Chapter 18: A More Perfect Union
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On the evening of January 6th of 1776, General Kim paced in his makeshift office (a small room in a local inn) nervously as he waited for the result of the elections.

After a series of negotiations, it was agreed that January 2nd, 1776 would be the official date of the election regarding Quebec's future. It took several weeks for the province to be calmed and pacified, but by mid-December, General Kim was confident that Quebec was totally free from British control. The few remaining strongholds in isolated parts of the province surrendered upon hearing the fall of Quebec City, as they were now within a hostile territory and isolated from the main British forces in North America. Additionally, the defenses in Quebec City were coming along nicely, with the former defenses being rebuilt and small warships being constructed to defend the city from any naval incursions. After it became clear that Quebec was free from British control, the locals embraced the colonials more openly and more Quebecois vocally supported the patriot cause. This was mainly due to the lack of British threat of retaliation, the forgiving attitude of General Kim and the policies carried out by General Putnam and General Kim, which allowed the Quebecois greater autonomy and respected the culture and rights of locals.

Even so, the general was greatly anticipating the results of the election. Upon his insistence, all Quebecois twenty years or above (including women) were allowed to vote for their province's future. Some of the representatives were hostile to the idea, but General Kim remained unfettered by their protests. He argued that the people of the province as a whole needed to decide on the future of Quebec, not a selective group of individuals. Additionally, he stated that many of the locals were affected by the British "occupation" and the colonial invasion. As such, in his opinion, they deserved the right to voice their opinion on the matter as well. Seeing that they were unable to change his mind, the representatives relented. January 2nd was declared the official election date and the day was declared a temporary holiday to allow the people to vote. Ten polling stations (most of them were in taverns that were within the largest towns and cities in the area) were opened throughout the province and all of them were under the watchful eyes of colonial soldiers to ensure that the election was carried out fairly. Once the polls closed, the results were carried by Native American cavalry units to Quebec City, where the votes were to be counted by both colonial and local representatives to ensure that there were no bias or rigging involved.

And now, General Kim waited for the votes to be finalized.

The total population of the province of Quebec was approximately 90,000, so he expected the votes to be counted fairly quickly. Some of the votes were already counted, but he requested that the votes to be only reported after all the votes were accounted for. The last thing he wanted was false hopes and early celebrations.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, there was a knock on his room's door.

When he opened it, he came face to face with Christophe Pelissier, who was one of the representatives that was in favor of joining the Continental Congress and the other colonies. Upon seeing General Kim, the French-Canadian man broke out into a wide smile, "You have done it, general! The votes were overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Continental Congress and fighting against the British. Many were not happy with Governor Carleton's policies during the invasion and your own policies and troops have won the people over."

"How close was the vote?"

"From the report I saw, it was 52,000 individuals in favor of joining the colonies and 19,000 in favor of independence," Pelissier answered, "A considerable margin, I would say. The people have spoken, and the other representatives will convene to decide on the individuals that will be sent to Philadelphia to represent Quebec."

General Kim let out a sigh of relief as he slumped into a chair, "If I can speak honestly, Mr. Pelissier, I think I need a break for some time. The Invasion of Quebec and the administrative work have drained me considerably."

The ironwork owner let out a small laugh, "By all means, I think you deserve a break for all the work you have done for the sake of Quebec. You have certainly done much to make sure the people remained happy and relatively unaffected from the invasion. I mean, if you look at the votes, I believe that the message of the people is very clear."

"Unfortunately, I have no time to rest for the immediate future," General Kim grumbled as he showed the representative a parchment, "The Continental Congress has requested me to travel to Philadelphia immediately, along with the Quebecois representatives if Quebec voted in favor of joining our cause. I assume Congress is eager to hear the news regarding Quebec and wishes to assign me elsewhere. I'm afraid the war goes on in other colonies, even with the capture of Halifax by General Washington. I will most likely be sent to the south, as the fighting is the heaviest there."

"I will let the others know immediately. Will your units withdraw from the province as well?" Pelissier asked with a worried expression.

The general stroked his chin, "I will remain for a few days for the other continental forces to arrive in Quebec City. For the time being, my men and I will remain here. Do not worry, I have received word that a contingent of 1,000 men will be permanently stationed in the city. General Putnam will continue to serve as the military governor until the relationship between Quebec and the Congress is officialized, but that matter will be settled soon enough."

Pelissier nodded understandingly, "That sounds workable. Well, I will allow you to celebrate in peace, general. I'm sure you are exhausted and desire some rest."

"Please," General Kim said as he smiled, "Thank you for the news, Mr. Pelissier. I can breathe a bit easier now."

After the French-Canadian man left, he laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling silently. He had been in the past for nearly half a year, and the changes he had made were already substantial. The British were not threatening the northeastern colonies and were forced to retreat to Georgia, where their main forces were now stationed. Quebec City was not under siege but was firmly under colonial control. The Maritime province was also occupied by the colonial forces and from what he understood, the Maritime province was already sympathetic to the patriot cause and was sending representatives to Philadelphia as well. The Native Americans were not hostile to the colonies, but actively cooperating with them and negotiating on their official status with the colonies in Philadelphia. The future of the United States looked bright, especially if the representatives agreed on the proposals for true equality and rights for all.

Of course, not everything was going smoothly. Georgia was actively hostile to the Continental Congress and was a staging point for the British forces. South Carolina was teetering on the brink of civil war due to the abolition proposal. The British were bombarding and raiding coastal cities, as General Kim recently received word that the British fired upon the city of Boston in revenge for their losses. And even with the promises and guarantees made by him and the Continental Congress, the United States was neither united or independent. It was a fluid situation, and one wrong move could cause the colonies to be divided even further.

Despite all the work he had managed so far, his work was far from over. Even if the United States achieved independence, he would need to help build the nation from the grounds up. If General Washington ran for the presidency once more, he would need serious help presiding and uniting a diverse and disjointed nation.

To say Samuel Kim was stressed and pressured was an understatement. When he told Pelissier that he needed a break, the general was not joking. General Kim really wanted a break, especially since he was saddled with much work and responsibilities. But duty called, and he was needed everywhere.

With a tired sigh, the leader of the marines slipped under his covers. The Asian officer was only asleep for several minutes before his door opened with a crash.

In the doorway was Colonel Arnold and several other officers celebrating with alcohol (which General Kim allowed temporarily to relieve the morale of the men), who were all in a jubilant mood due to the recent news. It took them several moments to realize that the room was strangely quiet and several moments more before they realized that their commanding officer was in bed.

General Kim glanced up from his position and groaned, "Colonel, I will give you five seconds to leave the room with the others. If all of you are not out of the room by then, I will make all of you run around the city until daylight."

Needless to say, the colonial officers excused themselves from the room faster than the British retreat from Montreal.