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Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and a prominent commander of the "Rough Riders", 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry. A sickly child, stricken with asthma, Roosevelt nonetheless had an active and curious spirit, taking up boxing and pursuing interests in taxidermy. He joined Harvard and studied natural sciences, but also studied the US Navy in the War of 1812. In the 1880s, Roosevelt bought land in the Dakota Territory and hunted bison, fascinated with the cowboy lifestyle.

Roosevelt had long been a figure on the political scene, but rose to national prominence in 1897 when William McKinley appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Roosevelt had a particular interest in expelling the Spanish from Cuba, and with the explosion of the USS Maine in February 1898, he ordered several naval vessels to mobilize without authorization from the president or the Secretary of the Navy. By April, Roosevelt resigned his post—not as a consequence of his bold actions, but because he strongly desired to participate in battle. He formed the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment with Leonard Wood—the press nicknamed them the "Rough Riders".

By June, Roosevelt was in Cuba and had his first battle at Las Guásimas. The Rough Riders skirmished with Spanish forces but had their advance checked, due in part to the mismanagement of Major General Joseph Wheeler. The fighting was inconclusive, with slightly more Americans dead than Spanish, though the Spanish ultimately withdrew to Santiago. At the Battle of San Juan Hill, Roosevelt personally oversaw the attack on Kettle Hill, supported by Gatling gun fire. Rallying his troops, he braved withering fire from the Spanish soldiers, firmly entrenched and ready to resist even at extremely close quarters. The charge eventually pushed the Spanish from their positions, though the Americans incurred heavy losses in attaining victory.

Roosevelt would draft a withdrawal request in the face of mounting casualties incurred as a result of yellow fever. By August, the Americans had started to pull out, but negotiated a treaty with Spain as the victors. Roosevelt returned a war hero, and was elected governor of New York and vice president under McKinley.

As president, Roosevelt’s foreign policy was imperialistic and expansionist, with special interest in expanding US interests in the Caribbean and in Latin America. He was driven to oversee the construction of the Panama Canal, and sent US Marines to Panama to intervene in the Thousand Days' War in Colombia. So positioned in the region, Roosevelt capitalized on Colombia’s immediate postwar weakness to encourage Panamanian secession, consequently negotiating a favorable treaty for the construction of the canal in 1903.

Roosevelt remained politically active after his presidency, splitting the Republican vote in the election of 1912 with his candidacy under the Progressive "Bull Moose" Party, and vocally opposing Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy during and after World War I. He died in 1919.

Battle vs. Pancho Villa (by  Urbancommando77)[]

No battle written.

Winner: Theodore Roosevelt

Expert's Opinion[]

Please consider a contribution to why the winner won.

To see the original battle, weapons, votes click here.

Battle vs. Crazy Horse (by MilenHD)[]

Crazy Horse: Yellow Yellow Yellow Yellow Yellow

Roosevelt: Green Green Green Green Green

The fields of the American West were silence, not a single sign of buffalo or mustangs were to be seen, but in the valley of the field Crazy Horse and 4 of his Lakota warriors were preparing their camp for the night, they still haven't hunted and they were ready to search for buffalo or something else. As all of them left their camp to hunt with their guns and weapons, on the small hill Theodore Roosevelt appeared with 4 Rough Riders as they were patrolling the area and the Lakotas noticed them.

Crazy Horse was the first to open fire with his Henry rifle, killing one of the Rough Riders in the head.Green Roosevelt and his Rough Riders began retreating. " Hide in the bushes and wait for my signal !"-Theodore told his men and as he rode his horse to lure the Indians into their trap, as one of the Indians fired his revolver missing Theodore who was galloping away from him, but Crazy Horse was following with his own horse.

As the Lakotas come closer to the trap, Roosevelt shouted-"NOW! OPEN THE FIRE!" and his Rough Riders fired their Krag carbines, killing one of the Lakota Indians.Yellow While Roosevelt fired his Colt 1892 and killed another Indian.Yellow One of the Lakotas fired his own Colt Single Action piercing the shoulder of Theodore with it's round.

As Roosevelt fell from his horse, the Crazy Horse was ready to blow Roosevelt's head with his Henry, but his rifle jammed and one of the Rough Riders attacked him with his Bowie knife trying to stab Crazy Horse, until he didn't got his head hacked by Lakota warrior.Green Than Crazy Horse and his Lakota warriors decide to retreat, than Crazy Horse mounted his horse and holding his revolver in hand he fired a lucky round, which pierced a Rough Riders head, which was reloading his own revolver.Green

Roosevelt mounted his horse and told his Rough Rider to follow him, as the Rough Rider fired his his Krag 4 times, and on the 5th attempt he killed a Lakota warrior.Yellow Theodore charged at at the Lakotas with his last Rough Rider and his last soldier began fighting with the Lakota which was wielding a tomahawk and he was wielding a bowie knife. After split seconds of fighting, the American stabbed the Lakota in the throat.Yellow But after he turned, Crazy Horse swooped the American's head with his club.Green

Crazy Horse and Theodore Roosevelt were standing at each end of the field and as both gave their war cries, they charged at each other. With the first clash Roosevelt cut Crazy Horse's shoulder with his saber. As both charged once again, this time Roosevelt got the lucky shot and sliced Crazy Horse's throat with his saber.Yellow

As Crazy Horse lifeless body fell from his horse, Roosevelt raised his saber and shouted in victory "AMERICA !".

Expert's Opinion[]

While Crazy Horse was superior tactician, Theodore Roosevelt better weapons and healthier troops gave him an easy victory over the Lakota chief.

To see the original battle, weapons and votes, click here.

Battle vs. T.E. Lawrence (by Battlefan237)[]

This warrior won a Battle of the Season Award









Outside Aqaba, within a region that will become today's Jordan

"There's a realm where gods resides, where souls of our world and many worlds beyond are summoned there on a regular basis, fighting each other for their entertainment."

Sat in front of the tent, staring at the Arabian sky dotted with stars hanging above, was T.E.Lawrence, pondering over the words that fortune teller whispered to him this morning. Another thing that kept him awake this late was a secret that had been burying inside his heart for years -- Ever since the great war broke out and he was incorporated into the intelligence service, sending to the front, strange nightmares had been plaguing his mind.

Usually this string of nightmares involved him waking up in an unknown grassland, with a few soldiers as company, forcing to fight off a group of attackers consisting of soldiers of other ethnics and languages. After the last member of the attacking squad was shot down, he would wake up, dumbfounded and bewildered. Had this been an one-off incident, he wouldn't have taken much of a notice. However, the underwhelming fact that a total of three nightmares of such had occurred throughout the past few years, all filled with blood sheds and violence that felt disturbingly realistic, engraved these nightmares deep, deep into his memory.

The Arabian fortune teller's words, as nonsensical and mythic as it sounded, had struck his mind and suddenly fostered an urge for him to associate it with the nightmares. "Are we just the toys and imaginations of beings from a civilization above ?" He couldn't help wondering, as inertia finally getting over him, putting him to fall asleep.

Little did he realize that the stars above him slowly formed into lines, changing their positions and spots at a steady pace, eventually transforming into the frames of two gigantic letters engraved on the sky ---- D. F.

"Simulation on." Called a voice from a dimension far away, and then what left on the ground, was an empty chair and twenty vacant beds scattered around the camp.......

The Other Dimension[]

Running Tally - L:R = 21:21

"How long have I been asleep ?" Thought Ted, as he lifted himself up. A quick scan around the nearby environment was what put an end to his wonderings and reach for the Colt tied in his belt.  Gazing back, coming into his sight were a small brigade of young bloods, with each of them armed and had confusion displayed on their faces. Seeing this, Ted smiled, as he remembered himself showing similar expression the first time he was summoned here to face off that "Mexican revolutionary with a supply train".

Striding towards his crew, Ted was able to pick out some familiar faces : Michael Wheeler, the rider that took lead in the charging squad at San Juan Hill, was in a state of shock, anxiously looking around in an attempt to figure out the situation, while Jesse Hanson, another bold soul, still seemed to be dumbfounded, staring blankly at the ground. Behind them stood William Woodbury, the machine gunner. Earl and Harlan Carpon , brothers that used to run a gun shop in Arizona, were also present in the crowd, clustering around Seth, hunter from Dallas and the one in charge of maps.

Noticing their commander coming, the crew immediately silenced down and turned to Ted. "Sir, where are we and what happened to us ?" Asked Michael, after giving his superior a salute. The future president was about to address his crew on his previous experience on this grassland and how the rules here works when a voice came broadcasting down from the sky : " Greetings, warriors.You just been selected from your time and space to compete in this brand new battle of Deadliest Fiction. Considering the fact that both of you are no stranger to this arena, I'm going to keep it short : Old rules, if you want to get back to your world, you need to wipe out every member of your opponent's squad.Ted, your enemies are at the bottom of the hill in the east. Lawrence, your enemies are at the bottom of the hill in the west. Now, the match has begun, and good luck to both of you." Abruptly ended was the voice.

"Wait. Who the hell are you and who grants you the right to force us into this so-called battle ? What if we don't obey you ?" Shouted Seth, indignantly, as he aimed his carbine at the sky, waving it wildly in defiance.

"Well, it's simple. I'll continue trapping you inside this dimension." Replied the voice, calmly.

"What's the f**k are you talking about !" Shouted Seth, as he pulled the trigger and opened fire. The moment the bullet came bolting out of the barrel, blasting down from the sky was a laser beam, tearing right into Seth's mortal body. With the strong light blazing around, the Rough Riders closed their eyes in shock, and seconds later when they opened their eyes, Seth was no more, and a severely-burnt human skeleton was all that left on the ground.

Meanwhile, in the east, Lawrence was addressing his team about the combat plan when the same laser beam blasted down and mangled apart an Arabian soldier on the edge of the crowd.

"An ignorant member of a certain team wanted to challenge my authority, so I send him to a better place.To make it fair for both of ya, I've just taken off a member of the opposing side .Now that everything is done, no more bullshits is required and I urge both warriors to enter the combat. Anyone else that attempt to defy will meet the same fate as your burnt teammate, understand ?"

"Yes, sir !" Replied soldiers from both sides in submission and fear.

"Finally......Neat." Said the voice, marking the beginning of a series of violent and yet entertaining events.......

Running Tally - L:R = 20:20 

Part I : The Presence from beyond[]

For the past 27 years of his life, Sayyid had always been a simple man. When everything was at ease, he devoted himself to the small farm he possessed, and when the Emir initiated the revolt, he joined in when the recruitment notice was put up in his village, giving it his heart and soul.

During the past few years,the term "Hell" was not adequate to describe what he went through. from the living purgatory of Rabigh to Qunfida, and to the bodies of Hejaz troops piling around the city of Medina -- the worst of mankind and the horror of war, all unfolded in front of him in chaotic fashion, coloring the desert in red and hardening his heart.

In this way, when a scout mission was assigned to him by his British superior, he simply took the task and didn't let the alien environment get a hold of him. Calmly making his way to the other side of the hill with four other Arabian soldiers as companions, Sayyid settled his squad of scouts behind a rock and began looking around, checking for any traces of upcoming enemies.

Approximately a few meters from the rock, was another slope, which stretched for about 100 meters and stopped at a small forest that blocked him from observing the bottom of the west hill. From Sayyid's point of view, only the upper parts of the woods were visible, and what was lurking inside remained uncertain.

After a brief moment of hesitation, Sayyid ordered two of his men to march forward, while he himself and the other two men remained on the hill, readying their rifles in case something went wrong.

Everything seemed smooth and normal as the two Syrian soldiers carefully edged themselves down the slope and approaching the hill. However, the moment they got close to the forest's edge, a bullet flew out of the woods, blasting one of them's head. Horrified, the other soldier immediately turned back and attempted to run back onto the slope, only to have another carbine round piercing his back.

Witnessing the two scouts meeting their doom, Sayyid and his men instantly held their SMLEs up, supporting them with their shoulders and aiming them at the woods, waiting for the enemy to come out. However, what gave them a shock was the fact that seconds later, came rushing out of the woods, were a large group of men, approximately ten, each of them dressed in blue flannel shirts and applying a slouch at to their head, carbines in hands and firing back at Sayyid's spot as they marched up the hill. What making it worse was that more men like them were following up. As far as Sayyid's concern, it seemed that their enemy had turned out in full strength.

Firing back at the fast-moving riders in haste, Sayyid was finding it hard to support his line, with the enemy troops outnumbering them catastrophically and seemingly possessing firearms that fired off faster rounds. Struggling to suppress the charging troops, the trio only managed to take down one of the riders the moment Michael Wheeler, the leading charger, came into their proximity. It was at this moment, Sayyid realized that he'd only got one round left. 

Raising up his rifle, the soldier stationed to the right of Sayyid wasn't fast enough to land a shot when a fist blow from the bulky Texan knocked him off balance, forcing him to drop the rifle and tend to his broken jaw, only to have another violent kick apply to his chest, sending him backwards.

With the first obstacle kicked out of his way, Michael pumped the last round of his Krag into the chest of the other Arabian militia, leaving the Syrian behind for Jesse, who finished him off by applying a .45 to his forehead. Sayyid, now alone and fixed in a dangerous situation, managed to retain his calmness and swiftly ducked behind the left section of the rock, dodging several bullets from Jesse's colt while steadying his rifle for a final shot.

"Come outta there you f**king coward !" Yelled Jesse, as he continued firing his Colt, closing to Sayyid's hiding spot. It didn't take long for the bullet to run out, and a brief second pause was applied the moment the clicking sound emerged. It was at this very moment that Sayyid rose up and did his job.

Following in a quick bang, was a pink mist consisted of blood, flesh and brain matters of Jesse Hanson, all splattered around, coloring the rock in crimson. Hardly had Sayyid dropped the empty rifle when the brute force of Michael pinned him down to the ground. Desperately reaching for the Khanjar in his cape, Sayyid struggled under the bear-like body of the Austiner, putting all his strength to resisting the pressure mounting on his flesh. However, the feeble force he managed to gash out was simply not enough to outmatch the brutal unleash of a man that had just lost his best friend. With flames of anger gleaming wildly in his eyes, Michael Wheeler was able to block Sayyid's stretching arm with his knee, and proceed to lash out at the Arabian's midsection with all his might, crushing the bones beneath. 

As the excruciating pain overwhelmed Sayyid's nerve system, the Arabian let out a final groan, before Michael engraved the blade of his bowie knife into his throat, cutting the artery apart. As blood gushed out of the poor man's neck, Michael stood up and polished the blade with his coat. Taking a final glance at the body beneath, Michael noticed that the expression on the dead Sayyid's face was strange, with his eyes wide open in a state of sheer surprise rather than fear, anger or any feelings that a man should possess when a blade was being pressed down toward his neck. 

Michael was about to further examine the corpse when he heard his commander calling, therefore he left the scene and rejoined the crowd, leaving the weird deadbody behind his mind. 

This decision, was, indeed, a prudent one, Had Michael stopped to observe Sayyid's corpse further, it would have been easy for him to notice that the man's attention wasn't fixed on his face, but fixed on something behind him, or something above him, to make it precise, considering the posture they were in the moment Sayyid met his doom. Bearing this discovery in mind, it would have been natural for Michael, a sane man, to follow the direction of Sayyid's eyes by looking up to the sky above the slope. Then, had he been quick enough, he would have witnessed the same scene that Sayyid had witnessed and would be plaguing the rest of Sayyid's life as a nightmare after he woke up back in the camp outside Aqaba ---A figure in military uniform, or a presence taking the form of a man in his 50s dressed in military uniform of future United States and smoking a ridiculously large cigar , changing the two numbers behind him from 20:20 to 15:18. Had Michael witnessed this being, his brain would have been instantly blown apart, banning him from the rest of the fight, for the simple fact that he had seen the presence behind the voice. 

Running Tally - L:R =15:18

Part II : "Headshot Only"[]

Settling on the top of the hill, was T.E. Lawrence, with a mild grin displayed on his face. So far, things had been going according to his plan, although he had to admit that Sayyid's loss was indeed,an out-of-the-blue incident, since never had he expected his opponent to organize such a massive assault right at the beginning of the fight. However, Sayyid didn't die for nothing. The struggle he managed to put up had provided Lawrence with enough time to blend the troops into the environment around, stationing riflemen around the path and machine gunner on the hill top, transforming the path below to a cradle of death.

Minutes later, Yusuf the Hashemites crawled to his side, informing him that the American troops had arrived and were entering the valley below. "Good." Said Lawrence, as he signaled Yusuf to let share the news with the machine gunner. For the last few months, Yusuf had been the batman of the squad, taking charge of stuff like this. The soldiers had nicknamed him Hashemites out of his Jordanian origin. Lawrence liked the young man a lot and he felt lucky that whoever behind that voice had selected him as his company this time.

Meanwhile, down in the valley, Theodore Roosevelt was also in high spirit.Rendering the other side of the hill too steep for an all-out attack, he had ordered his troop to march into the valley, which he thought to be the location of the enemy's headquarter, as the hill top was too narrow to fit in 20 grown men. Little did he realize that he was plunging himself and his troops into a deliberately-set trap of doom originating from a warfare that he'd never faced or experienced in his entire military career. 

As the Rough Riders explored further along the path, the atomsphere remained in perfect tranquility. However, the moment the first squad of five reached the center, Lawrence fired his Webely, informing all of his subordinates that the party was on. 

Hardly had Michael Wheeler, who was still assigned to take lead in the first squad, drawn out his Colt when Arabian soldiers came emerging from the woods around and hill above, raining down rifle bullets and revolver rounds. The men around Michael were instantly immersed in the mist of caliber rounds and collapsed down with bloody holes riddling their body. In a desperate attempt to seek shelter, Michael turned to a huge rock next to his spot. Before he could duck himself behind, a bullet from Yusuf's SMLE crushed into his brain, hurling him over the rock as an arc of blood and flesh blossomed around his head.

Hastily establishing the Browning model on the ground, Woodbury was able to defend himself from the sudden raid, spraying down several Arabian soldiers that came charging out. However, the Hotchkiss on the mountain top outmatched his out-dated toy. The sheer rate of fire the French product was packed with simply overwhelmed the heavy antique weapon, ferociously mocking at its belt-fed only clumsy nature as the hordes of bullets sprinted down the slope, massacring the riders as they retreated.

In no more than a minute, bodies began piling up in the valley, with the corpses of the fleeing riders being the majority.In the shadow of advanced technology and alien tactics, their pushy style were no longer effective and their out-dated mind were violently pressured into a state of sheer fear. However, among them was an exception, Theodore Roosevelt, with a cavalry saber waving wildly in hand,found his spot on the top of a rock and shouted out words of encouragements in a manner that was so rich in strength and power that it almost reached maniacal degree, urging his soldier to push back and hold the front.Even Lawrence, who'd been watching from the hill, was for a second amazed by the insane boldness this man obtained. Meanwhile, Woodbury, who had managed to remain at his spot amid with the bloody mess around,roared out the last few bullets tied to his belt.With blood cascading down from the gun wound on his shoulder, marking a red line on the blueish surface of his rider suit and excruciating pain depriving him of balance, the rancher from Tulsa collapsed down. Heavily gasping, the man closed his eyes and prepared to embrace his upcoming demise. However, the moment the first Arabian guerrilla made the way to his stand, a strong blown of air flashed past his head, sending his slouch hat flying aside. Feeling the air and surprised at the fact that he was still alive, he opened his eyes and lifted up his head,

Coming into his sight was Theodore Roosevelt, Carbine in arm and fire burning in his eyes and the lifeless corpse of the Arabian soldier that was coming for his life with his chest devastated by the round. It turned out that the machine gun on the mountain top had stopped blazing as well, allowing the riders to push back.Seeing this as a great chance to convert the situation and regain morale, Theodore put away the saber and switched to his gun, hopping down the rock and took lead in the charge. With their commander as a model, remaining riders soon followed up, taking down several other Arabians as they pushed back. Relived to see his commander taking the lead in the counteroffensive, confidence of winning reemerged in Woodbury's mind.As the brave man exerted himself to get up and rejoin his squad, the last bit of his strength ran out, forcing him to collapse down once again and finally succumb to his wound. "You have done an incredible job, soldier. You'll be remembered." Said Roosevelt, holding back tears as he noticed the small pile of bodies belonging to the guerrillas showcased in front of Woodbury's machine gun. However, he could not spare any more time for mourning, as the remaining Arabians were all out, charging down from the hill and out of the forest. It was not hard for soldiers from both sides to realize that a final duel was in store.

However, what they didn't realize was the subtle fact that a small change had taken place in the realm the above, with the being behind the voice busy handling the tally board, several anonymous entities had made their way into the room where the simulation were being run and got a hold of the control desk, making a little bit of an adjustment to the sim.

When the military uniform entity returned to the room and unfolded the havoc inside, he furiously contacted the higher gods that had access to the power of death. Seconds later the entity in the saddle made his entrance with the ban-hammer in hands, smashing it violently at the head of the leading anon, crushing its skull and obliterating its soul. The other anonymous beings attempted to fight back, only to have their body perished under the mightiness of the ban-hammer one after the other. The last one of them ducked behind a chair and uttered out a few unintelligible words, which made the overlord stop and threw out a question :

"Any last words ?"

"Can you please make Lawrence of Arabia fight Yeti ? Or Lawrence vs. Bigfoot or werewolves, or Jersey Devil ? I love Lawrence and I love crypt----" Hearing this, the overlord didn't allow him to finish his rants and sent him to another world.

Running Tally - L:R =9:7

Back to the battlefield, the Carpon brothers, who had got disconnected with their team during the chaotic retreat were on their way back to the front. Scarcely did they realize the fact that, lurking behind a tree blocking their way, was Yusuf, who'd made his way here while he was chasing some of the fleeing riders.

"Where the actual &*^% are they ?" Asked Harlan. But before he could reel off a string of slangs that are probabaly prohibited on this site, Yusuf's rifle poked out from a tree nearby and blown apart his head. The moment Yusuf moved out from the shadow to aim for Earl, the gun shop owner had already readied his Colt to avenge his brother. The duo opened fire at the same time, with Yusuf's last rifle round pumped into Earl's chest and Earl's revolver piercing Yusuf's neck. Almost instantly agonizing pain overwhelmed both soldiers, as they dropped their weapon and tended to their wound. To their shock, although the blood and the burning wounds were proof that the shot should have been solid enough to take their lives, they managed to stay alive, somehow. 

It was at that moment that the being above noticed the small adjustment made by the vile intruder and switched the sim mode from "Headshot-only"  to "Normal". 

With this done, the duo's lives were shut off and they woke up in their respective camps. 

Running Tally - L:R=8:5 

Part III : The Classic Model[]

Yet again finding themselves charging up a hill were the Rough Riders, led by their beloved commander Theodore Roosevelt, hoping to recreate their success at San Juan Hill and against Sayyid's scout. Along their way, getting thrown into the air and sent tumbling down the slope, were two fleeing Arabian guerrillas, with Carbine rounds tearing into their back and brutally chopping away their lives. The collective effort of Theodore and the final four remaining riders formed a temporary concentration of fire, multiplying the effect of their assault and overwhelming the singled-out guerrillas nearby. Visible in the distance, were Lawrence and his remaining man, continuting to scatter around in an attempt to distract the riders and turning the environment into their use, 

The moment the third independent guerrilla soldier met his doom, the number on the sky faded away and what came for replacement were the following texts and holograms, signalling the audience that the fight had reached its climax and the classic model of five vs. five was now officially available.

Theodore Roosevelt : BlueBlueBlueBlueBlue

Lawrence of Arabia :GreyGreyGreyGreyGrey

As the riders continued their charge, going straight for Lawrence, who was forced to take shelter behind a leaning stone. 

A few meters to their right wing, was one of Lawrence's men, sneakily approaching the rider squad with bushes and trees as his camouflage.

Making sure that none of the riders were paying attention to his spot, the man aimed his SMLE and fired, giving one of the riders death sentence by impacting his backBlue. Intoxicated in the beautiful shot he managed to pump out, the Bedouin man wasn't fast enough to plunge himself back behind the shelter when Roosevelt turned back and fired off two rounds from his Krag into the man's chest, violently tearing into his flesh and blasting his heart, sending him collapsing down into the weedsGrey.

Using the stone as his shield, Lawrence was also able to land a shot, hitting Roosevelt in the left arm and forcing him to kneel. One Rough Rider helped Roosevelt to his feet, with Roosevelt assuring that he's okay. Before they came to their senses, Lawrence fired off the last round of his SMLE, shooting the Rough Rider in the back of the headBlue.

Almost simultaneously came emerging from bushes were the three remaining Arabian soldiers, all of whom were farmers that were still not comfortable with the fierce world of war. They opened fire with whatever weapons they'd got in hands at the riders, only to fail in landing a single solid shot due to the little training they'd been through. Angered, the two remaining riders retaliated with the last few rounds of their Krag, taking down two Arabians as they reloaded their toolGreyGrey

The final Arabian soldier, now submerged in fear, hastily fired off the remaining rounds of his revolver as the heads of his companions got blown into pink mists, miraculously managing to hit one of the Riders tending to Roosevelt's woundsBlue.

With the blood of the rider splattered on Roosevelt's collar, the formal police chief furiously regained his senses and grabbed up his krag, using its last round to put the revolver-wielding Arabian out of miseryGrey.

With the last man on the opposing side down, Theodore and his remaining soldier gave chase after Lawrence, who swiftly ducked into a trench-like area on the top, barely dodging the last few .45 from the Americans' Colts.

Seconds later the two men made their way to the trench. The leading rifleman hopped into the trench before Roosevelt could call him back -- for the last hour, he had experienced the deadly tricks his opponent pulled off.

As the man explored the empty trench, Lawrence, suddenly emerged from a corner at the rider's blind spot and shot him in the neck with his WebleyBlue. However, before Lawrence could make any further assaults, a violent blow from the Krag carbine's stock stuck his head, knocking him backwards as Theodore hopped into the trench, with bloods still coming out of the gun wound on his arm. With no time to steady his revolver, Lawrence drew out the Khanjar from his pocket and attempted to stab back, only to have Roosevelt's bowie knife cut through his arm, forcing him to drop the dagger on the ground. Theodore was about to make a second stab to Lawrence's shoulder when the explorer elbowed him on his broken arm, inflicting a sudden pain that paused his action.

Making full use of this valuable chance, Lawrence emptied the remaining rounds of his revolver into de the future president's chestBlue.

Before Lawrence could celebrate his victory, his mind suddenly went blank, Several minutes later, he found himself waking up in the center of a dark room, with hologram projectors, electric screens and other fancy devices beyond his imagination displayed in the shadow around. In front of him stood the military uniform entity, who maintained a generous smile. "Congratulations, Sir Lawrence. This is your fourth victory here." Said the entity, as he opened the door of the room," Now you are free to go. Go through this door, and turn right, enter the iron door on the end of the corridor, then you will find youself back in the camp." 

Following the instruction, Lawrence made his way down the corridor. As he walked towards the end, he couldn't help peeping through the doors lined on the two sides of the long corridor. Some of them were open, while some of them were closed. Inside those opened doors, he could see other beings fighting in fields similar to the grassland he'd just been through, with one seperate entity running the sim in each of the room. Some of those entities were humanoid as the uniform being was, while some others took the shape of downright alien stuff that were too hard for his 1910s mind to handle. 

As he opened the iron door and stepped back to his realm, a sense of terror slowly took form in his mind. Had he been taking it right, whoever were fighting in other arena rooms he'd seen should have been people or beasts from his realms or other realms beyond. In other words, the Arabian fortune teller was right all alone : Toys for the beings that ran the fights are what he stands for and what those from all the other realms stand for. Maybe the thorough purpose of existence was also to fight in arenas for the entertainment of those so-called gods. Human had been fighting thorought out the history, hadn't they ? Were those wars and conflicts really caused by the reasons recorded in history books, or were those battles fought to recruit new toys for the gods ? 

Epilogue[]

Year 2018,85 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, London, United Kingdom, Lawrence's universe

In horror of such sordid realm were we forced to engage in a comabt by comparison, seemed rather simple compared to actual wars in the waking world .However, the way those beings initiated the combat was what always made me quivering even in the brightest part of day, the horrifying way they capture me and the young men under my command, and the way they seemed to take the bloodshed of us as their entertainment..... they seemed to take a savage pride in counting the death, and offered themselves fiercely in any habit which promised physical pain of us.

"Gentleman, this is parts of an undisclosed chapter of Seven Pillars of Wisdom . As with similar scripts found in the undisclosed parts of the autobiographies and memoirs of several other notable commanders of WWI and WWII, this paragraph described the experience of being abducted to another place while sleeping and forcing to fight another squad of people. We've been studying it for decades and by comparing it with ancient records of Rome, China and other parts of the world, we were able to spot similar features, experienced exclusively by emperors and military commanders.Whether this is a psychological disease among those with military backgrounds or evidences of alien activities remains unclear.The reason why this old issue once again gets brought into our attention is that recently several of our field agents reported that they met the same experience after an operation in Russia. So today I gather all of you, experts of scientific and psychological fields, to launch an inquiry --- " Before the head could finish his speech, the screen behind him was cut to black, and seconds later a faceless entity appeared. Hardly had the head said a word when the entity spoke out his purpose :

"YO Man Be inspecting this issue ? I believe I have got a possible answer to it.YO MAN BE chill and lemme help you uncover those behind these things."

Expert's Opinion[]

Lawrence's better firearms, better tactics and better troops determined his victory. Enough said. 

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

Rematch Information[]

TBW

Battle vs. Geronimo (by Tybaltcapulet)[]

Major General William Rufus Shafter's Office, San Juan Hill, July, 2, 1898[]

The day had just been won at San Juan Hill, enabling the U.S Army to push forward on the Spanish even farther. But now, there were too many soldiers to take the limited arms they had. So the generals met together and decided that some of the competent officers there would be more useful in the new revision of the southeast territory, as the United States, once again wished to expand its influence.

One of the officers considered first for a piece of the mission was Theodore Roosevelt. Strong, decisive, and willing to serve his country no matter what peril it put him in. He walked down the front hall of the building the generals were using as a temporary outpost. It was an abandoned hospital, refurbished with small barricades and guards at every entrance. As he made his way into their office he immediately saluted his superiors.

" Colonel Theodore Roosevelt of the 1st Volunteer Calvary, reporting for duty Sir!" Roosevelt exclaimed. "At ease" Major General Shafter calmly voiced. Roosevelt moved his hand back to his side. " We have heard of your brave charge at Kettle Hill and have decided that you are needed on a more important front, as we have a large surplus of soldiers."

" You will be sent to the desert of New Mexico, where you will branch off with various other experienced officers, and establish a camp so that we can begin to reinforce our expansion." "Permission to freely sir?" Roosevelt uttered with reverence. " Permission granted" " How many men will I be in command of sir?"

"We expect there to be only light resistance, so you'll be leading about 30-35 men and so will the majority of the other officers in the area." Roosevelt was quite satisfied, as he believed that he would be understaffed and would be left to suffer in the desert against whatever resistance there would be, even if it was light." Do you have any more questions Colonel?" General Shafter queried. " No I do not sir." Roosevelt replied

"Then you have your orders Colonel, you may leave." Roosevelt then saluted again, and left the room, determined to follow the orders no matter what got in his way, whether it be man or nature.

Near an Apache Village, somewhere in present day New Mexico, July, 4, 1898[]

" ¡Vamos chicos! ¡Tenemos que salir de aquí!"(Come on guys! We have to get out of here!). That was the sound of Mexicans searching for gold,attempting to flee back to their homeland after running into some "unfriendly elements" . Instead of finding the "gold" they were supposed to find ( A Dutchman who claimed to have been in the area, directed them to the site), they instead ran into a group of Apaches led by the famous Geronimo.

They were certainly unlucky today, as Geronimo, as it was well known, had a hatred for all those who hailed from Mexico. As they moved through the rocky desert, they could hear the Apache warriors getting closer and closer one of them tripped. The others stopped to help him, and this allowed their adversaries to close the gap. A shot fired, hitting the fallen straight in the chest, killing him instantly. By the time the others could react, it was too late. The Apaches were upon them and decapitated them all with their tomahawks.

Geronimo simply smiled and ordered his men to leave the bodies to rot and to continue their patrol of the desert. They made their way down a small gully where they had left their supplies so that they could restock when needed. After resupplying themselves, they climbed over the gully, which led directly to a massive expanse of mostly empty land. But instead of seeing the normal emptiness he was used to, he saw tents, a campfire and various American flags

" The United States have come to capture me once again" he rasped. Geronimo had escaped as a prisoner of war many years before and the U.S had attempted numerous times to bring him within their influence once again. And every time they had failed, essentially sending men to their deaths. But never had Geronimo seen such a large force be dedicated to his seizure.

But he noticed something very important about the group. The leader of the group appeared to be taking a smaller part of the men to presumably conduct some type of search or patrol. They were sitting ducks, inexperienced with the land, and unaware of the danger they were about to get in.

New Mexico, July 4 1898, Roosevelt's Patrol[]

Meanwhile, in Roosevelt's patrol, his men were getting quite restless, wondering why they had decided to venture off so early. It hadn't even been an hour before their commander had decided they needed to abandon their compatriots to go search some god-forsaken desert. One older man especially irked by this, Jebediah Owens vocalized " Why in the name of God's green Earth, are we trekking through this massive desert where God knows what could happen to us?". A younger, especially spirited boy named Jessie Streeter smacked him in the shoulder. " Shut the hell up and keep walking Jebediah, you've been complainin' since Las Guasimas".

Jebediah only snorted in response, not wanting to remember his blunder(He neglected his sleep one night and in the morning of the Battle of Las Guasimas, accidentally cut his hand deeply with his utility knife) that made him so cranky. Roosevelt even upon his horse and focused on the trail ahead, heartily laughed, fully remembering how entertaining it was to watch him jump around in pain his hands clasped together.

Everyone joined in and as Roosevelt was about to sound off to get his men to stop, a small *crack* sounded instead, just barely missing Jebediah's ear making him fall to the ground in pain and shock. The rest of the troops immediately moved down a very small ditch on the path. All except for Roosevelt, who quickly took out his binoculars and desperately searched for whatever enemy could be there.


Theodore Roosevelt:Red x10

Geronimo: Blue x10

After about 3 seconds, he finally saw a short Native American man with about 9 or 10 others running loosely towards his position. Then, as his men were attempting to fire back, his horse was shot straight in the stomach, making it panic and run in a random direction, knocking Roosevelt into the ditch. Pulling out his Colt M1892, he began to fire straight at the enemy, while the others used their Winchesters.

Roosevelt knew that if he stayed in this position, he would be surrounded by the Natives in a melee battle which would be heavily in their favor. He ordered his men to get up and charge towards the enemy, but Geronimo and his men had disappeared. Roosevelt did a head count and he was confused when he was one off. They then inspected the ditch, where they found one of their Rough Rider friends with a hole where his eye used to be.Red

Roosevelt simply stared at the body, shaking with rage. It was Jebediah. He was grumpy, cantankerous, complained a lot, but his loyalty never wavered. In the middle of his thoughts Jessie angrily shouted " Let's kill them all! Jebediah'd do it for all of us! Blow their red heads straight to hell!" Roosevelt would usually be annoyed with such an outburst, as it caused chaos, but he simply walked towards Jessie, put his hand on his shoulder and plainly stated " Alright Private, you lead the way"

The rest of the men walked in silence towards where they last saw the Apache warriors, down into a large ravine, as spread out as possible in the limited space they had. Everyone was very much on edge, reacting to every noise in the area, whether in be small or large.

Geronimo's Point of View

"Kuruk, scout out the area on the left, Norroso, the right" Geronimo whispered to two of the warriors. They silently obeyed, slowly creeping along the high desert rock. They soon reach a position where the two warriors could observe the movements of their white adversaries.But Kuruk, too focused on them, slipped a tiny bit, making enough noise to reveal his position.

About 200m away one of the Riders fired his Winchester, hitting Kuruk square in chest, killing him instantlyBlue. Norroso, spooked, ran away as fast as he could while firing a couple shots of his Single Action Army, suppressing them just enough to escape without harm.

Geronimo had heard the shots in the background, and immediately ordered the others to rise, as he realized his plan had obviously failed. He saw Norroso sprinting towards him, and Geronimo stopped him to ask him what had happened. Norroso cried " Kuruk had slipped on the rocks, and the white men killed him."

Geronimo simply sighed and cursed to himself, knowing that he would need to supervise his troops in the next attack. The warriors then again traversed the rocks, this time much more slowly and carefully, making sure they didn't slip.

They saw Roosevelt's troops buckle down and establish a small perimeter, ready to defend.

Roosevelt's Point of View

" Alright men, we got one of them red bastards,but there'll be more where that came from, so when we get the chance, we'll charge straight up the end of this ravine and attempt to cut them off" Roosevelt momentarily put his Colt away, and pulled out his binoculars again, searching on the sides to find more Apache warriors. He could see none. Roosevelt then put his binoculars away and cautiously ordered his men too begin their pursuit to the end of the ravine.

They were getting close, when to their surprise, all of Geronimo's men appeared at once, leaving them completely vulnerable. Norroso pulled out his Single Action Army again and shot one of the Rough Riders in the chest, going into his lung, and killing him almost instantlyRed. Another Apache warrior fired two rounds into another Rider, again killing him instantlyRed. As Roosevelt immediately blasted a hole straight through one of the Apache warrior's throat, causing him to fall of the cliff and fracture his skull and ribsBlue.

But again as he raised his Colt, they were nowhere to be seen. Wanting to keep the initiative, Roosevelt wasted no time ordering his men to charge up the remainder of the ravine where it led to a very rocky part of the desert with rather limited visibility. "Danny! You take James, Franklin and Frederick to the left side, and I will lead Jesse and William on the other"

Daniel Webbins had been a loyal and headstrong soldier for many years, always being a the forefront of any charge or maneuver he was in. As he and the others in his detachment moved through the rocky part of the desert they were forced to weave back and forth with the difficult terrain. Now being used to the Indian tactics, he ordered his men to look around constantly, and remain in a loose formation the whole time. This was something he was very unused to, but Daniel knew that was his only option if he wanted victory and revenge.

Franklin, being on the far left side saw the next ambush first. Norroso appeared before him, and slashed his tomahawk, just barely missing him. Franklin then reacted almost instantly, and stabbed the warrior straight in the throat, resulting in a short bloody wheeze, and another deceased ApacheBlue.

Then another warrior behind him, took out his Colt, fired, and missed. But before he could cock his pistol again, a Winchester round penetrated his chest, forcing him backwards and making him fall straight of the small rocky heightBlue.Utterly confused on the small ambush, Daniel and the others didn't realize that the rest of the Apache forces had already moved on the other side, ready to take advantage of their lack of focus. Almost as if it were a volley, Geronimo's forces fired at the same time, immediately ripping apart Franklin and James with a hailstorm of bulletsRedRed.

Daniel and Frederick, however were unharmed and took the closest source of cover they could find. " Keep firing at them red bastards Frederick!", Daniel screamed. And Frederick did, hitting one square in the neck, killing them almost instantlyBlue. Daniel drew his pistol and fired, hitting another in the shoulder. The man he hit lost his awareness, and peeked out of his cover, letting Frederick finish the jobBlue.

Their luck was short-lived though, as they were eventually overrun, and flanked from all sides. They were also low on ammunition, and going to reload, as they were mowed down by multiple shots, going through their heads, legs, arms etcRedRed.

Roosevelt had attempted to come back and help his men, but he was too late, and only found bodies in place of his men. Roosevelt had to get to some even terrain, with no height at all, but he couldn't find any. But the lowest area he could find was straight in front of him, about 500 meters away, and all he had to do is run for the piece of land. It had large rocks for cover, the high ground was hard to fire from, and was filled with light, making an ambush pretty hard to accomplish.

After just about sprinting for a whole 2 minutes, the remaining 3 men made their way to what they believed to be the perfect spot to cover. But the most perfect spots have their weaknesses

Geronimo's point of view

Roosevelt had again fallen for the Apache warrior's trap, as there was only one entrance easily accessible by foot. Everything else in the area was either too steep or too high to reach quickly, which would give him the limited time he needed to successfully take down his opponent.

As Roosevelt's men made their way sprinting their way into the supposedly defensive spot, Geronimo's remaining men, hid behind the cover right next to the entrance of the area. Then, once the Rough Riders made their way through the entrance, Geronimo split his force up, with himself and one warrior on one edge , and two other warriors on the other.

" Wait a minute, did you hear that?" Jesse whispered. Roosevelt then realized that not a single Apache had approached them on their movement to the cave-like position. "Shit..." Roosevelt cursed to himself, realizing this is exactly what his foe wanted.

" Get the hell to cover, men!" Roosevelt screamed. Geronimo ran his men straight towards their adversaries, tackling all of Roosevelt's men to the ground. Jesse, easily took his opponent down with a single stab to the neckBlue. Roosevelt too, took down the man going after him, slashing his throat Blue. But James was unlucky, as the tomahawk going against him landed in his gut, where he quickly bled to death Red. Jesse and Roosevelt charged straight into Geronimo's last comrade, and not looking, Jesse tripped on a large rock falling straight on his face. The Apache fired the last bullet in his Single Action Army, penetrating his skullRed

Roosevelt however, was able to get to the warrior and punched him several times in the face, and stabbed him three times in the arm, chest and headBlue. Roosevelt yelled in victory as he forgot about Geronimo, who directly behind him, threw his tomahawk straight into his back. He smiled as he simply walked over to Roosevelt, who even while dying, had a fire in his eyes. Geronimo then shot him with his Winchester, killing him instantlyRed. Geronimo screeched in victory, driving the white man away once again.

Expert's Opinion[]

Roosevelt's weaponry may have been slightly better, but he was utterly destroyed in tactical ability. Geronimo's homefield advantage and hit and run tactics enabled him to be mobile and take advantage of Roosevelt's headstrong leadership and lack of terrain knowledge.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

Battle vs. Rafael Uribe Uribe (by Field Marshal Montgomery)[]

This warrior won a Battle of the Season Award
This warrior won a Modern Battle of the Year Award
This warrior won a Battle of the Year Award







Two Caudillos and a Canal[]

1. The Iron Vein of Panama[]

Theodore Roosevelt looked at the situation unfolding before him. "Step aside, Clifford, and let me push," he commanded. Narrowing his eyes, he rolled up his sleeves and leaned forward, gripping at the mud-caked wheel of the Gatling gun and heaving alongside the other three gunners. The gun was fully stuck—up to its carriage in the mud that was soft enough to swallow up the weapon but had hardened enough since last night's storm to make moving the thing damn near impossible. 

Damn near impossible it might have been, but Roosevelt wasn't one to give up when there was still a chance. Leaning forward, straining and baring his teeth in a grimace born of exertion, he and the gunners managed to shift the gun a few inches. It lurched, jumped up a few centimeters as it cleared whatever tiny, mud-clogged obstacle had been holding it in place, and then sank firmly back into the muck. The men let go of the Gatling gun and stood up, wiping their brows and putting hands on hips, appraising the situation. Roosevelt looked down at his feet, calf-deep in the mud, and pulled himself out. Leaning forward, squatting on the ground and gasping for breath, the gunner that Roosevelt had replaced looked up in disappointment as he realized that he'd have to get back up and keep pushing.

"Keep at it, boys," Roosevelt bellowed, clapping Clifford heartily on his back as the winded gunner struggled to his feet. As he turned to stride back to his command tent, Roosevelt privately noted that if the Gatlings continued to be this troublesome to move about in the jungle, he'd rely entirely on the potato diggers. No need to tell the men that, of course—no reason to give them motive to offer anything less than their full effort.

The American field command sprawled across a forward position east-southeast of Panama City. A sea of canvas tents stretched and hammered into the ground, close to the shoreline where the mighty U.S. Navy cast its imperialist shadow over the isthmus, the camp bustled with commotion. It was a secure position. It was protected, not only by the reach of the warships just out of sight, but by the railway that made up the northern border of the camp. 

The railroad was the surest sign of American presence in Panama, something that all but predetermined the outcome of the U.S. intervention in what was still Colombian sovereign territory. The fractious South American nation was still gripped in the dying throes of a fruitless civil war, and it provided the United States with the perfect opportunity to both restore peace in the region and exercise its muscle to gain a political and economic advantage in Panama. That canal wasn't going to dig itself, after all. So the iron lines tattooed across the isthmus, which had before shipped goods and materiel for French engineers and American businessmen, now ferried U.S. Marines armed with smokeless powder and heavy artillery. The expanding railway competed only with the growing lines of telegraph wire that unraveled across a jungle that protested but could not stop progress. It had never been a question of if the Americans could restore order. It was only a question of when. 

2. The Gentlemen's Agreement[]

"Sir, there's someone here to see you," piped up an aide-de-camp as Roosevelt entered his command tent, staffed with all the signs of military modernity and the troops to operate them. "He's a Colombian, sir. He's wearing a blue sash on his hat, so are his men. Says he wants to negotiate."

"A Conservative," Roosevelt said, unimpressed. "One of the government types. I don't know what we'd have to discuss. Well... I suppose those contemptible little creatures in Bogotá never did know how to properly follow the rules of civilized politics. Send him in."

The figure who barged in met Roosevelt's contemptuous gaze with a withering glare of his own. Dressed in the particularly Colombian style that at once asserted intellectual and military authority, the man wore a suit jacket and tie, walking in on knee-high riding boots and with a polished saber sheathed at his hip. His moustache billowed out like ink spilled into a pool of water, curling at the tips as they melted into his face.

"Señor Roosevelt, allow me to greet you on behalf of the great Colombian people," he said in English, extending a gloved hand. Roosevelt looked at it suspiciously before he returned the gesture, gripping hard and squeezing. The two men locked eyes and maintained the blistering handshake, willing the other to let go first. Finally, the Colombian compromised, retracting his hand only as he leaned forward and forcefully clapped Roosevelt on the shoulder with his other arm.

"Be welcome, friend," Roosevelt replied. "I trust that your message is one we will all find productive to negotiating an end to your country's suffering."

"My name is Rafael Uribe Uribe," the Colombian said. "I have, in fact, written to you before, though I fear your response must have been misplaced, lost in transit. But yes, you're quite right, I hope that my message will be productive for all of us."

In the distance, the blare of a train's horn pierced the steady din of the military motion happening outside in the camp. The ground rumbled ever so slightly, announcing the iron horse's approach. There was a moment of silence. "Well, little man, get on with it," Roosevelt started to say, but as the train got louder, Uribe lunged forward, producing a revolver from his jacket in one swift motion and embracing Roosevelt tightly, jutting the barrel of his sidearm into the American's ribs. Roosevelt gripped Uribe back, his hands squeezing the Colombian's shoulders in a bear hug. The staffers in the tent leapt up in shock and unsteadily drew their own sidearms, but Roosevelt held up a hand to steady them. The train screamed by now, deafening, shaking the earth under their feet.

"The blue sash is a token of deception, just one reply to the thousands of lies your government has heaped upon Colombia to bury it in a pile of its own ruin," hissed Uribe into Roosevelt's ear. "I am not a representative of the government. I am a representative of the liberal rebellion, and I am fighting for the dignity of a modern Colombia."

"You are an ant perched between my thumb and forefinger," Roosevelt spat back. "You sit there only because I allow it. If you bite me, I will crush you."

"I have come to give you a warning, to pay my dues as a gentleman and a scholar," Uribe threatened. "I walked into your camp once and your men allowed it. If I decide to do it again... it will be the last time we meet."

"And why shouldn't I have my whole camp open fire on you the moment you let me go?" Roosevelt parried.

Uribe suddenly broke the embrace, shoved Roosevelt back, extending his revolver at arm's length. "Because, you would do the same thing if you were in my position," he said. "Because you are a gentleman and a scholar. A despicable one, who has no business in my homeland, but one whom I must respect nonetheless. And because you know what it means to sacrifice comfort and luxury for the campground."

"What the devil do you know about any of that?" Roosevelt growled.

Uribe bristled at the insult. "Clearly you did not read my letter, señor. I am a lawyer and a senator in the Republic of Colombia. I know the same sacrifice. And if you are half the man you believe yourself to be, you will honor that code between gentlemen."

There was a pause, then Uribe slipped his revolver back beneath his suit jacket. Roosevelt's staffers immediately steadied their aim with their revolvers on the Colombian, but Roosevelt again stayed them with a gesture from his hand. The two men stared daggers at each other.

"Get out, before I change my mind."

3. The Machetero's Revenge[]

Two weeks later

The American onslaught had, predictably, pushed the Colombian guerrillas away from the coast and away from the cities. Equally foreseeable, however, was the quagmire that surfaced as the irregulars melted away into the thick jungle, leaving the American forces frustrated, harassed by hit-and-run tactics and brief, sporadic engagements that seemed to accomplish little more than the fruitless spending of ammunition. It was small consolation for the guerrillas, however, who found themselves consistently on the back foot—their old rifles and moldy cartridges, excavated from secret pits prepared in advance by sympathetic locals, fared poorly against modern American weaponry.

On the surface, there seemed to be very little of the dignity for which Rafael Uribe Uribe fought, as he lifted his hat to mop at the sweat that plastered his dark hair to his forehead. His troops languished in the heat, plagued by the living cloud of mosquitoes that descended upon them in an infernal swarm, and the liberal general did not fare much better. But dark embers smoldered from deep within his gaze as he listened to the distant sounds of sporadic gunfire. The past few weeks had been trying, and the Americans had pursued his scattered force with a relentlessness that the Colombian conservatives lacked. Próspero Pinzón, the devout Catholic who had outmatched the liberals at Palonegro in May 1900, inexplicably allowed the rebels to withdraw and gave them a multi-day head start on their retreat to Ocaña, close to the Venezuelan border in the department of Santander. Now, though, Pinzón was dead, struck down by yellow fever, and Roosevelt was an enemy of a markedly different caliber.

Uribe was aggressive, headstrong, stubborn at the worst of times—but he was no fool. He was, after all, the man who had stripped his men of their red sashes, the color of the liberal party, and exchanged them for the conservative blue, before brazenly marching onto the headquarters of enemy general José Domínguez. “Long live the conservative party!” his war band cheered, raising their arms high into the air as they pushed past confused government soldiers, who didn’t recognize this group of comrades. Their hesitation was all Uribe needed—never staying in one place long enough to let any one soldier act on his suspicion, he burst into Domínguez’s command tent and gripped the enemy general in a steely embrace. “I am Rafael Uribe Uribe, and you are my prisoner, general!” he announced.

That, of course, was not to say that Roosevelt was any less bullishly determined in a fight. At Las Guásimas, near Santiago de Cuba, his men had fought a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in the dense thicket with Spanish troops. The troops, were, perhaps, out of their element—the U.S. Army had no maps of Cuba upon declaration of war in 1898, and its stores could only supply 40,000 troops for three months. To make matters worse, while the Spanish unleashed thunderous hell with their smokeless powder rifles, the Americans were equipped with a mix of smokeless Krag-Jørgensens and 1873 model Winchesters—which were not smokeless.

Roosevelt, though, was decidedly in his element. There was only one way to go at Las Guásimas, and that was forward, through the Spanish trench lines and into a bloody meatgrinder, a deadlock where neither side budged. But damn it, someone would eventually have to give, and it was Roosevelt who won the lead staring contest, forcing the Spanish to blink when they ultimately conceded their position and resumed their withdrawal back to Santiago de Cuba. The Spanish would later claim their withdrawal was orderly, that it wasn’t a retreat—but even if it was true, it mattered little to Roosevelt. He had matched his foe muscle-for-muscle and outlasted them.

In many ways, the Panamanian jungle was a lot more similar to the fighting in Cuba than it was to the battles the Colombian liberals had fought in the department of Santander, raked by the cordilleras of the Andes that split Colombia north-to-south, levelling out on vast plateaus that made for good coffee farming and cattle raising. Panama was a challenging environment for both sides though. It was hot, humid, and rife with tropical disease that lurked in the shadows behind every treacherous sip of water or bothersome mosquito bite.

It was on one such day that Hobart Langford of Connecticut waited impatiently in his trench. The mail was coming soon, and with it the long-awaited letters and news from home. It was irregular—had to be shipped over to Cuba first, and then down to the isthmus, only to be unloaded and sent as far as the railroad could take it. After that, it was a matter of mule trains and sympathetic Panamanian guides to bring the precious cargo up to the different American units.

Dorothy was pregnant, and he was certain she’d have delivered by now. But she had languished under a feverish distemper when they were first married, and he always thought of her as his delicate gem. A similar sickness had stricken both of her parents—and neither recovered. It was the not knowing that weighed heavily on Hobart’s mind… that, and the long hours under a sweltering haze that cooked his brain and left him weak, dizzy, perpetually unsure of the last day he had received the most recent letter. It must have been at least fifteen… or was it sixteen… days since it had gotten sucked out of his boot, where he thought he could keep it safe, after an encounter with knee-deep malarial mud. And since then, he couldn’t quite remember the date Dorothy had printed at the top of the letter. Not that he was paying much attention to the date anyway, since she had traced the outline of her hand on the back side of the sheet.

His attention snapped back to the treeline beyond his trench when he heard an incoherent babbling dancing along the rolling waves of heat that crashed and broke against his throbbing temples. He grabbed his Krag and squinted, but didn’t have to look long. A tottering figure emerged, one arm outstretched, holding a bottle in each hand. His vueltiao hat bobbed up and down—his machete dangled loosely at his hip.

Hobart raised the rifle and aimed. The Colombian guerrilla looked absolutely shitfaced. The two bottles clinked slightly as he unsteadily lifted his second arm outward. The clear liquid inside swirled and sloshed. Hobart watched the bottles jealously. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been drunk.

The machetero stopped abruptly when he heard Hobart’s sharp whistle pierce the air. His unsteady momentum kept him going forward, though, and he broke his fall by landing first on his knees, then sprawling unceremoniously forward on his stomach, arms outstretched, to keep the bottles from spilling. He was mostly successful, but before he could compose himself a sharp crack split his skull moments before an explosive bang tore through the air.

Hobart lowered his gun and waited briefly, looking to see if there were any other figures nearby. But he found himself transfixed on the fallen guerrilla, mesmerized by the rivulet of blood that spurted out in an arc from the top of his head and the growing stain of red that seemed to blossom out from the center of the vueltiao hat. The dead man’s hands remained clasped around the liquor bottles, which had miraculously remained upright and intact.

In his feverish stupor, Hobart left his Krag down at the bottom of the trench and pulled himself up, staggering over to the slain guerrilla. He knelt down and tugged at the liquor bottles. They popped free and the guerrilla’s hands seemed to twitch, index fingers reproachfully pointing upward at the American for a brief moment before they slumped back down to the jungle floor. But Hobart was already on his way back to the trench, inspecting the bottles—one was only a third of the way full, but the other was pristine and unopened.

It was aguardiente—that strong anise-flavored liquor as common in Colombia as any beer or wine. In a matter of minutes, the unopened bottle was wedged open with Hobart’s knife and drained dry. He sat there, stupidly content, at the foot of his trench, his unfocused gaze watching a line of ants crawl along a stick.

Then—“Hey! Langford!” Hobart turned his head and smiled vacantly as his sergeant stomped down the trench. “Christ, what the hell have you done to yourself?”

“I saved some, don’t worry,” Hobart slurred, holding up the mostly-empty bottle.

“Christ, get a hold of yourself. Anyway… mail’s here. Thought you might like seeing this.”

In spite of his drunkenness, a jolt of adrenaline shot through Hobart’s head and struck him right in his heart, which pounded in anticipation. He couldn’t bear not knowing any longer—the news, the news! Good or bad, good or bad! He had to know. Dorothy, Dorothy… and their child—he had thought, if she was a girl, maybe Gertrude—of course, if it was a boy, it’d have to be after his father, and his middle name’d be after Dorothy’s father—or maybe the other way around, but—

“Aw, shit, Hobart. That’s a shame. Look what you’ve done.”

The ink was already running down the page with the streams of aguardiente that splashed across the letter. Hobart dropped the bottle and pawed desperately at the paper, trying to blot out the stain, only making the smearing worse. He frantically tried to focus his eyes on any one part of the letter, to get any piece of information—the liquid hadn’t yet made it to the bottom of the page—there it was—wait.

In the last moments before the spill rendered the whole damn thing illegible, Hobart made out his mother’s signature, instead of Dorothy’s.

4. An American Trova[]

Monche Brito hoisted his accordion to a comfortable height, twitching his nose to shoo away a meddlesome pest that buzzed around his face. His friend Chiche Guerra sat on a log with his guitar while the rest of the troop gathered round, squatting on their haunches or leaning against trees. The two were famous for their vallenato—that lively style of Colombian folk music that was equal parts jovial and acerbic. They were especially famous as trovadores, a subgenre of vallenato that emphasized a dueling exchange of barbs and insults that kept the audience roaring and the aguardiente flowing. Everyone knew that the best trova came from the upper department of Magdalena, on the Caribbean coast and on the border with Venezuela—the best trova, and the best contraband.

Chiche Guerra was everybody’s go-to guy when it came to bootlegged stuff, be it salted beef or coca leaves or cigars that he always claimed were from Cuba, but burnt up with black smoke that burned with each puff. Monche Brito always denied it, yet he was always around… somehow… whenever Chiche was there with a new shipment.

The accordion sprang to life in the guerrilla camp, at first an unsteady, wobbly see-saw of a tune, but a grin spread across Monche’s sun-beaten face and suddenly the tempo kicked into high gear, a veritable quilt notes belted out and stitched together in a patchwork quilt that burst rhythmically into the night air and jolted some unconscious physical response from the audience. My accordion and I are from La Guajira, my accordion and I are from La Guajira,
My songs are quite famous, Chiche nobody’d hear ya, my songs are quite famous, Chiche nobody’d hear ya!”

A low chuckle rose from the ranks surrounding them. Chiche shook his head but couldn’t stop the smirk that played out on his face, as he started up his reply with his guitar. He matched Monche’s tune, their instruments in harmony even as they took turns hurling insults.

“Poor little Monche, poor little Monche, he’s much too cocky, he’s much too cocky,
He has no woman, so all he’s got’s his socky, he has no woman, so all he’s got’s his socky!”

The riposte earned uproarious laughter from the soldiers, and Monche grinned, taking the lyrical blow in stride and continuing to play the repetitive melody with Chiche until the audience settled down.

And so it went, the two dueling trovadores unleashing their very best wordplay, double entendres and dirty jokes that kept the audience amused even as they progressively got more and more drunk. But as the night dragged on and the moon struggled to break through the lush canopy overhead, the men around the musicians grew restless, egged on by the verbal sparring. You had to have a tough skin to be a trovador, since receiving biting insults was part of your trade. But a couple of guerrillas in the audience had been trying it out amongst themselves and it culminated rapidly in a shoving match that ended with a machete high in the air and a jostling group of men holding the two apart.

Chiche stood up on the log and tried to calm his fellow guerrillas. He exchanged a helpless glance with Monche, and the two sat there, watching as the drunken brawlers tired themselves out. Right as the crowd settled down, a momentary collective lull when the two angry guerrillas tried to catch their breath and the soldiers holding them back had a chance to snatch the weapons from their hands, a distant, mournful buzz met their ears.

It came through the trees and bounced across the camp, a long, low honk followed by a shriller toot. And, like the accordion, what started out as a series of slow, choppy notes quickly developed into a rhythmic melody from a Rough Rider’s harmonica that got the Colombians nodding and tapping their feet in spite of themselves.

“Across the Caribbean, from Cuba I set sail, across the Caribbean, from Cuba I set sail,
I didn’t come to Panama to run and tuck my tail, I didn’t come to Panama to run and tuck my tail,
So I’ll be damned, said Uncle Sam, we’re digging that canal! So I’ll be damned, said Uncle Sam, we’re digging that canal!”

There was a pause. The guerrillas, of course, didn’t understand the English lyrics, but as they shared shocked glances in the darkness, they collectively recognized the challenge that was being issued to them from somewhere in the American camp.

They all cheered as Monche and Chiche locked eyes and picked up again with their instruments, resuming the old melody that had been interrupted by the drunken macheteros. This time, though, the barbs were being directed against a common enemy. Though the Americans, similarly, would not understand the Spanish lyrics hurled back their way, they’d know well enough that their challenge had not gone unnoticed… or unanswered.

“Buenas noches a los yanquis, buenas noches a los yanquis,
Les aconsejamos que duerman con los ojos abiertos, con los ojos abiertos,
Pue’ porque si vos no lo hagas, ¡bajo tierra quedarás cubierto!”

“Good night to the Yankees, good night to the Yankees,
We suggest that you sleep with your eyes open, with your eyes open,
’Cause, well, if y’all don’t, you’ll end up buried six feet under!”

Then Monche and Chiche abruptly stopped as they waited for the reply. The guerrillas listened eagerly, grinning and exchanging excited glances. After a spell—long enough that they started to wonder if the Americans were throwing in the towel already—the harmonica piped up again, joined by the distinctive twang of the banjo.

“My mama always told me, be careful where you pick a fight,
And my papa always told me, that might don’t always make for right,
And they make me feel mighty guilty, ’cause far as I can see,
Y’all make for a mighty lousy sight!”

The guerrillas jittered in spirited indignation, chuckling, as Monche and Chiche got ready to strike up the tune again and send their most damning retort yet. But then a sharp bang pierced the air and sent everyone ducking. It faded into the darkness—it was no closer to their camp than the harmonica and banjo had been, but a rifle was a much louder instrument, and it sent a much more forceful message.

The somberness of the night descended upon the guerrilla camp again, extinguishing the feisty energy that had kept the trova going for hours. As far as the Colombians were concerned, the Americans had ended the duel in bad faith.

5. Pranks and Surprises[]

Alford Brown and Ellsworth Lubbock stirred in the glowing twinkle of the early morning light. The rest of the camp was quiet, boots sticking out from tents, snores punctuating the stillness of the dawn.

“Hey—Ellsworth,” Alford whispered in a sharp hiss. “Where the hell’re Furman and Pinkney?”

Bleary-eyed, Ellsworth shrugged. He cast a tired glance over to where the sentries who relieved him earlier that night should have been posted. “Maybe they went off to piss or summat.”

“No, no…” Alford whispered, his tone suddenly grave, his eyes conveying silent urgency. He reached out and put a heavy hand down on Ellsworth’s shoulder. “They should be there.”

Alford got up from his cot and ducked out from the tent. His crunching footsteps faded out into the distance as Ellsworth labored to sit up. He shook his head to gather his senses, looking down at the palms of his hands before he buried his eyes into them, rubbing vigorously. Taking a deep breath, he swung his feet down to the ground and stomped out after Alford.

The sun wasn’t yet bright enough to make him squint. He cast a glance over to where Alford had gone—over to where Furman and Pinkney should’ve been. They were a bunch of pranksters. Ellsworth was still a little annoyed about when they had left his boots out overnight by the tents in Panama City, under a dripping fall of rainwater, so that they filled up and stayed soaked for days. Now they were probably all hiding behind a tree or on the other side of the earthen embankment marking the perimeter, giggling to themselves, waiting for him to peek around looking for them.

Ellsworth’s foot caught on a root and he tripped, stumbling, catching himself with his hands before he went face-first into the dirt. He straightened himself, dusting his hands off on his pants—only to leave streaks of liquid red on them. He looked down again and noticed a river of blood pooling out around his feet. Turning, Ellsworth realized it wasn’t a root he had tripped on—it was a pair of boots sticking out from a tent.

Pulling aside the tent flap, Ellsworth found Norval Henery with his throat sliced wide open, choking on his own blood. The quiet gurgles and gasps weren’t loud enough to wake any of the sleeping troops around him. Norval’s pathetic struggle faded as the man’s eyes glazed over. Stumbling back in shock, Ellsworth found himself face-to-face with a Colombian machetero. The man put his finger to his lips mockingly and raised the blade to strike, but Ellsworth pushed him back violently and turned, shouting incoherently, trying his best to rouse those who were still only asleep.

“¡Estamos comprometidos! ¡Nos han descubierto!” went the warning cry from the Colombian. The camp instantly burst into a frenzy of noise as Rough Riders stumbled out from their tents, pursued by the liberal guerrillas carrying machetes soaked in blood. Ellsworth had no weapon on him—he barely had his boots on—he found his feet carrying him over to the spot where Alford and Furman and Pinkney disappeared.

Alford was on his back, his massive Bowie knife unsheathed and hilt-deep in the gut of a surprised machetero crouched on top of him. A second guerrilla lay splayed out on his back in a pool of his own blood. Ellsworth rushed forward and pulled the mortally-wounded Colombian off of his friend, but stopped in shock at the huge gash carved down Alford’s neck and into his chest. The blood was already spurting out in rhythmic jolts from the gaping wound, and Alford’s eyes didn’t focus on Ellsworth before they went slack.

And then, before he even had a chance to process what was happening, a hand gripped Ellsworth’s right shoulder from behind, holding him firm moments before a sickening crack and a white-hot sprout of pain burst from his neck.

6. The Charge of the Bull Moose[]

“The Colombians, sir! They just overwhelmed Captain Moody’s company. A sneak attack.” The runner paused, breathless, as Theodore Roosevelt absorbed the information. He maintained his composure, but his blood was clearly boiling as he clenched his hands into fists and looked up at the sky.

“Mobilize the rest of the regiment.”

Elsewhere, in the liberal guerrilla camp, Uribe looked up from his table of maps to see a machetero enter his tent, the sleeve of his right arm rolled up to the shoulder. They had all done that, so that in the heat of battle, they could easily identify friend from foe with the simple touch of a hand. You had to grab your enemy to cleave him with a machete, after all.

“General Uribe. We overran the camp. We killed everyone that we could.”

“Any losses?”

“A few, sir. Santander Martínez, Luis Pitre, Carlos Huerta. Julio Francisco and Chema Gómez were wounded.”

Uribe nodded slowly, mulling over the names. After a brief pause, he looked back at the machetero. “The Americans will not take this lying down. We have to move now and get our second phase into action.”

***

The Colombian trenches were swiftly overrun by the furious Rough Rider counterattack. The guerrillas manning the forward position had ineffectively traded shots with the Americans, but their Winchester rifles lacked the accuracy of the Krags, and the coffee farmers manning them lacked the training afforded the volunteer regiment opposing them. The steady cracks of the Krags overwhelmed the staccato bangs of the Winchesters, which melted into little more than whispers of resistance in the wind as the troops wielding them either fell or broke like rabbits into the brush.

A gun crew carrying a disassembled potato digger machine gun sprinted forward under fire as the Rough Riders advanced. Hopping over the abandoned guerrilla trenches, they pushed forward into the jungle. Roosevelt was right there with them, his revolver in hand, waving it to urge his soldiers onward. “This is payback, boys!” he bellowed. “Payback for Moody and our boys!” He growled to himself as an aside, “… and payback for me.”

Sprinting past the broken bodies of liberal guerrillas, individual Rough Riders let out war whoops, firing into the thicket even when there was no discernible target. But the constant barrage of gunfire had its intended psychological effect, as droves of guerrillas emerged, hands high in the air, pleas for mercy issued in rapid Spanish and faltering, broken English, weapons long since discarded. The Americans furthest forward opted to ignore them, leaving them to be captured by the Rough Riders bringing up the rear of the advance.

Unexpectedly, a burst of automatic gunfire raked through the leaves and kicked up dirt around the Americans as they emerged into a clearing where the rebel encampment sat. Diving for cover, some of them hollered in pain as they took rounds to the gut or legs, wounded. The inexperienced guerrilla gunners fired in a manic, panicked frenzy, feeding the belt and swiveling the barrel back and forth across the gun’s sight picture. As long as the gun spoke, the Americans took cover.

And just as suddenly as it started, the Colombians’ Maxim stopped, the belt exhausted. Turning on the spot, the guerrillas started to lug the piece away down a hill on the other side of the camp. Other rebels popped up from the flanks to distract the Rough Riders with ineffective, but bothersome rifle fire. “Get that gun!” went up the cry.

The potato digger crew had reached the clearing and landed on their elbows, mid-assembly, so that the machine gun was operable and belching a stream of lead at Uribe’s rebels in short order. Several of them toppled instantly, cast aside into the undergrowth by the unforgiving rounds, while others ducked low for cover and tried to crawl away. The firing had all but ceased on the Colombian side of the field, and the Rough Riders advanced, rifles at the ready, while the potato digger covered their movement.

At the bottom of the hill, in a little valley of a gully, the Colombian Maxim gun sat abandoned by its crew. The firing had stopped, the rebels completely routed. The Americans secured the piece and sent word back up to Roosevelt, who appeared presently to inspect the fruits of his labors. A machine gun and enemy encampment seemed like a fair exchange for the massacre that morning. The Rough Riders milled around, gawking at the Maxim that had given them a brief spell of trouble, waiting to see how their commander would react.

But then there was the sound of hammers being cocked and guns being lowered all above them. The Rough Riders looked up to find themselves completely surrounded in the gully, the Colombian rebels triumphantly aiming down at them. Inferior weapons, training, and marksmanship meant little at this distance. Roosevelt looked up in disbelief as a familiar mustachioed figure emerged, revolver pointed in the air.

From his position on top of the hill, Rafael Uribe Uribe lowered the gun and pointed it directly at Roosevelt. Some of the Rough Riders spiritedly raised their own rifles in response, but Roosevelt, recognizing the foregone conclusion of his position, gestured for them to put their guns down. Dejectedly, he tossed his revolver into the dirt.

Uribe descended while his troops stayed above. “Well, well, well…” he said in English, surveying the plight of the Americans before him. He looked up at his men and gave an order in Spanish. They bustled about, some turning away, others descending into the gully and restraining the indignant Rough Riders.

Uribe turned his gaze back to Roosevelt. “Send one of your men up with a white cloth, and tell your gun crews to present themselves here, with their machine guns, immediately. You will have ten minutes for them to appear.”

Roosevelt grimaced and turned over his shoulder. “Spurgeon, do what he says.”

“Matheus, ¡Acompáñelo!” Uribe said to a rebel, who walked over to Roosevelt’s chosen man, jamming the barrel of a revolver into his ribs. The two staggered up, clambering out of the gully toward where the potato digger crew sat, Spurgeon holding a handkerchief high over his head. “Stop! Stop! Don’t shoot!” he shouted. They paused, waited—a muffled cry of reply met them in response—then Matheus urged Spurgeon onward and they disappeared from sight.

His eyes smoldering, Roosevelt glowered at Uribe. “This doesn’t mean you’ve won, you realize,” he hissed. “The United States military commands far more resources than your loathsome band of misfits ever could. If you think this means you are keeping Panama—and the canal—you are sorely mistaken.”

A twinkle glimmered in Uribe’s eye as he laughed and looked over at Roosevelt. “Perhaps you are right about the canal, about Panamá. But I am afraid that I have won. I gave you my warning, in person, because I am a gentleman,” he told the furious American. “And so a gentleman shall I be. You, Señor Roosevelt, and all of your men are prisoners of General Rafael Uribe Uribe.”

WINNER: RAFAEL URIBE URIBE

Expert's Opinion[]

The Rough Riders, were, perhaps, better equipped, trained, supplied, and fed than the Colombian liberal guerrillas. The logistical advantage enjoyed by the American forces was a substantial point in their favor. However, under the leadership of a hot-headed and impetuous leader like Roosevelt, this ended up sustaining and encouraging tactics and maneuvers that incurred unnecessary casualties for very little strategic gain. Rafael Uribe Uribe could be quite impetuous himself, but he demontrated himself to be far more tactically versatile, capable of deception, misdirection, and ambush. As a leader his presence held the liberal guerrilla movement together at times when it might not otherwise have endured. And, while Roosevelt's primary means of attack was to move forward on the offense, Uribe was just as experienced fighting on the defense as he was leading a hot-headed charge. Lastly, Uribe had a much longer military career under his belt than Roosevelt did, with much more substantial combat experience. In this case, Uribe as a leader more than made up for the shortcomings of his troops, who to their credit performed admirably under difficult circumstances. Roosevelt as a leader embodied many martial values, but his aggressive temperament came at the cost of tactical or strategic versatility, which proved to be his downfall in this fight.

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