Outline of An Oblique Approach by David Drake and Eric Flint

This is an Outline, not a serious review or critique, meant for parody and humor purposes only.

Other Outlines can be found here

An Oblique Approach (Belisarius)purpose:*sparkles*

MICHAEL OF MACEDONIA: *Is a Very Snarky Stylite* Hmmm. *Considers* *touches*

purpose:*Brain shattering KA-BOOM* apocalypse! doom! destruction! evil empires! take me to your general!

MICHAEL OF MACEDONIA: Ow. *wakes up a few days later* Huh. Why don’t I take you to my friend ANTHONY CASSIAN perhaps he’ll know what to do.

AUTHOR1: BELISARIUS, he so fine, he so fine he blow our mind.

AUTHOR2: Also? His wife is a babe. And smart.

AUTHOR1: And anyone who disses them are dorks.

*ANTHONY CASSIAN and MICHAEL show up at BELISARIUS’ house with purpose in tow. BELISARIUS and ANTONINA go to meet their guests, there is Lighthearted Plot Exposition and Introduction of purpose where ANTHONY and MICHAEL and BELISARIUS take turns as the straight man before things turn serious again.*

ANTHONY: *holds out purpose to BELISARIUS.

purpose: *sparkles*

BELISARIUS: *picks up*


BELISARIUS: Ow. *falls over, but not for as long as MICHAEL or ANTHONY.*

purpose now has an aim: help! can’t sleep, new gods will eat us!

BELISARIUS: *Wakes up* OMGWTF!? Why didn’t you tell me about our son!


ANTONINA: Because he’s not your son! I didn’t want to hurt your reputation because of my bastard!

BELISARIUS: FUCK my reputation! You should have trusted me!


BELISARIUS: *More angst*

ANTONINA: *Even more angst*


BELISARIUS and ANTONINA: Grrr. *Then they realize MICHAEL’s yelling at BELISARIUS, not ANTONINA.* Er?

MICHAEL:*rips BELISARIUS to shreds for being a dork*

BELISARIUS: Meep. *sheepish.*

EVERYONE: Okay, let’s talk about our visions.

aim: *attempts to communicate* help!

BELISARIUS: Bzuh? Help how? What?

EVERYONE: *stare* BELISARIUS, who are you talking to?

BELISARIUS: The gem. It talks.

aim: you promised! help!


aim: *shows instead of tells*

BELISARIUS: You’re from the future?!

aim: yes!

*Game plan: 1. Find out about the Malwa and their weapons. 2. Tell THEODORA about plot, but not JUSTINIAN because he is a very stupid genius. 3. Recruit smart people, while tricking bad guys into thinking ANTONINA and BELISARIUS are amenable to bribery and treachery. 4. Save the princess, save the world!

ANTONINA: But you won’t believe the rumors, right? *lip trembling*

BELISARIUS: Baby, you know you rule my world.

ANTONINA and BELISARIUS: One True Pairing!!!

BELISARIUS: *Does military things. Plots*

Intro of MAURICE, the Crusty and Cynical Nature’s Sergeant: I am crusty and cynical, BELISARIUS should listen to me more often, dagnabbit, even if he is a genius. Whippersnapper.

Intro PROCOPIUS: I am a sleazy little gossip with pretensions of being a l33t biographer/historian.

Intro of BOUZES (HANS) and COUTZES (FRANS): We are here to mess (grunt) you up!

Intro of MARC OF EDESSA: I won’t be important yet for a few books, but I’m shocked out of my skull that BELISARIUS promoted me!

Intro of MENANDER: I’m important to the plot, but I’m mostly here to be Young and Inexperienced.

BELISARIUS: *does more military things.*

*The Medes are coming. The Medes are coming!*

Persian XO: I mock you! Mock mock mock! Your Mother smelled of elderberries!

HANS and FRANS: OMGWTF! Did you hear what he said about Mommy!?

BELISARIUS: Why the hell do you care what he’s saying about you? Twits.

HANS and FRANS: OMGWTF! We hate Persians! Argh!

BELISARIUS: *does military things. sets up HANS and FRANS as a couple of patsies because they’re STUPID, and steals their army* You’ve been served, biatches. *Eventually ransoms them back and yells at them for being STUPID*

HANS and FRANS: Meep.

*Is getting some help from aim and twigs to it *

BELISARIUS: Hey, you’re helping me, right?



*A little later*

aim: argh! invent the stirrup you protoplasmic dork!

BELISARIUS: Huh? *gets whapped with an image* Oh cool.

aim: *sighs*

*Insert scene where BELISARIUS is proven to be awesome. Also, indirectly introduce Persian Characters Who Will Be Important Later. Remember to take notes!*

Intro Bodyguard1: Hey, I’m ANASTASIUS. I’m an example of a humorous incongruity; I look like an ogre, but I’m really a smart, bookish, philosophical guy.

Intro Bodygaurd2: I’m VALENTINIAN. I look like a mean, murderous weasel…Because I AM a mean, murderous weasel. I also mutter rude things under my breath.

*Meanwhile, in Darkest India*

MALWA: *Ebil Empire put together by a Cyborg. Cyborg is using the Hindu caste system to create a Eugenics program. Evil Cyborg is Evil, and looks nothing like Arnold Schwartzenagger.*

YE-TAI: Pillage! Burn! Maim! Ravage!

RAJPUTS: We gave an oath. *grumble*

KUSHANS: We really, really hate our job, but we do it anyway.


SHAKUNTALA: *Heroic brave princess type, with assassin training.*

RAGHUNATH RAO: *Heroic brave warrior-assassin type, teacher of SHAKUNTALA, nifty kshatriya type.*

KUNGAS: *Iron wall of a Kushan.*


SHAKUNTALA’S family: AIEEE! *dies*

YE-TAI: *evil minion laugh* C’mere girlie


YETAI: Eeeep! *gang up on her*

KUNGAS: *slays YE-TAI* Don’t thank me, I’m saving you for VENANDAKATRA.

SHAKUNTALA: *rage* Don’t worry, I won’t.

KUNGAS: Don’t be a playa hata’

SHAKUNTALA: *playa hates*


RAGHUNATH RAO: Argh! KUNGAS and his men are too damn good! *prays* Please God, don’t let SHAKUNTALA do anything stupid!

SHAKUNTALA: *Is princess, is brave, is heroic. Of COURSE she’s gonna do something stupid*


PHOTIUS: Hi, I’m cute!

HERMOGENES: I have NO idea what y’all are up to, but I want in!

IRENE: *Is a genius*

SITTAS: *is not a genius but makes up for it by being LOUD*

*Audience with the Emperor!*

VENANDAKATRA: *is slimy* We’d like to open trade and have peaceful relations. Just ignore our ninja spies.

AXUM ENVOYS: Hi, stop giving us the cold shoulder while you’re schmoozing with the slimeball.

AUTHOR2: Oh, by the way, AXUM=ETHIOPIA.

BELISARIUS and FRIENDS: Hi! Let’s get acquainted!

AXUM ENVOYS: Okay, but everyone else is ignoring us pointedly.

BELISARIUS and FRIENDS: Yeah, sorry about that, by the way–

JUSTINIAN: Okay, Belisarius can go to India along with the Axumite envoys to discuss trade, now shoo.

VENANDAKATRA: *is pissed* Why of course I don’t mind going completely out of my way and taking everyone to India as envoys.

AXUM ENVOYS: Huh, what huh?

AUTHOR2: Oh hai, have we mentioned the AWESOME that is AXUM?!

OUSANAS: Dat ain’t ‘awesome!’ Dey got me talkin’ like I be ignant.

AUTHOR2: So you basically have plenty of material to work with when you mock them, right?

OUSANAS: Dat troo.

EON: *Is a brave and noble younger son of the King of Axum. Not so sekritly bookish, and should not be allowed to come up with anything sneaky.*

OUSANAS: *Is quite simply made of awesome.*

GARMAT: *Is not quite as awesome because he agreed to idiot prince’s idea of having Ousanas speak in pidgin.*

EZANA and WAHSI: *Eon’s bodyguards*

*On the ship there is warriorly bonding between the Romans and the Ethiopians. Everyone takes a vote and agrees that VENANDAKATRA is a slimy varmint. Despite warriorly bonding Ethiopians need something a bit more concrete.*

aim:*gives Power Point Presentation of the Apocalypse to OUSANAS.*

OUSANAS: Ow. I’m going to stop speaking pidgin now so I can explain in detail how really bad the future is going to be if we don’t do something about it.

BELISARIUS: Now that that’s settled, here’s the plan…


BELISARIUS: Oh hai, let’s be best friends VENANDAKATRA!

VENANDAKATRA: Yay, let’s talk about how much fun it is to be evil!

BELISARIUS: Yay, evil!

EVERYONE except EON: Yay, evil!

EON: *Muttered.* Yay evil, whoo-hoo.

*In Darkest India…*

VENANDAKATRA: *Gives the evil overlord tour.*

EVERYONE: *Pretend to be impressed and also evil and susceptible to bribery and corruption.*

BELISARIUS: *Purchases supplies necessary for appearing to be evil and also for the rescuing of princesses, including a bunch of hookers and one DADAJI HOLKAR whose entire family will become Very Important Later.*

Intro RANA SANGA: *Who is made of awesome despite working for bad guys*

VENANDAKATRA: *Continues evil overlord tour.*

BELISARIUS: *Tells whoppers about his evilness which causes VENANDAKTRA to become hugely paranoid. Also tells whoppers about how evil (and horny) Kushans are.*

EON: *Does not LIKE pretending to be evil*

EVERYONE: STFU with the whining! You’ll pretend to be a sadistic abusive scumbag and LIKE IT!

EON: Why isn’t BELISARIUS collecting a harem then? Since he’s also supposed to be lecherous and evil.

EVERYONE: Because Romans are monogamous, BELISARIUS is married, and you AREN’T married or monogamous, now quit whining!

EON: *Thinks dark thoughts.*

BELISARIUS: *Continues to tell whoppers.*

aim: *has just been told there’s no santa claus.* aaaaaaah! you’re a lying liar who LIES!


aim: you lie! you’re just like the new gods! waaaaaaaah*

BELISARIUS: Um. No that’s strategy.

aim: you lie! *betrayed! woe!*

BELISARIUS: I’ve never lied to you!

aim: you will. ‘cause you’re a lying liar who lies.

BELISARIUS: *sigh* Look, let me try to explain the concept of subterfuge to you…


VENADAKATRA: *Replaces Kushan guards with skuzzy Malwa priests.*

KUNGAS: …The hell?

VENANDAKTRA: *Completes evil overlord tour by having the Romans and Ethiopians observe the destruction of a city that rebelled against the Malwa.* So, want to meet the Emperor and join up with Evil Inc.?

BELISARIUS: Sure! Where do I sign up?

VENANDAKATRA: Right here on the dotted line, and why don’t you demonstrate what a tough guy you are by killing these rebels in horrible ways!

BELISARIUS: *to Reader* In some stories, this would be the point where everything goes to hell because the good guy absolutely can’t do something evil. This is not one of those stories. *to body guard* VALENTINIAN, do the honors.

VALENTINIAN: *Kills the rebels quickly, making a mess all over Malwa Emperor’s carpet.*

BELISARIUS: And that was your demonstration of what Romans do to traitors.

VENANDAKATRA: *Gritted teeth.* Very educational, you passed the evilness test. *to others* Get these barbarians out of here.

*And so, the plot advances. DADADJI decides BELISARIUS is actually made of awesome and might even be an avatar. OUSANAS is sent to find RAO to let him know that he has allies.*

OUSANAS: *Delivers the letter, the sooner the better.*

RAO: *Reads the letter.* This is legit?


RAO: Score!

WRITER2: *Makes extensive use of trademark ‘compare people/concepts to animals’ similes.*

RAO: *Makes like ninja.*

SHAKUNTALA: *Makes like brave and heroic warrior princess. Or rather, tries to.*

RAO: *Facepalm.* You do realize you’re about two feet too short to break the neck of someone taller and wider than you just by twisting, right? Good form, though! I give it eight and a half for effort.

SHAKUNTALA: *snarl* All right, I’ll kill him the right way! *TKO in three moves!*

RAO: That’s my girl!


KUNGAS: *Has been assigned along with his men to BELISARIUS as guards.*

BELISARIUS: *Is friendly and charming.* So, no one’s been able to locate the princess or the army that ‘kidnapped’ her?

EON: *Is loading harem onto elephant. One girl is all covered up, but is suspiciously SHAKUNTALA shaped.*

KUNGAS: *Is suspicious.* It wasn’t an army, it was just one man.

BELISARIUS: Only one man?

KUNGAS: RAGHUNATH RAO. One of the mightiest warriors in all of India. He wouldn’t have gotten past me though. *is still suspicious* Not by himself.

BELISARIUS: I know. *Cheerful!* But knowing how you Kushans are, it’s not surprising at all you were replaced!

KUNGAS: Say what?

BELISARIUS: Don’t pretend! It’s why you were assigned to us, after all. EVERYONE knows how lecherous and lustful Kushans are!


BELISARIUS: Ya Rly! I anticipate you’ll be causing quite a ruckus in camp, constantly sniffing around our hookers and the prince’s concubines!

KUNGAS: *Snicker.* It seems our reputation has spread even to the West! I anticipate our uncontrollable lust will result in many a fracas with your men.

BELISARIUS: Good, good-er, I mean terrible! Outrageous!


aim: psst. my name’s aide now.*


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