Armageddon???? - Part Eighty One Up

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Post by Peptuck »

ray245 wrote: What I AM afriad of is, IF we are going to attract fundies to the book at first glance, what is the possibility of alienating the non-fundies, if we focus the marketing effort towards fundies?
You won't really have to worry about this. This book will enrage the fundies to no end, and the massive response from them will generate all the publicity the book needs.
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Post by ray245 »

So it is bascially agreed that the INITAL target audience will be for fundies?
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

ray245 wrote:So it is bascially agreed that the INITAL target audience will be for fundies?
Can't it just be people who like awesome/fantastical war?
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Post by ray245 »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
ray245 wrote:So it is bascially agreed that the INITAL target audience will be for fundies?
Can't it just be people who like awesome/fantastical war?
Who can ensure that the novel has more publicity?
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Post by D.Turtle »

For the back, I would suggest something in this direction:

The APOCAPLYPSE has come.

The Faithful have gone.

Satan has come to claim the rest.

In a world bereft of the faithful, Humanity lies abandoned.

But there is still one last chance to escape eternal punishment.

Will Humanity abandon its false path and grasp its chance at eternal salvation?
Last edited by D.Turtle on 2008-08-26 02:09pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Darth Wong »

In this thread, both religious and non-religious people have shown that they can be drawn to it. I think the trick would be to leave a lot of details vague enough to pique peoples' curiosity, but specific enough to describe the general thrust of the story.

"They predicted this day for two thousand years. They called it Judgment Day. But the prophets were wrong about one thing: on the day of Armageddon, God did not judge us. He abandoned us. So we, in turn, abandoned Him. And we fought back against Satan's hordes the only way we knew how: with heart, and soul, and all the technology and firepower that we could muster."

You don't want to scare off fundies, but you don't want to make it appear as if this is another Left Behind sequel either.
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Post by gtg947h »

I don't know if the fundies will bite for that, though... saying "God abandoned us" doesn't give them the warm fuzzies of "we're fighting Hell" with the implication that God is on our side.
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Post by tim31 »

Is it time for another chapter yet?? (hungry)
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Post by Darth Wong »

gtg947h wrote:I don't know if the fundies will bite for that, though... saying "God abandoned us" doesn't give them the warm fuzzies of "we're fighting Hell" with the implication that God is on our side.
Try asking some. I think you actually need to make it clear that God is not on our side this time, otherwise people will think it's just a "Left Behind" clone.
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Post by Stuart »

Bravo Portal, Off Bermuda, Earth

The black ellipse had mushroomed open and now dominated the Great Sound of Bermuda. The shipping channel into the ellipse was guarded, for what came one way through the hellgate could be matched by what came in the opposite direction. Naval Base Hell-Bravo was as much a defensive installation as an offensive one.

Out in the shipping channel, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, CVN-75, was making her way slowly up towards the hellgate, surrounded by a bevy of tugs that were working overtime to keep her within the strict navigational limits. She was a big ship, she drew a lot of water and the last thing anybody needed was an unexpected accidental grounding. Up in front of her, two fire tugs were directing their hoses into the sky, the brilliant sunshine turning the spray of water into a myriad of colors. It was incredibly beautiful. Once again, Captain Herman A. Shelanski reminded himself that pulling into a foreign port was an experience that made all the sacrifices of living in the Navy worthwhile.

“Give ‘Em Hell Harry!” The woman was speaking through a bullhorn from a speedboat that was racing alongside the great carrier. A Cyclone class PC was keeping between her small craft and the side of the carrier, this may be the Salvation War but nobody had forgotten what had happened to the USS Cole. That wasn’t going to be the case here though, the speedboat curved away then made another run alongside the Truman. This time, the girl in the back pulled the bra of her bikini down and did as good an imitation of a pole-dance as was possible under the circumstances. The roar of cheering from the seamen manning the rails on the carrier drowned out the diesels on the tugs. Once again, the speedboat peeled away, this time it was for good because the ellipse was near and the girls wanted to repeat their performance on the John C Stennis following behind. Idly, Shelanski wondered what the Russian crew on the Piotr Veliky, third in line, would make of the display.

“Ready for hell Transit.” It was an order, not a question.

“Aye Aye Sir. Ready for Transit.” Master Chief Walker glanced out at the deck beneath him. The Truman was up to her full complement of aircraft for the first time in many years even if some of them were refugees from the boneyard or a museum. The backbone of the group was the 54 F-18 Electric Bugs, backed up by 18 F-4 Rhinos. Then there was the new addition to the group, the 18 AT-45s, a single-seat strike version of the T-45 Goshawk. They’d only just arrived in time for the transit, the last had made it on board just as Truman swung to enter the navigational channel. With her six E-2 Hawkeyes and eight SH-60R helicopters, the big carrier had 104 aircraft on board. Too many, her decks were cramped and Shelanski had already decided to off-load nine of the AT-45s to the Stennis

“They’re going to be worn out by the time the group’s through.” Shelanski’s Exec, Captain Ronald Reis waved at the cheering crowds on the jetties that separated the Little Sound from the Great Sound. It looked like the whole population of Bermuda had turned out. As Truman’s bow started to touch the great ellipse, a burst of fireworks exploded overhead. Then, the clear blue sky of earth was replaced by the filthy red murk of Hell.

The tugs had peeled away at the last moment but the Truman was not alone. Six DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers and a pair of CG-47 Ticonderoga class cruisers were waiting for her with another, similar group waiting to screen the Stennis. They were making the air crackle with the power output from the SPY-1 radars of their AEGIS systems and their sonars were lashing the water at full power. Here in Hell, there was no worry that the sonar emissions would harm the local wildlife, in fact creating as much havoc as possible was the reason why the big SQS-53s were cranked up to maximum power. The early battle Astute had fought against one of the Greater Heralds so many months ago had shown just how effective low-frequency sonar pulses could be against the Baldricks.

“Clearing transit area now, Sir.” Navigation passed confirmation up to the bridge.

“Screen forming around us. Johnny Reb is emerging from the portal.” Behind them, the Stennis was half through Hellgate Bravo and Shelanski wondered what would happen to her if the portal shut down for some reason at this precise moment. Anyway, it was a pointless speculation since CVN-74 was already emerging from the gate.

“She’s through Sir. Piotr Veliky will be next. As soon as she’s arrived, we’ll be on our way.”

Shelanski nodded. On the bridge above his, the Admiral was doubtless working out the routing that would take the two carriers all the way north to Tartarus. They wouldn’t be the first human naval assets on their way there; all three Seawolf class submarines had transited the portal days earlier and were already heading for Tartarus at maximum speed. They’d already be almost half way there and they had a load-out the featured a lot of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Nor would the two carrier battle groups be the last. Once they had finished transiting Hellgate Bravo, the long line of amphibious warfare ships and their screens would start. A Marine division, rich in helicopters, Harrier aircraft and armor, aboard an imposing array of LHDs, LPDs and LSDs, a British brigade group with their LPH and transports, an equivalent French force and another made up from the smaller European Navies. Even the Peruvian Navy was represented, they’d sent the cruiser Almirante Grau, with her six inch guns, she had the heaviest battery in the fleet.

The Baldricks had all their remaining armies bottled up in Dis, besieged and isolated. They had no idea of the amphibious hammer blow that was about to land on the far north of the land they had once claimed as their own. Shelanski felt the vibration building up under his feet. His ship was picking up speed for the long run to Tartarus.

1/33 Battalion, Third Brigade, Third Armored Division, Ninth U.S. Corps. North of Dis.

The Third Armored was officially designated as the Spearhead Division although it was less formally known as the “Third Herd”. And a herd it was, thundering north as fast as its tracks could carry it, modified only by a degree of prudence. The baldricks had nothing that could stop a tank, nothing that was known, anyway. Still, it paid to be prudent.

Keisha Stevenson looked around at the array of armored vehicles sweeping across the countryside. Things had changed since her first tentative forays into Hell months before. A handful of vehicles she’d had then and they were all of human forces in hell, stepping gingerly into unknown and hostile terrain. Now she had a full combined arms battalion, two companies of Abrams tanks, two of mechanized infantry in Bradleys and a battery of the new 57mm armed anti-harpy vehicles. A force that dwarfed her previous command and yet was a tiny part of the armored avalanche descending on anything that dared to get in its way. It wasn’t just Third Armored; alongside them and off to the east was Sixth Armored and to the West was the Fourth Mechanized Infantry Division with the 30th Mechanized Infantry following as Corps reserve. Just to complete the formation was another reformed unit, the 26th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Stevenson shook her head, four whole divisions and an armored cavalry outfit that was called a regiment but was closer to a small division all by itself. Times had surely changed.

“Village up ahead Colonel.”

“Deploy, standard drill.” Since her return to Hell, her battalion had done this operation a number of times. This was the first time that they’d been out of the area that fed and supported Dis though, it wasn’t likely that would make any difference. She looked through the tank’s optics and saw an embankment, a few pitiful feet tall crossing the track that led into the scattering of small huts beyond. She knew what was beyond it, a ditch, digging that had provided the red soil that made the fortifications. She almost snorted at that and then remembered her dignity as a Colonel. Lieutenants snorted, Colonels looked fierce. She had to remember that. Even if she had only been a colonel for a few days and had spent barely more time in the ranks between.

“Hokay, all units, on the barricade, high explosive, open fire.”

Thirty Abrams tanks fired in a single salvo, hiding the earth embankment behind the rolling orange balls as the 120mm guns sent their shells downrange. The two Bradley companies held their fire, they were on overwatch, waiting for any harpies to appear. Stevenson looked at the destruction developing the baldrick position and shook her head quietly to herself. This wasn’t war, it was getting to have the unpleasant characteristics of a massacre. Had the troops at Wounded Knee felt this way?

“Cease fire. Advance slowly, prepare to open up again if there’s any resistance.” The tanks jerked and then started their slow roll forward. There was no hurry, the 120mms were loaded and ready to fire. Her battalion had older Abrams tanks, ones pulled from the boneyard and refurbished. The new production tanks had 90mm guns, once mounted in M47s and M48s and stored away. Those new Abrams were called stubbies and their crews were the butts of crude jokes about the size of their equipment. Stevenson shook her head more obviously, jokes like that was never a problem she’d had to face. But, in truth, the 90mm killed a baldrick just as dead as a 120mm and the smaller gun allowed the tank to carry twice as much ammunition.

“Will you look at that?” The voice came over the vehicle intercom. Her Abrams was cresting the battered remnants of the barricade and the crew could see the baldricks who’d been sheltering behind that. “Colonel, I thought you said these things were big.”

“They are, or the ones we met so far were. Eight feet, sometimes ten or eleven.”

“Well these ain’t. Same size as us I’d say. Six feet tops. And they don’t even have tridents. Looks to me like those poor bastards have got farm tools for weapons.”

Stevenson looked down, at the bodies surrounding the tank. They were smaller than the ones she’d seen on her first tour all right. And their weapons? She could see a pitchfork and a scythe. One had a wooden pole with what looked like a knife tied to the end. A crude spear. They’d faced up to tanks and they’d been armed only with farm implements and kitchen knives?

She flipped to the battalion command frequency. “Hokay, we take the village. Don’t shoot if you don’t have to, the baldricks over here are just farmers. Remember, a scythe can kill you just as dead as a 120 so if anybody fights, waste them. But if they don’t fight, we don’t shoot, got it?”

Her tank nosed forward again, heading for the gap between the rows of huts that served as a main street. There was nobody in sight, no barricades, nothing. It was an eerie sensation, the words ‘its quiet, too darned quiet’ ran through her mind. Then, from one of the buildings a baldrick ran out, one more of the size she remembered and this one did have a trident. She reacted instantly, the remote-controlled machine gun mounted over the main gun swiveled and fired a burst. The baldrick lurched as the .50 caliber bullets tore home, then collapsed as a second burst finished it off. That was it, that was all?

The mechanized infantry were dismounting from their carriers, spreading out through the huts. Stevenson joined the lead group (much to the private dismay of the Lieutenant who was also leading it) and waited while two of the men moved up to the building. The job was done in standard style, they kicked the crude door in, it was barely more that a collection of brushwood anyway, and a second pair dived through, rolling as they landed, their M4 carbines scanning for targets. Stevenson followed them in, just in time to hear the scream from the dimly lit room.

“No, please, don’t kill them.” A female baldrick was in one corner of the hut, crouched over something, her arms spread protectively over whatever it was she was hiding. “Kill me but don’t kill them.”

Stevenson looked closely, and listened. There was a thin wailing from under the baldrick, one she recognized from her childhood in Bayonne. An infant that had picked up on its mother’s terror and was itself terrified although it didn’t know why.

“Hold fire, she’s protecting her kids.” Stevenson looked again, more closely. “There’s two of them. Get a light over here.”

One of the infantrymen brought a flashlight over and shone it on the female baldrick. She was still sprawled over the infants and moaning gently. “Not my kidlings no.”

“Aww, ell-tee look at this. Their babies. Cute little things, even got little beards.” The private looked at his battalion commander. “Sorry Ma’am. Forgot you were here for a moment.”

“Forget it private, I guess I shouldn’t be.” Stevenson turned her attention to the female. “It’s all right, we’re not going to hurt them. You don’t fight us, we don’t fight you. Have you food for them?”

The female nodded, her yellow slitted eyes looking around suspiciously.

One of the soldiers had come over and was looking down at the babies. “They really are cute.” He dug in a pocket and got out a candy bar. “Reckon they can eat this all right?”

Stevenson nodded. “Saw it back at Hell-Alpha. Abigor’s people love chocolate. Even the kidlings. Ma’am, is it all right for us to give your kids some candy?”

The female still looked suspicious so the soldier with the bar broke off a piece and ate it himself. Then he broke off another piece and gave it to the kidling who seized it and started to chew. The chocolate vanished with astounding speed.

“Here, kid, have another piece. YOW! Hey Colonel, ell-tee, be careful they bite.”

Stevenson remembered her job. “Check this place for weapons then move out.” She left the hut, watching the soldier give his candy bar to the female as they left.

Out in the center of the village, her medical team was working on another female, this one smeared with bright yellow blood. “Colonel, we need help. This one caught a stray fifty-cal. Hurt bad.”

A brief nod, one thing her division wasn’t short of was medical facilities. The ToE was built around a reasonable casualty level, not this walk-over. Once again her conscience started pricking her. “I’ll get a medevac for her. Lieutenant, see to it. Pronto.”

Most of the other villagers were kneeling in the dust of the street, their hands clasped behind their heads. They were all much smaller than the ones she’d seen before, the baldrick her tank had killed had been the only one comparable with them. That thought gave her a clue. “Was that your leader?”

“He was our Lord, yes.” A baldrick, perhaps a little braver than the rest spoke up.

“A lord who sent you out to die and hid himself? Hokay, you didn’t get lucky with your choice of lord did you?” There was a stir of agreement at that. “Look, we don’t want to hurt you.”

“You will not kill us all?”

“Of course not.” Stevenson was painfully aware that she could very easily have done just that. All it would have taken was a lightning bolt from a hut and all of these baldricks, and the chocolate-loving kidling would have been blasted as the tanks drove through. “We try not to kill those who don’t fight us. You spread the word to the other villages, if they don’t fight us, we won’t hurt them.”

There was a stir in the assembled baldricks, a mixture of hope and disbelief. She went over to her command track, one she very rarely used. She just felt better riding in a tank. “Patch me through to Brigade.”

There was a wait for a few seconds while the signal went through. One nice thing about Hell, with the baldricks not having electronics, there was no interference or jamming to worry about. “Sir, we’ve got a situation here.”

“Resistance Stevenson?” She picked up on the note of surprise.

“No Sir. Oh, they blocked the road but we blew that away, killed some of them I regret to say, but the village is ours. No fighting in the populated area. We killed the village lord though, he went for a tank with a trident. One other civilian wounded, rest are fine. They seem harmless,

“They are. Stevenson, according to the scientists, these baldricks are Minor Demons. The ones we have been fighting and seen in the hell-pit and around Dis are Lesser Demons, the next size up. These Minor Demons are peasants, serfs, villeins, little more than slaves themselves. We’re getting the same reports across the whole front. You say you killed their lord?”

“Yes Sir?”

“That means you are their new lord. Promotion by assassination, its something the Baldricks understand. How does it feel to be the Lady of the Manor?” There was a degree of humor in the brigade commander’s voice.

“I don’t think my momma would believe it Sir.”

“Well, you’re stuck with the job until we can get civilian affairs up there. Do the best you can.”

“Very good Sir. I’m sending some of the villagers out to tell the surrounding settlements, don’t fight us, we won’t hurt you.”

“Good move. Brigade out.”

Stevenson thought for a few seconds then turned to the baldricks kneeling in the dirt. “Hokay, I’m your new lord.” There was a stir of satisfaction and relief. The baldricks accepted that they weren’t all about to be killed. “And stand up, we’re your lords now and we don’t like people who grovel in the dirt. And we really don’t like people who make others do that. Have you all got food here?”

There silence, the baldricks glancing at each other. Stevenson sighed and pointed at one, the same one who had spoken up earlier. “You, has the village got enough food?”

“We have some noble lord.”

“Enough?”

The baldrick shook his head. “The lords took it for Dis.”

Stevenson’s mouth twitched. Her unit was carrying supplies, mostly MREs. They’d have to do. “Hokay. there are crops on your farms, will they be ready soon?”

“Yes Noble lord. You will be taking them?” There was hopelessness in the voice.

“Of course not. We will give you some of our food. Until your crops are ready or we can arrange something more permanent.”

The shock on the baldrick face was immediate. As the realization spread, Stevenson saw the baldricks expression change to one of hope. The females were first, they realized that they would have food for their kidlings after all. The surviving males picked up on their relief and also started to relax. Stevenson looked around and decided there could be something in this 'Lord' business
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Post by Kodiak »

I wonder if we can hear a baldrick say "Free at last, free at last". Excellent chapter, Stuart, though I'm constantly waiting for the tables to turn on the humans. Way to keep me on edge.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

I can't believe even the PERUVIAN navy is sending a ship. That kicks ass. Its nice to see the conquest progressing, but it will likely lead to problems. What if some Lieutenant Colonel decides he LIKES being a lord of a village, and doesn't want to give it up afterwards?

Also, how far is Hellgate Bravo from the mainland?
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Post by White Haven »

Which mainland, Chewie? :)
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

White Haven wrote:Which mainland, Chewie? :)
The... infernal one.
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Post by Agent Fisher »

Oh boy, call me a pessimist, but I see this whole minor demon thing going bad.
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Post by Mr Bean »

Question Stuart
Where's Brazil? If it's one thing that Jane's has taught me is that Brazil has bought every single 40's, 50's and 60's Surplus ship the American's, Brits, French and Russians sold. They have I think link old style(IE Gun heavy) two dozen Frigates and Corvettes in service along with being local to the area.

Along with a story(I heard way back when I was an E-2) about how Brazil had approached the US in 1985 to purchase the USS Wisconsin(That's an Iowa class Battleship FYI) and were rebuffed by the Navy who was thinking about scrapping it at the time.
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Post by White Haven »

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Err...right there?

Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist. :lol:
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Post by Ender »

Throwing my hat in the ring for a back blurb:
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Agent Fisher wrote:Oh boy, call me a pessimist, but I see this whole minor demon thing going bad.
How and why? They're little better off than Orcs at the moment.

P.S. Can't wait to see LOTR redone with real orcs.
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Post by JN1 »

Nice work. I had been wondering where 3 Commando was.
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Post by GrandMasterTerwynn »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Agent Fisher wrote:Oh boy, call me a pessimist, but I see this whole minor demon thing going bad.
How and why? They're little better off than Orcs at the moment.

P.S. Can't wait to see LOTR redone with real orcs.
Wait until someone with less sense than Colonel Stevenson rolls through their first minor baldrick village and slaughters the whole lot. And then word spreads that humans aren't any better than greater demons, and taking baldrick villages becomes a slow, laborious grind with breathtaking civilian casualties. Not to mention the possible breakdowns in the Human coalition when differences arise on how to treat all those minor baldrick prisoners, and whether or not they'd count as civilians or enemy combatants.
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Post by Bayonet »

Bravo Zulu on this one.


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Post by Agent Fisher »

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Agent Fisher wrote:Oh boy, call me a pessimist, but I see this whole minor demon thing going bad.
How and why? They're little better off than Orcs at the moment.

P.S. Can't wait to see LOTR redone with real orcs.
Wait until someone with less sense than Colonel Stevenson rolls through their first minor baldrick village and slaughters the whole lot. And then word spreads that humans aren't any better than greater demons, and taking baldrick villages becomes a slow, laborious grind with breathtaking civilian casualties. Not to mention the possible breakdowns in the Human coalition when differences arise on how to treat all those minor baldrick prisoners, and whether or not they'd count as civilians or enemy combatants.
Or how about some young LT that lost family in Detroit and wants payback? Or like someone mentioned, perhaps somebody decides to take advantage of the whole Lord thing?
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Post by EdBecerra »

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:Wait until someone with less sense than Colonel Stevenson rolls through their first minor baldrick village and slaughters the whole lot. And then word spreads that humans aren't any better than greater demons, and taking baldrick villages becomes a slow, laborious grind with breathtaking civilian casualties. Not to mention the possible breakdowns in the Human coalition when differences arise on how to treat all those minor baldrick prisoners, and whether or not they'd count as civilians or enemy combatants.
That's a real possibility, but America's still haunted by the screwups of Vietnam, and the "we lost their hearts and minds" thing, so it's likely - barring author's fiat - that word will come down from high command to the US troops at least that they'd better not f*ck this up - every baldrick that's willing to surrender and co-operate is one less bullet wasted on a non-hostile.

And one MORE bullet saved to be used on the real bastards...

Ed.
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Post by Pelranius »

Some of the other nations might have different ideas, especially if some diehard among the Minor Demons decides to play hanky panky or a defector from Hell decides to use his/her newfound allies to settle old scores, from the rival Lord down to the last kidling.

Additionally, the Russians/Chinese/Israelis/Arabs are a lot less lenient than we are.
Turns out that a five way cross over between It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the Ali G Show, Fargo, Idiocracy and Veep is a lot less funny when you're actually living in it.
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