town, and what had happened in Peterborough was nothing compared to the fate Belleville was destined for. Yankee troops once again killed all the men over 15, rounding them up and executing them en masse. Once again, Colonel Sims was largely responsible for carrying out the atrocities.

    kawarth.jpg
    The "Fightin' Fourth" Legion advances to meet the enemy at the Battle of Kawartha Lakes

    Acme Ashton walkied his subordinate from atop the Hellfire and told him, "Colonel Sims, I'll be damned if you aren't one hell of a soldier. I have received estimates that over half this den of iniquity has been wiped from the face of the planet. Is this correct? Over."

    Sims was responding with a crank unit mounted in the back of his personal wagon and said, "Yessir, those estimates are correct. I know we need to press the attack, but my boys want to tear this papist shithole down. Even the very name of this backwater smacks of Becky frogs. Heard the redskins used to call it Asukhknosk. Sodom in one hand, Gomorrah in the other, I say. Over."

    Ashton reviewed the timetables on the desk in front of him. About a dozen officers were scuttling around the maps and charts, positioning markers and writing down information as it came in. "Well, the advance is going ahead of schedule. We didn't think the Beckies would give up so easy. If I was them, I would have built a big beautiful wall on my border. But if they want to make it easy and only throw a few grinder nests at us, then I say we have time for some demolition. Colonel Sims, strip everything of value from that town. Every crucifix and coin. I will send up the quartermasters to collect whatever your men round up. Then burn it. Burn it all. I don't want a single cell alive in that town, do you understand me? Tell everyone to get the hell out, or get the hell beat out of them. Shoot immediately if they resist. Over."

    Sims laughed heartily and replied, "That's the Legate Ashton I love to fight for! I will see to these orders immediately, sir! I don't think my men will complain much. All hail! Over."

    By the end of the second day of the war, Belleville was ablaze. An entire town over a century old was completely wiped out. As news began to hit Quebec City of the total annihilation the Yankees were bringing to innocent civilians, anger overpowered their fear. Men, women, and children rallied and picked up arms, determined to take the fight to the murdering invaders. The war wasn't over yet. And the people of Quebec weren't going to go down without a fight, and an unseasonably warm winter was about to finally turn frigid. But even in winter, the 13th ORRA Mechanized would have cold coffee and hot lead as they came in from the east....

    ashton.jpg
    Legate General Wilford Acme Ashton, Army Group I

    sims.jpg
    Colonel Buford Sims, Commander of the 1st and 2nd Cohorts, 2nd Legion, Group I
    "The Butcher of Belleville"

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    Yankee firing squad executes a Quebecois civilian for resistance

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    A Negro cohort on the move during the St. Lawrence River Campaign (American units being segregated was one of the only leftovers of slavery by 1911, and was really only in place to pacify Southron hardliners)

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    Exhausted Quebecois troops take cover behind weak defenses amid the bodies of their own dead
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  14. Darksider166 Well-Known Member

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    Poor Quebec or I guess we'll be calling it "Keybeck" or something if the Americans have their way.
     
  15. Napoleon53 Order of Monocled Sirs ಠ_ರೃ

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    That's actually a thing in 1.0. lol
     
  16. Darksider166 Well-Known Member

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    I know, it was a small reference.
     
  17. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    Republican Union vs OTL Nazi Germany? Which is worse?
     
  18. Sunstone77 Well-Known Member

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    Poor Quebec. So far from God, so close to Philadelphia.

    Maybe Marie can embrace the madness a little too and suddenly decide she is Joan of Arc reborn
     
  19. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    Nazi Germany: "Look at what we did to Lidice and Lezaky!"
    Republican Union: "How dare you outmatch us in atrocities! We'll one-up you! Just watch!"
    Nazi Germany: "I'd love to see you try!"
    Republican Union: *kills 5,000 people, razes a town over one thousand years old, makes 35,000 homeless*
    Nazi Germany: "Good try! But what we did to those two towns was just appetizer!"
    Republican Union: "You shouldn't have killed any Protestants! They should have been converted to the AFC!"
    Nazi Germany: "I don't care about your pointless anti-Catholic demagoguery. Get a life."
    Republican Union: "You filthy Papist! How DARE you sully the name of Prophet Burr!"

    Fifteen minutes later

    Greece: "Why are they still fighting?"
    Turkey: "What useless quarreling."
     
  20. John Spangler Well-Known Member

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    Never give up, people of Quebec!
     
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