The True Life Journal of Lord Swampy, Confessions of a Three-year Man is an autobiography written by Lord Swampy. Links: Episode One, Two, Three

Episode I – The Early Days and The New DominionEdit

I came over, like many, from a far-off land that may or may not rhyme with station-mates, where I led a rag-tag bunch of RPing friends. One of those friends of mine made a nation called Tain Guo here just a few days before I made a nation. We were two of the original purple team members, in its first Senate. Realizing the potential in this world, we invited others from our previous home, a group we called the Old Dominion of Kaynistan. I founded New Kaynistan, and dubbed our merry band The New Dominion, all home on purple sphere.

Within a week, we had taken the Senate and began our plans for world domination, like I’m sure many thought they’d accomplish. For us back then, that meant having big nations and my growth was stimulated by a bug admin quickly fixed involving trades (gold, intended to give +$5 to income originally, actually doubled your income and then added $5 until that was corrected. Yay gold.) and by the gap in power created by one of CN’s first resets.

I actually joined CN’s first alliance, Imperial Nations Coalition. Communication was terrible, and I wasn’t even aware there was a conflict with CATO (GATO today). We lost, our leader deleted, and the alliance died quietly.

Soon after that, with the destruction of Tain Guo (my friend’s nation) due to a war glitch which deleted his nation when all his infra, land, and soldiers (all there was to a nation back then) were destroyed, I ascended to Princeps of purple team and enjoyed the +3 happiness bonus it afforded me. I made my way up through the ranks and claimed a top five spot with several other members of the New Dominion close behind me.

In the initial blitz of the First Polar War, I was knocked back a peg or two by some guy from NPO who accidentally hit me even though I was unaligned. I bargained with the very humble and apologetic ruler of that nation, TrotskysRevenge, for a protectorate status under the NPO in return for not continuing the fight with him.

I continued climbing, and at the second rank formed an alliance with the number one ranked nation, “KD,” and the third ranked nation, “Stifler’s Nation.” KD dissolved it shortly thereafter to excuse us from unwarranted participation in the Citrus War. He dropped through the rankings and I hit number one. It was awesome for me, and I loved it.

Great Britain loved it too, and was adamant that the number one nation in the world join The Legion since I was purple, and he invited me to be a part of the formative Cabinet. I joined, and brought with me the members of the New Dominion. One of them, ChatNoir, even also participated in the original Cabinet of the Legion as Minister of Defense. Since as Princeps I had some intel bonuses when viewing other nations, I took the post of Head of Intelligence, then a Cabinet office. The world was small and Legion was smaller. There wasn’t much to do, and after being elected to the first officially elected Cabinet of the Legion as Head of Intel a few weeks later, I kind of dropped in activity. I managed to be inactive enough that my signature made it on the ODP with NPO without me actually knowing it at the time.

What I did actively do was help other purple nations. I was active on the very old boards trying to unite the sphere and get some communication and trade work going. I also browsed the wars trying to stop any purple-on-purple conflict. The team’s well-being was important to me, and I actively was working for its betterment.

Things were great until April 3, 2006. I was informed by my friend behind ChatNoir that we had been nuked. In fact, the entire top six nations were nuked by three rogues: usa, Bepoon, and Kelehana. My nation, as well as ChatNoir’s and four GATO nations, were devastated. We weren’t big, but this was before damage caps were put on nukes and aid systems were used heavily and back when there wasn’t much aid to go around. There were no improvements yet, and I only kept any kind of decent rank because my nation was tech-heavy for the times (I had more tech than anyone else: 35!).

Despite this being the first coordinated nuclear rogue attack in the history of CN and getting incredible amounts of attention then to the point of causing conversations about a nuclear-capable registry for independent nations and all sorts of other things that now would sound preposterous, now it seems rather trivial. Nuclear rogues come and go and get squished with very little fanfare. What was amazing was that the entire world united behind the nations who were attacked. NPO, NAAC, Legion, ODN, and others all jumped on the three rogues and squished them dead. Nations from virtually every alliance gave aid to the cause in some form. It almost sounds darkly comic to say now, but in RP terms, this was CN’s 9/11 terrorist strike. Its significance today lies not in the actions of rogues but in the reactions of the world: unity against an enemy of all alliances.

After that, other things took my attention as that was an important spring and summer for me in life. My activity in Legion dropped, but I still lurked from time to time. I almost missed the Second Polar War, and did miss the brief but quite devastating Warpstorm Alliance War against Legion. After this, I perked back up and soon after it noticed that LUE had moved in, moved out, and was somehow in trouble with our allies in NPO.

It became clearer after I read Yaridovich’s account suicide post. I, like others of decency, was disgusted and appalled—that was his point, I suppose. I watched with some dismay, though, as it became a very violent war. I watched the epic devastation on all sides and was glad we weren’t a part of it. The Cabinet at the time told us it wasn’t our fight because NPO had helped start it.

Then suddenly it became our fight. VL posted that NPO leadership had been plotting to strike the Legion after the war and we wouldn’t simply wait for that to come. I was surprised, but more than that I was wary of fighting a war—all it meant to me was devastation. I messaged the members of the New Dominion and had them switch to peace mode so we could be bankers. VL approved me to be a reserve fighter to come out fresh a few days into the war and aid and fight. I never got the chance to fight, but I did send out aid when I left peace mode.

The war ended, and things got quiet. Legion swelled some, and strength gaps closed for a bit. NPO pulled back ahead again, but we liked our position for the most part. We thought NPO would get over what happened and we moved on with life as usual. For my part, I was happy to just look around Legion’s boards and help out purple team nations who asked me for assistance as Princeps. I kept trying to stimulate some activity and unity on our team boards, and talked with other alliances like TAB and PAW.

My contented situation was threatened in November 2006 when the Senate got a big restructuring from the continuous weekly voting system with aggregate vote totals to a monthly reset we know today. I was an active Senator, but not so active in the Legion and the Cabinet wanted to reassign the Senators to active Legionnaires and government officials. I panicked, rather selfishly so in retrospect, but after nine months of being in Senate and being a damn good Senator for the team, I was mad and felt some ownership over the office.

Realizing inactivity would eventually strip me of more than my senate office, I started posting more and eventually founded Swampy’s Corner, an advice column and Q&A thread in the Legion. I had a lot of fun there, and also enjoyed the time I spent hanging out in Cohort V Alaudae, my military brigade. I bonded with a spunky and charismatic young Legionnaire named Sinatra during that time. I also had fun working with several other New Dominion members to try and gain some power in the Legion so we could be more in the know and make some decisions. Why we were originally hesitant to join the Legion was because we didn’t like the idea of not having autonomy—why I was only planning for TND to be in Legion until we were strong enough to go do our own thing. The problem was now I had friends there outside the New Dominion: Sinatra, Rakari, GunneR, Sir Galahad, Divyjain, Graphix, and numerous others. I didn’t want to leave.

One friend, Great Britain, found himself in some controversy as our President (a powerless and purely ceremonial post). He was caught up in some very anti-NPO sentiments and spammed around the alliance for us to vote in favor of the pending GATO and NAAC MDPs up for vote in our League of Nations. It was the first in a long line of very heated arguments in the Legion that devolved into base infighting and inspired me to create an award to recognize those who remained civil and decent. In cooperation with the Home Minister Miemalkonnen, I began awarding Lord Swampy’s Ribbon of Respect for good forum and interpersonal decency.

I like to think that it helped encourage people to be a bit nicer to each other, or at least stay a bit more civil in discussions, but the arguments kept coming. We bickered about what to do with Great Britain. We bickered over Zunea’s pardon of him when Zunea took the Prime Minister office. We bickered about the MDPs, and the NPO, and tech raiding and wars of aggression. All the bickering eventually drove out a few members, the most noteworthy of them was a man I looked up to greatly, Fonzoland.

Before wars of aggression were banned, a member of the New Dominion was attacked. He had refused to join the Legion, and TND organized a response militarily and financially to support him against unaligned tech raiders. It was still legal, but I informed our Minister of Defense, North Prussia, as a courtesy. I was unaware that he was away at the time though, and when he came back he was livid that I was using Legion resources to help an unaligned nation, more so because he didn’t trust me and what seemed to him to be my personal micro-alliance or political party.

That argument was followed shortly by some drama when I realized a New Dominion member, Crethoria, was hacked by his little brother and the brother nuked a friend of his who ran a nation in Legion. The alliance didn’t know this, and reacted as you’d expect to a nuke rogue from within their own ranks. It was only when he was just above ZI that I caught the situation and tried to clear his name by explaining what had happened. I got him off perma-ZI, but he was expelled and forced to pay reparations. I felt bad about the whole mess, especially because the friend who ran Crethoria was too pissed to bother arguing his own case and I posed as him and acted as his intermediary in order to defend him and promote the truth of what happened. One of the most aggravating parts was having to constantly butt heads with an old neo-Nazi Legionnaire named USNN. In the end, the only good part was that I was introduced to IRC, where I made many friends and wasted many happy hours.

My disagreement with the Cabinet (mostly via the MoD) petered off when they had bigger fish to fry. Our Foreign Minister, Master Revan, was mostly inactive and Zunea asked him to step down and appointed Thom Solo to the post before Revan actually did anything in response. It caused a huge backlash, and was our first and only impeachment trial for a Prime Minister. It was eventually deemed a mistrial because of screw-ups all around and the term ended before anything really happened about it. Zunea left before too much longer after his term, but not before his actions (and many other disagreements in the Legion) had divided enough people to send some members off, including (if my memory is correct) SocCarolina, a Legionnaire I idolized and was quite dismayed to see leave.

The new Cabinet took office, and they went about trying to set up our part of the MDP web outside of GATO and NAAC. We signed Orrple around that time, and it quickly became our most treasured treaty. The bickering didn’t stop though, and our latest internal feud was probably one of our most important ones: whether or not to enter GW2. VL, our Prime Minister, had a vision of moving the Legion away from the polarized world that dominated CN politics, and the Cabinet wouldn’t put us into the war. I was happy to not fight: I felt the League started the war and our treaties weren’t aggressive.

I was happy hanging out in my Cohort, chatting in IRC, and dispensing what wisdom I could in Swampy’s Corner. I did want a spot in the Legion’s Advisory Council, an establishment for former Cabinet Ministers to advise current Cabinet Ministers. I was rejected from that group for transparent reasons; the truth was I still wasn’t trusted. I suspected the New Dominion was why, and in an attempt to smooth things over and correct some misconceptions about us, I talked to VL after GW2 ended and things cooled down for us.

During that conversation, some influential things happened. I bargained with VL about TND. Until this point we had been noting ourselves for the most part in our signatures around Legion’s boards or in user titles. We had nothing to hide, and we weren’t really doing anything actively anymore. Half of us had left the Legion or CN altogether, and no one really was as into it as I was. The agreement was that we’d remove all mention of ourselves and pretend to disband to prevent the issue from going on further. In exchange we’d be allowed to go on as we had as long as we were quiet about it and continued to not attempt to influence anything—basically business as usual. I was also offered an office in that exchange: Director of Communications. In a decision made to protect The New Dominion from expulsion and to remove the glass ceiling from above us, and to ease the worries of the government, I accepted VL’s offer. I asked him what the rest of the Cabinet thought of his offer and what he told me gave me pause. He said he had lied to them, said that I disbanded the New Dominion in order to pursue politics in the Legion. This was his story, and I was to adhere to it from this point on.

We did, much to the anger of my New Dominion Lady of the Realm. She was pissed that we were subjecting ourselves to the decisions of a power outside the New Dominion and that I, even as Supreme Holy Magistrate of the New Dominion, had made the decision alone. From there on out, she and the other members of TND dropped in activity, and sadly VL’s lie became a de facto truth. After a year of fun together, the New Dominion fizzled and broke apart. A bit over a year old, I was Director of Communications, and thinking ahead to elections just three weeks away as the rest of the world held its breath between Great Wars.'

Episode II - Ascent to Cabinet and the Third Great WarEdit

After being appointed Director of Communications, I spent my time trying to revitalize some publicity, working with a Legionnaire named Gman08 who was talented in the Photoshop program. We worked on a poster series and I began planning a Legion newsletter and conscripting moviemaking Legionnaires for a video propaganda series. A program I had recently started, the Legion Lottery, was going well and helping equip Legionnaires with nuclear weapons. I also had been spending terrifically fun evenings once a week holding my radio show with a large Legion audience. My WVBU broadcasts to the Legion are still some of my fondest memories of my time with CN. The rest of the Legion was looking around anxiously, because the world was still a very tense place post-GW2. Many Legionnaires were still upset about our abstention from the war.

Elections came in mid-February, and I tossed my hat in the race for Deputy Prime Minister. I didn’t really expect to win after Reformentia nominated himself for the same post a day later because I knew he was much more experienced than I; I had even privately told him before elections that he should run for something because the Legion needs him. The rest of the races were also very exciting, especially the crowded Foreign Minister’s race and Home Minister’s race, both of which included at least five candidates. Somehow, I beat Reformentia and I made it into a Cabinet of people I considered decent friends: GunneR, Sinatra, and Sir Galahad, led by VL. But something bothered me, and that night I had a conversation with my Prime Minister I’ll never forget.

I confronted VL about lying to the last Cabinet, and asked if he’d lie to us too. His response was that he’d do what he felt was best for the Legion, even if it meant lying. He stressed that 99.9% of the time he was honest, but on very specific occasions a lie or fib was the best option. For better or for worse, that introduction to top level Legion politics colored my development as a leader for the rest of my tenure in the Legion. Perhaps it led to some decisions I’m not proud of, but it also led to decisions that I still honestly believe were the right calls.

The term started off pretty nicely. The Legion was the biggest alliance in the world, and had a bulging human infrastructure within it to try to manage over 1500 nations. VL’s mission was clear: build Orrple into a bloc that could break away from CN politics and go focus on its own growth and economic development unfettered by the polarized MDP web. The Cabinet backed that goal, and moved toward it by approaching various alliances about it including b, CDS, NAAC, and even GPA. In fact, I remember my first diplomatic talks with an alliance; VL brought Sir Galahad and I to speak with GPA representatives about signing a treaty with us. No treaty came of it of course, but it was fun meeting and discussing business with them. It would prove a stark contrast to the next diplomatic mission I’d undertake.

We felt we were making good progress abroad, and at the same time internally we were happy. I have great memories of late night games of online Monopoly with friends and allies. Some folks weren’t thrilled about how things went in the election and split off to form their own alliance called Valhalla, and there was a lot of resentment on both sides. Some in the Legion tried to quell it while others only exacerbated the issue, and the same could be said about the Valhallans. We didn’t think much on them though, and focused on our own house until Sir Galahad spoke to Vincent_Xander, GATO Assembly Chairman, about GATO’s potentially threatening stance towards NPO. The Legion wanted no part of anymore animosity or fighting or bickering over ancient history, and SG told VX as much. I told SG we’d need to withdraw from the treaty because GATO clearly wanted to head down a road antithetical to the Legion’s aims. How we went about doing so was a huge blunder on our part.

The logs got posted on our forum’s Private Discussions section as evidence against the GATO MDP, but anyone who was around and paying attention back then remembers the Legion’s forum security was awful and the logs got leaked quickly. NPO used it as a staging point for an effective PR campaign against GATO. The recently crowned Emperor Moo even commented that perhaps he had misjudged Legion’s intentions, having now seen a private conversation portraying Legion’s earnest repulsion from GATO’s anti-NPO sentiments. VL and the Cabinet tried to cancel the GATO treaty, but did so without due process. The membership backlash from those who wanted to stand with GATO against NPO snowballed until some were calling for VL’s impeachment. In the end, we went back and tried to vote it out, but the knee-jerk movement to keep it was already very strong and the MDP remained intact. The leadership looked like fools and kept a treaty that dragged us into a war we didn’t want any part of, but I learned something about how to present decisions to the membership in such a way that they’ll accept—a lesson that would come in handy in a month.

It didn’t take long after the logs got leaked for war to break out. The Legion mobilized as best as it could, but we were a lumbering giant, tripping over our own mass. Before things actually got rolling, the Cabinet received a tip from a member whose nation was mistakenly sent a message clearly not meant for him. The PM contained orders for TOP, FAN, and VE to hit the Legion when Legion entered the fray. In a very controversial decision, VL decided we would strike at TOP and FAN, instead of waiting for them to go on the offensive against us. The Legion held an NAP with TOP and a treaty of recognition with FAN (FAN already had a policy against NAPs by the time our GLOCK treaty was written—it said virtually nothing of any substance whatsoever beyond affirming FAN’s affinity for firearms). TOP’s NAP had a self-voiding clause that triggered when one of us went against an ally of the other’s. When TOP threw their support behind NPO’s attacks on GATO on March 19, that treaty was cancelled. These realities did nothing to prevent WUT propagandists from slandering the Legion as treaty-breakers, of course, for our assault against those set to attack us.

I remember the thrill and anxiety in #Sanctum, the IRC command center for Aegis. I got to meet some very interesting people from a wide array of alliances, folks I’ve only ever heard of and seen making posts here and there. It was packed full of leaders, and the energy was palpable. Make no mistake, it was a total madhouse. No clear leadership, no uniform direction, no decent battle plan. It was a bigger clusterfrak than I could have realized then, but that was also where I first met people I still call my friends today, players like Archon, Virillus, and others. Something else was odd about leadership. I didn’t see it at the time because I wasn’t expecting it at all, but in retrospect I got the distinct impression that a lot of people were looking to the Legion to lead the war effort for Aegis. I suppose it made sense that we would, as the biggest, strongest behemoth on our side. What felt awkward about that at the beginning of the war was what doomed us all the way though: our inexperience.

One of my clearest memories from the early days of the war was talking with /b/’s second-in-command, furseiseki, convincing her to toss /b/ into the fight, against VE. Moreover, we discussed a problem, that Heft was possibly an NPO plant or spy in IRON, based on logs that revealed Heft talking to Philosopher, feeding him intel from #Sanctum. One of the projects the two of us attempted the rest of the war was trying to build enough evidence that Heft was leaking information to NPO from IRON and our side’s private channel, but by the time furseiseki and I had enough the war was almost over and she said Sister Midnight, then President of IRON, was in denial about Heft even after chewing him out for leaking information to NPO. Ever since he ran to Philosopher with private Aegis intel, I never really trusted or respected Heft.

I genuinely thought during most of the war that we were winning and the numbers were an illusion, but there was no getting around it by the end. We sucked. Half of our members left under the pressure, and our admiralty system was great to deal with nuclear rogues and isolated pests—not a large-scale war. Instead, we tried to stem large-scale desertions. The home we loved so dearly came crashing down around us. What was at first excitement at the thought that we’d finally be able to end the WUT hegemony and lift NPO’s stranglehold on Digiterra descended into despair that the arrayed forces against the Initiative were being crushed so soundly.

That war was hell on toast for that Cabinet. VL was not nearly active enough. I spent part of the war in the hospital having heart surgery, largely cut off from the Internet. I managed to largely miss /b/’s monstrous departure, the CN code getting stolen, and the game shutting down. The Legion was still having security issues, and members were resigning in quick succession. Our Foreign Minister Sir Galahad left, feeling like he was the only one doing any work in our government. We were stretched too thin, and we didn’t even have the time or manpower to follow up adequately on information being passed to us about the Valhallan spy in our ranks, USNN.

As our alliance struggled and morale fell, our Aegis-mates left the war one by one. Our strategy of knocking out WUT’s smaller players in order to focus on NPO in the second phase of the war had failed miserably. The Legion’s personal strategy to attack two hours before update backfired. It was a steaming pile of failure on our part on just so many levels. Around the first week in April, I realized the sooner we surrendered the more of the alliance would be left to carry on and live. There was a problem though: VL had just publicly scorned and mocked Ivan Moldavi in the first attempt at terms. I could tell VL was tired of CN drama and had had enough of the stress from what should have been a fun experience. Nevertheless, his offense made getting terms from WUT tricky; they refused to speak with him after that.

We started getting desperate. Government and membership alike talked of folding into ODN, or disbanding publicly and reforming in several months under another guise, or settling into an underground resistance movement. After NAAC disbanded, I realized that if someone didn’t get us out of this war, the Legion would be next. I remembered what VL had told me my first night in office, about doing what was best for the Legion even at the price of total honesty. That night I decided to go approach NPO for terms myself, without telling VL. It was quite a different experience than my friendly meeting with GPA just weeks earlier.

After hours of negotiating and arguing, we hammered out our conditions of surrender, and they weren’t pretty at all. Aside from crippling reparations, VL and Great Britain would have to be exiled and I knew what that would mean for them. After they were agreed upon, I began the task of getting the terms passed and apologized to VL for what was to come. He was my Prime Minister, and I felt terrible that I went behind his back to sign him over to the NPO, but I saw no other way for the Legion to survive the war.

I took to heart the lessons I learned from the GATO MDP debacle, and this time I posted the terms in the Legion’s Discussions simultaneously with a post from each Cabinet member asking the Legion membership to accept the terms and honor the sacrifice VL and Great Britain would be making. Under great pressure from NPO government, I expedited the process further and wrote the post of one Cabinet member for him because I hadn’t gotten his yet and we were on a timetable I didn’t want to risk breaking at the cost of terms being withdrawn. I’ve never been morally comfortable with that decision since I made it, and even now I regret putting words into another person’s mouth that egregiously. If you’re out there, somewhere, reading this and willing to accept it, I want to say publicly and sincerely that I’m still very sorry for doing that to you, GunneR.

The Legion agreed to the terms, and with a heavy heart we cast out VL and Great Britain. I always have wished, still wish now, and always will wish that it had been me instead of VL who was ejected under those terms. I even offered my head to NPO in place of his, but was refused. VL, you were always the better man and better leader. You didn’t deserve what happened to you, and for my part in it I’m terribly, terribly sorry. There was no other way out than surrender, and no surrender to be had without you gone.

And so I took the Prime Minister’s seat, and appointed the competent and weathered veteran Atlashill to my now empty chair to sit through the last days of the term bereft of our dignity, our happy little world, and a sad many friends. When the term ended, I took a much-needed break from Cybernations and running the Legion. I was burnt out, feeling sad and guilty, and had another heart surgery coming up. I kept my AA, but I didn’t even stick around to see myself get inducted into the Legion Hall of Fame, along with my dear friend Rakari. The Legion never fully recovered from the Great War III loss, due in part to the later losses that continued to set us back, and the crushing defeat of our armies and our reputation.

Episode III - Seeing Red on Purple SphereEdit

The months following the Third Great War were a challenge for the Legion. For me, they were a break. I got burnt out during the war, and with heart surgery and a busy summer in store, I went on inactive leave. While I was out, I miss some internal things, like my induction into the Legion’s hall of fame, our Charter being revised, the trouble working out the reparations with NPO, et al, the development of PUPPY (later GRAPE), and the Admiralty being restructured, among much more I’d assume. I also mostly missed some noteworthy world events, like the VE war and their dissolution, CIS splitting from WUT, and whatever else went on I didn’t bother to find out about later or have since forgotten. Most notably, when I came back I saw that several of my friends and peers had left the Legion and I didn’t understand why. Atlashill, Vanshira, GunneR, and others had parted ways with us and formed Kaleidoscope. I’m still not honestly sure what exactly caused this.

Mostly, the Legion licked its wounds and worked hard to pay off the reparations to the Initiative, keep activity up, and tend to its self. Reformentia was Prime Minister then, and a fine Prime Minister he was. He tended to work behind the scenes, and as anyone who knew him could tell you, he hated the limelight. His DPM, Sinatra, was the opposite. But this isn’t a character study, it’s a reflection.

About halfway through summer, I came back. Most folks hadn’t seen much of me at all since I left in April. It was now sometime in June and the new Charter had gone through and come out the other end with new posts: Justices. I came back the night of nominations to throw my hat into the ring for a Justice post, and easily won one of three seats, with T.Hubb and Shadow winning the other two. We got our first case when nbx909 sued our Foreign Minister jazzi for some alleged shenanigans with IRC Ops and whatever else it was. The trial was, in my opinion, a farce. The allegations were almost silly, and jazzi refused to participate until I managed to berate her into actually cooperating so we weren’t forced to do something she didn’t really deserve. I felt a bit uncomfortable with how that trial ran because of my conflicted interests. Jazzi was a friend, and someone I perceived as doing plenty of good for the Legion, and I knew she had better things to do than stand trial for some IRC hogwash. I did what I could within the court system to accelerate the trial and get jazzi out of whatever red tape there was. Despite my bias, I made my decisions based on an honest assessment of the claims made in the case. In the end, nothing of real substance or consequence was decided, and I felt that the court system was not being used properly. We ended up dismissing more cases than we heard after that.

Aside from assuming my office as Legion Justice, I also had taken on a post as ambassador to the NPO, and was earnestly wanted to see things improve with us and Pacifica. In spite of the trials that had passed between our alliances, I considered Emperor Revenge a friend and hoped that if he and I could find common ground and agree on things, there was hope to actually develop something with the Legion and NPO. I wanted to see us work together, move past old disagreements, and perhaps sign of treaty of some sort. I knew it wouldn’t be anything fancy or defensive, but I thought some sort of Treaty of Friendship would be a step in the right direction. I also wanted to do something enjoyable with the NPO, like a spamming contest (the Legion has always enjoyed its spam games), but Moo and I had a comic exchange I’ll never forget.

  • [01:47] <Moo-Cows> we don't do spam
  • [01:47] <Lord_Swampy> oh
  • [01:47] <Lord_Swampy> sad.gif
  • [01:48] <Lord_Swampy> what do you guys do for fun?
  • [01:48] <Moo-Cows> we kill things

While it cracked me up at the time and still does, it illustrated the very different attitudes by which NPO and the Legion operate. The Legion still just wanted to be happy, and enjoy themselves peacefully in Digiterra. The NPO simply had different goals, and a very different modus operandi.

A more serious suggestion I made to Moo and the Legion Cabinet was renewing an old agreement to which we both were still party, the For the Love of God, Think of the Children Pact. It was a commitment to a nuclear non-first strike policy espoused by a number of alliances. It was crafted a year before I suggested reconvening it, and after a year most of the signatories had pulled out or disbanded. My hope was that with NPO and Legion co-sponsoring a renewal of it, we’d get a lot of alliances following our lead and it could even help build bridges between NPO and Legion. Moo told me he’d talk it over with his advisers, and the Legion government was degrees of supportive of the idea. Not long afterwards, Emperor Moo released a statement proclaiming the irrelevance of the FtLoGTotCC, and pulling out of it with GGA. I was dismayed and disappointed, but I was not shaken from my firm but perhaps misguided idealism.

Through the rest of June, July, and through August, I enjoyed myself as best as possible. I was an active member of the Advisory Committee in the Legion, an admin on the Legion boards, as a Justice, and just simply as a Legionnaire among friends. Swampy’s Corner was still running and as we moved through the GW3 surrender terms and restructured the Admiralty, the alliance was growing again.

One specific surrender term from the war, VL’s ejection, bothered the alliance deeply. To be honest, a significant part of the government wasn’t all that unhappy with Great Britain’s removal. The symbolic humiliation was one thing, but on the practical level, we felt that Great Britain had caused the Legion a lot of problems. He had irresponsible tendencies, didn’t regard his position as President in a fitting manner, and encouraged pathological attitudes and behaviors in the membership. When he left, he went nuclear rogue on NPO, and we washed our hands of him. We never liked seeing nuclear rogues in CN, even if they were hitting our enemies. VL, though, VL we missed dearly.

After much government discussion, we made VL an adviser. I created a mask for him, and he was able to see almost our entire internal forums, except the private Cabinet Discussions. I only gave him posting privileges for our public areas and AC Discussions area, though; the risk of an accident was too great. We knew that our NPO overlords wouldn’t be thrilled if they found out, but we felt that making him an honorary adviser was quite different from him being a member of the alliance or government, and didn’t violate terms. In this way, we were able to hold onto one of our most beloved old Legion leaders, and VL continued to be of slight influence in the AC. I always sensed that he felt estranged though, and I suspected he was growing despondent at his situation—a visitor in what should have been his own home, bound by the chains of silence and persecution.

It was July or early August, and the Legion foreign policy was largely concerned with purple unity. Purple Unity Pact of Pure Yes (PUPPY) had been passed by most alliances, but not all. It was a tough situation. The Legion wanted Purple Sphere to have a solid, unifying treaty, and for it to be meaningful. I think most of the sphere wanted that. The problem was we just weren’t there yet in terms of our relationships. There were a few friendships here and there, but the sphere was dissonant. PUPPY was what happened when that goal was attempted before it was ready to be achieved.

Tensions continued to mount, most notably between Valhalla and the Legion. We had a Treaty of Amity, but it was tenuous at best. That fell apart when a Valhallan, Doland Grimnoir, left or was ejected from Valhalla. He came to the Legion seeking admittance. noWedge told us not to accept him. A fair request, by all accounts, if it had proper justification. We asked why not, but noWedge refused to provide a reason beyond his clear dislike for him we could sense. The Legion government didn’t feel that some foreign power should be dictating to us who we could and couldn’t accept without justification, especially when all noWedge had to do was explain even a little bit of his reasons—but noWedge wasn’t one to explain himself to others. We let Doland in, and noWedge cancelled the ToA. We were perturbed, but it was clear to us noWedge was just looking for an excuse to cancel on us so he could claim whatever moral high-ground.

Internally, we had restructured. The government decided it was high time to trim some bureaucratic fat. The government talked over ideas, and I remember an important conversation I had with Reformentia about some major changes. There were two in particular we went over: the League of Nations and the financial state of the Legion. We needed Charter amendments, and he was to head one while I the other. And so it was: I led the push to install the Legion Bank, a much needed separate system to oversee all our monetary transactions and development. Yes, somehow even more than two years old, the Legion had no banking system. It was all run under the Home Ministry, but I felt the need to create something to stand alone and take care of business. I planned it out, ran some drafts by our Quartermaster or Chief Financial Officer, and created the Legion Bank by Charter amendment.

Ref wanted to wait on his part until he was out of office, and I understood why. We were going to axe the League of Nations and as Prime Minister centralizing more power, he just felt uncomfortable with the idea. I didn’t like that I’d have to push for it under my own term for the same reasons, but it was necessary and one of us had to do it. So we bided our time, and I began creating the bank’s structure in cooperation with Gene L, a good buddy of mine who was high up in our preexisting meager finance wing. Our plan seemed pretty good, and relied on a fair number of people contributing a little bit each to make a lot of banks and prevent the financial crisis that we experienced during GW3.

August reared its head in earnest, and that meant elections were approaching. I had gotten just a bit of wind of what might be in store for the Legion, but didn’t nearly grasp the full scope of what was coming. I decided that before real life got busy again, I should take another go-round at Cabinet, this time as Prime Minister because Reformentia was stepping down. I didn’t expect much competition for the job, honestly. My Legion resume was extensive, and only one other Legionnaire had anywhere near the respect and admiration from the alliance I had but Ref would be too busy IRL to handle the job. Sinatra, however, disagreed. He was gearing up for what he thought would be an incredibly close PM race. He joked about it to me frequently, but I couldn’t bring myself to dash his expectations of an even match. I was a bit concerned only because his popularity with the young members was powerful.

It wasn’t to even come into play though. Because of a foolish mistake transgressing election law, Sinatra and a candidate for Foreign Minister, Karl Marx, were disqualified by our election chair. Sinatra was immensely indignant and mad, resigning from the Legion in a rash move. He reapplied hours later and tried to take back the Deputy Prime Minister seat, but this was a problem. He left the alliance and couldn’t come back into government just like that. Reformentia approached me and offered me the job, explaining what had went down with Sinatra. He also warned me that trouble was brewing fast. Behind the doors of the most private forums, our Cabinet had been talking about a growing sense that we were about to have major problems, violent problems, with Valhalla. We hadn’t been approached by them about it, but the word on the street from those in the know was that they were going to hit us during our election cycle, when we were most vulnerable.

We were the ones who went to Valhalla and asked if there was a problem, having heard so many consistent rumors about trouble. noWedge was vague and repulsed our efforts at democracy several times over. Things got worse as Reformentia went on a vacation he had booked long ago, and time was short as I was promoted to acting Prime Minister. Having had a decent rapport with noWedge before he left the Legion, I was optimistic that a solution could be found. It wasn’t, and like previous attempts at peaceful resolution, noWedge responded with insults and thinly veiled threatening hints. With avenues for amicable solutions closing and the clock ticking, I went to Emperor Moo with our Foreign Minister jazzi to discuss what was going on. From that conversation we learned what causus belli lay in store for us: spying.

Immediately we set about an investigation, trying to figure out why they thought this, who they thought was spying, asking Valhalla to share evidence with us so we may find our spy and handle the problem. I had only one idea what they could be talking about, and it was a lead from back in the third Great War. I mentioned earlier being too busy then with the war to follow up on our discovery that USNN was spying on the Legion, taking screenshots of our boards and passing them along. He was caught because he was a terribly spy, and hosted images on a Photobucket account named USNN of all things. :eyeroll: We got the tip off about him though, from a Valhallan who was formerly in the Legion, Jack8377. I looked back over PMs from months earlier, and we tried to piece together what little we had. We wanted to figure out what it was we were missing and what could be going on right under our noses. The Cabinet had no idea what was going on, and we were frantic.

Slowly, things came into focus. We realized who the tip came from, who it went to, and who heard about it along the way. We started looking at who had connections to Valhalla and started investigating with the most recent one: Doland Grimnoir. It didn’t take long before we found connections between him and Jack8377. We pushed our luck, did some homework, and finally confronted Doland about it. He didn’t understand at first that what he did was spying, or even wrong. But jazzi and I explained to him that accepting information from the private sections of another alliance’s boards and not doing anything about it was unethical and equitable to spying. Our hope was that when confronted with the truth, he’d go along quietly and leave for the good of the Legion. He took a bit more convincing then that. As per our policy of separation between IC and OOC, I explained to him that he could leave, be ZI’d for his crime, reroll later, and come back to the Legion. Odds were unless he caused problems again, we’d not even know it was him. By this understanding, he agreed, confessed, and we had our spy caught and ejected—no thanks to noWedge.

I posted an announcement on the OWF that the Legion had found and dealt with a spy in our midst. I reaffirmed our stance against spying and implored any alliance that had an issue with us or believed a similar case was as yet unsolved to come to us and work with us to fix these problems. I thought the matter was handled rather well, if stressfully, on our part given the total lack of help from Valhalla. I even dared to relax for a minute or two.

Silly me.

Throughout the history of Digiterra, those bent on the Legion’s destruction have rarely been stopped by things like truth, integrity, and attempts at civil problem-solving or bridge-building. This would be no different. Within an hour of my announcement, I received a phone call from one of my ministers directing me to the announcement I had made. It had been trolled to death. I had posted some logs from the conversation with Doland and apparently they seemed too scripted. I was accused of forging logs and jokes were made about me being Shakespeare, the dialogue being a play, yadda yadda. No one cared to believe that I actually talk rather formally and frankly when in serious conversations. No one, that is, save for the one foreign party in that thread to come out and testify publicly in my defense: Zulchep of STA. But it was too little too late. The damage done, the announcement discredited, and our work done for nothing, we realized we saw the writing on the wall. Such organized and dedicated displays of slander and mockery of alliance leaders cleaning their own house rarely do not precede a thrashing.

I confronted noWedge again, furious and anxious. What did he want from us? We found, exposed, and were ZIing a spy we previously had no idea existed. We made a public apology and reaffirmed our stance against spying. We had gone to great lengths to make right a problem Valhalla refused to even explain to us. What more could an alliance in our situation do when all attempts to talk had been met with aggression and spurned?

Preparing for war was the only option. But the timing could not have been worse for us. During our election week, the Legion’s attention is almost totally consumed by our exciting democratic process. Democracy gets knocked a lot in CN, but we liked ours very much and delighted in the chance for ordinary Legionnaires to become extraordinary leaders of the new term. Our electoral process was time consuming and involved. In this period of transition, I knew we would be attacked. Valhalla, remember, was made almost entirely of former Legionnaires who knew what we were like during elections, and knew that we were weakest when the new government was just being elected because all the new ministers would come into the Cabinet not necessarily knowing what was going on at the top levels. As unfortunate as that was, sadly enough, it was not the biggest problem.

The major problem was that it was the middle of August and the Cabinet was stretched very thin again by absences—this time vacations. There were only five of us to begin with, and Reformentia was gone off backpacking for several weeks, almost totally unreachable. I was about to go on a pre-planned vacation myself for several days to the beach. Mr.AdmiralX, our Minister of Defense, was very busy with work so he could take time off; he was about to go on a trip. On top of that, Jazzi, whose health was poor, was in and out of the hospital. It was Saturday night, the situation was grim, and I had only hours left before I departed for the beach.

Talks with noWedge went nowhere—he claimed there was another spy in the Legion that the Cabinet knew about and Doland was only our fall guy, but refused to talk to us beyond hurling insults and threats. NPO wasn’t going to help us out of this one certainly. We knew we were going to get hit by more than we could take, and we had but one truly close friend, ODN. It was certain Valhalla would bring as many big friends with it to the fight to make sure that even with Orrple support we’d have no chance for anything other than erasure. I spoke with Chefjoe, the Vice Regent of Valhalla then. Whereas noWedge had been a total $@! in talks, Chefjoe I found to be quite the opposite. He was friendly, and sad at the state of things. He didn’t like at all that the sphere was coming to blows.

We discussed the situation in what was by far the most productive and positive conversation I had had with a foreign leader in the past week. For hours we tried to figure out a solution, but despite his role as the second-in-command in Valhalla, he had no real power to do anything without noWedge. I tried to bargain for more time such that after the weekend I’d be back and we could straighten things out. I explained the Legion’s situation, and asked what more we could do to assuage Valhalla or stall. He would try to delay things on their end, but I knew we were toast.

In a last ditch effort to buy time so perhaps diplomacy could have a chance, I made a decision that caused much controversy in and outside the Legion. I ordered the alliance into peace mode. My rationale was that we weren’t going to get anywhere positive through war, only be destroyed. noWedge clearly wanted us gone so he could be the principle power on the Purple Sphere. The only chance we had was to prevent as much damage being done to the alliance as possible so that we had a shot at negotiations. I remembered how tied my hands were in the last negotiations after a defeat. The harder we get pounded the fewer bargaining chips we had if we wanted to have an alliance left afterwards. Peace mode bought us time and leverage. I stand by that decision. It’s not glorious, but it was effective. Ever since that decision, a huge stigma has been levied on peace mode during wartime because of the problems it causes for an aggressor, as the Legion demonstrated.

That order was the last I was able to give, and had to hope my absentee Cabinet and whoever else could carry it out to avoid destruction. The clock had run out. I worked for the Legion's safety all the way through the night up until I had to pack into the car the next morning and leave for four days. Untold darkness lay before me, and before the Legion.

As I drove off, I prayed that I would have an alliance left when I returned.

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