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 Post subject: [TSW] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-06 06:43am
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Disclaimer: thanks for Armageddon, Stuart and everyone. It's a pleasant place to make fanfics in. :)

Don't wake me while I'm quiet

Hell. Tartarus. Mountains, Nichyipar's prison.

- So then, the old moron got what's coming to him, - a chained figure spoke from the depth of the cave. - And we are finally vindicated, my daughter.

- That we are, even if I am not your daughter, Elder, - noted the tall and rather thin woman standing in front of the massive stone that sealed the entrance to Nichyipar's lair, - but the humans are here, and they claim to be the masters of all.

- Have you brought them to me? - Nichyipar looked through the tiny hole in the sealing stone of his prison.

- Yes, Elder, - the woman nodded. - I have. Those are not much different from the ones I met during our travels on Earth, Elder. Their weapons, however, have changed rather... dramatically.

She then pulled up a body of a Russian army soldier in field uniform.

- He called himself... “patrol”. Asked me for my name. When he finally understood who I am, it was too late, - she laughed. - They are so gullible, Elder. Some things never change.

- You came here to taunt or ridicule me? - cried out the massive figure from the shadows. - You beast!

- No, Elder, - the woman shrugged. - I never intended to. The humans are not news. After all, who did not know in earnest that it would come to this...

- I expected a different result, - Nichypar laughed. - But then, after the ill offspring of God imprisoned me here, the failure probably was pre-determined.

- Will you listen to me or not, Elder! - the woman grew irritated. - The weapons I spoke of... they are so powerful that they could release you from your prison. Whereas you would need a thousand-strong crowd to move the great stone, a human weapon can release you with ease! And of course... - she paused. - It can kill you, Elder. Such is their new strength, which led to the downfall of Mekratrig. Arrogant idiot. Who shall not know the lust for violence and the cunning of humans, cunning in all things murder.

- You plan to release me then? - the old daemon asked, his mind slowly realizing what this new information meant for him personally and all of Hell.

- What? - the woman laughed. - No, Elder. And this is the last time I bring you food, - she threw the soldier's corpse through the half-meter wide window. - Verily, Elder, the same weapons can be used to seal you even better...

- But why? I was the one who gave you everything... you would not be without me!

- Let the thought of freedom so near torture you for all time, - the woman smiled and turned her head, laughing so loud that the echo went on through the canyons. - No torturer or executioner would ever compare to the torture of one's own mind, ever pondering what might have been.

Having said that, she went away. When Nichyipar thought that she reconsidered, he heard a thud far above, where the massive stone door and the small window were, and the window went dark. Nichypar screamed over the body of the dead soldier, ripping his uniform and tearing the flesh in futile rage. Only after he devoured the food she brought he finally understood. He roared and cried, as loud as he only could. He knew that she was already far away, and the thought of her smiling face burned hotter than the streams of molten lava.

Hell. Tartarus. On the road, five hours earlier.

She heard the news, but witnessing the iron chariots of the humans herself? Yes, it was certainly possible that they made such things.

A man was riding atop the iron chariot, holding some sort of weapon. It was undeniably a weapon. She understood it rather clearly.

There was a brief thought that if humans managed to kill Mekratrig, they would sure be able to kill her, a mere nephilim, but once again she defied fear... and came on the road in front of the chariot.

- My apologies! My apologies... - she spoke hastily, when the great iron beast stopped in front of her and the man pointed his gun straight into her head. - You are undoubtedly the great koldun of this region? I am honoured to feel your presence...

- Hey girl... where did you come from? You're one of the newly liberated? How did you even end up here? - the soldier spoke in a familiar, but slightly different language, she noted. - You're one of the Free Dead, right?

- Yes, I am, - she nodded. - Horrible tortures awaited me, but your friends rescued me, noble koldun. I have heard from my sisters that your magic of good is so powerful, and many of my brethren have been released. I am your sister as well... from the old tribes I remember the language you speak.

- And you are? - the human went down from his chariot, and two others immediately rose from it's belly.

- Odnoglazka, - she spoke quietly. - Please, take me with you. I am lost here, and the daemons are...

- What a strange name, - the human smiled. - Well, you're probably from times so ancient that we think they are a fairytale now. Get in.

- Hey Boris! - said one of the men behind him with clear disapproval. - We are on patrol duty, not search and rescue duty. We should leave the survivor and report her location once we get back to the camp.

- Come on, Misha, - the human turned back. - She's alone, and she is so old... I mean, from such an old age that she hardly would know what to do with all the stuff going on now. We can help her. Look how frail her figure is, and her hair is so white! She probably endured a lot in her life. We're liberators of Hell, aren't we?

His companion remained silent, but his look was menacing. She returned the favour with her lone eye.

- Where's her eye, Boris? Her second eye?

- The bald... - tried to explain a sudden inconsistency Boris.

- Don't, - the human pulled out his gun. - All injuries heal nigh-momentarily here. Regeneration is extremely potent. I don't believe her.

She smiled.

- Yes, you are right, - she pulled out a knife. - But it's too late.

The humans raised their strange weapons in panic, but then froze, disoriented. Ah, what easy prey. She closed in on them, stabbing their eyes with her thin, needle-shaped dagger. Easily concealed, it was her favourite weapon. They fired chaotically in the air, trying to hit her – or places where they saw her standing, all of them false. Stray bullets ran around her, as if she were in some sort of a field deflecting the gunfire.

She killed all of them, of course – even those inside the iron chariot, although disorienting their minds was far harder. She did not like the protective wear they had, so she took it off. Slowly sapping the new knowledge out of their heads while they died, she felt satisfied. A large part of this knowledge was beyond her understanding, but the fragments of memories had shown things so awesome she could not imagine it was possible.

- Don't wake me up while I sleep, - she smiled, one of the last remembrances of the dead human was this simple phrase, apparently it was a proverb in his home lands or something. - Now, now... how true is that after thousands of years.

She thought that the humans' sexual experiences also warranted attention – they were new to her, and some of the encounters and fantasies those dead humans had in their life chilled her imagination... and so she preserved these memories in some faraway part of her brain.

Then she carefully dragged the bodies to the iron chariot and entered it.

Took two hours to figure out how to drive. A lone BMP turned off the road and headed for the mountain range north-west.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-07 05:52am
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XII century, year 1114 AD. River Oka basin, in vinicity of today's Kaluga region. Village.

The preacher tried to write, but for some reason the wooden tablet fell to the floor everytime he pressed a little harder. The broken chair just a day ealier and the doors that seemed to slam into his face every time he tried entering a house... he shaked the thoughts off. He is not one of those pagans to believe their silly tales. And if it's a daemonic curse, his God will protect him.

Two pagans which the village elders ordered to serve Kuksha entered the hut with reverence, but immediately fell to the floor, looking not into his eye, but somewhere above him.

- Master Kuksha! - one of the pagans called him by name with fear. - You still believe in your god?

- His is the Kingdom of Heaven, - answered Kuksha meekly.

- Well, then, could he deliver you from her? - one of the pagans whispered, and made something like an evil laugh, but his eyes were full of primeval fear. - She's right on your neck...

Kuksha Pechorsky, the Servant of the One True God, and the Great Teacher of the Vyatichi, smiled.

- The Lord will deliver me from evil.

- You don't even see her! - the pagan cried. - You are doomed, fool.

Kuksha wanted to say something, but felt his shoulders getting heavier. He waved the pagan servant away and, distraught, stepped in the center of the room.

- Our Father, thou art in Heaven...

- Sssstop, - he heard a whisper. - He won't care.

- Who are you? - he turned around. - Are you a demon? Come out!

And then he saw - it was almost as if it were a hallucination - female legs going down from his shoulders.

- Weak mind, - spoke the voice, and his eyes suddenly started to see a contour... a figure. A woman. Thin and frail, she stood in the room right in front of him.

- Daemonic spirit! - spoke Kuksha with reverence. - A defier of the Lord our God.

- Indeed, mortal, - she smiled. - Defier.

She seemed so irresistibly sexy to Kuksha. He could no longer hold himself... wait, what was he doing? But it did not matter - soon he was in her arms. She enjoyed completely controlling the weak mind of the Christian preacher. He was such an easy target - always walking on public, talking to people... his travels shaped up his body, and she thought he might be useful for further experiments...

Her last victim did not live too long - the intensity of sex with a nephilim, a person whose augmented physical strength was exceeding that of any human, and the loss of control over that strength during coitus left so many humans dead that she stopped counting. Not every single one of them was able to give birth to a new life that she sought in this world, but some were. Probably Kuksha is one of them... she noted that he was still breathing after she finished the act.

- Very well, slave... - she smiled. - Now, carry me to the Vilko village. I'm done here.

He stood up, his mind hardly realizing anything that transpired. She wiped his memories clean - most likely doing extensive damage to his brain in the process, but it did not matter now.

Sitting comfortably on his neck, she ordered him to walk out and head towards the bridge. Kuksha obeyed. He slowly opened the door of his house which he used as a church to bless the being he was sure was God, and walked down through the field to the main road which ran straight through the village and over a small pond that Kuksha wanted to "dry" with the power of his God. She laughed. Pathetic.

The sight of a preacher with a woman on his neck on the road must have awed the inhabitants of the village that were too resilient or too far for her to assail right now, straight after orgasm.

Suddenly she felt Kuksha attempting to free himself from her mental control. His dying mind was probably given power by preservation instincts... the man rushed through the village, and jumped into the water from the bridge, clutching her legs with his hands. Now, now... with the strength of a nephilim it was easy to free herself. But the dying man struggled with her - in the water, her mind control was weakened, and now he sought to kill her with all his strength. She felt his hands on her neck... not good. But he kept his eyes open to see her underwater. She pushed her finger right into his eye, killing Kuksha.

Then she threw off the dead body of the human and lifted herself up to the surface. The villagers were all assembled right in front of the pond. Oh well...

- Likho! It's Likhooo! I saw her, she was on his neck! - cried out one of them. - Run if you want to live!

And some of them did run away, but others - some armed with metal - did not. Metal... metal is bad. Damn. She was still too weak after the fight. Air was of course far better than water - the excruciating pain after concentrating her mind on enslaving other wills slowly left her. Killing them all? Definetely an option. But there are better ideas, she thought. Funnier. Her naked body confused them, just as her lacking eye.

- Look, here is your miracle maker! - she laughed, lifting the dead body out of the water. Hovering in it was not hard, and neither was manipulating Kuksha's remains. - He promised to empty this pond with the power of his "god"! But I laid his pride to rest... and you now, witness true power!

She concentrated... the pond was very heavy. Maybe far too heavy for her. But she was one of a kind, the survivor of Nichyipar's murderous tests, where hundreds fell, and the power she had was well-honed. The water went up, flooding the plain and swept away the armed villagers in a muddy flow. She slowly went down, and finally her feet felt the grassy bottom of the pond.

The village was a mess, and cries of fear and desperation filled the air. She smiled. It was such moments that gave her a reason to live. It was a perfect symphony of suffering, so simple and yet brilliant, far superior to Mekratrig's boring self-glorifying choirs in Dis, which the lord of Hell seemed to enjoy so much.

Deeply satisfied, Likho left the vyatich settlement, stepping through mud. A naked body covered in dirt... this thought excited her. She should try having sex in some sort of mud next time, and then drown the victim. The feelings he will experience during mud asphyxiation might be different from the ones those pitful mortals experience when sinking in clear water... and thus worth collecting. After passing another kilometer, she thought about the feelings of humans burned alive. For some reason, fire interfered with her abilities, and thus she thought about a way to pull that off. Maybe burning a small part of a human will cause him to experience the same, albeit in a lesser force?

In any case, she needed rest for the next few weeks. She might bear a child, and it was more important that having fun with those silly animals.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-14 02:01am
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Hell. Ravaged section of the Great Wall of Dis.

The partisan camp was well-hidden in one of the caverns of the cyclopic structure, and well-guarded as well. On top of the wall, a group of people assembled. They seemed so tiny and insignificant compared to the mega-structure, but yet they were the great power that crushed this wall once and for all. A large breach could be seen some thirty kilometers away from any overflying plane. And there were quite a few recon and transport planes and helicopters flying around in Hell recently.

A Mi-24 streaked overhead, heading for the nearest airfield. The enormous size of Dis ensured that humans had to use all aircraft they could scramble to patrol Hell's airspace. Remnants of Hell's "resistance" so to say now slowly understood what happened and indulged in hopeless rage attacks, trying to ambush humans who have not yet been granted modern arms to resist them.

The humans were there to make all of the imprisoned inhabitants of Hell understand how to fight, and how to defeat the enemy. And this small group of people on the wall was part of the greater war. They were led by a person who, upon liberation, immediately vowed to spread the fight to every corner of Hell - partisan Kovpak. A lieutenant-general. A living legend. He was now here, wearing a common Soviet Army helmet, once again called to the frontlines - called by his own will.

- I'm sure most of my comrades who lived after the Great Victory are familiar with this weapon. However, today we have newcomers from... what years, remind me? Ah right. 1940 and 1915. They would hardly know the most powerful machine gun created by our glorious Motherland! - Kovpak raised his voice. - Now, let us demonstrate its power for newcomers.

A caught daemon helplessly struggled far away in the distance, running around in a fenced square.

- Target is over three kilometers away. This is a direct shot distance. Optics in order?

One of the soldiers checked the sights on the old machine gun.

- In order, Sydir Artemovich!

- Very well! - the aged partisan commander kneeled before the mighty gun. - Now for the newcomers. If we were using the gun against humans, a hit in any part of the body would have been deadly. The bullet would just rip this whole organ away. Understood? Our enemy is a little more resilient, but even he can't hope to survive under a barrage.

The KPV* came alive, pouring out bullets. 64-gram gifts of death left the muzzle and covered a good thousand meters in a single second. The improvised practice range was almost immediately strewn with the blood and intestines of the unlucky demon chosen as target by the partisans.

- Let's go down and check the range, - Kovpak said, inviting most of all the young soldiers who died in the age of World War I to come over and see the effects of the KPV, and slowly went off to a stone ladder.

Several people remained in the machine gun nest, ever vigilant, looking into the expanse unfolding around both sides of the wall. Now equipped with optical binoculars and other stock equipment from the massive military reserves that Earth tried to reliably supply to the partisans, they were a formidable enemy for any stray beast roaming the ways of Hell. And they were ruthless enough, after almost a century of torment, to ensure none of them survived. Partisans rarely accepted "surrender". However, with the capitulation of most of Hell's armies, killing the wrong daemons became unacceptable, and the group was wondering whether the enormous mobilization of the liberated populations had a tangible goal.

Kovpak was satisfied by the spirit of the newly liberated humans and their readiness to risk another death to kill the enemy, but he mourned every single man he lost in combat. Petr, Genka, Kuzma... they were peasants from sometime in the XIX century, and it was hard for them to grasp modern operations.

Most of the equipment which was used by the partisans was around the time of Great Patriotic War - including the KPV, which became one of the prime demon-killer tool in the hands of humans, means to defend safely from any type of attack, either harpies or some behemoths running on the ground. People who came from prior times, especially prior to the Revolution, had little time to get accustomed... and it meant the difference between life and death all too often.
Kovpak already wrote his good friend, Petr Evseevich Braiko, who, despite the old age, was immediately re-instated back home as an expert on Contact with Soviet-era Partisans (or some other name for that fancy commitee that Sydir did not really like). He commended the war effort of the Motherland, but never stopped asking for people of pre-XX century times to be relieved off duty. Any casualties suffered by the liberated in Hell were all the more bitter since they were suffered on the verge of victory, and losing comrades twice is a torment to a commander who genuinely cares. Such were the Ukrainian's thoughts as he led his small training squad along the plain towards the shooting yard.

Suddenly, when the group was a few hundred meters away from the wall, a Mi-8TV helicopter gunship - the most prevalent type of machine around this part of Dis - approached from behind, overflying the Great Wall and hovering over Kovpak's group. Something was wrong with the machine. It made violent erratic turns in the air, which hardly made any sense with at total absense of enemies. What was it trying to do?

And then Sydir understood. The pilot tried to aim at them.

- Down! All men down! - Sydir jumped towards the next boulder, and his trusted aid Petro immediately followed, covering the commander with his own body.

The helicopter made a strafe from its 12,7mm machine gun over the group, and then stopped to turn around and make a another shot, hovering low above the partisans. However, at this time it stopped violently shaking - as if the pilot regained control - and was pretty sure aiming for the kill.

"Missiles" - thought Kovpak with fear, realizing that it might be the moment his newfound life ends. He clenched fists.

And then the KPV on the wall awakened, hitting the helicopter's side and causing it to catch fire and swing to the right. The machine still struggled to remain in the air, but it seems the parts of the engine were now damaged and aflame.

Still, the pilot managed to turn the helicopter towards the firing machine gun and rise over the wall, dropping a 250-kg bomb straight on top of it. The explosion made the small group fall down once again. Then the helicopter, covered by thick black fumes, went down beyond the wall into Dis and disappeared from view. Maybe it crashed somewhere close? But there was no sound, and the noise of the machine blades cutting the air soon vanished. Means he flew quite a bit... pursuing on foot through Dis could be reckless and useless. Sydir spit on the ground. Did daemons learn to operate helicopter? Are there enough traitors already to operate the technology for them? Chertovshina.*

- Quick! - the lieutenant-general rose to his feet. - Robyata***, training's done. We need to report this immediately.

* - KPV - "krupnokaliberniy pulemet Vladimirova", Vladimirov's large-caliber machine gun
** - "satan's thing", a common curse which is used when something out-of-order happens (like "witchcraft")
*** - folks



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-19 03:55am
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Hell. Russian Land Forces Headquarters. The Tower, shores of Styx, Fifth Circle.

The Tower was a good point for the HQ of the Russian Army. Offering a good overview of Styx and far-reaching territories around it, it was chosen by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces himself, and to get a better grip on the situation, the Commander chose to make a trip to Hell in person.

The stone rooms of the Tower were already fitted with communication equipment and a large number of guards patrolled its huge ladders.

One of those rooms was made into a command post, and this is where the highest commanding officers of the Army decided the future of the Hell advances.

- Comrade Supreme Commander, - Army General Boldyrev looked his superior in the eye, - We have made great advances in controlling the Sixth and Fifth Circles with our rather modest forces, not least due to a peculiar factor... a large part of the humans enslaved in the vinicity of the Dis Wall - around 3 billion in total, of which around 1 billion are thought to already have joined the resistance under our banners - well, maybe slightly less according to the latest calculations by our demographic specialists. Those are mostly atheistic or agnostic Russian and Soviet citizens who died during the 1930-2000 period, some other Europeans get shuffed in here as well but their numbers are fewer. Even more important, around 200 million of them are soldiers who died on active duty or had served in the Army. There's also untold billions of Chinese scattered along the plains beyond the Wall as well, which the PLAN currently tries to draw into accepting their rule.

- Three billion, - Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin shook his head. - I can't believe this. Our dead citizens are finally liberated, but we have trouble ruling over millions of people... and here are billions. Do they accept the authority of the Russian military? Our authority?

- Some do, - the General nodded slightly. - Quite a few million are already creating self-governing communes though - while still acknowledging our command regarding military matters. Currently there are several leaders - many dead government officials and military commanders who are liberated find citizens from their age in vicinity and proceed to claim the rights over the land...

- That could turn bloody, - Putin said. - There's only so much land you can claim when you start running into other people. But we lack the ability to police the entire territory of Hell, we barely started exploring it!

- And that's not the only issue, - Boldyrev put his hand over a large swath of an imprecise and poor map of Dis from above. - A lot of the liberated humans start forming into lynch mobs, hunter squads... call it any way you like, Commander, but there's a massive massacre of demons ongoing in Dis. Especially now that the demon chain of command has fallen, and the surrender is really only recognized by the Earth militaries. We try to contain it where we can, but our armies are too small in number.

- That was expected, - Putin's face was grim. - I think no one expected a happy end. The magnitude of Hell itself and the huge number of humans who had been tortured for hundreds, thousands, hell, even dozens of thousands of years by demons means we will see a xenocide. And one that I'm not even interested in stopping - it's impossible.

- Of course, - Boldyrev sighed. - You can't even claim the xenophobia of a liberated man against someone who tormented him for a time which is nigh-eternal by our standards is unreasonable. This xenocide is not even what I'd call regrettable. However, it has a consequence of demons forming crude resistance cells, and starting an insurgency. In Dis especially this has become a large problem. Many liberated humans are still not adept at fighting the beasts, leading to their ultimate deaths. Also, there are unsettling reports about the demons getting a grip on our technology, and fast.

Putin's eyes went narrow.

- What is it?

- A few demons learned to operate assault rifles. This has been reported all over Hell under human control, though... rather alarming. Also, which is in our backyard - a Mi-8 helicopter was recently stolen from an airbase in Sector Kukushka. Later the same Mi-8 attacked one of the partisan groups in the same Sector, was downed and crashed in a city block several kilometers away. The pilot body was found inside, disfigured. Also, a few BMPs went missing, but that happened before, they'll get found sooner or later. The helicopter stands out though... we checked the body for pheromone influence, apparently none. It's hard to say what happened. Demons were considered unable to operate such complex technology. This is alarming as well.

Putin went around the crude map of Dis.

- Homeland is coping well, we have gone to a war economy in a remarkably smooth fashion - compared to other cases, we were also able to cause large casualties to the enemy at a neglible cost to our own forces. Still I feel we are just beginning on a trail ridden with problems. The RAN's estimate of possible human population in Hell ranges around 60 billion, and that's roughly corresponding to all other major demographic calculations. It's impossible to control such a large population with a few million servicemen that Earth currently has in Hell. Neither the United States, nor anyone could hope accomplishing it in a short order. The liberation itself is causing new rifts like the demonocide we all know about but try to pretend it doesn't exist, or that it's not the fault of Earth armies when demons who surrender ask us about the fate of those who get in the hands of the humans.

Boldyrev patiently waited for the Commander to finish.

- You know, comrade General, I have thought about the possibilities of relocating industries into Hell to ease the economic strain on our earthly production base. Some areas will soon be safe enough, and once we supply at least those 200 million former Russian soldiers with weapons, we shall have an army to defend the billions of our liberated compatriots. The Army should secure the initial placement for factories. Hell's population is also much more fit for industrial work due to the unique properties of Hell... and their impact on the human afterlife.

- That's all well Commander. I will make appropriate redislocation orders for the sites we will use in the future.

Putin smiled.

- And that Mi-8 incident... who reported about it?

- General-lieutenant Kovpak, sir. One of the...

- Kovpak?! - Putin was shocked. - He is commanding a unit?

- A most fit one, Commander, with many soldiers dead in both World Wars. They have killed over three hundred demons by now. It's rapidly growing in size - former partisans are joining in, and he could soon be commanding quite a few regiments. His people control over a few hundred square kilometers of the Great Wall and are slowly taking over some of those titanic fortifications and urban blocks inside Dis proper. Of course, many of them kill demons at sight, though they are far more merciful than the bunch of those 1812 soldiers who participated in the Gateway Massacre.

- Increase the arms shipment to the people under Kovpak's command. Such effort is commendable. As for those Gateway Butchers, where are they? Did we kill them?

- They are apparently searching for the Tsar somewhere beyond Sector Sputnik, or that's what I last heard from our agents among the afterlife humans. They went totally rogue...

- But had taken quite a bit of our equipment prior to that apparently, - remarked Putin with a hefty dose of dissatisfaction.

- Yes, they are heavily armed - we even gave them a stock of BMPs a few months ago, and then those motherfuckers went to kill lots of demons and people... They are on the loose in Dis, posing as resistance members. We heard they killed some French and other afterlife humans as well, motives for murders are often unclear. Though the clear trail for them is the massive amount of dead demon citizens of Dis they leave everywhere they go.

- As always, man is the enemy of man. Send someone after them. Maybe Kovpak's regiment... shall prove its loyalty to the Motherland, right?

- A good move. Kovpak is not far, and his group has some old stock vehicles to pursue the bastards, - Boldyrev said.

- Just make sure his people don't take it as a free-roam order and start killing Germans. One set of Gateway Butchers is bad enough already, - Putin recalled the ire from Russia's allies when the Napoleonic era group of soldiers who initially signed up with the resistance, after the surrender of demons was announced, went on a deadly rampage through the region next to one of the Dis Gates, slaughtering "foreigner" afterlife humans and demons alike.

- Don't worry. Nothing can top the bad news about "liberated" millions of cannibals in Lower Dis. So for a while we're shielded from bad PR. And remember, this is Hell. Information travels by ear. Takes longer for really bad news to spread around.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-19 07:42am
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Hell. The city of Dis. Some 200 kilometers deep into Dis.

A convoy of around fifty BMP-1s was running on the loose through Dis. A bunch of people in stock Soviet uniform were sitting on the armor, with several DT and DShK machine in their hands. Smaller demons, succubi, demon children were driven over if they were spotted. Larger ones were shredded by the BMP guns. The IFVs often broke formation and swept entire city blocks clean of life, showing the effectiveness of XX century technology against medieval era opponents once more.

This Soviet vehicle started pouring into the resistance, at first in small numbers and later in the thousands when the stock inventories managed to ship large quantities of those machines via sea.

More than 20,000 of those machines were produced, and now they became the backbone IFV of the Hell resistance: the dead humans who came to a new life inside Hell. Some called them "afterlife humans", some "resurrected", some "undead". A large number of them immediately volunteered to fight Hell's native inhabitants upon liberation, and the humans who came from Earth gave them weapons to do it.

What seemed a large benefit to the truly tiny human forces, comprising several million at best, soon became the scourge of Dis and of all Hell. Liberated humans engaged in killing any demons they came across - and the older was the human's life era, the more willing he was to kill all of the "beasts" of Hell. The older the torment, the greater a lust for revenge - and now this moment came.

Not only this, but many liberated humans had their own ideas about the future of Hell and their own fate... not least this group.

His Imperial Majesty Jaeger's Leib-Guards Regiment's dead were once again in a war. But this time they were given new weapons. And no less impressive in battle, thought Guillaume Emmanuel Guignard, vicomte de Saint-Priest.

Posthumously awarded for his loyalty to the Emperor, tortured and humiliated by daemons who used him as a slave, he was intent on avenging his fate, saving the Emperor, and restoring the Throne to power. Some weakling called "Putin" commanded his beloved second homeland, his Mother Russia, and nobility has vanished? That's what Guillaume learned when he first contacted the humans who liberated him about Russia's current fate. To him, the news were crushing. All his loyalty... for nothing? The last Emperor killed by riffraff? Foreigners dictating their will to Moscow of all places? That was impossible, that was awful and terrible.

Bad news also came about France - it was apparently more powerful than Russia, Napoleon was revered (Guillaume had something to say about revering a man who caused his ancestor to flee, who ended the nobility in France, who caused Moscow to burn, seeing first-hand the suffering Napoleon's invasion caused and the dead comrades on the battlefield - and it was Napoleon's forces who ripped his foot off in battle). Moreover, France and Russia were here together! It was unacceptable. It was hideous. Wrong on all levels.

Guillaume carefully observed the customs of the modern Russian military, which set him free, and found those utterly repugnant, just as most of his compatriots - yet the weapons the Earth-comers possessed were worthy of admiration. And thus he and his companions joined the Earth armies to get the revenge against their daemonic tormentors.

His regiment suffered extremely heavy casualties in the Battle of Borodino, and he was liberated alongside his dead battle comrades. Most of them agreed that the current state of things is disgusting... and in a few weeks after that, even worse news came - the demons surrendered and it was suddenly "unacceptable" to kill them! What utter hypocrisy! Those were inhuman beings who spent two hundred years torturing Guillaume, and he was not letting it go, no. Neither were the jaegers of the regiment.

The final straw came when the regiment learned of a place known as Prisoner of War Camp Theta some fifty verst away along the Wall of Dis from their permanent dislocation place. This "Camp Theta" housed imprisoned demons from the surrounding parts of Dis, and it was guarded by ... the French! Vile French, who protected the hideous monstrosities. Russia did nothing. In fact, Russia helped to set up this camp as Guillaume figured out. And then...

His regiment, which has just been handed out new IFVs to kill demons mutinied against the Russian command, and silently slaughtered all demons in the Gateway Theta "prisoner of war" camp, as well as its guardians who hardly expected a surprise attack.

Guillaume was French noble himself - and despised the ways of Napoleon and modern "democratic" France as people mentioned it, and as a Russian general, he clearly saw the treachery in Russia. And the faulty ways that Earth followed, leading to the fall of monarchy everywhere - nobility was no longer respected. When a mere village man soldier could dare to call him "comrade" or worse yet, "bratan", a crude slang version of the noble word "brother", how was that even remotely acceptable? Filthy trash!

Any French who were met on Guillaume's way were also often killed on sight. After all, they could not be trusted, not at all. And Napoleon is out there somewhere, a dreadful thought.

The Regiment drafted a rough plan of their rebellion - they would go deep into Dis and search for those who would take up their cause. The goal would be finding the Russian Monarch, Tsar Alexander, and restore his rule over at least those who reside in Hell and long for Russia restored. Guillaume was also intent on finding and killing Napoleon.

He knew the machines would run out of gas - but before that, they could go as deep as over six hundred verst into Dis, where some reported not a few monarchs may be found. Also, moving away from the Great Wall which the Earth-comers considered extremely important and routinely patrolled with both their own and loyalist forces, to establish his own base, was a worthy task. He carefully asked any humans wandering around Dis and occasional foreign armed forces members along the way about directions to where the Tsar, or for any guides to where his Patriotic War of 1812 comrades may possibly be. Are they all somewhere, the noble Bagration? Barklay?

It was the second day since their departure. They traveled through the City of Dis, covering hundreds of kilometers and making obligatory stops at night. Sometimes they even managed to trick foreign forces into giving them fuel for their machines, saying that they are on a mission from a Russian General to retrieve some important dead person.

- Sir! There's someone wounded ahead! - the forward observer on Guillaume's commander's BMP-1 pointed ahead. - A demon probably.

The noble clenched fists. - Another tormentor to kill!

The BMP-1's characteristic noise - the noise of a human machine - made streets void for kilometers away now. The inhabitants of Dis learned quite well that such machines do not signify anything good, and thus quickly hid inside their houses.

On the empty crossroads of the stone-paved highway, lay a woman. Very frail she seemed, and strangely pale.

- Stop it, Pavel, - Guillaume waited for the armored car to stop and jumped down. - It's a woman. Not a demon.

The woman was wounded - lacking an eye - and unconscious. It seemed she was traveling for several days already. He approached...

- Oh, thank goodness! - she suddenly opened her only eye. - I thought you were one of them!

- Who?

- Daemonic beasts and traitors, - she smiled.

- I am a major-general of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Alexander, - Guillaume spoke softly. - And who are you, lady? Why are you lost in this daemonic city?

- People say I bring bad luck, for I have but one eye, - she said with sorrow. - And so they tried to kill me...

- Well, you can consider yourself under my protection now, - the noble looked into her eye. - Me and my battlefield companions are searching for His Imperial Majesty. We want to restore the Throne and glory of Russia, but for that, we need the Emperor, and our comrades who died so long ago. We shall also clean this great land from the hideous beasts torturing our fellow brothers, and establish a human rule of His Imperial Majesty over Dis. We took those vehicles from the Earth-comers. Could you be of use for us? Or would you ask any my gentlemen to travel with you and bring you to safety?

She smiled.

- I cannot be safer than I already am, my hero, - and she offered Guillaume a slight kiss on the cheek. - Perhaps I could travel with you, my lord, and help your soldiers? Surely there is always routine work you need done? - then she smiled again.
Guillaume gave her a hand, and lifted her up from the ground.

- My lady, let me then invite you to my rather... confined quarters, - he helped her on the armor and then got up himself. - We are the wandering knights who lay justice to the daemonic hordes of Dis, and you are our White Lady. May it be for the best that we met!

The convoy pressed on through the Great City.

The city was so enormous - its great wall was over twenty thousand verst in length and the City spanned over four thousand verst from the Great Wall to the pits of Cocytus - that Guillaume's plan was a perfect idea. It would be years before Earth-comers truly establish control over an area greater than that of the Russian Empire... not even counting the enormous continent outside Dis.

Humans would never have encountered a city that large before - no city on earth could be close... he heard from people that modern China might be close to merging into such a super-megapolis, but Dis was yet greater. Guillaume also inquired of his liberators how large the human population imprisoned in Dis might be... he was stunned by the number - over 20 billion - and stunned to discover that it was greater than the population of Earth.

Getting lost in the vast city and taking the time to make his cause was perfect for his plan.

Hell. Russian Land Forces Headquarters. The Tower, shores of Styx, Fifth Circle. Improvised Helicopter Pad.

Once again the Great Tower hovering over the Gate Theta, or Eighth Gate, thought Sydir. He was standing in the belly of a Mi-8 helicopter - the standard craft the Army sent to hotspots in vicinity of Gate Theta. There were Nine Gates, and nine Towers... well, eight Towers - he corrected himself, and they served as good landmarks for orienting aviation, so the Earth Armies quickly made use of them. Helicopter pads were hastily assembled at the top of the towers to allow fast transport of commanders when a personal meeting was necessary.

Gate Theta was infamous in Hell previously for gathering the largest amount of atheists and other unbelievers who were lumped along with heretics by the demons more often than not - which ensured a large concentration of Russians. It was only natural that this point was set as the center of the Russian Sector of Hell Occupation. The Sector itself was larger than the size of Germany, thought Kovpak. Only the primitive nature of Hell's society allowed humans to dominate such large territories with such a tiny presence, but the strains were already showing.

General Boldyrev waved his hand, and Kovpak's helicopter left for the camp where Kovpak's partisan regiment waited for news.

And news were alarming. For the first time since he started fighting as a partisan in Hell, Kovpak felt uneasy. They were ordered to find and kill humans. Mutineers. Russians. Apparently they went insane and mass-murdered some French soldiers and a demon POW camp near Gate Theta...

The old Partisan thought of what he would say to his men. "Traitors"? To what? They were people over two hundred years old. It was the mistake of Boldyrev to consider arming them as Partisans - Kovpak spoke about this numerous times. "Killers?" Kovpak's men killed quite a few soldiers of the former German Wehrmacht whom they managed to find in vicinity of Gate Theta - and of course the two SS-men they burned to death.

The command was looking through their fingers on that. Kovpak realized that the French must seem like Nazis to people of the year 1812, and he could hardly blame the mutineer - whoever it was. What if someone proposed to break loyalties and establish a Soviet power, he asked himself... he heard quite a bit of news about the so-called "Voroshilov Republic" organized by none other than Kliment Efimovich Voroshilov. What if he sent Kovpak an invitation? An order? A request to join forces?

He knew Kliment a little - a powerful person, but forced to stay in Stalin's shade through the rise of the Soviet Union and the Great Patriotic War, undoubtedly he had his own ideas now. One of the first revolutionaries, he probably did not take the news of USSR's downfall all that well. The Voroshilov Republic so far counted a few hundred thousand men (some said already over two million, but Kovpak thought this was too optimistic), a lot of them Great Patriotic War soldiers, especially the 1941 dead - and it was rapidly growing.

It was allied with Earth's Russia, of course, to keep its supply of weapons, but Voroshilov being the leader of the new "state", re-creating the ruling Party and calling it Communist Party of Inferno (CPI), had a huge sway in negotiations - Russia needed his men desperately, just as any other bit of manpower they could find.

Kovpak knew that the manpower shortages of the liberating armies were enormous - they could hardly even afford patrolling the Great Wall. Apparently some two thousand kilometers away from Gate Theta, the Voroshilov Republic started... and hardly anyone knew where it ended - it rapidly moved along the Wall, assimilating newcomers and Soviet power adherents from around the Russian Occupation Zone, called Theta Zone.

And now those Russians from 1812. Why crack down on them at all? Kovpak suspected that it had to do with the fact that they murdered people from Earth. French more precisely. Russian command didn't give a damn if he went on a killing spree, if he didn't touch Earth's humans. They were off-hands. They were the new elite of Hell. Acting against them was not tolerated. A new class division in the making? He smiled. Old theories might have been old, but they never lost a grain of truth, there is always division between man and man.

He will find Guillaume. But he will first talk to him. The thought of risking ultimate deaths of his own men to bring ultimate deaths to a few misguided souls for killing some French - not even with ultimate death! - ired him. And after talking to Guillaume, he'll see if he even should follow the orders from Earth.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-20 06:27am
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Hell. Throne Room, Infernal Palace of Dis. XI Century AD.

- Immortal, empowered with our abilities but magnified a thousandfold, my lord, - Phoryawyth cowed in fear before the Lord of Hell. - He claimed that they are to cull the herds of the East, but Nichyipar's own servants many and of great strength. He is lying, my lord.

The great hall of the Infernal Palace Throne Room was quiet - everyone had to wait before Satan spoke his words... or done his deeds, whichever came to his mind.

But Satan was in a better mood today, apparently. He did not care for the life of the cowering one, but Nichyipar's experiments indeed bothered him and the ruling caste of Hell for a rather long time.

- So he thinks that being of the Old Ones will save him? After he ignored our sincere advice? - he roared. - Abigor, Belzeebub, Astaroth, Azazel shall now ready their armies! All Lords, what say you? What say you?

The audience cheered and roared - any other reaction would lead to heads being ripped off. Satan turned to Phoryawyth.

- Tell me, oh traitorous worm, which is the best way to assault Nichyipar? How to catch him by surprise, how strong are his nephilim armies?

- Oh your Eminence, Nichyipar's nephilim are few and scattered. As I stood by his side, over ages infinite he forced them into blood ties. Their males no longer have a strong seed, and the women cannot carry the fruit of the womb. Disfigurements are common in the later age of his servants, impairing their sight, hear, even their limbs are crooked. Many die before reaching man's age. Yet the strength of each is great, my lord....

Satan murmured something to himself.

- So you are saying he sent some of them in his Eastern domains to wander as lone strangers? Why? Do they need to feed upon the human flesh?

- He hopes the seed of the humans will help his future hordes become healthier, - said Phoryawyth. - They also prey on the feelings of the dead. I spoke to those monstrosities, oh Lord. They suck your last breath out when you die. Nichyipar unleashed them on my messengers several times, and how dreadful their end was! I beg you, we should act quickly until he suspects my betrayal! Shall you tolerate such a defiance of your Eminence as he has displayed?

- Very well, - spoke Satan in anger. - But he is too valuable to die. I want him alive... and his "children" will all be dead by the light of next dawn! As for you, Phoryawyth, traitor to kin, you shall serve the first reminder to all traitors!

And then the Lord of Hell crushed the lesser demon's head with a swift blow, splattering the remains all over the hall. The headless body stood for a moment before falling to the floor with a deafened thump as it hit the carpet, covering it in blood.

- Carpenters shall make a new beautiful cloth to decorate the Throne, depicting the punishment of Nichyipar the Traitor! - laughed Mekratrig.

Once again, the audience cheered and Greater Demons started discussing details of the upcoming battle. Nichyipar was the lieutenant-general under Belzeebub's informal rule, holder of all Eastern Provinces, but he has long lost any contact with that domain. Some spoke of countless hordes under Nichypar's rule, others corrected that he never was keen on ruling a large army, and most of his servants are humans, which is also suspicious.

He also caused the ire of Greater Demons by refusing to appear in Dis for festivities... The images of carnage and slaughter against an unwanted outcast delighted everyone in the Hall - especially younger demons who were eager to show their strength in battle with one of the Old Ones.

Soon Satan's vast armies flooded Hell to deal with yet another daemonic treachery... once and for all.

First Circle of Hell. Ruins of Great Castle of Alatyr. Nichyipar's Citadel. XIII century AD.

The place of torment and evil that she remembered all too well... and laid waste by some foe? What happened of the Elder of Alatyr? Was it the reason why that berserk killed her husband? Questions tickled her mind, but Likho set them aside for a while.

The ruins were silent, and two women - white-haired and black-haired - in simple dirty villager cloth, similar to what human slaves in Hell wore, carefully stepped around the stones in the castle's inner yard. It has been hundreds of years after she first went away from the castle, and felt what freedom is like, thought Likho. Mara slowly followed, hesitant to ask her mother and risk the ire of the one-eyed woman, merely gazing at the terrible destruction wrought everywhere.

- Stay silent, - warned mother.

Then she ran off into the dark pits where massive doors used to hang. Running barefoot, she hardly produced any noise, and disappeared in the darkness of the castle's inner rooms and hallways. Mara surveyed the ruined remains of the castle outer wall. Nothing. No one. Or? A slow movement behind one of the large boulders under the still-standing northern tower...

- Die, abominates!

A gigantic scythe flew through the air, aiming to cut Mara in half. She barely evaded it, and saw a large demon rise from the ground. He seemed to be lying in wait... he expected them to come?

That mattered little. His first attack failed, and Mara concentrated on attacking his mind. First she had to make sure he won't hit her. Confusing his senses was not hard - he was unprepared for the mental assault which caused him to lose Mara out of sight despite standing in front of her.

- Mother! - she cried.

She might not be able to finish him off alone, and his random strikes with massive fists could have killed her by accident. The demon tried to grasp the air ahead of him - apparently her strike was not potent enough...

And then she felt the demon's mind weaken. As if a great flaming wheel went right through it, crushing all resistance. Mara breathed with relief. However, the demon did not die - not before he answers our questions, thought the young woman. He merely fell to the ground, incapable of even controlling his movements.

- Indeed, daughter, not before this beast tells us of all that transpired here! - Likho appared out of one of the hallway doors and went up to the fallen foe.

She pulled out everything she needed out of the demon's mind. He was a guardian left here for... 200 years? So Alatyr was destroyed, and she did not know... slowly preparing to face off her evil master, nurturing Mara and telling her the ways of the world, she thought that Nichyipar merely returned to Dis, or for some reason abandoned her... it was wrong.

The Elder was still alive though, but in a prison far away in Tartarus, locked beyond a stone wall and caused to suffer by twelve great chains with spikes binding his mighty body. She smiled. What a fitting fate for someone as smart as him, to be crushed by surprise, by the foolish lords of Hell.

All others of her kin were dead. At least, everyone who was at Alatyr during the attack.

She recalled the days of brutal training in this very yard. Nichyipar would watch from the tower balcony how she and her brethren burned each other's minds out with devastating attacks, ripped apart their bodies in desperate attempts to physically win over someone mentally stronger... all for mere survival. She recalled the dread she felt when she was unable to feel almost anything - her sole eye perceived only vague dark sihouettes, and ears heard only the loud, meaningless growls as a small child... After a time, Nichiypar first revealed himself inside her mind - she heard the voice of the demon. Then he taught her to consume the feelings that other minds had. It gave her life. Her only eye saw the world much sharper after stealing the last visions of a man who was killed by Nichyipar right next to her cradle. She was told that she is a nephilim, a superior immortal being, who was to prey on the human "cattle" in the castle, and so she did.

Until she was ten, she thought that it was the truth - she simply had to end the life of animals to have her feelings remain sharp, to be able to feel the warmth, see the colors, hear the noises of the world.

Then Nichyipar first threw her out into the courtyard, where he said "others" were. She was to either die, or kill the others. That day, she triumphed, and it was countless days after that, until Nichyipar released her on her first voyage to the place he called Earth.

She was not the only one. Several were chosen, and tasked with producing offspring. For hundreds of years she wandered the Earth, slowly shaking off Nichyipar's influence over her mind. After spending a over fifty years in futile attempts to bear offspring, she realized that her desire to sip the feelings of the dying and the desire to feel their suffering were merely a product of her instincts... like any animal, she had to feed. If she did not feel, by proxy, through extremely sharp experience of dying people, her own feelings degraded. She could no longer see sharp for kilometers away. She understood what Nichiypar really wanted to do with her help.

Slowly she came to appreciate human life and fellowship - though much in the same vein as a human might appreciate the fellowship of his pet. She always remembered that one thing Nichiypar said was true - she was of higher kind. Immortal. Able to sap the knowledge of hundreds of humans and turn it to her goals. A higher being. Someone who's destiny and needs were of greater importance than the life of any human.

Still the breeding instincts - probably a daemonic legacy, after all were it not incubi that the Elder of Alatyr used to breed the First Generation? - pushed her to search of ways to give birth to a child. Not for Nichyipar, but for herself - she needed a descendant worthy of her power. And ultimately she gave birth to Mara. She never wanted to return to Hell, not in her life.

If not for Mekratrig's agent who killed her beloved, she and Mara would have lived their lives in peace! Fury filled her heart. And she thought it was Nichyipar who sent the berserk to kill him!

Now all of her kin were all dead, Nichyipar was imprisoned and will be tortured forever - and liberating him from the prison to kill would be impossible, if the demon here was correct. Her goal for coming to Alatyr was no longer of great importance. She felt broken. She and Mara could not even fathom of going against Mekratrig and all of Hell on their own. In a fit of rage, she forced the demon to rip out it's own heart. When he died, she felt a little calmer but still shaken deep inside.

- Mother... - Mara was amazed by the visions of daemonic history that Likho forced the demon to show, she was not of Hell and knew little of what horrors this place was home to.

- Come, Mara, - she spoke directly in her daughter's mind. - We need to find a way to return home. We cannot avenge father... and the one who tortured me has received his punishment already from his brothers.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-21 05:54am
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Sixth Circle of Hell, City of Dis. Theta Zone. Territories of the self-proclaimed Soviet Republic of Dis, formerly known as the Field of Armories of Dis.

It was several months after the humans achieved a decisive victory over demons and he, First Marshall Voroshilov, along with several full divisions of dead men, was liberated when humans first broke through the walls of Dis. And he still saw no end in sight to the slowly creeping war... a new war, one that was waged by the newly liberated humans against the former holders of Dis and other daemonic fortress cities - and sometimes even other humans.

- Travelling such a great distance for a talk with me about it? - spoke the Marhshall. - And you assume I am not... trying to help it?

- You are, - replied the Earth messenger, opening a pack of "Prima" cigarettes and lighting one. - In fact, your efforts in maintaining order over the Armories are commendable and we are considering awarding you...

- Thank you, - the Marshall laughed a bit, and then turned serious. - I have had my share of awards. Unlike some of my subordinates, I understand that the discipline, the very existence of the Soviet Republic of Dis hinges on your grateful supply of small arms, machine guns and cars. We need them badly.

- That is why I ask you to be even more strict... - said the agent. - You know, there are still rumors of Germans being killed left and right on sight, or anyone even speaking German. Not all of them are Nazis. This is causing problems.

- I am trying, - replied Voroshilov, and also took out a smoke.

The news of large numbers of German soldiers and SS-men being found in the circles inside Dis, especially the Lower Ones, led to his people teaming up in squads and roaming deep into Dis, capturing and interrogating anyone they could find who spoke something vaguely resembling German. Demon prisoners - which survived the initial lynching wave - were ordered to report the identity of those found, and if it happened to coincide with the period of the Great Patriotic War, the man was killed by hanging. Voroshilov barely contained this violent rampage from spilling into a massacre. Of course it remained a huge problem, but he doubted the messenger from Earth came for that reason alone.

Kliment looked out of the small tower window. He oversaw the most massive graveyard of war technology ever seen - the Field of Dis Armories. This field, stretching over a thousand kilometers deep into Dis from the wall, had massive, several kilometer wide roads connecting it to all gates of the infernal capital. It was where the demons left their siege machines and catapults which were used during various castle sieges during the wars in Hell. Not just thousands of them... quite possibly hundreds of thousands of siege towers and primitive carts were left in the Field to rot. Produced by the Armories of Dis - which alone employed several million demons, over ten million various daemonic servants and human slaves - after each demonic war came to a victory of Dis and Satan's minions, they were brought here and simply left for the lack of purpose.

During the human invasion, the demons were simply too slow to even make use of this colossal stock of long-abandoned primitive weapons which were similar in complexity to ancient times, but oftentimes were more massive and impressive in size. No iron parts were used, but wood was covered in chemical compounds that helped preservation - still quite a few of the towers were but rubble when Voroshilov finally brought the entire field under control, and took a few flights to oversee his entire territory on a helicopter that Russian forces gave him.

Voroshilov's office, and the temporary seat of the Soviet of Dis and the Communist Party of Inferno were located in one of the central stone towers which were placed on the Armory Field in even intervals, 30 km apart, dissecting it into over a thousand small squares. Some of those small fields housed relics of old demon wars - like an incredibly huge, 100 m tall siege machine called the "Pride of Belzeebub", mostly apart - the wood has been subject to great pressure due to the size of the construction. Only half of the carcass remained erect, and the walls sunk deep into the ground. This relic was immediately reported to the D.I.M.O.(N), the human organization entrusted with all things that helped to get clues about the nature of demonic civilization.

Now the remaining great siege machines and the stone towers built for overseeing the field were occupied by humans, either citizens or soldiers of the SRD - or used as prisons for the demons which were found here. Over a million demons were already slaughtered inside the Armories of Dis when Voroshilov started paying attention to this problem. His men, and various others, including the Chinese from the nearby territories under the rule of someone called Zheng He (Voroshilov's soldiers reported those Chinese being several centuries old) would bring captured demons from all around Hell's capital and kill them, burning the bodies inside huge furnaces.

The remainder of the Armories' workers and masters dispersed and by Voroshilov's estimates, most of those left Dis through the huge tears the humans made in the Great Wall. He didn't know how massive the migration was, but considering there were several billion demons in Dis, probably quite a few ended up in the unending expanse.

Kliment Yefremovich during the critical hour chose to stand alongside the humans who came from Earth - to set him and others free from what seemed to be a torment for eternal time. The war lasted for months, and Voroshilov assumed command over a large army of dead Soviet soldiers who accepted his authority. The humans granted him, and those liberated along his side, a hefty supply of weapons from his Motherland.

At first he simply referred to his troops as the "Theta Front" in accordance with the Gate names that were assigned by the humans to the Nine Gates of Dis - but the more he managed to discover about Russia's modern fate, the more he was dissappointed. The USSR was no more. Apparently there were even conflicts between former Soviet republics, something he thought would be impossible even a thousand years from his age.

Soldiers in the Russian Army from Earth told of great neglect... of almost the entire Soviet Navy and Air Force being scrapped several years ago, entire cities and plants dying out. Referred to some Party drunkard called Yeltsin becoming "President" and ruining the nation. Especially active were some old war veterans who died in the 1990s - a great deal of them streamed to the Armories upon hearing that someone called Voroshilov assumed command. They reported of their miserable end and how the government forgot all their sacrifice and stripped them even of their small pension funds - something Voroshilov could hardly imagine.

Voroshilov soon found out it was no good at all after his death. Not that he liked Generalissimo Stalin too much - he usurped too much power in his hands, and when Voroshilov said "too much", you'd know it was a lot. He was also speaking out against Khrushev in the 1950s, since he understood that the Party wants to assume total control of the Soviet Government. He joked about Brezhnew when the Secretary General rose after Khrushev's demise. It seemed all successors were incompetent, leading to the ruin of the great nation that the Marshall dedicated his entire life to.

The more his soldiers knew of this, the more demanding they became of the First Marshall to do something. Countless letters with "Is that what we fought and died for under the German attack?" and "What happened of the Soviet motherland, Comrade Marshall?" were harder and harder to ignore - especially when they started coming from regiment commanders, though they tried to say they were merely "relaying" the soldiers' feelings. The flames rose higher... makeshift red banners were made by some former officers, reinstated in their ranks by the First Marshall. The old Soviet uniforms that Russia provided from it's reserves were now treated as real uniforms.

Finally, Voroshilov himself acknowledged the growing dissatisfaction in a public speech before his men, and proclaimed the Soviet Republic of Dis - their new home. He accepted the authority of the Russian military command in what related to the liberation of Hell, but said that any liberated citizen or soldier in the Theta Zone may become a part of this new Republic. Soon he understood that his move was a wise one - news of a mutiny somewhere near Gate Theta rolled through all Earth Armies, eclipsing any moves of his behind a huge storm of accusations between warring parties - and just as soon as this news somewhat died down, reports of a cannibal horde somewhere in Lower Dis took it's place.

Voroshilov and his army were so far spared attention.

- You know, Kliment Yefremovich, the war with Heaven is not far away, and we desperately need more manpower for the mobilizing economy. Let's be direct and absolutely honest, - the agent said. - Can we depend on the Soviet Republic of Dis accepting the following machine plants being built here as part of the New Economic Plan of the President? We are surveying the Theta Zone and these territories which you have authority over seem to be one of the most stable self-governing sectors. That puts you high on the list for where new factories may be built.

- We are, and will remain an ally of Russia in the war with monsters, - Voroshilov chose words very carefully. - I understand that industrial expansion is necessary. However, I would want to stress that the SRD would have the rights to the land, and the factories will be there on lend terms. We also ask for industrial equipment in return for the allowance... perhaps some sort of financial agreement could be hammered out. My economists will draft one and send it to you; regrettably I don't have a lot of economists now, but I will certainly clear our modest demands in very strict terms before we proceed with the construction. Oh, and I'll also ask for engineers from Earth to come along, at least a few. Most engineers and specialists in the SRD died in the 1930s or 1940s... I am not content with that level, and roaming around the Zone in search for later-age people would take too much of my men. They are currently struggling to maintain order here.

- That is acceptable, - the man nodded. - I will relay this to the Tower.

- We are also repeating that the SRD will not accept a draft into a Heaven War unless Earth armies encounter difficulties in defeating the armies of Heaven, - added the Marshall after he was certain the man reacted positively to his demands. - Most of my people do not want to risk a second, or "terminal" as the physics call it, death. Now that we know Hell is not a magic dimension, but merely another fact of science, no one wants to put his last chance of life on the line. When we fought for liberation of Hell, it was a question of our very existence and freedom. Now, it is not so. Your soldiers all have a second try, we no longer have such a luxury.

- Very well, - the man said. - I shall report this to Theta Command. Also, I presume you know that several people from Moscow arrived to take a tour around Theta Zone. Can we expect a good welcome from the SRD?

- I will do my best to show the Armories and all territories of Dis we currently control, - Voroshilov was calm. - I hope our economic ties grow, and please report my personal thank you to President Putin for the liberation of Theta Zone.



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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-11-26 05:04am
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Sixth Circle of Hell, Armories of Dis. Former Sword Warehouses, now Prison Block 078. Theta Zone.

Hey, cab driver! Turn to Hell! Through a new road we'll drive home!
Hey, cab driver! Turn to Hell! This forest is foreign and not our own!


The sound of Garik Sukachev's rough voice and folk motives in the Russian soldier's Chinese-built clone of an iPod was deafening - just about right level of "loud" for a tanksman though. Constantly experiencing loud noises took a toll on those who served in the tank forces for a long time. And with this war, thought Oleg, it will be a long time before the sound of gunfire fades. Maybe... never? His commander's red banner - the symbol of the SRD - was around his face, and his worn black glasses offered at least some protection against the winds of Hell. He was looking out of the tank's hatch - looking out for the enemy.

A minor demon was tied to the tank's barrel, with his head looking straight into the barrel. His constant cries of fear and pleas for help, as the tank rode forth, were to make the rioting demons - and those inclined to help demon riots, or any human foes of the Soviet Republic of Dis - feel the fear of imminent death.

The Extraordinary Commitee of the Soviet Republic of Dis managed to get quite a few Russian servicemen from the Hell War, initially assigned by Theta Command as "military advisors" to work for Voroshilov... through persuasion by relatives. The First Marshall was not a fool. One of the examples here riding a tank had his own story. Vassily Nesterovich Chelobanov, the grandfather of Oleg who died in 1941, was here. He asked Oleg to join the Eta Brigade along with his tank crew, and the grandson, who was a "Russia-SRD cooperation liason", agreed. The Eta Brigade was still fighting demons - a task Oleg was eager to do - instead of what the Earth armies were now consigned to, protecting the demons from other humans.

The Eta Brigade was controlled directly by the SRD's Extraordinary Commitee, and patrolled the Armories of Dis - one of the the largest demon prison camps in the Theta Zone. The Etas' were the SRD's best combat forces which held all incursions into the Seventh Circle and crushed any heavy demonic resistance in the Armories, or attempts by demon rebels from the Seventh to break in. The Seventh Circle was cut off from the Armories with a large wall - also broken by the human assault in a few places - but unlike the external Great Wall of Dis, the Earth militaries, even were they at their projected peak strength of over 40 million, would have a hard time patrolling it consistently. Phlegethon's stream which was used by the demons to create another barrier inside Dis, a huge canal surrounding the Seventh Circle on the inside of the wall, was all gone. But it's inhabitants have not. It's in this place where large groups of Germans were reported to be... and large groups of demons. Those demons who were in the Sixth Circle were lucky to escape through the broken wall out of Dis into the vast plains of Hell and get lost like a needle in the hay, but those in the Seventh Circle and further down were pinned down and subject to extermination. The inhabitants of the Seventh Circle were especially ruthless and effective in demon slaughter, many of them were soldiers after all, placed there for "violence" - and it meant groups of demons often tried to break into the Sixth.

Now the Eta Brigade's "Doom Horse of Duke Oleg" as Oleg's T-64 was informally called by peers, went to crush a demonic riot in Prison Block 078, one of the numerous buildings which were prior part of the Armories, where the liberated people of Dis locked down demons for future interrogation. The days of demonocide were mostly gone, demons were now considered valuable targets since their ability to determine the location of various humans in Hell was pretty damn handy for any human occupier. After all, most human self-proclaimed "nations" inside hell had very little but naked human survivors - which meant the chain of command and organization was largely medieval, with by-ear transmission of information, on-foot courier travel... unless it was about the military. And the demons had a lot of experience in organizing large groups the medieval way. The SRD interrogators found out a lot about setting civilian communications and command networks in Dis, often from demons who held administrative positions... now those were imprisoned in the Block 000, and Oleg could not think of a worse fate - probably death itself was superior to that.

The broken down walls of Prison Block 078 - formerly a large bronze warehouse - were right past the small village through which people with makeshift weapons fled away, pursued by small group of demons.

The rioting demons must have killed the gunners at the machine gun nest somehow, thought Oleg, looking at a building which looked like a church in the middle of a village center (yeah, they worshipped Satan all right, recalled Oleg). This means they must have harpies who took out the human guards which manned the machine gun nest on top of the church.

- Fire at the demons. Keep an eye on the sky, - spoke Oleg into the tank, stopping the music for a moment.

- Sure thing, comrade. Should we blast that church and the bell tower? Harpies may be looking out from it. They already learned to use machine guns.

- Yeah, blast it, - Oleg switched the music back on.

The barrel of the tank moved along with the tower. The demon tied to the it did not stop screaming - Oleg thanked his mother for the Chinese music player given as a present upon his return from the army in 2004... otherwise he'd be forced to hear the cries of that thing.

The T-64 stopped for a moment to take a better aim at the church. The demon's cries became so loud they easily overshadowed the music in Oleg's earphones.

- Fire!

The tank shook, and a burst of flame ended the screeching demon's life. The lifeless and headless body now hanged on the barrel like a sack of kolbasa.

The church went down in a cloud of dust, and Oleg noticed two harpy bodies flying down in flames after the blast. Awesome. Now, let's be fast.

The "Doom Horse" rolled on, crushing some of the stones on the paved road, and it was soon close enough to machine gun the lesser demons who started running away into the village.

The tank was faster, however. It overtook them and started methodically killing them with tracks. The fear among the group was almost palpable, and their cries were probably heard far away, carried by the fast winds of Hell. At least, they were heard by the rioteer demon POWs who occupied the Prison Block 078 now. The tank reached the village - by that time it's tracks were covered in blood, and no living demon was seen in the fields, or on the streets. The large warehouse stood before them right beyond the village town square and the destroyed chapel.

- You hear me, demons? This is Duke Oleg, - Chelobanov took a loudspeaker hastily handed by one of his crew and put away the music player. - This is what happens to those who riot and kill humans. Human life is scared and we will protect it. As for you, your choices are simple. Surrender - I need you all to come out and stand before the warehouse wall in front of my tank, no closer than five hundred meters - or face horrific death from the Doom Horse of Duke Oleg. Not a few of your brothers I have slain in combat.

The warehouse remained quiet. Then, slowly, the demons started coming out. Some of them had blood on their claws... they devoured the guards, understood Oleg.

As soon as all of them went out - a total of ten, one of them a harpy - Oleg slowly took off his glasses.

- Comrade Oleg, what shall we do? - asked one of the soldiers from the tank's belly.

- Murder the fuckers, - Oleg spoke quietly, but with clenched fists. - But not before we find out who instigated the riot.

The demons were large - one of them was especially huge, probably one of the Guardians... or their relatives. He may have instigated the riot - he looked bullet ridden and heavily wounded. Perhaps he distracted the guards until the harpies managed to overtake the machine gun nest.

- You! - Oleg pointed at him. - You are their leader?

- Yes, Duke Oleg, - roared the demon.

- Name.

- Chiargothnak, - he hissed.

- Why did you do it?

- You kill us, we kill you. Kill or be killed, - the demon roared. - You want to wipe us out.

- How did you kill the guard?

- She did the job, - he pointed to the harpy. - I merely broke the warehouse wall to amaze them for a moment. I shall not speak with you, dirt. Dirt you were, dirt you are and as dirt you shall die. Now do what you will do anyway.

Oleg stood silent for a moment.

- No, Chiargothnak. Step away, to the right. Do it! - the demon stepped away a few meters with hesitation. - Good.

Everyone was lined along the wall except the leader. Good. Oleg waved his hand to the people inside the tank. Its machine gun came alive, cutting down the last nine demon rioteers... but sparing Chiargothnak.

He roared as he saw the others die and ran towards the tank.

- Cut him down.

The large demon felt the machine gun bullets piercing its legs. He stopped a hundred meters away from the tank, falling on the ground and still trying to press onward, crawling on his arms.

- It's pointless, demon, - Oleg spoke the word with growing hatred. - You live by devouring humans. You found your joy in killing and torturing us for centuries. You tortured my relatives and thought we are but cattle, and after our victory you still murder people. Your death will not be easy for that. We shall bring you to the Seat of the Soviets for trial. There you shall be judged and sentenced to what is the fate of all rioteers... know life in the Block 000. You will regret ever thinking about this riot.

As soon as Chiargothnak passed out, the tank crew tied him to the rear of the T-64. They drove the tank around and inside the destroyed warehouse, looking out for any surviving demons or humans, but there were none to be found, and so the Doom Horse set on its long way back to the center of the large domain.

- Folks, try to waste as little fuel as possible, - Oleg said. - Remember, every raid like this costs us over 200 liters of fuel... and that is in very short supply.

- Sure. Mind if we all hear some music, comrade?

- Yeah, let's take this stress off.

Then Oleg turned his player back on, but this time he plugged it into the tank radio. Garik Sukachev was finishing the song. Oleg thought that if Garik ever comes to do a Hell tour, he should try to get a ticket.

Hey, give me a cigarette! I shall have a smoke,
Oh, what a smoke that would be! What a road,
But we made it to Hell! We made it to Hell!


The dusty trail behind the roaring tank could be seen from afar until everything faded in the darkness of the coming night.

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-12-09 08:13am
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Sixth Circle of Hell, City of Dis. Nominally "controlled" territories.

The road led through a large swamp. The foul stench was everywhere. His Majesty's riflemen did not have even simple gas masks, but it meant little. Hell's humans were incredibly durable and regenerated any damage fast enough for the smell to be their least worry. Simple "arafat hats", as people from the XX century would've called the towels wrapped around one's head, covering nose and mouth, were enough to prevent most unpleasant experiences.

Guillaume Emmanuel Guignard carefully watched the road. Large crosses decorated it, with demon bodies stabbed thoroughly to the cross.

The sight of crucified monsters left and right was meant to scare off lesser demons who were still running amok in the giant pit that was known as the demonic capital of Dis or Lower Hell - and send a message to other humans. Demons are not welcome in here.

Isolated inside the Sixth Circle, a lone castle that they moved towards, has served it's prior masters long enough, but now it had other inhabitants - the most adept people, imperial soldiers from the Great War. Or so rumors told. And, of course, whispers - mere whispers - of the Tsar...

- We have determined that the demons have filled the various regions of Dis not at random, but according to the passing eras of humanity, - the regiment's leader was speaking to the female nephilim sitting right across the vehicle's hatch. - This place is rumored to have... ah... soldiers of the Empire in great numbers. I see they did not waste their time to purge this place of the foul creatures.

- Be careful, my lord, - the one-eyed woman warned. - As you know, the beasts are insidious; they are the masters of treachery and lies. It might be an ambush for unsuspecting children of men, lured by the sight of dead demons into false security.

- We are not lowering our weapons, - he smiled. - I see that you like our company, and your will is exceptional for a woman.

She did not reply, being deeply immersed in her thoughts. This man, this soldier... he was loyal to a person that was - in his view - superior to others. By what right? By the right of birth. It's not that he had really been different - from what she gathered, he was just another human, not much more competent than the rest. But the system of revering those higher than you certainly made sense to her. In fact, for the first time she did not feel human beliefs extracted from someone's head were not completely alien to her own worldview. But so far, he was so very useful... and it meant she had to take great care when investigating his mind. Damaging Gillaume permanently was unacceptable when she just received those modest means of transportation and protection.

- My lord, how perceptive you are, - she smiled with a "noble" smile - the kind of smiles she saw on the face of "noble" Inquisitors...

- Perceptive?

- My current appearance may not speak of much, but I am one of the queens of an empire so ancient that no trace of it remains.

- I should take it.. I am speaking to an empress?! - the noble was somewhat amazed and distrustful at the same time.

- The title of the Empress was not existing back then, but I would have surely taken it shall I have lived to see the new age, - she smiled again.

- It is my honour, then, your highness, to offer you protection and transport, - he said, - why have you not spoken of your high ancestry when we first met?

- I have a reason to believe there are many people who may seek my death, - she said, - All powerful people have many enemies. I could not have known before I got accustomed with you and your men, what you may prepare for me.

Gillaume went silent. She was right. What was he? A refugee from the current human "administration", if it could be called that way, a perpetrator of "demon genocide" as he heard people were saying - he could hardly grasp what the term meant, much less why it implied that one should have any mercy on those who tormented him for eternity.

The swamp around them finally dissappeared, and the massive castle silhouette became visible in the ever-present toxic fog. Truly, Guillaume thought, this place is a perfect hideout. Providence has led him here.

- Who is approaching! - a cry from the watch tower barely reached the BMP column through the thick mist.

- His Majesty's 1st Jaegers! - one of the soldiers sitting on the armor shouted in reply. - We come in peace, brothers!

- Very well. Open the gate! - the cries on the castle wall faded.

Now the approaching Russian soldiers could see the massive bridge of the castle lowering down over a maw filled with some substance, the stench of which quickly told everyone that investigating it's chemical composition is not needed. How did his fellow countrymen manage to take it intact, wondered Gillaume? Revolt?

The convoy of dirty, dust-and-blood covered vehicles entered the castle gate and rolled into the main yard. There, people in primitive clothes - and often without them - walked freely, holding whatever weapons they had. Some had large-caliber machine guns, noted Gillaume. Must be the aviation drops that the Earth-men did from time to time, flying high over Dis in their metallic weapons, and dropping weaponry in crates.

The problem with clothes was apparent in this isolated enclave far more than in places which accepted the command, and help of the humans on an official basis. Guillaume noted a naked man, who brazenly walked to a nearby naked woman and said... wait? The scene was hardly something the prude nobles were used to seeing, but then during their life in Hell, they lost most of that attitude.

Far more important was what the woman said... "Yes, your Majesty".

- Excuse me, - Guillaume jumped off the BMP and walked towards the group of armed humans, but two of them - probably guards? - armed with some sort of weapon Guillaume could not name - stopped him.

- Wait, stranger. You have entered the Castle, but what business do you have with His Majesty? - spoke one of the guards, whose cloth was apparently made from demon skin.

- His Majesty? - Guillaume looked at the man whom they tried to protect.

- Naturally, - the man let the naked woman go.

He did not experience any sort of shame.

- I am His Majesty, Tsar and Emperor of Russia, Peter the First. Well, that's who I was before those ages of pain. And you, stranger with many machines of death?



Misereor

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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2008-12-19 03:39am
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Hell. Camp-Alpha. Phelan Plain. First Human Expeditionary Army HQ.

The video was probably the most damning evidence of the fact that even after Hell has been successfully occupied - if a force of several dozen million could "effectively" occupy an Earth-size dimension with almost thirty times the population of Earth at all - there was still so much left unknown.

Taken from a recon plane overflying the northern oceans of "Planet Hell", the images were undeniable proof that the demons were not the greatest threat of this world; and probably, indeed, the least threatening part of it.

A gigantic body, over a dozen miles in diameter and probably over a few hundred miles in length... and it was a living being. It was not clear if that was the total size of the thing, or where its vital organs were. The megafauna of Hell was something rather unpleasant for humanity, for it proved rather resilient to weapons, and required expenditure of precious munitions to slay.

- And what did you think? - hummed Abigor. - Truly, you could probably slay the great lord of the oceans... if you ever knew where its heart or head lie. With your weapons, even he is not immune.

- He? - General Petraeus was still looking at the last frame of the video in a mix of shock and interest.

- Leviathan. The mighty. The beast of legend. They were a pair, but long ago, before even the Celestial War, Yahweh managed to kill one of them and expunge its offspring...

- How does a being that large sustain itself?

- This is Hell. It does not need to feed, even if it can... - Abigor shrugged.

- If you let me speak, sir, - Dr. Surlethe was not present, but even the transmission's distortions could not hide the interest in his voice. - It may be that this predator indeed comes from another dimension, perhaps a "higher" dimension than either our universe, Hell or Heaven. Indeed, it could have been some freak accident or experiment of the Heaven-dwellers or Yahweh personally, which caused this enormous being to arrive here. It seems that the legend is true enough, and its arrival caused a lot of problems, so one of them was slain and the other, well... the other is here. It would be a great chance to study a specimen which is probably from a world even more foreign than Hell, were it not so gigantic and therefore dangerous even to our most modern ships. It is very interesting... some parts of Hell look engineered, but things like that add more to the now-prevailing theory that Yahweh is not, despite the claims, the creator of either Hell, Heaven or Earth.

- I'm sure, but these questions are the questions of science. We have a few questions as well. Is it under control of a sentient entity? Is anyone able to direct such a large animal? - the General's voice became sharp, any conversation between him and Abigor could easily turn into an interrogation within mere minutes.

- You are asking me if the Leviathan poses a threat to your forces, - Abigor has learned a lot of human speech figures during his stay with the Earth armies. - Sadly not much is known about it... Yahweh put them in Heaven in the ages so ancient you cannot fathom them, and ages passed as he "played" with them - or, should I rather say, subjected his underlings to executions for treason, which he found lifted up his mood. But they multiplied, and proved to be too strong and hard to keep under heel. One of the Leviathans was thus slain, and its smaller offspring were expunged to Earth, where they quickly died of hunger, not able to sustain their great bodies, the other was thrown in Hell after the Celestial War as a sign of Yahweh's anger. From that age onward it resides in the depths of the North, and kills those who dare to near it's lair.

- Thank you, - Petraeus re-winded the video and started watching the colossal organic armor plates again - clearly, it would take a massive expenditure of ordnance to kill the animal, and perhaps only nuclear weapons had a shot at wiping it out swiftly. Hell might have been primitive, but some of the things here amazed with sheer scale.

- You probably know already of the wild things in the plains, - said Abigor. - I have asked myself, why would beasts be a concern to you, with all your might, but now I understand. You mistook the walls of Dis as a defense against Heaven and other demonic armies. Verily, that was a part of their destiny, but a part only. The wild things here are rare, but very dangerous. And your assault left the Wall broken in many places. The beasts of the Plains might not exactly need a "predatorial existence" as you say, but that's what their instincts tell them. You are now forced to expend munitions and weapons to slaughter wildlife when the war with Yahweh would be looming ahead. You expend your "modern weapons" to man the breaches of the Wall of Dis with liberated humans, but that's fewer weapons left to be used in your own army. You make errors as well.

- Whatever our errors, we are the ultimate authority in Hell and nothing can change that, - said Petraeus slowly.

- It would sound far stronger, were everyone in Hell of the same opinion, - the demon turned away and grinned. - But as always, I offer my advice to you, for I know your strength is unrivaled.

Hell, City of Dis. Nominally controlled territories. Peter the Great's Castle.

The woman stood in a corner of the castle's inner yard, and her eyes saw a black dot rapidly rising in size. Soon, a characteristic machine noise could be heard. A helicopter?

The machine circled over the castle, observing the humans inside it. Then it started lowering to land inside the walls.

A Mi-8, thought Likho - similar to the one she used during her earlier rampage through the human ranks. The machine slowly touched down.

- Who is your leader? - a man in a worn Soviet uniform, armed with an assault rifle, jumped out of the helicopter's belly with two guards. - I am lieutenant-general Kovpak, I come as a representative of the Theta Administration.

- His Majesty Emperor Peter the Great, - answered the castle's guard, throwing a crude wooden maquette of a machine gun away. - I am his aide, Lefort. We commend the efforts of Russia to liberate Hell.

The "commend the efforts" was a common phrase that was distributed in the leaflets among the human population, it was used to determine whether the human group is willing to aid the resistance or not during the war... now it became a test for loyalty to the Theta Zone administration. The messenger seemed to be impressed by the names.

- Nice weapons there, - Kovpak pointed at the maquette. - I see more and more of us figure out the beasts are becoming scared of anything even vaguely resembling a human weapon. In any case, Theta Zone has sent me after several fleeing mutineers...

- Mutineers? - Lefort smiled. - Yes, the "mutineers", as you call them, have arrived here and already joined our small outpost. What are their grave transgressions, killing demons?

- Killing humans.

- Humans who were guarding demons from retribution, - Lefort seemed to be pretty knowledgeable about what transpired.

Kovpak noted that he didn't really want to counter that with anything, or at least not in the presence of his men.

- However, they have stolen equipment...

- This equipment has been given to them to run a war, - countered Lefort. - Of course, it would not be hard for you to kill our entire outpost, simply report to Theta Command that the "mutineers" are hiding in some castle with a bunch of crazy monarchists, and it's done, right? But do you really want to kill us? What evil has our outpost done? The French which were killed now live again, and we know Earth-comers retrieve all their dead. And the machines the "mutineers" brought are out of fuel. Surely you know they are little more than armored guns now?

- I do, - Kovpak sighed uneasily. - To be fair, none of us really wanted to take part in this dispute between countrymen.

- Not to mention the fact that Emperor Peter has good relations with President Voroshilov, who sometimes supplies us, - added Lefort. - We are a small outpost and we do not interfere in the affairs of others. Face it, it's a long time before Dis is pacified and becomes safe. Humans fighting against humans? That's the last thing we need. We are covering the road from the Armories into the Seventh Circle, a Circle still chock-full of enraged demons. Some of them we slayed in battle, others were executed for "crimes against humanity".

Crimes against humanity. Kovpak smiled to himself. Lefort sure became quite adept in political speech. The castle dwellers even adopted the phrase modern Earth humans would use to describe the entire policy of the demonic world.

- The "mutineers" are of no great importance. Our outpost is a great service to mankind. We offer a place to rest for the patrols of SRD, and never rejected a demand for help from the Theta Force. Is that assistance not good enough to forgive our archaic ways? - Lefort finished his plea.

- You are saying SRD representatives sometimes arrive here? - Kovpak decided to change the topic, and his guards nodded in agreement. - We have came a long way, from the Theta Gate. My people and I have only heard of the S.R.D...

- Yes, they do arrive here, - interrupted Lefort. - We can offer you shelter and fellowship, as our brothers-in-arms, and you can wait until they arrive, - Lefort smiled. - I see in your eyes doubt about the Theta Command. You want more freedom. Defecting to the SRD, eh, general-lieutenant?

- Us who have but one last shot at life, unlike our fellow men from Earth, need to stick together, - said Kovpak, slowly, thinking about the implications of this sentence. - We might have different views. I might find you and the Tsar archaic. But we share a thing - we have our own goals in Hell.

- What of your report to Theta Command?

- Our group is small enough to vanish in these endless plains, and no one will ever find us, - Kovpak smiled. - But I do want to speak to your superior... and to the mutiny leader, Guillaume.

The woman watched the group out of the shadows. Skimming a little over their thoughts, she leeched some knowledge. Ah... so she should not have been so brazen about killing humans to gather basic information. It called the attention of the human administration of these territories, and their powers were overwhelming. A massacre of this castle and it's inhabitants could've been easily done by Theta Command if it wanted to do so; it was sheer luck that the investigation group sent here felt uneasy about the Earth humans and for some personal reasons decided not to report their findings.

However, if she understood the thoughts correctly, even the group sent here doubted that Theta Command really trusted them. There could have been spies, informers and other investigation groups following Guillaume. Oh, the humans were once again resourceful and entertaining, but it seems they made advances in the art of spying.

Well, this created new problems for her, but perhaps new opportunities opened as well.

Hell, Northern Ocean shores, some thousand kilometers away from the nearest human outpost.

The Leviathan was her friend. Subject to her overwhelming mind powers, the great beast slowly rose from it's deep lair. She felt his mind even at a large distance, she trained herself to communicate with the beast for many years.

She, an outcast thrown by Yahweh and his minions into Hell to "play" with Leviathan, or rather make it kill demons who tried fishing or travelling off the northern coast from time to time, hated humans with a passion. Of course, neither did she love demons, but after all, it was humans who were at fault. For their evil deeds she was exiled her back to Hell. Their torture caused one of Yahweh's angels to take her away before any of Hell's inhabitants took notice, and train her in the mastery of wild beasts.

For they found it amusing to see how she sent beasts to murder demons and humans. And she found it amusing to kill the beings responsible for ages of her torment, the death of her father and the loss of her mother.

- Ah, man, - she smiled. - How proud they are, aren't they, Leshack? They killed Satan. Your former master. They are stronger than ever now.

- Indeed, Mistress Marah, - spoke a large demonic figure beside her. - They are.

- The more of them come here, the stronger is my hatred, - the woman reached out to the mind of a pack of wild bipedal beasts some hundred miles away. - I will show them that breaking Mekratrig and ending the torment of those who well deserved it is not as easy as they thought. I will become their new tormentor. Divine justice cannot exist without punishment.



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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2009-05-28 04:13am
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Hell, City of Dis. Nominally controlled territories. Peter the Great's Castle. Guillaume's apartments.

She woke up because she felt something wrong was going on in the vast energy field that the daemonic seed used for their manipulations with the minds of the less fortunate. Something definitely not natural - large perturbations somewhere far away.

The last week she thought she knew everything of the humans, but at the same time their behaviour truly amazed her. Some held completely different views on life and death, yet were together. Others held views such as, for example, torture being intolerable or as they said, "illegal". This was the first time she came into contact with a civilization so advanced. During her roamings in Hell, she never thought she would find the humans so different from those of old, those who tortured her and her family in many unspeakable ways, so brutally and painfully that she considered them no better than her daemonic tormentors.

Was she really of a higher race? She found out that humans not only had weapons which could free Nichyipar. They had weapons which could render Dis a barren wasteland not to be inhabited for years, kill everything alive in the blast zone and destroy any fortress.

During this week, she slowly siphoned knowledge - something she was so hungry for, always, probably some result Nichypar's breeding policy - knowledge of modern humanity. She saw it in the minds of the Tsar Peter, in the mind of Guillaume and in the mind of that new commander who arrived to the outpost in pursuit of her rescuer, but remained for a while to wait for another convoy from the Soviet Republic of Dis.

So often she stood in the shadows behind Guillaume, posing as a harmed survivor of daemonic experiments (she found this explanation for her eye absence sufficient for the humans, and it also freed her from spending energy on maintaining a costly illusion), while the nobleman was staying on the watchtower, accompanied by Kovpak, or sometimes by other castle inhabitants. What heated discussions did they have! So many words she didn't even understand: mechanization, metallurgy, urbanization... But during these long debates, she saw the worlds that humans envisioned during the talk. Peter the Great's world was the oldest. Guillaume's world was apparently a little later - but even it didn't have all the fantastic technology which Kovpak's world braved itself with, it didn't have that horrible thing called... what, "atomic bomb"? Yet still all those human epochs were extremely superior to the order of the demons here in Dis, which remained unchanged for centuries, and resembled the human order of five centuries ago that she knew.

Who was she to consider that this new civilization, born out of struggle of humans, would not simply crush her no matter what she tried - a futile rebellion or the like? They had these large steel machines flying in the air which could drop another flying machine many thousand verst away... A machine which had no humans in it, only the "payload" - a deadly explosive that would kill everything upon reaching its target. Humans had the means to kill such dead "hunter machines", but Hell's civilization? No, no, not ever...

Only now Likho understood how lucky she was that the humans didn't simply send a missile towards Peter the Great's castle upon learning that the mutineers are here. Only now she truly understood that the humans are now the superior race, even if their frail bodies did not evolve. She was a child of something the humans called "artificial evolution", "artificial selection". The humans applied the same "selection" to their technology, and so they did not need better bodies to be superior. She shaked her head.

He best chance would be cooperating with them, not alienating them. Her mind powers were slowly working in the castle - she spent hours on slowly inserting empathic thoughts about her to the inhabitants of this outpost. Here, she was protected, but it was far from sufficient. She needed to find the human government - the higher officials - and ask them for protection, while at the same time using her powers to pressure them to agree. In this new society of Earth, a being like her could achieve much.

- My lady, - Guillaume slowly rose from the large stone bed, barely covered by some hastily made clothes... probably made out of dried-out daemonic fur and skin, but such things did not really concern humans at all. - Something is bothering your soul?

Ah, one more thing, she thought. She chose Guillaume as her partner. The bond between them grew ever stronger, despite her promising herself after that demon killed her husband, that she shall never be with a man again. She thought of the times she repeated this simple promise to herself. It was so painfully hard to be close with a human yet again.

- Something is happening, not here, my lord. Fear not, - she gave him a slow, very icy kiss, but due to her mind-warping influence, Guillaume probably thought it was a pure display of love.

Hell, Northern Ocean shores. RFS "Admiral Lazarev"

The RFS "Admiral Lazarev", as a nuclear ship, was perfect for the task of guarding nuclear oceanographic vessels - converted nuclear icebreakers, which the humans transferred here. Main tasks for such a unit were long-term mapping missions. They were considered armed heavily enough to deal with anything Hell might offer, but the recent warning to change course came completely unexpected to both captains of the "Admiral Lazarev" and "50 years of the Great Victory" - the largest icebreaker in the world, converted to Hellography, as people jokingly named the task.

What could possibly threaten their unit? The transmission mentioned some sort of monstrous being a hundred kilometers long which started moving - or rather, growing - in their direction, but maybe that was a mistake? Maybe they mistook a coral reef for a beast?

- Captain, what do you think we should do? - the voice of the executive officer rang through the bridge.

- I suppose you are positively sure this is the lifeform we have been warned about? - the captain grabbed the microphone. - Kasatka-one, acknowledge.

The Ka-60 crew acknowledged that visually, they saw lots of truly colossal tentacles that looked as if they were assembled from cartoonishly large organic cells.

- In that case, it means this thing moves faster than the comrades in the Stavka expected, - the captain murmured. - And it also means it's true that such giant lifeforms exist. Please, Fyodor, our warheads' yield is several hundred kilotons, right? We might do a service to the naval traffic here and clear this zone out for everyone.

- Correct, sir.

- In that case, launch. Kasatka-one, guidance ready? - the captain asked, but he knew the reply would be positive even before he put the microphone down. You couldn't miss such a large target even on inertial. - Prepare protective goggles, everyone, and "50 years Victory" as well, - the captain put his own pair on. The other ship confirmed readiness of the crew.

The large seven-ton missile left the vertical launch tube of the "Admiral Lazarev" with an unmistakable roar. Smoky trail rose from the ship, and Now all the helicopter had to do was to record the situation.

In several dozen seconds they were observing a fireball and then the characteristic cloud rising from the sea.

- Kasatka-one acknowledges, target hit, - the bridge was silent, paying attention to the reports of the helicopter which circled around the blast zone on a safe distance, - Wait... it's still alive. It's... still growing, comrade captain! You should take a look!

- You are taping it, Kasatka-one?

- Sure we are, comrade captain. We are in no immediate danger, but that thing is really growing fast. The blast took out a large part of it breaking the body, but the two portions seem to be relatively unfazed and continue their growth. It might close off the approaches to the northern shores. We are returning, and make sure these tapes get to the Theta Headquarters withing the next day...

Hell, Theta Zone Headquarters.

- Comrades, please, look at this, - Boldyrev sighed heavily. - This enormous being, which was noticed by reconnaissance planes several months ago, started rapidly growing and moving towards the Northern Shores. It is our discretion zone. This prompted us to issue a warning to all oceanographic groups operating there. However, the captain of "Admiral Lazarev" was close enough during the time of the warning, and decided out of his own initiative, to launch a nuclear warhead and wound the organism.

Boldyrev took another set of photos.

- These are from our Tu-22 recon planes, taken days ago. Remember the tapes which were transferred from the "Lazarev"? Well, here's the outcome. A week passed, and now this organism, or should I say - many organisms? - are far larger than they were initially. Our scientists presumed that the being was limited by the amount of oxygen it consumed, creating a dead zone around itself, which contained its growth, but radiation-induced mutation created anaerobic cells that are capable of fast reproduction in Hell's environment, basically removing the natural restraint to its growth. Another hypothesis is that the being's natural tolerance of radiation is far higher than one would think, it might have come from a profoundly irradiated dimension, and can actually feed on radiation, kinda like some fungi from Chernobyl. We do not know fully, but it's clear that beyond the immediate blast zone and the zone where the pressure was crushing its cells, the radiation and light basically prompted more growth. More than that, it is now encroaching on the shores. We don't know for sure, but it might have a main body hidden somewhere very deep under the sea. The size of that is hard to guess, but it might be extremely large.

- And the problem? - asked Baluevsky, the VVS chief.

- The being seems to be moving ashore, like I said. The rapid growth of new cells allows it to move with a speed of several kilometers per hour - new cells are growing every minute, and the rate of growth is accelerating - probably due to the blast energy consumed by the organism. We had to evacuate the shore outposts, and it seems that this thing is heading deep into Hell. Water for the tentacles is supplied through its intestines which are also pretty simple, much like a large hydra. We also noticed that it simply crushes all wildlife it meets, but some wildlife gathers around it, as if it were unnaturally drawn to it... and starts following it. See these dots on the photo? It's the animals, various Hell fauna, gathered in front of the Leviathan.

- Leviathan?

- That's what the daemons call it. Apparently, slaying it was a problem even for Yahweh.

- So the animals are falling under its mind tricks, sort of like humans fall under daemonic mind control? - interjected Premier Putin, who so far has been silent.

- Not really, - Boldyrev shrugged. - Our scientists, and the D.I.M.O.(N) think this is a primitive colonial organism with a very simple nervous system. It is hardly sentient. And the demons also note that they did not encounter mind-altering fauna. It is more possible that some demon, or other being, controls it.

- For what purpose? - interjected Putin again. - I think comrade Baluevsky has something to say, am I right?

- We sent our recon planes there, and the bad news is we lost one of them. It fell right after passing over the beasts, - the VVS commander was displeased with that, but he had no choice but to speak. - The current theory... the theory is a psychic strike. And someone didn't just strike them... the pilots cried like they were tortured until the plane hit the ground.

- The planes offer very good shielding, but the radios were on, and the escorts overheard the strange talk of the pilots. Maybe there are more powerful telepaths here than we previously thought. This is very unwelcome. My proposal would be an immediate nuclear bombardment, were it not shown that the results might be unpredictable and quite bad for us, - Boldyrev finished for his colleague.

- So what are the gentlemans' thoughts?

- We received a strange message from Dis, - said one of the men present, Korabelnikov - chief of the GRU. - The message not that eloquent, but it comes from Premier Voroshilov. He says that they have come in contact with an unusually powerful nephilim... which wants to negotiate with the headquarters.

Valencia. XV century.

They were truly inventive, these humans! The same inquisitor never came into their cells again. Inquisitors also never had the keys to their chamber. The torturers could only operate the mechanisms of torture. They all were covered in iron-covered leather costumes - oh, they were not stupid at all. They knew how much threat the demon seed posed. Michael was amazed that they managed to capture these two at all.

Michael-Lan smiled as he looked upon the doors of the Holy Inquisition. Perhaps the Inquisition was the humans' last chance to redeem humanity in Yahweh's eyes. Maybe not. But he was more interested in the women who were captured.

So he broke into the prison - as easily as any angel could, slaying all humans inside - and saw the two bodies, tortured almost to senselessness, in isolated rooms. But which should be chosen?

- Who... are you? - one of them spoke directly into the mind of the angel.

- Messenger of the Allmighty, - the angel smiled. - We are interested in your talents, demon-seed, but rejoice not. Your task shall be mundane, and shall you resist, we will swiftly find and kill you. The Leviathan in the Northern Seas of Hell takes a horde to pacify him, lest he be growing. Yet you, freaks, have the power to do it alone. I had came down to hell and spoke to your former master in his prison... We found your abilities useful. Verily, you are the only survivors of your kin. And I need only one of you.

- Damn you, - hissed one of the women. - Damn you...

- I can't bear it, mother, - suddenly cried the other. - Take me!

- Very well, - the angel smiled. - As for you, demon-seed... I am leaving you to the humans. Maybe you will find salvation in your torment, - he laughed.

And then he left, taking Mara away. Maybe he thought that the inquisitors will find Likho before she leaves, but he truly underestimated her domination abilities. In a few minutes, people from the street whom she called with all her remaining strength of will, broke her shackles...

In a few days, Likho managed to find an entrance to Hell. It took much blood to do it, but she returned back into the place she hated, because Earth and humans were the same as Hell. If not worse. She never thought humans would earnestly start torturing people for Yahweh's glory as if they were daemons doing it for the glory of Mekratig, but such was the fate of human society.

Truly they were a lower race, evil, cruel beasts. Cattle. That is probably the only thing that the daemons were right about.

Soviet Republic of Dis. Voroshilov's cabinet. Several weeks before the Theta Command Council on the Leviathan problem.

Marshall Kliment Voroshilov spoke with someone from the Theta Zone - probably a messenger. "Liaison", someone in the same position Oleg Chelobanov used to be in.

The doors were not properly closed, and so Oleg overheard part of the conversation while waiting for audience.

- ...comrade, we are doing everything we can. The factories are assembled in record tempoes. Daemon labour from blocks 001 to 066 is helping a lot, but we need more engineers, - said Voroshilov. - Output of pig iron is rising. As for steel, I do not believe the facilities are advanced enough...

- I hope you understand the problems of sending engineers here, - the liaison said. - The Theta Command is quite alarmed by the recent developments in the zone. Daemons are learning fast. Worse yet, there are rumors that some foe from the North is rapidly accumulating human knowledge. Some sort of beast, hundreds of kilometers long. Theta administration are quite worried.

- Hell, as if I wouldn't know, - Voroshilov pointed out the tower window. The Armories of Dis were filled with large moving armor columns, cars and horse carts, all moving to the North through his territory, - Theta is redeploying a large portion of it's forces, formerly used to explore deeper Dis territories, towards the coasts of the continent. That's what I heard from the soldiers.

- There's more, but these are rumors, - the liaison said with an uncertain tone. - Consider this more of a friendly sharing than official speech.

- I understand, - the Marshall spoke. Oleg could not see his face, but it seemed that Voroshilov is genuinely concerned. He did understand the modern technology and it's limits quite well; if he was concerned, then so should be every other man in this Hell pit. -Some of it I knew, from my sources... daemons say that many scattered daemon groups in the plains are gathering around this beast. Whatever this is, it's hostile quite apparently.

- Yes, and there's much confirmation. That beast is rapidly going through the plains, but it seems it downed a few recon planes by psychic attacks. Heard that on the VVS radio waves when servicing the Armories' airstrip. But worse yet, the pilots say, some strange things started occurring afterwards. It seems that beast is practicing artillery strikes.

- Artillery strikes?

- Yes. It's cells are like clay, which it uses to build large barrels, then hardens them. Then it uses water or, possibly, vapour pressure to shoot out rock projectiles which it absorbs with its body and makes them somehow into strangely ballistic shapes. Looking just like our bullets or gun shells, each weighs up to several tons. Do you understand what this means? If this beast nears Dis, the casualties will be extreme. Its size allows it to plow out hundreds of such stone projectiles. They were primitive at first, but observers see that it's learning. This is why the forces are re-deployed. The rumors also speak that a nuclear bombardment was tried and was ineffective... The Stavka is going to assemble a meeting in several weeks, once the shipment of weapons of mass destruction for deployment in Hell will be complete. Stocks of chemical shells for artillery batteries around Theta Zone are already arriving. This is why the movements are so huge. A lot of stuff to carry around. We ask of your men to call a hightened alert state. If this thing reaches the settlements, everyone will have to fight.

- This is bad, - Voroshilov murmured. - And the effect of chemicals?

- The being is so large that dissolving its body even with the most deadly chemicals would take a lot of time. As for biological weapons, it's biology is not known and so their use remains dubious. Scientists are breaking their brains on that.

Oleg didn't like the news either. He tried to move closer to the door, but it was shut right before his nose. In several minutes it opened again, and the liaison left Voroshilov's cabinet.

- Next, please, enter.

- Captain Oleg Chelobanov reporting!

- Ah, Oleg, - the Marshall walked towards his stone table and took a small medal, probably made out of bronze. - You are hereby awarded the Order of the Red Star, for the brave actions in riot suppression in Prison Block 078. The riot instigators have been dealt a harsh lesson, and we received a good chunk of information from one of them in Block 000. Important information.

Oleg shivered a bit. He didn't mind the daemons being tortured alright, but working in Block 000 was surely a dirty job.

- I serve the Soviet Republic of Dis! - he answered with a clear formula.

- Very good, - the Marshall nodded. - Now go, comrade. I expect to hear more of your feats.

Hell. Vinicity of Peter the Great's castle.

In several hours, Oleg was already quite far away from Voroshilov's tower. His T-64 was assigned to a special convoy that brought new weapons to remote outposts around the Soviet Republic of Dis - the policy that has been enacted by the Theta administration, apparently because of the looming threat of the megafauna reaching the borders of Dis. Though to be fair he hardly imagined how one could do much to stop a being as large as several hundred kilometers in size, if the liaison did not lie...

The massive Ural trucks went behind his tank as the roaring column slowly reached a lone castle on the border. He heard that this castle harbored some really nasty daemon hunters, people who spent entire ages being tortured by demons. Some also spread rumors of Tsar Peter the Great commanding it, but many dismissed that as ridiculous gossip. After all, the Earth humans were roaming through Dis trying to capture historical personalities for their own goals. But the rumors might have been true as well - the forces of Earth are spread very thin. Even hunting known criminals, like for example the SS-men which were rarely caught by SRD raids into Deep Dis, would be hard. Hunting other people - might be impossible outright.

The castle seemed to be relatively untouched by the war. It was not beautiful as some of these Hell castles were, in late-Medieval style and various decor. No, this was a brutal, early-Medieval style castle, pretty functional. It seems humans took over it without using heavy weaponry. But maybe they used the threat of heavy weapons? Oleg smiled. Not a few times he knew that SRD troops went into patrols with just one real machine gun, while all other men carried wooden props of machine guns. Daemons were stupid enough to confuse the two - after all, they had no understanding of "human magic", and simple shape association made them fear.

Foul stench was everywhere along the road, and daemon corpses were here and there crucified on huge trees. Nice, nice... Oleg's tank was approaching the gates.

- Who is approaching? - he heard a cry from one of the watchtowers, magnified by a simple steel reproductor.

- Captain Oleg Chelobanov, armed forces of the Soviet Republic of Dis! Supplies for this outpost! - he shouted back.

- Open the gates!

Hell. Peter the Great's castle.

- So you are Emperor Peter? - Oleg shook his head while sitting in the assembly hall. The smoke would've made this place hard to breathe in, were it not Hell - people here cared for extreme pain, not for mild discomfort. And since the need to eat was gone, smoking during conversations, especially pipe smoking as pipe and some local plants were available for smoking industry without needing rare stuff like Earth-brought cigarettes - became a quite common habit, especially for leaders.

- Yes, I am. I want to thank you once again for the arms, - the Emperor made a gesture that represented respect. Lefort, who stood at his side, filled in the papers and then gave them to the Emperor so that he would sign the receipt.

- You are welcome, so as long as this zone is well-policed, no daemons enter into the Soviet Republic of Dis from this direction and through these roads, and you stay loyal to the Theta Zone administration, - Oleg spoke the routine formula to reinforce the spontaneously created social contract between the various factions in Dis - the older era humans were the lowest part of this hierarchy.

- Very well. I shall order my people to unpack the crates, - Tsar Peter nodded, giving the papers to Oleg. - Now, my guests wish to speak to you. I will leave you.

The Emperor and Lefort walked out of the room. Oleg had no doubts that Tsar Peter was quite happy. Soon the mock machine guns in the watchtowers will be replaced with quite real guns. Accelerated arms shipments to create a militia shall heavy masses of troops be necessary indicated bad things, but Oleg doubted Peter knew anything of the Leviathan rumors. They were spreading in the Theta Zone, but so far only through the higher officer ranks.

The castle's bleak stone interiors were quite impacting Oleg's already grim mood. The man in front of him was Sidyr Kovpak, a legendary war hero. Heh, would be amazing to sit across the table with the hero you read about in books, Oleg thought, but after a few such encounters in Hell you stop being amazed any longer and take it as something self-evident...

- Captain Chelobanov, - Kovpak said slowly. - I would like to discuss the prospects of my squad entering the armed forces of the Soviet Republic of Dis.

- Defecting from Theta? - Oleg looked at him. - So did I. But what are your reasons?

- You see, comrade, my squad consists of loyal people. Communists, many of them - and if not, they still share the dream of a place where all are comrades and man never exploits man. But this is only part of the picture. Theta sent us to clear out some mutineers...

Oleg became alert immediately. If this was a priority task for Theta, and Kovpak failed it and was seeking some sort of asylum...

- No, no, comrade, clearly you can see we need no help. We have supplies and weapons. Our squad alone killed over a hundred daemons, and great ones as well, - Kovpak continued. - We could simply get lost in this wilderness, hiding in this castle or some similar place nigh forever. But we thought our professionalism would be of use to the Soviet Republic and comrade First Marshall. It is also quite evident that Theta is solving it's own petty tasks with our help - these undead mutineers' only crime has been killing his opressors the daemons, and the people who protected them. They happened to be Earth-borne. That is all. But for us, death is final. We don't want to die doing Theta's dirty job to placate their allies, and kill our compatriots for such a ridiculous goal. That's what I wanted to say, - Kovpak saw that Oleg's thoughts were somewhere far away as he seemed to lose track of the conversation. - Comrade, are you listening to me?

- Yes, yes, I am. Just a strain of bad news lately, - Oleg gave him a confused look. - Actually, I'm not sure if I should share with you...

Likho was shaken by the images which Oleg's mind was unwillingly repeating inside. Very recent memories, so she had easy access. It was just a talk he caught somewhere, but she immediately understood what happened. And she knew what the humans would do next. Overwhelming, brutal force to kill the Leviathan. And such force would also kill Mara. her daughter, the last of her kind that she searched for through centuries, wandering the plains of Hell, to no result. And now, if she would not do something, Mara would be killed. Not to mention that humans will have to use truly dreadful weapons here in Hell - she knew already what "nuclear fallout" and "acid rains" meant, and the memories of Oleg distinctly repeated the words "nuclear" and "chemical"...

Likho slowly came out of the shadows near the door to the courtyard and spoke to Oleg.

- Yes, you should, comrade Oleg Chelobanov. I want you to listen to me very carefully now...



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact


Last edited by Stas Bush on 2009-07-14 02:48am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: [Armageddon] Don't wake me while I'm quiet PostPosted: 2009-06-05 01:17am
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Hell. Soviet Republic of Dis. Administration building.

- We're done setting the cameras in the isolated room up,- the computer specialist from Earth reported to Voroshilov as he went around the room for the last time.

- Thank you, - the Marshall nodded slightly, - that would be all. You may return to Earth.

He knew that the latest string of Russia's experiments with the portals included "pinpoint insertions" into the various new domains of Hell, used for rapidly transferring trained specialists in such fields which were not present in Hell in sufficient numbers, such as IT crowd, or late-XX century special forces members which were still a fairly rare occurence among the undead. Installing portable diesel electricity generators to operate advanced machinery in Hell's command points like the Soviet Republic of Dis towers, was one of the key tasks.

Voroshilov walked towards his laptop. The crash course given to him by Earth advisors didn't help much - he still didn't understand the principles of the machine's work, even if he was able to operate some of it's less advanced functions. The so-called "video conference" was the most oft-used function, of course.

He switched the program on, exactly following an instruction hastily laid out on a sheet of paper and sticked right next to the computer.

- Hello, comrade Marshall! Do you see me? - the face of Boldyrev from Theta command filled one of the small screens on the display. - We gathered you have something important to tell us?

- Yes, quite so, - Voroshilov switched a second display on, which transmitted the image from the isolated room downstairs, where a woman operated a similar computer. - This is the nephilim who has contacted us recently. The Eta Brigade have arrested her and brought here - apparently out of her own will. She has been cooperative, but we gathered from the ... behaviour of some of our soldiers, that her mind swaying powers are excessive and, I would even say, overwhelming, so we had to isolate her. According to her own explanations, she is a result of a genetic engineering program centuries old. Oh, and a peculiar thing - she says her real name is "Likho".

- Have you interrogated her? - Boldyrev's face did not display much interest.

- Yes, but since she has been very cooperative, we ceased the interrogation in favour of informing you, - the Marshall shrugged as if he were in charge of the Russian Hell zone. - We sincerely hope you will spend time to discuss this issue. The information she has relayed is rather alarming. Those psychic attacks...

- Comrade Marshall, this is classified information! - Boldyrev's face went red.

- I know, - Voroshilov looked completely calm. - I have my channels. Regardless of the rumors, the nephilim here says that she is capable of very powerful psychic attacks - of course, mostly in open air, because all obstacles are making her influence wane. She said that in exchange for protection and transfer to modern Earth, she could offer critical information on the Leviathan. Apparently, a nephilim trained in a similar fashion to her own, maybe even from the same group, is controlling it. It is also possible that this nephilim is a servant of Yahweh in Hell.

- That is interesting indeed, - Boldyrev noted dryly. - But why would you tell me that? Would it not be better for me to communicate with her directly?

- I will offer you the opportunity, - Voroshilov turned the isolator microphone on. - Prisoner number 401897, you can speak now. This is comrade Boldyrev, the chief of staff of the Theta Zone armed forces headquarters.

The one-eyed woman seemed very tired. Boldyrev didn't know what kind of interrogation techniques Voroshilov's men used - he just hoped he didn't go overboard. Wait... if she's so psychically powerful, he thought, they should've just isolated her and not allowed anyone inside. Not many opportunities for interrogation. Well, that only means he has to be extra careful with what she says.

- Do you hear me, prisoner?

- Yes, - she replied with a calm voice. - Do you hear me, comrade commander?

- Yes, - he acknowledged. - Now, would you mind me asking a few questions?

- I don't mind.

- In that case, question number one: how can we trust you not to be an agent of Heaven or some rogue Hell faction?

- You cannot trust me, not any more than I can trust you, - she answered. - I would like to be assured that you would offer me the best possible protection inside Hell, or preferrably move me to Earth in exchange for my cooperation.

- Very well, I will do all I can, - Boldyrev wrote something down. - Now, question number two: I've been informed that you suspect another nephilim is pushing the animals across the Northern Hell plains towards our territories. Who is that, and why are you so sure about it?

- It is a member of my group, - the woman answered once again, without a trace of emotion. - One who has defected to Yahweh's cause during the time which is known as the "Dark Ages" on Earth. I am well aware of my own abilities, and so I understand what this being is capable of.

Boldyrev hummed something, waved his hand - probably to drive someone away from the room he was in, someone not visible in the screen - and continued asking.

- What do you know about the Leviathan? Any particular ways to defeat it?

- Not much, aside from the fact that I can control the primitive mind of such a being. I would know more if I could come in contact with its mind.

- What do you know about the goals of the presumed Yahweh's agent driving it and other animals?

- I cannot be sure. It may be simple anger or revenge for ruining Yahweh's plans, in case the agent is still loyal to him, - she said, - or, it could be the hatred of humanity who have tortured that person in the past.

- Very well, very well, - Boldyrev wrote something down again. - Thank you for your cooperation. We might need your abilities. Now, comrade Voroshilov, I would like to speak with you...

Hell. Theta Zone headquarters.

- We have told our Chinese allies in the region to prepare, - Baluevsky displayed the movement of the Leviathan on the crude map of Hell. - It has already obliterated several ancient castles with very little effort, and its... how did you call that?

- Hydrants, comrade, hydrants, - doctor Kuznetzova, the biology expert for the Theta command, supplied the answer which the Air Force chief so often forgot. - These hydrants depend on constant water pumping by the main body, and that in turn depends on the commands that are given by the being's nervous system.

- Yes, its hydrants are growing. The important information which we received recently from one of our civil administrators indicates a powerful nephilim is controlling this being. The airforce would have directed a strike against it, but our own nephilim apparently cannot locate the enemy. Sending airplanes for overflight would be excessively dangerous - the enemy has already shown the ability to take them out. Losing bombers and other long-range aircraft is simply unacceptable.

- However, we have an idea, - interjected Kuznetzova. - This nephilim which has been taken prisoner in Dis said that it could withstand the psychic attacks and more than that - eliminate the threat altogether by showing us where that other nephilim is. We will send one fighter plane without ammunition towards the Leviathan, with UCAV escorts and several fighter escorts in ranged pursuit. Nephilim shall be controlling the escorting planes. If they would feel the prisoner is attempting an escape through a portal - say, to take our technology to Yahweh or any other goal that we don't know of - they will fire missiles and take the craft down. If they fall under enemy influence, the UCAVs will do the job.

- You are sure the nephilim will be able to control the plane? - Baluevsky looked suspicious.

- She is able to gather information from the minds of people at an alarming pace. The whole airfield which she is currently placed on is considered expendable - we will destroy it in case we feel something goes wrong, - said Boldyrev.

Hell. Northern Plains.

Mara did not know how exactly the humans managed to wound the Leviathan so deeply, but thanks to the extreme light from their weapon, it was now growing much, much faster. She did rip everything she could out of the bodies of the dying humans in the great steel birds which she crashed down several times, but it was still not much - fragmentary knowledge of modern weapons however, she put to good use.

She fully understood that staying by the gigantic body of the Leviathan was not safe, and so she always followed it on a distance of around a hundred miles, sitting on top of Leshack's furry neck - her daemonic servant was after all these years nothing but an empty shell, filled only with admiration for her and only capable of controlling primitive movements of his own body. All capacity for thought has been erased - now she had to control him even for such things as hiding and attacking - but she grew fond of that old puppet of hers and did not want to let go.

Suddenly she felt a strong voice coming into her mind.

- Mara!

- Mother, - she gasped, looking into the sky, where several airplanes were rapidly approaching her hiding place. - Mother, you are alive! So many years....

- What are you doing? - the voice said. - Stop. The humans will kill you if you do not. They sent me to try and stop you. Are you still serving Yahweh? This is foolish, - the voice tried now to relay pictures of unimaginable power, a colossal industrial machine crushing the image of the Heaven, ripping angels apart and destroying the Holy city. - Yahweh's days are numbered. I understood that when I came into contact with humans...

- Yahweh is at least more merciful than these beasts! - Mara cried out, trying to shield herself from the messages slamming into her brain.

- Please, Mara! - the voice changed from a demand into a plea. - We do not have much time...

But at this very moment, a cloud of fire erupted below, erasing Mara and her daemonic steed from existence. The humans somehow did it! She should've never believed them!

Likho tried to steer the plane so that she would at least see the planes who escorted her - they were quite far away, but she was closing in. At least she'll have some revenge. But she did not know that her pursuers weren't all human at all.

Hell. Armories of Dis.

A couple of T-64 tanks stood around the hill, creating a defense perimeter. There was a Shilka as well - the Armories were well-policed, but occasional harpy flights from the prison blocks did happen - controlling the harpies was hard, especially for Hell humans who did not have protective wear and industrial machinery to properly cage them. Often chained flying beasts freed themselves with disastrous consequences. And this defence perimeter was very important - this is why the best forces of the Soviet Republic of Dis accompanied the Theta-sent machines. The Eta Brigade here was tasked with guarding a group of mobile Iskander-M ballistic missile launchers.

Oleg Chelobanov was glad to have a few words with the servicemen from Earth - even if he chose to serve Hell's leaders, he still missed the planet which he knew there'd be no way to return to. He leaned on the hull of the MZKT-7930 launcher chassis, taking out a smoke.

- Tobacco bosses sure aren't idiots, - Oleg laughed, looking at the pack of smokes given to him by officer Timiryazev. - Look at this, bro, it says "Hell safe! Smoking totally safe for Hell citizens!". Ha-ha-ha.

The vehicle driver, lieutenant Timiryazev, was a nice fellow. Not only did he have smokes for Oleg - he told him all the recent Earth news, including the power change in Russia. He probably felt pity for the fallen comrade, because he knew - all Russians, even those who died, would give everything to come back to the Motherland, even for one day.

- Power change? - Oleg shook his head. - I thought Medvedev is still in charge.

- There's been an extraordinary referenda, - Timiryazev laughed. - The President is Sergey Ivanov.

- The Minister of Defense? - Oleg was not surprised, because the defense lobby became almost god-like in political power after the Message, and putting its own man in charge was probably nothing out of order in post-Message Russia. - Well, that's good for us. More metal - more weapons, - he jokingly repeated an old Soviet poster slogan.

- Yeah, our defense guys sure are getting all the laurels recently, - Timiryazev smiled. - All those industrial cities in Siberia and the Urals are coming back to life, lots of defense plants are working full-time. Mobilization has run more or less smoothly. The problem is the people and the stocks...

- Don't worry, - Oleg smiled. - The Army now is growing, and in a while it will be very experienced.

- Heard your Soviet Republic is sending armored units into parts of Hell where the most recently deceased engineers and such are found, - Timiryazev let out a long trail of smoke. - Playing your own game, huh? We're giving you the fuel, and you're wasting it, people say.

- We're using that fuel to good ends, - countered Oleg. - Even if we waste it getting engineers, this will pay back - do you know that we have set up several small arms production plants in these Armories already? And thousands of people are toiling there without the need for food or shelter. Why? Because we have a common enemy. And we are helping you.

- Yes, but it's different for us, - Timiryazev sighed. - You probably know as well as I do that the Army's supply train is in an abysmal situation. Were it not for American transport capabilities, we'd be stuck here dead in our tracks. And we're running dry on ammunition - at the same time when all these "New Hellyki" are asking for more and more weapons for their men - to guard territory, to fight rogue beasts and daemons. To prepare for a possible Heavenly retaliation - after all, we heard that Heaven is screwing up Earth, so it may screw Hell up as well. Of course, to you all your needs seem completely right... but at the same time, look at the bigger picture. The arsenals are looted dry.

- I know. The last party of AKs supplied to the SRD Armed Forces were Chinese, - Oleg waved his hand. - I still think we'll make it. We endured too much to fail right now. Hell is free.

Suddenly, the missile targeteer screamed out of the cabin.

- We've got the order! Prepare for launch!!

Oleg ran towards his tank while Timiryazev returned into the MAZ cabin.

In several seconds, one of the missiles in the launcher went up in flames and disappeared over the horizon. The orange glow made the already hellish landscape look even more grim, with rough shadows from tanks stretching downward from the Hill - and finally everything returned back to as it was. Dusty wind quickly erased the missile's smoke trail.

Hell. Soviet Republic of Dis. Several months later.

Sydir Artemovich Kovpak did not sleep easy. He felt that he betrayed his own conscience when he reported the mutineers to Theta Headquarters - he did it to save his own group. After that Chelobanov recommended him for the Soviet Republic of Dis.

Soon after Kovpak arrived to the Republic, he proposed an idea for Voroshilov and others...

He thought of this solution only after he and his squad were safe inside the SRD territories, and only reported it personally to the First Marshall. He knew that Voroshilov relayed his proposal to Baluevsky and all the people at Theta Command. He also knew that this proposal was looked upon quite well, and it was executed without further delay.

From rumors he heard that the Leviathan problem was adequately solved quite according to his recommendations - the beast rolled back into the sea, its huge tentacles died from lack of water and soon there was a huge rotten mess, looking like a riverbed from above, which stretched from the shore deep inside the plains of Hell.

The solution, of course, wasn't something which tormented him - it was quite easy and well-thought out. The nephilim in control of the airplane of course had very sharp senses and could feel the other one from an altitude of several kilometers. But the precise location was not known. This was solved by launching a tactical ballistic missile into the zone, armed with a vacuum bomb. It quickly burned the frail body of that nephilim which they could not detect in the huge wasteland around the Leviathan. The other nephilim was taken out by escorting UCAVs - it still managed to down the manned escorts by a psychic strike, or so he heard.

It wasn't bad at all, but he was troubled by the fate of Guillaume and Peter the Great's castle inhabitants, who were immediately incarcerated along with all the mutineers. Not only were they denied any semblance of a trial - after they were apprehended by Earth soldiers, any trace of news about them evaporated. Kovpak knew all too well what that meant - and he sincerely hoped he was wrong about his feeling.

- Sydir Artemovich, - a young secretary girl opened the door of his cabinet. - The Supreme Soviet meeting will be at 3:00. I've put the topic list on your table...

- Thank you, thank you Irina, - the old man sighed.

- Ah, don't bother, comrade vice President, - she smiled. - Oh, and the Marshall would like to meet you at seven, after the meeting.

- Tell him I'll come, - Kovpak nodded. The girl's face dissappeared.

Kovpak raised his pen to continue writing.

A small pile of papers which he wrote this month were carefully stored on the right side of his table. The title read "Undead Manifesto". The Russian letters below told the reader about the interests of the undead, the new possibilities of life in Hell, the necessity to stand up for the rights of Hell inhabitants, their sovereignity, and the explanation of how the Earth, which liberated Hell, is turning into an overclass which, unless checked by popular resistance, would simply turn Hell into a giant resource plant for the war with Heaven. It was writted in very simple terms - after all, Kovpak was a soldier, not a lawyer - and was short enough to be memorized.

Hell. Theta Command Zone, trial chamber. Several months later.

- Final words?

Guillaume raised his head.

- I admit to the charge of killing daemons, even though that is no crime, and to killing some guards with the first death. This was a war. I was a soldier.

- You are hereby sentenced to 10 years in prison, - spoke the judge, a mildly full woman, who would've even been nice if not for a strange scar stretching through her forehead. - However, with the Laws of Wartime which have been put in effect by President Ivanov from the onset of 2009, your sentence is changed to frontline service draft for the war with Heaven. You will be assigned to a penal battalion for the official duration of the conflict.

Guillaume didn't believe his ears.

- No execution?

- Current laws have no death sentence, in case you did not know, citizen Guillaume de... - she stopped, apparently the name was too complex, and simply skipped on it. - I repeat, the process finished. Everyone shall leave the court now.

Hell. Peter the Great's castle. Several months later.

Emperor Peter oversaw the huge plains from a watchtower. He learned operating the machinegun, and now tried hunting beasts which crossed the plains from time to time as leisure. He now had his imperial attire - or at least, a very well done copy of it, and all others in his castle were likewise clothed in costumes, many had historical dresses.

- I still don't understand why these people from "Japan Tobacco" bailed us out, - the Emperor murmured, looking towards his aide. - All they asked of was a...

- Video shoot, - Franz Lefort reminded. - Just a video shoot, your majesty.

- Yes. With their ... cigarettes, - the Emperor laughed, looking at the pack of smokes he was holding in his hand. The pack inscription read "Peter the First". - Fair enough, we were not knowledgeable enough about the crime, so a simple bail was enough. You are quite smart, Franz.

- Yeah. By the way, your majesty, they will make a lot of money from this "video". Do you know that modern Russia is one of the main tobacco markets? And soon they are planning to sell cigarettes here as well, as soon as the Theta make some sort of money for these lands... their own roubles and paper monies are apparently too frail to be used here, so they are planning metallic coins. And you see that our castle also received some furniture from the tobacco dealers. Clearly they are expecting to make money on us.

- I need another shot with you on the wall, your majesty! - cried a cameraman from the tower ladder.

- Let them have it, - the Emperor smiled again. - After all, they helped us out.

Theta Command, interrogation chamber. Several months later.

The men walked into the chamber, where a huge daemon was bound.

- Nichyipar, I presume, - one of the men, a general according to his insignia, sat on a chair in front of the glass which separated them from the daemon. - We have found some of your experiments of great interest. Will you cooperate?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The End.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact


Last edited by Stas Bush on 2009-06-05 03:38am, edited 1 time in total.
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