Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Post by brianeyci » 2008-04-06 10:44pm

I dont think he is that smart to actually know what to hit.
This has been addressed before. All the demons are actually smart, but some are stuck with preconceived notions. The fact that Belial knows the scope of human civilization and the rest of the demons do not is easily explained -- he simply pays more attention. He was forced to find an unconventional edge in his Wyverns and special tridents, and no doubt he's opened hellmouths, maybe small ones, all over the world to take a peek at the humans from time to time. It does not take a lot of brains to simply look. The fact that he's recalling all his captains and so on may mean he's had a long standing spy operation on the humans with thousands of demons looking at humans from high above.

It's like Donald Rumsfeld saying that Iraq looks peaceful from above. Belial can actually be peeking all over the world, knowing where all the major human settlements are, and not really understanding what humans can do. It doesn't mean Belial has to know about nukes, cyunse or engyunrin. Like Yee said, either Belial can really deliver, or he's somehow delusional. Calling thousands of cities city-states doesn't change the fact that he's had to have seen thousands of cities.

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Post by bilateralrope » 2008-04-06 10:45pm

brianeyci wrote:Unless Belial is delusional, he must have the ability to launch double or triple digits worth of attacks if he thinks he can play a major role in defeating the humans.
I think he is expecting to find one or two large stockpiles which would be major hits if he destroys them.

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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-04-06 10:45pm

At best he's going to do some sort of scrying before attack, whereby they somehow open up a "window" rather than an actual portal. Perhaps on a slightly different wavelength or tunnel structure that allows light through without scattering but does not interact with matter. That or they'll try and do the mind mask trick to look for large concentrations of people, but with everyone important wearing tinfoil hats, at best they'll only get the poor places. Obviously they can somehow target the lower planes or they would never be able to open portals where they want.

Actually, it could be interesting to see if they pick up on a massive slum or ghetto, perhaps in some place like Rio de Janerio, where there are large numbers of humans that they can find, and decide to bomb any area nearby warehouses. The low numbers whose thoughts they could detect would give credence to their intelligence of the humans taking massive losses in the first battle.
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Post by fusion » 2008-04-06 10:47pm

Personally, I think the little talk between Lugasharmanaska and her master was a bit short and uninspired compared to the rest of the story...

However, I want to see more and more for this is nice...

Can't wait...

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Post by brianeyci » 2008-04-06 10:47pm

Darth Wong wrote:Dude, he only has second-hand knowledge of everything. He only knows what happened to Abigor because of the information he got from the royal court. Don't overestimate his intelligence network; I have no doubt that he's working from second and third-hand information here, heavily filtered and missing huge portions. You make it sound like he has complete maps of all the military installations in the world.
Maybe not, but he's got to know where to hit, or be able to hit a lot. Even a dumbass knows that if you can only destroy 2 out of thousands, it's not going to do much good. He's got to have a way to find out if he can't, or he's a wanker.

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Post by Darth Raptor » 2008-04-06 10:48pm

Armed Marines warping right into my bedroom would give me pause for thought too. That was SO AWESOME. I really like Luga. Then again, I really like most of the main demonic cast. They're very colorful and interesting characters.

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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-04-06 10:53pm

It's Stuart's call what Belial means by "city states," but I got the impression that Belial is secretly more than Hell's blacksmith/court jester (why do I see shades of Jarlaxle?)... at least in his own mind. Admittedly "in his own mind" is playing a big role in how I'm interpreting the narration, but if he couldn't deliver, then he got himself fucked at least a chapter ago and his doing what he did so publically would have been completely inexplicable.
Darth Ruinus wrote:Except that Deumos wasnt confused by the words, since she knew Luga was talking about the Iron Chariots and the recent attack.
Academia Nut wrote:In fact, if the demons could be made to see that a lot of our technologies are in fact overkill for fighting them and we are switching over to less advanced ones so that we can destroy them more resource efficiently, they would probably have a heart attack.
It would be "humbling" (more likely embarassing or even outraging) to say the least, but this would be showing one's hand... I wouldn't deem it safe until it was no longer possible for the demons to so much as hurt us (I won't pretend that it'd give a long-run chance).

I also wouldn't consider it "less advanced," considering that a good bit of technology as of the start of this was actually less optimal against the demons, due to the demons lacking the targets that quite some resources went into, such as ECM.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-06 10:55pm

brianeyci wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Dude, he only has second-hand knowledge of everything. He only knows what happened to Abigor because of the information he got from the royal court. Don't overestimate his intelligence network; I have no doubt that he's working from second and third-hand information here, heavily filtered and missing huge portions. You make it sound like he has complete maps of all the military installations in the world.
Maybe not, but he's got to know where to hit, or be able to hit a lot.
No, that's what he needs to realistically accomplish his goal. There is no reason to assume that he has made a sufficiently accurate assessment of human capabilities to know whether he has sufficient capabilities of his own. In fact, if he did have such knowledge of human capabilities, one must ask why he hadn't started copying some of their methods by now. We've only been using mechanized factories for more than a hundred fucking years.

There is no way that he has the kind of knowledge of human capabilities that he needs in order to make realistic assessments. If he can't make realistic assessments, then you should not assume that his strategic needs and his strategic means are even remotely similar. Ergo, deriving his means from his needs is just plain silly.
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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-04-06 11:14pm

All I'm going to go on the record with is that he at least believes as much... and let Stuart decide how much that really is.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-06 11:19pm

Edward Yee wrote:All I'm going to go on the record with is that he at least believes as much... and let Stuart decide how much that really is.
Obviously, it's Stuart's story to tell. But logically, the idea of Belial having a broad understanding of human industrial infrastructure sounds like utter bullshit to me. And I don't see him having thousands of intel agents either; he isn't waging war on humans and has not seen any reason to do so for thousands of years. Why would he be maintaining this vast anti-human intel network which, until very recently, would have been absolutely useless to him? Or are we assuming that he has spies among his rivals, who we then assume to have all the requisite skills to instantly transition to spying on the humans? Could such a minor duke even have such a large spy network anyway? And did everyone miss the part about how he has only a small number of the specialized personnel who can open portals, hence his request for loans from the other dukes? How can he do all of this trans-dimensional spying?

It seems to me more like he's simply quite clever and has put two and two together in his mind, based on the limited information at his disposal. He made his power play at Satan's court, and now Satan has stuck him with a strict time limit which makes things much harder for him. I'd guess that he's not so stupid as to think he can cripple humanity's warmaking potential with a single surprise attack, but that he hopes he can demonstrate the strikes to be damaging enough to sell Satan on the idea of continuing to use his services as the war drags on, thus making him a much bigger player in the (imagined) victory.
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Post by Darth Raptor » 2008-04-06 11:38pm

While not technically correct, the distinction between pure sorcery and enchanted weaponry is an important one to make. Belial could be a dangerous motherfucker if he doesn't fail hard and get eaten first.

It'd be hilarious if he couldn't recognize the difference between an infernal weapons forge and a terrestrial munitions factory and ended up... bombing a volcano. 'Cause that's where we forge our chariots of iron. In the fires of Mount Doom!

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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-04-06 11:43pm

Unless of course he locks in on the largest energy source he can find that doesn't seem natural, in which case he might end up targetting a major hydroelectric dam or a something like a nuclear power plant. In fact, considering the use of DU, if he could get a bit of shrapnel from one of the survivors by hook or crook, he might think that a nuclear power plant is a repository of magical weapons because of its thick, bunker like walls, high security, high energy output, and the fact that "magical" materials go in and out of it.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-06 11:51pm

Academia Nut wrote:Unless of course he locks in on the largest energy source he can find that doesn't seem natural, in which case he might end up targetting a major hydroelectric dam or a something like a nuclear power plant. In fact, considering the use of DU, if he could get a bit of shrapnel from one of the survivors by hook or crook, he might think that a nuclear power plant is a repository of magical weapons because of its thick, bunker like walls, high security, high energy output, and the fact that "magical" materials go in and out of it.
And how is he going to determine that a nuclear power plant has such high power output? A demonic watt meter? A tricorder from Star Trek which allows him to give commands like "locate and lock onto the strongest power source?" How is he going to determine that a nuclear power plant has uranium in it? How is he even going to determine that there is anything special about uranium, apart from the fact that it appears to be poisonous?

A dam, on the other hand, is a pretty obvious target; humans have been using water and gravity for mechanical purposes for centuries. Not only that, but if you can get one to breach, you will cause an awful lot of destruction; Belial doesn't need a science education to understand that.
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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-04-07 12:01am

The demons seem sensitive to EM radiation, in the first chapter it was even noted that the targetting radar of the fighters caused their skin to itch, and lasers cause what appears to be an allergic reaction as the skin swells on contact. I wouldn't put it past their abilities to be able to tell that certain things are "bright" or some such description. As for the uranium, they would know by its electromagnetic properties that its nothing like what they have ever encountered before, like how they can tell apart iron and copper and are freaked out by plastic. By taking a piece of this weird material they could potentially cast out their senses and look for more of it since it seems important to certain forms of human magic and then find a big glowing ball of it. This is perhaps beyond the range of their abilities, but they certainly wouldn't understand what they found. They would probably just see a big, hot ball of weird metal that is somehow important to humans, if they could even get that much info.

I am merely suggesting possibilities. Part of the problem is that the demons don't actually know how their own powers work and have tangled them up with mysticism, so its entirely possible that they could try something like that and expect to find something, only for it to not actually work the way they expect. We know that they can someone sense things on earth, we just don't know how and what their limits are yet.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-07 12:11am

Academia Nut wrote:The demons seem sensitive to EM radiation, in the first chapter it was even noted that the targetting radar of the fighters caused their skin to itch, and lasers cause what appears to be an allergic reaction as the skin swells on contact. I wouldn't put it past their abilities to be able to tell that certain things are "bright" or some such description.
And you believe that a nuclear power plant radiates enormous amounts of EM radiation to its environment ... why?
As for the uranium, they would know by its electromagnetic properties that its nothing like what they have ever encountered before, like how they can tell apart iron and copper and are freaked out by plastic.
And what electromagnetic properties are these? The fact that it slowly decays radioactively, to poisonous effect? Mankind has put poisons on arrows for thousands of years. Do you really think a demon's logical reaction upon encountering a sliver of poisonous metal in a wounded comrade is: this is a magical metal which they use to power their mages? No, they'll think "this is a poison dart".
By taking a piece of this weird material they could potentially cast out their senses and look for more of it since it seems important to certain forms of human magic and then find a big glowing ball of it. This is perhaps beyond the range of their abilities, but they certainly wouldn't understand what they found. They would probably just see a big, hot ball of weird metal that is somehow important to humans, if they could even get that much info.

I am merely suggesting possibilities. Part of the problem is that the demons don't actually know how their own powers work and have tangled them up with mysticism, so its entirely possible that they could try something like that and expect to find something, only for it to not actually work the way they expect. We know that they can someone sense things on earth, we just don't know how and what their limits are yet.
I think you're not really getting into their heads; you're simply trying to connect dots which you already know to be connected because you're a modern person, and not trying to imagine how an uneducated primitive might interpret these things without all of the bits of background information that you take for granted. And many of these connections you're making are false; the kind of uranium we need for power plants is not the kind of uranium we use for weapons anyway. There is absolutely no way to deduce the power generation potential of uranium from its use in DU shells alone.
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Post by Sidewinder » 2008-04-07 12:21am

Assuming Belial or one of his subordinates can capture a firearm, it would probably cause Hell more trouble than it's worth. I can see a demon accidentally injuring himself or another demon when handling the gun, and Belial wasting huge amounts of time and resources studying it and trying to reverse-engineer it, an effort doomed to failure. (Even the AK-47 is built with tight tolerances, tolerances a human or demon worker cannot hope to match without the aid of precision instruments, and I don't see any mention of micrometers in Hell's inventory.)
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They have more WMD than there are monsters for us to fight. (More insanity here.)

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Post by Academia Nut » 2008-04-07 12:27am

In 3-D dimensions, no a nuke plant doesn't give off much EM radiation, that's what shielding is for, but we're dealing with creatures that live in higher dimensional spaces, even if they are confined to three dimensions as well. Still, EM radiation is capable of interacting with the barriers as we have seen with our ability to use our tech to open portals, so it does not seem unlike that there is the possibility that from that higher D perspective a nuke plant wouldn't be shielded and would give off some sort of signature they could recognize.

As for the electromagnetic properties, I would assume it has to do with the way that their own EM fields interact with the valence and conduction bands of materials, because they have repeatedly been able to identify different materials at range. As plastics are insulators, this would explain why they consider them "dead", and yet they can also immediately know that they are being charged by iron chariots. They don't know what aluminum is, but they know its not like any other metals they have encountered before. I would guess that every material "feels" different to them and they can identify the differences the same way we can differentiate between yellow and green. They wouldn't be able to tell us anything quantitative, but they should be able to give a qualitative "this is not iron or copper or silver or anything else we've seen before". So a fragment of DU would be more than just a poisoned dart, it would be a poison dart made of something that is not like anything they have ever seen before. Plus, it would be incredibly dense and pyrophoric, properties that would make it "magic".

So they have this shard of something they don't what it is, just that it is used by human mages and it "magic" as they see it. By their logic, they must make enchanted weapons out of this stuff. They want to find enchant weapons. Doesn't mean they will, just means that the possibility exists that they have the capacity to stumble upon large concentration of the stuff with whatever search methods they have available. If they search for something like that and are capable of seeing through physical barriers, which is all but a given considering that many portal incidents happen indoors, then a nuke plant has the potential to look like a huge glowing target to them filled with the magic material they were looking for.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-07 12:37am

Academia Nut wrote:In 3-D dimensions, no a nuke plant doesn't give off much EM radiation, that's what shielding is for, but we're dealing with creatures that live in higher dimensional spaces, even if they are confined to three dimensions as well. Still, EM radiation is capable of interacting with the barriers as we have seen with our ability to use our tech to open portals, so it does not seem unlike that there is the possibility that from that higher D perspective a nuke plant wouldn't be shielded and would give off some sort of signature they could recognize.
Oh puh-lease, don't give me that "extra dimensions, so anything goes" bullshit. We can account for every erg of energy in nuclear reactions, which have been studied to an absurd level of thoroughness. If some of it is radiating into higher dimensions, why the fuck don't we notice its departure from our existence? You'd think people would have noticed a fucking violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics by now.
As for the electromagnetic properties, I would assume it has to do with the way that their own EM fields interact with the valence and conduction bands of materials, because they have repeatedly been able to identify different materials at range.
So? How the fuck would they deduce that there is anything "magical" about uranium from its utterly unremarkable electromagnetic properties? The only thing that makes it unusual is its propensity to leak radiation, which they would interpret as poison.
As plastics are insulators, this would explain why they consider them "dead", and yet they can also immediately know that they are being charged by iron chariots. They don't know what aluminum is, but they know its not like any other metals they have encountered before. I would guess that every material "feels" different to them and they can identify the differences the same way we can differentiate between yellow and green. They wouldn't be able to tell us anything quantitative, but they should be able to give a qualitative "this is not iron or copper or silver or anything else we've seen before". So a fragment of DU would be more than just a poisoned dart, it would be a poison dart made of something that is not like anything they have ever seen before. Plus, it would be incredibly dense and pyrophoric, properties that would make it "magic".
Bullshit. Plenty of materials are pyrophoric: a property which should hardly bowl a denizen of Hell over, especially since half of their fucking domain seems to be full of things on fire. And the density of uranium is not that much different from the density of lead or tungsten; would they interpret them as magic too?
So they have this shard of something they don't what it is, just that it is used by human mages and it "magic" as they see it. By their logic, they must make enchanted weapons out of this stuff. They want to find enchant weapons. Doesn't mean they will, just means that the possibility exists that they have the capacity to stumble upon large concentration of the stuff with whatever search methods they have available. If they search for something like that and are capable of seeing through physical barriers, which is all but a given considering that many portal incidents happen indoors, then a nuke plant has the potential to look like a huge glowing target to them filled with the magic material they were looking for.
You are proving to quite the expert at completely unjustified leaps in logic. There is no way that a primitive person confronted with a poisonous heavy metal would conclude anything other than "this is a poisonous heavy metal". And I don't know where the fuck you learned about nuclear power, but the actual mass of nuclear fuel inside a reactor is miniscule compared to the scale of other industries and the use of other materials. Even its long-term storage facility is a joke compared to the vast amounts of materials we use for other purposes, so many of which are just as exotic and unfamiliar to a demon as uranium would be. This whole deductive chain of yours, where demons find poisonous shards of metal in wounded comrades and somehow deduce the importance of nuclear power plants, is nothing more than wankery. Belial would have to be Newton, Einstein, Kelvin, Bohr, and Oppenheimer rolled into one before he could figure this one out. He would need their technology too.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-04-07 12:44am

If demons are able to figure out where our various governments are (DC, Bangkok) and send succubi there, they must be able to figure out that cities like Detroit and Norfolk are where we do a lot of manufacturing. They know SOMETHING about us.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-07 12:47am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:If demons are able to figure out where our various governments are (DC, Bangkok) and send succubi there, they must be able to figure out that cities like Detroit and Norfolk are where we do a lot of manufacturing. They know SOMETHING about us.
Sure they do. But they lack the context in which to understand what we're doing. If they see a factory where tanks come out, they can figure out that this is where humans make the iron chariots. But it would be difficult for them to figure out the importance of oil refineries and pipelines to our industry and war effort, never mind trying to understand our electrical infrastructure and the importance of nuclear power plants.

Try to imagine bringing forth a brilliant man from antiquity, like Aristotle. You could let him wander the streets of modern cities for months and he would still not really understand a damned thing. He would know how big our cities are, he might see some factories where they make stuff, he would learn about some of our capabilities and toys, he might even be able to recognize celebrities and leaders by their pictures, but unless someone actually sat him down and educated him from scratch, he wouldn't be able to understand a tenth of what he saw, particularly from the standpoint of industry and technology.
Last edited by Darth Wong on 2008-04-07 12:49am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-04-07 12:49am

Darth Wong wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:If demons are able to figure out where our various governments are (DC, Bangkok) and send succubi there, they must be able to figure out that cities like Detroit and Norfolk are where we do a lot of manufacturing. They know SOMETHING about us.
Sure they do. But they lack the context in which to understand what we're doing. If they see a factory where tanks come out, they can figure out that this is where humans make the iron chariots. But it would be difficult for them to figure out the importance of oil refineries and pipelines to our industry and war effort, never mind trying to understand our electrical infrastructure and the importance of nuclear power plants.
Right. I don't think he can get much more 'pinpoint' than targeting the general area of a city, and depending on the size of the attack he may not need to.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-07 12:56am

What would be the best targets for Belial to hit? If he hits a major munitions depot, that could be quite a blow to human forces, but it's not as if they have everything stored in one or two buildings. If he hits a major dam, he could flood a huge area and cause massive destruction. If he hits a city, he could cause a lot of economic destruction but probably not much effect on the war effort, and even that depends on just how much he can really hit it with. Sodom and Gomorrah were nothing compared to a modern city after all, CaptainChewbacca's optimistic speculation aside.
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2008-04-07 01:00am

Darth Wong wrote: Mind you, I've never been to an ammo manufacturing plant, and I'm not exactly what you'd call a firearms enthusiast. I can only assume that the brass cartridge is made by taking a brass disc and repeatedly punching it into a die and then stress relieving it until it's drawn out to the full length, because that's the method that leaps to mind as the most obvious one..
That's indeed how they do it, a full size rifle cartridge case takes around 8-9 strikes to make.
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Post by starslayer » 2008-04-07 01:46am

Darth Wong wrote:What would be the best targets for Belial to hit?
Belial needs to destroy as much as possible for as long as possible to have the greatest impact (duh); the best way to do this (obviously) is kill our supply train. The only things recognizable as a part of the supply train, to him, would be armor, troop, or aircraft concentrations; I doubt he would recognize a munitions depot for what it really is, since the only demon we know for sure that has seen a resupply was utterly confused as to what the tank shells were. As you say, it is unlikely he would know one of our factories, and I don't know whether he would be able to actually destroy a significant dam, as modern ones tend to be either massive piles of earth or simply solid blocks of hundreds-feet thick concrete.

Therefore, we all know what his best targets from our standpoint are; but I think he will actually hit places where lots of Iron Chariots are going in and out or are in storage (repair yards, boneyards, etc.). His choice of targets may also be predicated on how much he can unleash; if he has plenty to go around, he does not have to be nearly as choosy in what he attacks.

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Post by JCady » 2008-04-07 02:00am

Belial's clearly aiming to hamstring the human war effort by locating and destroying his opposite number in the human world; he clearly has no comprehension of just how decentralized human manufacturing is.

He's going to be looking for a place where human workers assemble iron chariots or sky chariots by hand in a way roughly analogous to how his own demons build tridents and such, and that means he's probably going to end up hitting a maintenance yard or possibly a long-term storage tank depot. Don't the Israelis have a bunch of those that might be active at this time?

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