Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-02-12 08:43am

Lugashar...Sharma, I'll call her that, doesn't look too bad. For some reason, she reminds me of Rye/Zuul.
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Post by Starglider » 2008-02-12 09:14am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Lugashar...Sharma, I'll call her that, doesn't look too bad.
I thought the succubi in this were jet black, not corpse white? Or do most of the demon breeds/species (definitive terminology awaiting a relevation on whether they can interbreed) come in an assortment of colours?

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Post by Stuart » 2008-02-12 10:14am

Starglider wrote: I thought the succubi in this were jet black, not corpse white? Or do most of the demon breeds/species (definitive terminology awaiting a relevation on whether they can interbreed) come in an assortment of colours?
The image I have is a black body with a white face merging to black around the ear region. Everything below the neck is jet black.

There's more to succubi than just quantum entanglement by the way.....
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-02-12 11:24am

Pheremones, perhaps? Or the ability to stimulate someone else's nervous system?
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Post by Stuart » 2008-02-12 11:28am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Pheremones, perhaps?
:D
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Post by K. A. Pital » 2008-02-12 11:54am

So Hell totally loses the fight? :lol: Who'd guess? Or are there are couple of tricks in ol' Satan's sleeve? :)

Where's Heaven though, that should have better hosts. Angels poisoning entire seas, etc. Also they should have orbital bombardment and other stuff.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-02-12 12:02pm

Stuart wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:Pheremones, perhaps?
:D
Clearly we'll have to get this Succubus analyzed by Axe Body Spray. We've got to get it working as advertised.
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Post by Raj Ahten » 2008-02-12 12:22pm

Well first I must say this is an interesting and unusual story. About the demon defector, she may very well be trying to finish her mission in an unusual fashion. She was found out, but maybe now she is thinking she can escape and get information by acting sympathetically. Interviews with her could be very interesting indeed. A master interrogator would likely be neccesary, as the demon has likely had thousands of years practice at deception. Harsh techniques are unlikely to get much, i would imagine. I bet minor players in hell probably just get tortured every once in a while.

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Post by That NOS Guy » 2008-02-12 01:08pm

Something I've been mulling over. What about various charms for things like exorcisms that are Buddhist in origin? Assuming they aren't horseshit and they actually have an effect on demons, would it not be wise to place them up everywhere?

As much as I hate to say it, I'm thinking purity seals.

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Post by DarthShady » 2008-02-12 01:13pm

That NOS Guy wrote:Something I've been mulling over. What about various charms for things like exorcisms that are Buddhist in origin? Assuming they aren't horseshit and they actually have an effect on demons, would it not be wise to place them up everywhere?

As much as I hate to say it, I'm thinking purity seals.
That is an interesting suggestion.Will things from other religions be making an appearance?
No. Hell has lost approximately 0.06% of its fighting force so far, and has committed only 0.9% of its total strength to the field. Humanity is in for a long fight.
I realize that.What i meant was, will there be an attack on hell anytime soon or at least a scouting mission?
Considering that hell has lost a lot of troops that they deployed on earth.(I realize it's a small number)

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Post by Sean Mulligan » 2008-02-12 01:22pm

I can hardly wait to find out more about Hell's resistance and who's in it. I am curious about their reaction to the recent events on Earth.

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Post by darthbob88 » 2008-02-12 01:40pm

DarthShady wrote:
That NOS Guy wrote:Something I've been mulling over. What about various charms for things like exorcisms that are Buddhist in origin? Assuming they aren't horseshit and they actually have an effect on demons, would it not be wise to place them up everywhere?

As much as I hate to say it, I'm thinking purity seals.
That is an interesting suggestion.Will things from other religions be making an appearance?
Probably not; this is not just a battle of Mankind vs Judeo-Christian God, this is a fight between man's reason and science and Yahweh and Satan's faith, and as such, it will most likely remain a fight between 21st century weaponry and Bronze Age toad-stickers.

Although, it does strike me as foolishness not to make reasoned use of some of this faith-based stuff. If you can analyze holy water, to find out why it works so well against demons, you can probably use that knowledge to make other things work better as well. Blessed artillery shells, anyone?
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Post by Stuart » 2008-02-12 01:44pm

Probably not; this is not just a battle of Mankind vs Judeo-Christian God, this is a fight between man's reason and science and Yahweh and Satan's faith, and as such, it will most likely remain a fight between 21st century weaponry and Bronze Age toad-stickers. Although, it does strike me as foolishness not to make reasoned use of some of this faith-based stuff. If you can analyze holy water, to find out why it works so well against demons, you can probably use that knowledge to make other things work better as well. Blessed artillery shells, anyone?
I don't want to give a spolier but a section along those lines has already been written by Chewie. It'll be going in when the appropriate point is reached.
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Post by Gerald Tarrant » 2008-02-12 02:45pm

Stuart wrote: There's more to succubi than just quantum entanglement by the way.....
Well I'm guessing that in short order humans are going to know more about the abilities of Succubi than the Succubi do. Given the Baldrick's incurious/nonscientific nature, they probably just take it as granted that some demons can reach farther and confuse more mortal minds than other demons. That explanation will be insufficient for human scientists, who are going to at a minimum put her out on a (shielded) antenna range, just to see what the radiation pattern for the entanglement operation looks like. And we have a nominally compliant demon, so people can be tested without worrying as much about the negative consequences to them. Maybe giving us information about the minimum power/particle density (or whatever the mechanism is) required for proper entanglement.

Getting an image of the Demonic brain while actively entangling someone would probably improve the current broadcast device. Even getting an image of an active Demon brain in general is worth something to the biology folks. Intelligence people are probably itching to ask her questions about environment, logistics, force structure etc. There may even be some bureacratic tug of war over who gets first crack at studying the Baldrick-ess.
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Post by Col. Crackpot » 2008-02-12 03:41pm

Stuart, I've read all of your work and quite frankly, you scare the the bejesus out of me. The problem is i can't say i don't like it. :-)
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Post by Junghalli » 2008-02-12 04:11pm

I've been giving some thought to the backstory of this universe and this is what seems logical to me so far. This may be a bit long so please bear with me. It's all up to Stuart to accept or reject these suggestions of course.

Heaven and Hell are seperate life-bearing universes/plains, of course. The beings in them are very long-lived, but I think they're probably like squidmoths from Vonda McIntyre's Metaphase; they're very long-lived but they do have a life-cycle that involves them dying around a certain age, like we do. This would explain their fixation on getting to the next level when they die, instead of just trying not die, which you'd think would be easier if all they had to do was avoid accidental death. They probably both live in environments where technology as we know it is problematic but exotic biology (telepathy and the like) occurs. Hell, as we've seen, has lots of sulphur and shit. Heaven is usually described as being full of gems (streets of jade, the walls being made of gemstones in Paradise Lost etc.), so I'm envisioning it as some sort of crystal garden environment, and it's much harder to work crystals than metal. So their technology tended to focus on biotech mostly. Going off the attitudes of the demons I'm guessing in both cases it was done in an artisan trial-and-error fashion, but because of the possibilities inherent in those universes they could figure out some powerful stuff that way, like the ability to investigate other dimensions. At some point they work out that beings from lower dimensions can soul-jump after they die and it's possible to soul-jump to a higher dimension than theirs too, but it takes much more energy. This probably got started from random humans and other lower-dimension species individuals popping up in their domains (I figure probably naturally most individuals don't ascend, or else both plains would quickly be swamped with lower-dimension dead and the Angel and Demon civilizations would never have gotten started; they probably actively "snatch" souls when they die today in order to fill up Heaven and Hell).

They both figured out ways to harness the soul-energy of lower-dimension sapients to boost themselves up. The Demons did it by a relatively easy but low-productivity method already described, the Angels did it by getting souls to voluntarily give their soul-energy to them. Early on the Demons probably just followed a loot-and-pillage philosophy for soul-gathering. When they found a way to a new plain they'd just send an army through, kill everyone, and take all the souls back to Hell. The Angels, on the other hand, had to use more sophisticated means, because the soul had to willingly give over its energy in order for their method to work. Most people won't spend millenia endlessly giving energy to some high-dimension critter just because, and by definition you can't squeeze it out of them like with the Demon method: it has to be voluntary. So they went with the Goa'uld method. Find a new world, convince the people on it they're gods, and give them an instruction manual for powering up the Angels disguised as religious devotions. The emphasis on monotheism in the Abrahamic religions probably reflects internal Angel politics. I figure Yahweh probably wants to monopolize that power source for himself: he's a jealous God in no small part because he's worried some of his subordinates may get people to start worshipping them instead and use those souls to build up an independent power base in Heaven, the way Demon lords probably do in Hell. In this period the souls the Angels couldn't use probably either just didn't get pulled up into Heaven and were left to "die" in the lower plain or might have gone to some sort of lesser underworld (Sheol?).

At some point the two expanding species impinged on each others' growing sphere of influence (maybe the Demons tried to harvest a world that was already controlled by the Angels) and war ensued. So we get the War in Heaven in mythology, with the two species fighting over who'd get access to the soul-energy of the lower dimensions. Eventually a truce is declared. The two species will split the souls, with the Angels sending the souls they can't use to the Demons.

Now for the more speculative part. I think Yahweh probably keeps much better tabs on what goes on in the lower plains than Satan. The Demons think of the lower plains in the same way a logger thinks of a forest or a trawler-fisherman thinks of the ocean: they're just something you periodically go into and take stuff out of, and you don't really pay much attention to what's going on there the rest of the time. They don't even practice anything like forestry management: if they did Satan would leave survivors after each harvest to renew the stock, something he isn't planning to do, unless he lies to his high lords like Abigor about it. The Demons' astounding ignorance of the conditions on present-day Earth fits perfectly with this mindset. The Angels, on the other hand, have to be administrators; they have to make sure the people on the lower plains believe the right things so they'll get a crop of usable souls. That means much more monitoring and interaction is required. Notice how Satan in the story blames Yahweh for what happened: he thinks of looking after the lower plains as Yahweh's job. I expect Yahweh to have a much better idea of what Earth is capable of than Satan. In fact, I think it's quite plausible that the reason he sent the Message was that he was seeing what we were doing and he was starting to get scared. The Tower of Babel shows that he is aware of the potential for lower-dimension peoples to become a threat to him if they get too powerful.

I wouldn't be surprised if he also sees it as a nice practical joke on Satan: under the cover of a generous gift he shifts the hideously difficult job of subduing this dangerous planet onto his unsuspecting arch-rival. The way he figures it either way he wins. If we go down easily he smooths over relations with Satan. If we go down hard he embroils his rivals in a costly, ruinous war. If we win we eliminate his main enemy for him, and he probably figures we'll have exhausted ourselves so much his fresh forces will probably be able to defeat us rather easily, especially since he'll have had the opportunity to learn from all of Satan's mistakes.

That's an interesting thought: just maybe the Message was actually Yahweh's bid to destroy the status quo and claim all the dimensions for himself. He's had this Cold War with Satan on his hands for thousands of years and all of a sudden this new, dangerous faction pops up. Why not set the new faction and his old enemy at each other's throats, and then destroy the weakened victor afterward?

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Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-02-12 04:22pm

Might I just say that I totally applaud your usage of Blackadder? And you should have named the Succubuss's "Flashhearts" :P
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Post by Junghalli » 2008-02-12 04:24pm

Gerald Tarrant wrote:Well I'm guessing that in short order humans are going to know more about the abilities of Succubi than the Succubi do. Given the Baldrick's incurious/nonscientific nature, they probably just take it as granted that some demons can reach farther and confuse more mortal minds than other demons.
You do have to remember though that the Demons undoubtedly created the Succubi in the first place. As Starglider said, these things we've been seeing are almost certainly all the result of supernatural bioengineering. There's no way something like a 10 meter flying humanoid (flying Herald) is naturally evolved.

That said, given what we've seen so far the Demons' bioengineering probably follows a Midaeval model of technology. It's probably like Chinese acupuncture; the result of thousands of years of trial and error, not any sort of systematic scientific program. So yes, it's likely they don't really understand the mechanisms behind a lot of their own abilities, any more than a Midaeval horse breeder understands the physiological differences between different types of horses.

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Post by Gerald Tarrant » 2008-02-12 06:10pm

Junghalli wrote:
Gerald Tarrant wrote:Well I'm guessing that in short order humans are going to know more about the abilities of Succubi than the Succubi do. Given the Baldrick's incurious/nonscientific nature, they probably just take it as granted that some demons can reach farther and confuse more mortal minds than other demons.
You do have to remember though that the Demons undoubtedly created the Succubi in the first place.
We've already seen a random harpy use this entanglement ability Link. There's no reason to treat it as a specifically engineered ability instead of something most Baldricks posess. If it is indeed a general ability than the average Baldrick would have about as much understanding of the process, as the average caveman would have when considering the workings of his small intestine.

Second, I'm not so ready to embrace the notion that any particular Baldrick was genetically engineered. We have no knowledge of the environmental pressures Hell exerts on its inhabitants, we don't know anything about other species that may exist with the baldricks, and we haven't seen the original "natural" demons. For all we know the Succubi are the original inhabitants of hell, and everything else was engineered from them.

In general I'm not ready to leap on the notion that any Baldrick's were "engineered"/selectively bred. A hypothetical intelligent Amoeba looking at humans would equally conlude that we were (due to our extreme differences from its idea of normal) also "supernaturally bioengineered". Here is an example of an extreme survivor, since it's so much more survivable than humans it must have been non-naturally bioengineered too
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We need more information before coming to the conclusion that X conditions must have been caused by Y (in this case intelligent selective pressures). Personally I think Stuart's thought this through and is going to reveal more and more of the nature of hell and its inhabitants.
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Post by Starglider » 2008-02-12 06:57pm

Junghalli wrote:I've been giving some thought to the backstory of this universe and this is what seems logical to me so far.
Interesting and generally plausible theories. However,
This probably got started from random humans and other lower-dimension species individuals popping up in their domains (I figure probably naturally most individuals don't ascend, or else both plains would quickly be swamped with lower-dimension dead and the Angel and Demon civilizations would never have gotten started;
this isn't necessary - the angel and demon civilisations could've simply started earlier than humans and already have been at a population of millions by the time humanity first started expanding out of Africa.
they probably actively "snatch" souls when they die today in order to fill up Heaven and Hell).
The demons seem to think they can get to the 'next level' without the help of beings on that next level. Of course, demons do have some natural reality-crossing ability, whereas humans don't. It's also interesting that they don't seem to have any legends of interaction with beings from the 'next level' the way humans do - though that information may simply be rigorously suppressed, rather than the 'next level' being isolationist. Anyway, you're right to recognise a critical part of the cosmology we don't yet understand is what determines where a human soul appears. Dante-style segregation by sin does seem to play a role; the exact mechanics of that are unknown. Despite reader speculation don't have any evidence for a 1:1 geographic mapping between the surface of the earth and areas of hell yet.
Now for the more speculative part. I think Yahweh probably keeps much better tabs on what goes on in the lower plains than Satan.
Well, maybe. The total population of Abrahamic religions have been growing steadily pretty much since it began, worldwide population growth has overcome any temporary loss of popularity. I don't think Heaven really needed to keep any closer a watch on humanity than Hell did; they've received the same steadily swelling stream of souls, just not growing quite as fast as hell's did.
They don't even practice anything like forestry management: if they did Satan would leave survivors after each harvest to renew the stock, something he isn't planning to do, unless he lies to his high lords like Abigor about it.
Abigor mentioned waiting until a new intelligent species evolved on the planet, implying that that's within the timescale of demon civilisation, if not the lifespan of individual demon lords. If that's correct it implies staggering longetivity for their civilisation, millions of years at least (though this could be thinking along the lines of 'The Thousand Year Reich').

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Post by Junghalli » 2008-02-12 07:15pm

Gerald Tarrant wrote:We've already seen a random harpy use this entanglement ability Link. There's no reason to treat it as a specifically engineered ability instead of something most Baldricks posess.
I was more thinking of Stuart's statement that there is more to their abilities than QE-based telepathy (pheremones perhaps).
Second, I'm not so ready to embrace the notion that any particular Baldrick was genetically engineered. We have no knowledge of the environmental pressures Hell exerts on its inhabitants, we don't know anything about other species that may exist with the baldricks, and we haven't seen the original "natural" demons.
Well, for starters I doubt the Behemoths are natural. One of them took multiple hits with 125 mm guns to kill, it's hard to see how that could be evolved. Greater Harpies, also, seem rather unlikely to be natural to me. We also have this:
Stuart wrote:The Heralds were deliberately created to be awe-inspiring, terrifying by virtue of their size and apparent invulnerability
Seems to pretty clearly imply some sort of bioengineering or selective breeding.

The sheer diversity of demon forms also suggests bioengineering to me. Generally, naturally evolved species don't show that kind of dismorphism and variety. The closest thing I can think of is dogs, which are the result of many millenia of selective breeding. The demon forms we've seen strike me as most likely being the result of something similar, especially implausible forms like Greater Harpies and Behemoths.
Stuart wrote:For all we know the Succubi are the original inhabitants of hell, and everything else was engineered from them.
If that picture Stuart posted of one is an accurate representation I very much doubt it. The idea that something that evolved independently in another dimension would just happen to look that similar to a human is pretty implausible. It makes a lot more sense for an artificial form specifically bred to be able to camouflage itself as human with ease.

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Post by KlavoHunter » 2008-02-12 07:17pm

If not for what is, in this situation, an ill-chosen name, I could easily see mass conversion to the [url=http://www.churchofsatan.com[/url]Church of Satan[/url]. After all, there's precedent for it in the story so far - the Iranian General, deciding to indulge himself in alcohol, rather than respect the now-broken pact with God. Religions like the Church of Satan that focus on the fulfillment of the self, rather than abstaining to please some proven-to-be-less-than-benevolent God, are probably going to become much, MUCH more popular in the days to come in this universe.



I wonder how long it will be, linguistically, before phrases referencing deities that we of course should no longer worship, are phased out of language? Such as "Goddammit", or "Inshallah"...
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-02-12 07:24pm

I seriously, seriously doubt folks would turn to Satanism. Humanism or Buddhism, perhaps, but not Satanism.
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Post by KlavoHunter » 2008-02-12 07:36pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:I seriously, seriously doubt folks would turn to Satanism. Humanism or Buddhism, perhaps, but not Satanism.
I have to ask, are you suggesting that just because of the name, or because of the beliefs held by the Church of Satan? Do you know what their beliefs are?
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-02-12 07:43pm

KlavoHunter wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:I seriously, seriously doubt folks would turn to Satanism. Humanism or Buddhism, perhaps, but not Satanism.
I have to ask, are you suggesting that just because of the name, or because of the beliefs held by the Church of Satan? Do you know what their beliefs are?
Separated from the ritualistic 'satanic' trappings, their belief system is very similar to secular humanism. The seven tenets of secular humanism can easily be rephrased as the Nine Stanic Statements. That, combined with the fact that Satan and everything associated with him are going to be less popular than Saurkraut on D-Day, makes me think the Satanic Church is going to either quietly go away, or declare itself something like the 'Church of Man'.
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