Posted: 2008-04-27 12:47am
Fyrwulf wrote:I was in fact suggesting that 10mm SMGs used as police carbines should become the primary weapons of police officers.
As a carbine is essentially a rifle chambered for a pistol round, I'll have to say that, generally speaking, rifles are rifles and pistols are pistols. In this case, rifle rounds are rifle rounds, and pistol rounds are pistol rounds.
A 10mm, even out of a carbine isn't going to have the power and penetration of a full out rifle round.
Remember, 8 rounds 7.62x54 from an experienced hunter was only sufficient for a 'soft stop' - the baldrick was going down, but could have still caused quite a bit more damage before it finally bled out.
For police use, I'd want to go, at minimum with a 7.62x51.
Posted: 2008-04-27 07:04pm
The Hellmouth, Martial Plain of Dysprosium
“Let’s have any HEAD you have on board.” The voice from outside the tank combined urgency and boredom.
“Would you care to repeat that soldier?” Major Stevenson peered over the edge of her turret. She and her combat group had been waiting in the traffic jam by the Hellmouth for nearly four hours and she wasn’t in the mood for any insubordination. Besides, she was hot, tired and sticky from being inside a tank too long and chewing out a subordinate would be welcome relief. As the thought crossed her mind, she decided she’d probably been in Hell too long.
“I’m sorry Ma’am, but its orders. All outgoing armor is to unload any HEAD ammunition on board for reissue. Its in short supply and the units up on the Phlegethon are going to need it.”
“HEAD? You mean HEAT?”
“No Ma’am. High Explosive Anti-Demon. New round, just started getting the first shipments. Got an iron liner instead of copper. Baldricks surely do hate iron. If you got any Ma’am, we’ll unload it for you.” The Sergeant had noted the battered vehicles and suddenly decided that these units had been in Hell a lot longer than he had. And messing with this Major might be a very bad idea. Especially if the scuttlebutt about a battle brewing was true.
“Hokay. Sergeant, we’ve none of that on board. Any idea how long we’ll be hung up for? I kinda hanker to see a blue sky again.”
“Dunno Ma’am and that’s the honest truth. There’s stuff pouring in all the time. The Russians have been coming in all morning and we had an Israeli armored division before that and I’m told there’s a European armored division behind them. And then there’s the aircraft the brass are towing in. There’s more of our boys unloading down South, or their equipment is. Guys themselves being flown in. Look over there ma’am.”
‘Over there’ was the road leading through the hellmouth. The stream of Russian armor had stopped for a few minutes, their place taken by aircraft tractors, each one towing what looked like an A-10. Only, they were now painted red-gray and they had a mushroom-shaped filter over the engine intakes. Stevenson lifted her mask slightly and took a cautious sniff of the air. It was a lot cleaner here than further into hell, presumably there was some gas exchange through the Hellmouth, but there was a new smell as well. One that achingly reminded Stevenson of home in Bayonne. The smell of tar and oil refineries.
“A blacktop road in Hell. Whodathunkit.”
“Engineers all over ma’am. You should see the roads their building down from the north and up from the ports in the South. And the airfields, they’re sproutin’ like weeds after a thunderstorm. Some of the fighter jocks flew their birds through the ‘mouth but brass put a stop to it. Too risky they said. Look, ma’am, keep your engines running, I’ll get my boys to make a hole for you. Slide you out as fast as we can.”
The Sergeant did his best but it still took more than an hour to get Stevenson’s unit out. Finally, they managed it, sliding her out between the end of the A-10 unit and the start of a Hungarian Su-25 outfit. But, the military police managed it and, once again, there was the silent, undramatic transition as the cloudy red and gray overcast of Hell was replaced by the clear blue of the Earth sky. Just looking at it made Stevenson very happy. Ahead of them, a traffic direction private waved them off the road into a vast parking lot, full of Bradleys, Abrams and Paladins. Plus all the other vehicles that made up the order of battle of an Armored Division. Stevenson recognized the markings, they were all First Armored.
When his Bradley came to a halt, Major Warhol stretched and dropped out of the back, leaving the cramped compartment that had been his home for over a week. Some of his staff from the field operation of DIMO(N) were waiting and he got the customary back-slapping greeting. Behind them, the long cavalcade of vehicles had started moving again, the great Russian ZIL and MAZ trucks being followed by the first of the European Leopard II tanks. Warhol gestured at the convoys that stretched, nose-to-tail, as far as he could see.
“Well, if there wasn’t a Peak Oil problem before, there certainly will be now.”
One of the scientists snorted. “Peak Oil? That…. Oh, never mind. Anyway, we’re hoping we’ll hit oil in Hell. How did it go Major?”
“Not bad, our sims were pretty accurate. The dust is bad though. I’m surprised to see aircraft going in. Licked the filtration problem?”
“Yes and no. The filters cut airflow to the engines by about 20 – 30 percent. So that hits performance. And the time between overhauls is horrible, 50 to 60 hours before an engine has to be pulled and stripped. The good news is the clogging problem’s been licked.”
Something about the way the man put that caught Warhol’s attention. Putting on his most casual voice he asked the question they’d been hoping he wouldn’t. “How did you crack it then?”
There was an embarrassed shuffling of feet. “Well, actually we didn’t. We designed a filter pack and a pod that would use reverse air blast to clean the filters. Only problem was the pilot would have to glide with the engines out while he used it. They didn’t like that. Couple of aircraftmen came up with something better, a series of tabs on the inside of the filter that interfered with the airflow and made the filter shake. The dust in there is dry and that worked like a charm. Doubled or more the time taken for the airflow loss to reach mission-ending proportions.”
Warhol laughed and shook his head. “Right, I just got to say my farewells and then you can bring me up to date on the rest.” Then he set off to where Stevenson was speaking with MacFarland.
“We’re leaving the vehicles here, First Cavalry will be taking them over. First Armored is being split up, First Brigade will be staying as the cadre for the rebuilt division, Second and Third will be cadres for two new armored divisions. We’re all going back to the States for that. Stevenson, you’ll be commanding First Battalion in the new First Brigade. Any idea what you want to name your battalion?”
Stevenson thought for a second. Spearhead was too obvious. “How about the Hellcat Battalion Sir?”
“Good choice. You done good Stevenson. So have your crew. Got a commission for one of them, the others get to jump up the enlisted grades. Who’s best officer material in your crew?”
Again, a quick thought. “Hey Biker? You’re an officer.”
Her driver’s head emerged from his hatch, his attention caught by the use of the crew nickname. As the message sank in he shook his head. “Oh no Boss, you can’t do that to me. Please. Not an Officer.”
The Hospital, Mai Xiao Village, Sinkiang.
“Every morning they came down to the village tea house to drink their morning cup of tea, well laced with an illicit portion of rice wine. There were ten of them now, once there had been fifteen but time and old age had taken its toll and one by one, they had quietly vanished. Even fifteen had been a dramatic fall for sixty of them had left the village in the far off days of 1950 and only those 15 had returned. Now, the ten survivors were old, old men. They youngest, still called ‘the boy’ by his fellows was eighty years old and the oldest, their sergeant, had been a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army even in 1950, and he was far into his mid-nineties. But his moustache still bristled even though it was snow white and his back was still straight.”
“They saved from their pensions to bribe the tea house owner to slip them their rice wine, I knew about it of course, everybody did, but these men were heroes and who denies a hero a little comfort in their old age? The truth was that their small savings wouldn’t buy them the drinks they needed but if the other villagers chose to make up the difference, that was their business, nobody else’s.”
“And so, every day they would come down, and gather around their table, drink their tea and tell their stories. Of how they had held the hill in Korea against the Americans. Of how they had been outnumbered and outgunned and the American artillery never stopped shooting and their planes never stopped bombing but they had held the hill anyway. Every year the story got a little more fanciful, the attacks so much worse, their stand so much braver. They’d tell the stories to everybody who listened, and everybody did because these were old men, whose wives had long died and they were left alone. Lonely as only old men who had outlived their time could be. So the villagers listened to the stories and counted themselves lucky they had not gone to Korea.”
“Then there came that day. The old men hadn’t arrived yet but something else did. A monster, a hideous monster from hell, the one the Americans call the baldrick. The village went black in its middle and the creature stepped out, looking only to kill and mutilate. Most of the men were far away, working in the fields or on the road and could not help. There were just the women and children left and they screamed when they saw the monster and they ran. But the monster could run as well, faster than they could and it started to kill them.”
“As the Party Leader I had a Type 56 rifle in my hut and I got it. I fired a burst at the monster and I think I hit it for it stopped and shook itself. But it wasn’t dead, it seemed hardly hurt and it turned to come for me but it heard more screams where the children were running from the school. It forgot me and went to kill them. I fired again but it was too far away, more than 100 meters.”
“Then I heard a shouted order, one that cut through the noise and screams. The old men were there, all ten of them and they had their old long 3-line rifles. They dropped to the ground in a line, their hands working the bolts of their rifles with the muscle-memory of skills never forgotten. They fired all at once, in a volley and their hands worked the bolts again for another.”
“The monster staggered with the first volley and lurched with the second. It turned away from the children and came for the old men. The sergeant ordered independent fire and the rifles crackled but the monster kept coming at them. The old men’s hearts were brave but their eyes were dim with age and their hands shook, not from fear of course, but from infirmity. I doubt if one bullet in ten they fired was biting home. The monster had a three-point spear and it’s lighting flashed out, killing ‘the boy’ as he fired his rifle. The others did not pause or hesitate but kept on firing until their pouches were empty. How they had kept their rifles and ammunition I do not know and do not intend to ask.”
“With the monster close and their ammunition gone, they fixed their bayonets, they got to their feet and they advanced on the monster, their bayonets leveled. I had changed my magazine by now and I had run over to where I also could fire on the monster. The old men had surrounded it, it was slashing at them with its claws, but they parried its slashes and thrust their bayonets home. They were old men and slow, they could not evade all the blows from the monster and their numbers shrank even as I watched. But the monster was down, on its knees, and the old men, now down to three with their sergeant still leading them, kept thrusting. I had a clean shot and I emptied my rifle into it, saw it bleeding and dying on the ground. It fired its trident again and the lightning bolt hit me. It must have been weak with death for I did not die when the bolt hit my face.”
“So, you see Doctor, my blindness is nothing to be sorry for. What finer sight could I, Party Leader of Mai Xiao Village, treasure as my last than those ten old men saving our children by bringing down the monster with their bayonets?”
Okthuura Jorkastrequar, Tartaruan Range, borderlands of Hell
Yulupki sat unhappily atop the Great Beast as it clambered up the side of the volcano. The track was so rough as to be virtually non-existent, it was really just a relatively level strip that had been cleared of boulders. It had been two months since this particular cone had last erupted and ash-laden smoke was still pouring out of many fissures in its sides. There was no guarantee that the lava would not again start pouring out while the ritual was in progress. However Belial had insisted on placing the portal as deep as possible into the magma, which meant the ritual had to take place on the rim of an active crater.
She was sure the lumbering Beast had picked up on her distaste for its kind and was doing what it could to throw her off. Not that there was much chance of that, as the leather harness held her coils tightly to its back, but the lurching made it difficult to focus and prepare for the task ahead. Naga could manage short bursts of speed when pressed, but in general their speed was much inferior to even the common demon warrior, much less the cavalry or fliers. That made this indignity necessary but not any more tolerable.
Finally the Great Beast attained the rim of the crater and Yulupki was afforded an expansive view of Jorkastrequar. A hundred yards below her a veritable lake of semi-congealed lava bubbled and hissed. Fortunately the copious smoke it was spewing was carried straight up into the sky by the strong thermals, otherwise visibility in the crater would have been near-zero. As planned, the forge demons had erected three great shrines to the barrier spirits, spaced equally around the rim. Each shrine consisted of a row of thirteen copper rods driven into the pumice at three yard intervals, each rod thirty feet tall and tapering from four inches diameter at the base to a sharp point at the top. The rods supported a great spider's web strung in copper, silver and gold wire.
Both the pattern of the web and the bifold curve of rods was the result of millennia of painstaking trial and error, carried out by naga searching for the arrangement that best pleased the spirits that dwelt between worlds. Rumor had it that the existence of the spirits had been discovered quite by accident. Long ago a lone naga had attempted to open a portal to gate a small force of warriors to another world. As luck had it she performed the ritual facing the warriors, who had at that moment presented their tridents in salute to a passing baron. The portal sprang into existence at twice the expected size. The passing baron commended the naga for the strength of her magery, which forced her into a desperate series of attempts to replicate the feat.
Eventually that nameless naga discovered that a close packed arrangement of bronze rods could multiply the effect of her ritual many-fold. This could only be the work of unknown beings existing in the strange realm the portal crossed. The creatures clearly desired the shrines, but could not enter the physical world to construct them themselves. Thus a wordless bargain was struck; the demons would build the shrines, and in return the barrier spirits would aid the naga in their work, adding their psychic strength to the task of opening the portal. As long as the shrines were constructed according to the prescribed traditions, Yulupki had never known the barrier spirits to renege on their end of the deal. This was just as well, because they would need all the help they could get to meet Belial's demands.
In front of each shrine the demon workers had carved out six crude terraces, each of which held thirteen wooden pallets. Three quarters of the pallets were already filled with the long coiled forms of naga, each resembling a giant snake with a scaled and vaguely female humanoid torso in the place of a head. More continued to arrive as she watched, strapped to the backs of lesser Beasts that strained and staggered under their weight. For now Yulupki was basking in the waves of heat, but she knew that it would become unpleasantly hot by the end of the ritual; the insulating pallets would prevent burns to their undersides. Eager to begin the ritual, she commanded the Great Beast to take her to the nearest shrine.
Great Hall of the Adamant Fastness, Tartaruan Range, Outer Rim of Hell
The great hall was filled to capacity with demons, including every minor noble from Count Belial's domain save a few lesser baronets that could not be spared from overseeing production. They were seated at carved stone tables more commonly used for victory feasts. There was little sound other than the padding of servants running to and fro, running errands and bringing chunks of fresh meat refreshment. Save for these minor disturbances, every demon seemed to be concentrating intensely.
The count himself paced back and forth on the raised platform in the centre of the chamber. Sharing the platform with him was the great gorgon Euryale, flanked by her handmaidens Lakheenahuknaasi and Megaaeraholrakni. To a human, the trio looked quite similar. All three were clad in nothing but their shining bronze scales, had for tresses a mass of tentacles each like a cyclopean snake, and possessed both great bat-like wings and a pointed tail that curled about their taloned feet. On closer inspection however, differences were apparent. Euryale's curvaceous figure and enchanting voice (at least, to other demons) clearly favored her succubus heritage. Megaaerah's anemically slim form and reputed skill at portal magery were much reminiscent of her naga cousins. Lakheenahuknaasi 's relatively compact and muscular form, not to mention her straightforward attitude, showed more of a kinship with the harpies.
Also present on the platform was Captain James Shanklin, who was flanked by a pair of demonic guards and looking extremely pale.
“I have one!” Castellean Zatheoplekkar's shout broke the silence. “A male, in a city... called Not-Ingham.”
Within seconds Belial Kornakat was towering over his vassal. “Show me.” Belial entered Zatheoplekkar's mind and from there followed the psychic link to the possessed human. Through his eyes he saw a cramped, cluttered room, dominated by a large glowing picture of two seated humans. Curiously the picture seemed to be moving. Belial pressed harder, mentally wringing the mind of the man for information, faintly amused by the pain he was causing.
“His name is Christopher Hughes. He lives alone, but in a crowded part of the city.” A rasping chuckle escaped Belial's lips. “He believes us to be a fiction invented by their nobility, for the purpose of...” the demon struggled to extract sense from the human's chaotic mind “placing all nations under the dominion of the You En.” He looked questioningly at the human traitor, who had been instructed to keep close by his side.
Captain Shanklin found his hands trembling again. “My lord, I have never heard of this 'U N'. Most likely it is a wild fancy of his. But I do know of Nottingham. It is a city of two hundred thousand souls a mere twenty-five miles south of Sheffield.”
Euryale seemed less satisfied than her lord. “That is closer than 'Birmingham', but still, I would rather not send my handmaiden into the heart of a large human city. You have spoken at length on the potency of their new weapons. The chance of failure is too high.”
Belial frowned. “Keep that one possessed.” he instructed Zatheoplekkar. “Very well. I will allow you another hour, no more. Then she goes.” He gestured at Lakheenahuknaasi, who looked nearly as uncomfortable as Captain Shanklin.
Fifty minutes later, the only other Nephilim that the assembled demons could locate was in Leeds, which if their tame human was to be believed seemed little better than Nottingham. Lakheenahuknaasi considered her options. She could wait until nightfall, but if she flew low over a settlement filled with humans she was still likely to be seen. If the rumors about the fate of Abigor's harpies were true this could be a suicidal proposition. Perhaps it would be better to enthrall a few humans and get them to sneak her out of the city somehow. Undignified, but less likely to get her killed by the humans. On the other talon, delaying for long enough to disrupt the Count's schedule would likely get her killed on her return, if she was allowed to return at all.
Lakheenahuknaasi 's musings were interrupted by an excited squeal. “Sire, sire, I have one! A human woman! She is in an uninhabited wilderness, somewhere to the west of the target.” He shrank back as the Count forced his way into the psychic link. “As you can see my lord, vanity was her undoing.”
This time Belial let loose with a full-blown maniacal laugh. “Indeed I can Guruktarqor.” The human female was cleaning her hair in some kind of indoor waterfall. For some reason, the mysterious effect that was protecting humans from entanglement had ceased to work with this one. A few minutes of vulnerability were enough to allow the demons to find her and gain purchase in her mind. “That one will be going directly to the eighth circle.” He nodded to Euryale.
All eyes were now on the hall's central platform, which now stood empty save for the gorgon queen. She spread her wings and closed her eyes, joining the psychic link to the possessed human girl and focusing intently on that target. Static discharges resembling miniature sheet lightning danced over her wing membranes as she poured psychic force into the connection. Several pregnant seconds passed before finally the familiar black sphere of nothingness swelled into existence in the centre of the room.
Belial gestured to a waiting squad of lesser demons. “Entertain me.” The small strike force was eager, loyal and expendable. Roaring battle cries, the demon warriors charged single-file into the portal and disappeared. The count closed his eyes, concentrating on distant events. A vicious grin slowly spread over his face. His eyes snapped open again and fixed on Lakheenahuknaasi. “Now it's your turn.”