Posted: 2008-02-14 11:17am
Stravo wrote:I've been looking over this passage from the bible when crafting some of my ideas for the story and how God might perceive humanity and it really does explain a lot as to why he might not want to get his hands dirty here, he knows we can kick his ass. Think about that, a bronze age culture united in purpose gave him pause...this is the basis for my excerpts on heaven's side of things.
And also once again showing God has some potent things up his sleeves. Talk about a mind fuck, making millions of people no longer speak the same language. Pretty neat trick.
The problem is that it is pretty well impossible to think of a mechanism (even a far-fetched one) by which it can be done. Here again we have to be very aware of the difference between a demon (the mythological entity) and a baldrick (the creatures human faces are facing now).
A much more likely chain of events is that humans started to build settlements and expand their territorial holdings. Before that time they were nomadic hunter-gatherers who never had any contact with people from outside their own tribe. So, to them, their whole world did speak one language. However, when they settled down and started planting crops, things changed. Crops are static, they need to be watched and protected so getting agricultural means territorial boundaries - and that means people on both sides of the boundary. Suddenly, our tribe meets people who don't speak the same language. The whole world doesn't speak the same language any more.
Now, my cut on the earth situation is much the same as yours; Yahweh's side of things depends on keeping humanity's ability to develop at a minimum and religions does very nicely for that. About 1412, Yahweh looks at humanity and sees them developing gunpowder weapons. That's a bit worrying so he conceives the plan of selling his interest in the place to Satan. He takes another look in 1812 and sees that things haven't changed too much so he goes ahead with his plan. What he doesn't realize is that from about 1750 onwards, humans are throwing of the religious shackles and becoming scientifically organized. Just after that 1812 inspection, humanity, its mind now free, leaps ahead in technology and first of all invents machinery that can equal higher-dimension powers and then resoundingly overtakes them.
OK, so we apply that to our town above. Its suddenly found that there are people around who don't speak the same language. So Yahweh plants the idea that shattering the "world language" into fragments is his punishment for the hubris of the humans in trying to build towns with high buildinsg etc. So, he retards their development and keeps them sheep.
In other words, he doesn't mangle the language, he simply exploits something that had happened for his own ends.
Posted: 2008-02-15 11:27am
The Royal Dragoon Guards, Al Badiyah Al Janubiyah, Western Iraq
“How shall a man die better than facing fearful odds?
For the ashes of his fathers and the future of his buds.
It’s showtime boys”.
Guardsman Bass put the tank intercom down. Like every good tank commander, he had anticipated the order, getting his Challenger II ready to move well before the word came down from Regimental HQ. It hadn’t taken that much anticipation in fact, just a modicum of skill and experience. Skill and experience was something that the long-term professionals that made up the British ranks had in abundance. The spams may have the shiny toys, the British tankers said, but the Brits knew how to play with them.
In the valley below, the baldrick army was slowly extricating itself from the tangle caused by the minefields and wire. What had started as a serried mass of infantry was being distorted and funneled into a confused mass, made all the worse by the pounding of the AS-90Ds. The 155mm guns were lobbing their shells into the mass of infantry still seething through the gap in the wire torn where the baldrick cavalry had died. They were concentrating on the mass targets but that meant the infantry was slowly penetrating the first line of defense, breaking through in a thin, steady stream. They were beginning to move across the valley floor, making their way towards where the Challengers were sitting in wait behind the rippling sand and gravel dunes.
Even with the snarled mess down by the wire holding up the bulk of the baldricks, Bass was appalled by the sheer number of them coming towards his position. Intellectually, he had heard the number that was expected, nearly 100,000, but he had never imagined what 100,000 infantry swarming towards him would look like. Now, he knew. It was a sight few had ever seen before even where human armies were concerned. The mass of baldrics were something that belonged out of human prehistory.
“Mark your targets as they come.” The voice over the radio was calm and collected, the boyish pitch already well-controlled and only barely a reminder of how young their officer was. It didn’t matter much, everybody knew a junior officer fresh out of Sandhurst was still being trained in his craft. This one was doing well, Bass thought. If he survived, he might go far. Even while he thought that, his hands were selecting a group of baldricks as his target.
A brief pause. “5,003 meters boss.”
Another brief pause and then Lieutenant McLeoud’s voice cut in again. “On my word boys. Hold Fast and ….. shoot!”
“On the way.”
Third Legion, Southern Flank, Abigor’s Army
He had survived the snakes, he had seen their silver bodies stretched out on the ground, tape-like creatures that were threatening even in death. Those who had stepped on their bodies had screamed in agony as the snake teeth cut their feet apart. Demon skin was strong but the silver snakes were stronger.
He had avoided the yellow bars as well, taught by the fearful fate of those who had been careless enough to step on them. He had threaded his way through the maze on the ground, catching only minor injuries from the fragments as more careless, or less fortunate, as Krykojanklawas was quickly beginning to realize, on a battlefield they were the same thing, had stepped on the bars and been blown apart. Krykojanklawas corrected himself, the lucky ones were blown apart, the unlucky ones just had their legs ripped off and lay screaming on the ground.
The bars weren’t the only magic in the ground here. Something else was hidden in the sand and gravel, something nobody saw until it was too late. Something that threw a metal ball up into the air so that it could explode and throw out a slashing rain of fragments. The humans had a touch of true evil in their magic, the balls always exploded at about waist height and the ones caught by them were the unluckiest of all for they were rarely killed, just disemboweled and castrated by the blasts. Their screams were truly dreadful.
That was the worst thing of all, the overwhelming noise, the sensation that the bath of sound they were immersed in was itself a weapon hammering them flat with repeated waves of blasting. The explosions of the mines, the flat crack of the balls as they were thrown into the air and exploded, worst of all, the howl as the human mages created thunderbolts and hurled them into the mass of troops advancing on them. They mixed with the screams of the dying, and those who wished they were dying, in an all-embracing cacophony and the war-cry howls of the humans in their sky-chariots overhead, hunting down the surviving flies. Krykojanklawas had never heard anything like it before. If anything the sound was worse than the magic that was being thrown at him, its pressure on his head made it almost impossible to think straight.
He lifted his head slightly, the human mages were up to something new. A ripple of lightning flashed along the ridge crest ahead of him. His eyes focused on that ridge, there were strange boxes scattered along it and the lightning seemed to have come from them. Before that could really register, the bath of sound that enveloped him was punctuated by ear-splitting screams, more human battle cries Krykojanklawas presumed. How could such puny creatures give out such cries? Off to his left, a tight knot of demons had penetrated the wire, using the body of a dead Beast as a bridge. As Krykojanklawas watched, one of their leaders seemed to be hurled backwards, disintegrating into a fine spray of mist and parts as he did so. Most of those around him fell, spurting yellow body fluid from wounds torn by fragments from the magic bolt. Along the line, Krykojanklawas could see forty or fifty more such explosions as the magic bolts tore into the demonic ranks.
For the first time, he sensed that moving forward was impossible, that he could not do it and survive. All along the line, the same idea was beginning to filter into the minds of his fellows, the advance was faltering. Although he had never experienced anything like this before, the simple instinct of self-preservation cut in and Krykojanklawas took cover in a convenient dip in the ground. He was just in time, another salvo of the screaming bolts slammed into the ranks where the demons had clustered, spreading more death and destruction. At that point he noticed something, the human mages were hurling their bolts where the demons were most tightly packed, the area effect of their blasts ensured multiple kills for each bolt. Krykojanklawas began to wonder if his survival in this human-created hell, he used the phrase without any sense of irony, was due to the fact that he was in a thinly populated section where most of the demons were already down.
The human magic was being concentrated on a section of the line far away, even the terrible noise seemed to have slackened a bit. That gave Krykojanklawas an opportunity. He had already spotted another, better dip in the ground ahead of him, so he leapt up and sprinted across to it. On the way he discharged his psychic force into his trident and aimed a bolt at the ridgeline ahead. The blue bolt shot out, it would take time for him to recharge but at least he’d taken a shot at the mages. Then, he was in his new hiding place, trying to find another one that was both better and closer to the enemy.
The Royal Dragoon Guards, Al Badiyah Al Janubiyah, Western Iraq
“What the blazes was that?”
Bass shrugged. Something had hit his tank, it seemed like some sort of ball lightning or something. It had come from the mass of infantry they were pounding. “No idea. Any damage.”
“No boss, computers flickered for a second but that’s all. If I didn’t know better, I’d say we got hit by lightning. If we did, the system hardening worked as advertised.”
Bass looked across the line, it seemed like quite a few bolts were coming in from the direction of the enemy. “The old books said that demons could throw lightning bolts didn’t they? Looks like we just got hit by one.” Ahead, down in the valley, a group of baldricks had penetrated the wire in his sector. “Load HESH.”
“On the way.”
The tank lurched as another 120mm HESH round went down range and Bass saw it plow into the group he’d selected, blowing one baldrick into fragments while those around it went down wounded. The thought crossed Bass’s mind that he was currently firing the biggest and most expensive sniper’s rifle in history. It also crossed his mind that snipers couldn’t possibly stop a massed attack like this. He had to give the baldricks credit, the ground in the minefield and around the wire was carpeted with their dead yet they were still pushing forward. It took gutsy infantry to do that.
“Make that a definite on the ball lightning.” Bass had seen another Challenger getting hit by a ball of lightning and briefly lighting up the way a ship’s mast sometimes did in an electrical storm. St Elmo’s Fire it was called or something. He switched to the platoon net. “Lieutenant, Sir, we’re taking incoming fire here. Some sort of electrostatic bolt, like lightning or EMP. Doesn’t seem to be dangerous to us but worth reporting.”
“Roger that Bass. For your information, other tanks and the crunchies in their Warriors are also reporting the bolts. Hold Fast.”
Bass switched back to tank intercom and picked out another baldrick target. Once again, his 120mm gun crashed, sending the baldricks flying. Their casualty rate down there was appalling, the AS-90Ds were still pounding them with their 155s while the tanks added precision fire to the execution yet they were barely making a dent in the mass of baldricks still moving forward. Bass got an uneasy feeling that the battle was not going well.
First Brigade, First Armored Division, Tel Ash Sha’ir, Northern Iraq.
“They may not know what they’re doing but my word, do they have guts.” Colonel Sean MacFarland watched the slaughter on his display. The Global Hawk was relaying real-time video of the battle as it developed, sending back pictures of the baldrick horde as they floundered under the lash of artillery fire. The MLRS batteries were inflicting incredible losses on them, every time they fired, whole sections of the baldrick front just vanished under the Steel Rain. There were two problems with that, the batteries fired about once every eight or nine minutes and that just wasn’t often enough. The other was that they had already dumped more than a million DPICM bomblets into the target area. With a 2 percent failure rate, that meant there were already 20,000 dud rounds scattering the battlefield. That would make it a hazard for years to come.
Still, the gap between the MLRS salvoes was being filled by the Paladins. All 54 guns in the First Armored were now pouring fire into the enemy army. A human army would have broken by now, given up, known that getting through the artillery fire was impossible, and saved their lives by pulling back. The baldricks weren’t doing that. Not yet at any rate. MacFarland know they would, sooner or later. They were fighting the United States Army on its terms, on its ground, giving it exactly the target the Army was supremely good at destroying. The baldricks would either run or die. Even as he watched, a new element was added to the massacre, the Bradleys of his mechanized infantry were firing TOW anti-tank missiles into the enemy formation, picking out the groups the artillery missed and cutting them down. The tanks were silent, MacFarland intended to hold fire with them until the enemy were 2,000 meters away. The 120mm smoothbore didn’t have the accurate range of the British rifled 120mms so the Bradleys had to take over the long-range precision fire role.
MacFarland looked at the mass of infantry threshing in the kill zone and shook his head. They had to stop. Didn’t they?
Cavalry Legion, Left Flank of the Army of Abigor, Tel Ash Sha’ir, Northern Iraq.
They were hunched up, backs bent, heads down, looking for all the world as if they were trying to walk through some ferocious storm. Same grim determination to find shelter. And that wasn’t a bad comparison thought Zorankalirtagap, that’s what they were. Facing a storm that slaughtered everything in its path. Ever since his Beast had been killed, Zorankalirtagap had been advancing with the infantry against the hideous magic of the humans. He caught his breath, suddenly the sky behind the humans had turned white again, white shot with fire as their fire-lances sped towards the floundering demon advance. He watched the sight with fear in his heart, then sighed slightly as it descended on the flank of the line, far from his position. It happened again, the same rippling cloud of explosions that left no demons standing when it cleared. Anything was better than the fire lances, even the magic bolts that screamed and caused the ground to erupt under their feet.
There was something new, from a position in front of them, more human chariots had appeared, barely visible with just a small box over the ridgeline. For all their skills, the humans were cowards, Zorankalirtagap consoled himself with that thought, they didn’t stand proud and fight, they hid in hollows and dips in the ground to kill. And kill, and kill, and kill thought Zorankalirtagap grimly. Oh yes, they were very good at that.
The boxes fired fire-lances at a group of demons on Zorankalirtagap’s right. The targets scattered but it did them no good. They’d been lucky enough to escape the fire-lances and the bolts but these new weapons were different. As Zorankalirtagap watched appalled, the fire-lances changed course to follow their targets. Even those who forget their honor and took cover in dips like humans could not save themselves, the fire lances were following them into the cover they had sought. It was more than flesh and blood, even demonic flesh and blood could stand. The leading demons started to edge backwards, even as the ones behind continued to push forward. The advance ground to a halt in the chaos.
The Royal Dragoon Guards, Al Badiyah Al Janubiyah, Western Iraq
“Air Raid Warning Red! Red! Red!” The scream over the radio was just in time. A group of about 30 harpies had managed to assemble themselves from the massacre in the skies over the battlefield and attacked the tanks sitting on the ridgeline. Bass could feel his tank lurch as a group of them landed on it, heard their claws scrabbling at the armor. His radio went dead, at a guess, he thought the antenna had probably been ripped off by the harpies. Then he heard a ringing noise, the sound of machine gun fire bouncing of armor plate. The Warriors were machine-gunning the tanks in an effort to drive the harpies off them. Bass looked through his vision blocks, some were masked by clawed hands trying to rip them open but he could see Bravo-Three was also covered with harpies, the tracers from three Warriors converging on it as the infantry protected the tanks from the sudden assault. On a sudden thought, Bass looked up and made sure his hatch was firmly clamped shut. One harpy was driven off the tank by the fire, it exploded in the air as the Warrior fired a few rounds from its 30mm RARDEN gun into it. Others were dying as they were shot up by the Warrior’s coaxial chain guns. That was creating a new problem, Bass could see Bravo-Three was starting to smoke, the acid from the harpy’s blood probably. The paint on the Challengers would resist the acid but there were other things out there that could be vulnerable.
The tanks were backing up. Bass hadn’t received any orders but with his radio down, it was a fair guess they were out so he joined in the movement. Like the other tanks, he popped his smoke launchers, the choking white fumes driving off the remaining harpies. By the time the baldricks swarmed over the positions he had once held, the Challengers were back behind the next ridgeline.
Headquarters, British Brigade, Wadi Al Jaram, Western Iraq
Brigadier John Carlson looked at his map, his front line had been driven in, the tanks and armored infantry pushed back to the next defense positions. That left the baldricks spread out between the wire and the next defense line in a vast disorganized mass. He picked up his radio, it was already set to the right frequency. “Now, General Zolfaghari, now’s your time. Put every gun to them Sir, every gun.”
“Getting a bit Wellingtonian aren’t we?” The Iranian General’s voice was urbane and slightly amused. Then his division spoke for him. Outside the sky to Carlson’s left turned white as the massed batteries of Iranian BM-21 rocket launchers opened fire, pouring their rockets into the baldrick’s flank and rear. Under the white cloud was a black one as the T-72s gunned their engines and started their charge at the enemy.
Third Legion, Southern Flank, Abigor’s Army
The onslaught was totally unexpected, the enemy were in retreat, covered by the fog they had conjured up. Then, somehow, they had poured a new mass of fire into the right flank and rear of the demon forces. Krykojanklawas looked over to the left and saw the black cloud as something crossed the ridgeline. He focused his eyes and almost screamed in horror at what he saw. “The humans have Iron Chariots!”
He wasn’t the only one. Others saw the more than 300 T-72 tanks pouring over the ridgeline, moving terrifyingly fast through the sand. They saw them spit fire, the blaze rippling along their front line as the shots went on their way to tear into the demonic ranks. Every demon sensed the new chariots and knew the truth. they were made of iron. Not just any iron but some sort of super iron. The demons recoiled from their old enemy, it was just too much. After the pounding, the mines, the wire, their nerve broke.
Headquarters of Merafawlazes, Commander, Northern Flank, Abigor’s Army
Merafawlazes had learned much about war in the last few hours. He had learned that cavalry could no longer charge an enemy. He learned that artillery was the great killer no matter whether the targets were demons or humans. He had learned that his soldiers were helpless against tanks. He had learned that humans were the supreme masters of mass killing and were only too keen to practice their art. Now he learned that the moment an Army disintegrates and changes from a defeated force to a panicked mob can be measured with exquisite precision. The French Army at Waterloo disintegrated at precisely 8:15pm, the Union Army at First Bull Run at precisely 4:20pm. Merafawlazes saw his army disintegrate with exactly the same precision. As the great iron chariots of the humans emerged from their hiding places, his army dissolved into chaos, running for the rear. The Iron Chariots followed them and they could move much faster than even the panic-stricken demons. That was when he had his next lesson. An Army suffers heavier casualties when it breaks than it does when it stands.
M1A2 Abrams Charlie-Three, Tel Ash Sha’ir, Northern Iraq.
There was thirty dead an' wounded on the ground we wouldn't keep --
No, there wasn't more than twenty when the front begun to go;
But all along the line o' flight they cut us up like sheep,
An' that was all we gained by doin' so.
The M1 crested the ground smoothly, the great barrel of its gun held in place by the stabilization system. There was hardly any need to use it, the baldricks were running for the rear, the Abrams tanks spraying them with fire from their coaxial and turret-top machine guns. In the driver’s seat, SPC Brungardt saw a wounded baldrick fall to the ground in front of the racing tank. The 70 ton Abrams didn’t even lurch as it drove over the body. Brungardt thumbed his intercom button. “Hey guys guess what. Baldricks go crunch too.”
Posted: 2008-02-15 12:08pm
DarthShady wrote:Are we going to see the forces of hell use some useful magic any time soon? Or are they going to tease us with their lightning sparks?
Remember the powers of the demons double with each level upwards - and a lightning bolt will kill a human or stall an unshielded car. Its purely serendipitous that the anti-EMP hardening on modern military equipment will defeat the level of electrical charge used here
. The demons don't have magic, they think they do but they don't. They have things we aren't aware of and don't understand but they're all based on something tangible. For example, the baldricks here can't conjure up lightning bolts but they can generate electricity internally (just like and electric eel) and use their bronze tridents to direct it.
Spams = Americans?
That's right. Spams is British Army slang for Americans. It's replaced Septics.
is something related able to help them discern the chemical composition of the tanks?
Demons can sense iron and ferromagnetic materials by their disturbace in the magnetic field - works just like MAD. Plastics and composites really worry them because they are "dead" in that sense.
And were not as afraid of Chobham-armored tanks because they weren't steel?
Chobham is steel plus a lot of other things. Both the Abrams and the Challenger have it (the Challenger has Dorchester, a more advanced form of Chobham). The tanks terrified the baldricks into running, just like German tanks did in 1939 and 1940.
By the way, note, the baldricks are learning. Hideously expensively but they are learning.