Thursday, October 12, 2023

Rumors About General Pettygree Are True

Where Is General Pettygree?
Céline Evangeline Desmond
Correspondent for The Exploration Times, San Francisco, USA

"Upon arrival at The Exploration Times, I saw a note prominently placed on my desk. It curtly said, 'See me first thing today,' signed, Marlowe Leininger, Editor in Chief. Without sitting down to sift through the mountain of newspapers recently arrived from around the globe, I  walked down the hall, knocked on his door and opened it after hearing, 'Come in. Welcome Miss Desmond. Opportunity awaits. Please sit down and listen.' "He belatedly added, 'You look swell, I mean, ready." 

"Continuing, he said, 'There are occasions, when writers about whom the public is keen go silent. For example, General Pettygree's Battle Stories have slowed remarkably this year. Your next assignment is to find him and report back to me about his exploits, etc. before the year ends, in a serial format if practicable."

I remarked, "The last I knew he was either on The Northwest Frontier or New Guinea. Do you know where he may be now, sir?"

"Well done Miss Desmond. The most recent information is, he boarded Galaxy Line's Amelia in February out of Bombay sailing for Bali, Malabascar and finally Isla Incognita.  A strange stepped pyramid discovered in the jungle on the latter island two years ago intrigued him. Given his interest in archaeology, he may be there." 

"Leininger then handed a large parchment-colored envelope to me. Inside was one ticket  for air passage aboard the new Trans-Pacific Clipper bound for Bali tomorrow. I would report to Dock 7 for a 6:15 am departure. A second enclosed ticket simply said, Air Transport for a one-way flight aboard Chandler Air's  Grumman G-21-Amphibian. See proprietor Broxton Chandler in Crescent Harbor, Malabascar for available chartering information. A third envelope contained $7,500 US and an equal amount in British pounds for expenses."

"We soon parted with blessings and good wishes for success. Rather than record my sometimes thrilling and monotonous travel itinerary here, it will suffice to say that after nineteen days of flying, motoring, boating, waiting and chartering...." 

Chandler's floatplane pictured above arrived at a white sandy beach on Isla Incognita's south coast  deplaning me there as a tropical storm threatened nearby. 

"The location of the step pyramid was no longer a secret. Transportation was easily arranged for the next morning to the dig site. After a four hour journey aloft in a swaying howdah attached to Annie, a pleasant Indian elephant, I found myself in the presence of...."

"General William Augustus Pettygree, soldier of Egypt and The Soudan, Northwest Frontier and Chronicler of Battle Stories across the globe waiting for me."

"I am honoured to meet you Miss Desmond. According to an advance letter from Leininger, an old acquaintance of mine, you are tasked with discovering and writing about my recent adventures as some call them.

"Yes General. I am at your service as circumstances permit."

"I am presently engaged with a singular problem in the pyramid. May I suggest we commence this afternoon after you freshen up and settle in the tent prepared for you?" With a wink he smiled saying, "All the comforts of home, you know."


"There you are Miss Desmond. The problem in the pyramid is as resolved as it can be today. At any rate, please forgive my tardiness and not being dressed to the nines. We've not much time before supper in the camp so.... Shall we begin?"

"Yes, of course General. Starting with this year, what Battle Story intrigued you and your adventure chronicler, Bill, most."

"Though the engagements on the north coast of New Guinea between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Australians remain uppermost in my thinking, without a doubt, it was the 1876 Centennial Campaign. I brought along some tolerable photographs if you would care to see them." 

"He began with...."

"My chronicler, Bill, was pleased to reveal a project regarding The 1876 Centennial Campaign, specifically the 17 June Battle of The Rosebud. His collection of Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and the American military has lain dormant for more than two decades. The above references by Vaughn and Sandoz were singularly valuable in rewriting his home-brewed rules. The Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow operate primarily by a redesign of the Native Activation System from "Pony Wars" also suitable for Solo play. Multiple rewrites with solo and five games with friends specifically about The Rosebud resulted in interesting and fun experiences. Bill thought that by Rosebud #3, Indian behaviors closely resembled their new way of fighting."

"Crazy Horse was key in the new tactics. Counting coup and almost universal independent actions were replaced by many coordinated efforts to successfully stop General Crook and Colonel Custer a week later."

"The Mari Sandoz book is historical fiction based on trusted immersion with the Western Plains Indians, research and living in western Nebraska. Her profound style presented  Indian conversations, actual events, culture and points of view brilliantly. Bill found it to be a significantly different and instructive way to explain the Plains Indians involving Crazy Horse et al. Bill learned a lot saying, "It was my most satisfying read in years."

"Vaughn's book presented the complicated actions of The Rosebud with considerable detail. This was a refreshing change. He walked the area many times finding archaeological treasures not only for their own sake but to speculate about locations fought over by both sides. Many facts, after action reports, letters and stories so necessary to simulate the engagement are included." 

"Writing in 1956, Vaughn's dedication said, 'To the men and warriors on both sides of the battle who fought for the right as it was given to them to see the right."

"Anyone designing wargame rules for 1876 must read both books." 

Two Troops of  John Ford-esque Hollywood US Cavalry.
Photo courtesy of Dave G.

Dave G. also took this inspired photo at the end of Rosebud #5.


"Good Morning Miss Desmond. I trust you rested well with the cacophony of jungle animals walking about and screeching all night."

"Oh General, I have had the pleasure of boating the Amazon River and a few tributaries  in search of strange animals thought to have perished long ago while dodging unknown and wary indigenous tribes. The cloud bedecked prodigious mesas of Venezuela offered opportunities of other kinds. Thank you for asking. Perhaps you can see, I am fine."

"Splendid. Well, I have an hour before Grandmaison and I ride to the harbor to meet Mrs. Pettygree. She has joined me on several archaeological expeditions before, The Nile Delta and The Island of Crete for two. She is keen to investigate the pyramid here comparing it to one in Egypt. And so, let me resume...."

"Most recently Chuck The Lucky broadened Bill's game experiences with a Post WWII Science Fiction world known as Konflikt 47. 

"Here is the rulebook. It utilizes familiar WWII historical combatants and equipment. However, the authors added imagineered new combatants and equipment of the most astonishing kinds."

"From the genre of science fiction, General?"

"Quite so."

"There is nothing above from science fiction though as four 28mm sections of American GIs disembark from transports. However...."

"Here we have three unusual Imperial Japanese Army tanks. Imaginative aren't they? That is because the Warlord Chi-Ha tanks (center and foreground) and the Chi-Nu at the top of the image are firing "compression waves." These somehow ruin target molecular cohesion thereby rendering enemy vehicles inoperative."

"Do they fall apart or crumble, General? I...."

"I'm new to this too Miss Desmond so I'll just say, something like what you said happens. It's all made up, you see, as is Bill's rendition of compression wave cotton smoke stained with copper paint enclosing copper-colored pipe cleaners."

"Some other examples are these Japanese armoured infantry approaching...."

"More heavily armoured USA infantry investigating a totem."

"Sir, do you anticipate writing a Battle Story involving Konflikt 47?"

"Yes, indeed but the date is unknown."

Thank you General. There is much to relate to my readers. While you are engaged with the arrival of your wife, Mary, I'll type a letter....

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To: Marlowe Leininger, Editor in Chief, The Exploration Times
From: Correspondent Céline Evangeline Desmond
Location: Step Pyramid, Site C, Isla Incognita
Date: October 13 STC (Space Time Continuum As Needed)

Dear Mr. Leininger,
    Please accept this first dispatch regarding the assignment you gave me to discover recent activities of Battle Story author, General Pettygree. I type this brief message in haste in order to place it aboard Chandler Air's Amphibian departing sometime later today.
     In the days ahead I will chronicle two detailed stories. One involves the 1876 STC Centennial Campaign Battle of The Rosebud. The other concerns a futuristic time in which World War II does not end, a troubling thought certainly with ray guns and armored men.
    I am alive, well, fully engaged with the job and grateful for the opportunity to be here. Hoping this intentionally brief letter will reach you before Thanksgiving, I,

Remain Sincerely Yours,
Miss Céline Evangeline Desmond

PS Perhaps it is nothing, but the General alluded to some disagreeable matter in the step pyramid. He did not offer to explain. I thought not to ask this soon after my arrival. However, I will investigate and if it is of interest, report about it to you for the readers.

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