An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

UF: Stories written by users, both fanfics and original.

Moderator: LadyTevar

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-01-18 08:03am

Nagarythe, Ulthuan, Königstag, 32. Vorhexen

Lurhel Blackheart watched the 3rd Company stream by his position, running all out. They had the best of reasons for that-a troop of Cavalry was hot on their heels. Lurhel had heard General Böhler well when he spoke to the Auxilia. “Give me one tit before you run, that is all I ask of you.” Lurhel had not understood at first. The “tit” was not the problem-that were the five rounds fixed with loops to the Auxilia`s rifles which could be shot very fast. But this business of keeping one company back, having them fire off a few shots and then running till the legs seemed to drop off and the lungs burned just to rejoin the Auxilia`s march he had not gotten till he had seen it in action a couple of times.

The only Asur that had a decent chance to catch up with the Auxilia were the Cavalry. Every time they found a company line they had to deploy from marching formation into combat spread and then assault an enemy who was gone when they finally reached the line. It slowed them down considerably and allowed the main body of the Auxilia to stay ahead of their pursuers.
The only problem was that the Asur were not exactly stupid and they wanted the Auxilia badly. From the narrow front of horses and riders that the Dark Elven machine gunner could see the Dragon Princes had not changed formation but charged directly from the column. Against the whole Auxilia that would have been suicide, against a rifle company it would probably work. Actually the riders were getting very close to the slowest rear guard members. The age old hatreds of Druchii and Asur had combined with the one between infantry and cavalry-he suspected that the rifle company had stayed too long. Which was exactly why Lurhel and his crew occupied the small hillock a couple of hundred meters behind the line held by the company a few minutes ago. The last couple of times a rifle company had to slow down the Asur machine gun teams had been there to play backstop-looked like this was the first time to do it for real.

He watched the first riders pass a bush he had noted down and turned the crank on his machine gun. The 47 shots went out in one long burst, hitting a group of riders that were about to catch up with his comrades. He was not alone-two German teams fired their famed weapons. The trails of light they called “tracer” looked like pure magic-the results at the other end like a slaughterhouse. It was enough to stop the hated High Elves-nearly. The cavalry was fast, there were a lot of them and the Germans had to let their guns cool down after the first bursts. Lurhel did his very best-and that was quite good these days-and yet a squad would not make it, trying to pull one soldier back that had somehow injured a leg. They seemed to run off in the last second, thought better of it, turned and threw something at the onrushing doom in a final gesture of defiance.
The explosions that blossomed between the riders had terrible effects. Detonation from the ground they opened the horses bellies and dropped the entrails on the ground. Broken legs were flayed by fragments and riders tumbled from their dying mounts . There were too many survivors and the squad went under in a pile of horses but the resulting pile-up gave the machine guns a target they could hardly miss and the Asur sufficient motivation to halt their advance. Normally Lurhel would have liked nothing more than to shoot at the back of the retreating Asur, but that would have been suicide. Turning the crank a last time he jumped up and helped to hitch the gun to the waiting Pony. The crew did its level best to shove the gun even faster and managed a speed very close to double time. On their way back to the marching column they passed the next Company that formed a firing line and two other machine gun teams.

The Auxilia`s main body had never stopped marching despite the fight to its rear. Lurhel`s crew and the other survivors of the skirmish had to double time it for quite a distance. It was hard, very much so. The snow and mud clung to their boots, making every step that much harder. They had to shove the gun they all served so that the pony could keep up in the muddy spots, sapping further strength. And in the end they were running with combat gear which was not making things any better.
In the end they made it with burning lungs and legs that seemed to be made out of rubber, but made it. The problem was just that the Auxilia never stopped, just marched so they had no time for a real rest. So no matter how fatigued the machine gunners were they had to keep the pace, the only alternative was a heroic battle with the Asur that could end only one way.

Much later that evening Wolfgang Böhler was thankful for the Ritual of Blood he had received for the first time. It had been a horror to see the slaves butchered to death, their memories and feelings had for a time mingled with his own andhad made him swear never to be forced into this again. And yet he doubted that he could still be functioning at the level he did despite the cold, the bad food and the general exhaustion if it had not been done to him. As far as he could see he was still making good decisions and that was one of the few things that stood between the Auxilia and their demise at the hands of the High Elves.
How much longer that was to last was everybody`s best guess. He had marched the Auxilia hard from midnight last night till past midnight today. There were no fires, no tents, no warm food-only jerky and vinegar to keep everybody under some semblance of function.
He got up from the place where he had taken a rest and went over to the small group of Germans and Druchii that made up his staff.

“Ladies and Gentleman, now that we have enjoyed our lavish meals, can you tell me where we stand at present?”
Manfred Richter, the 29-year old Captain of Artillery was the first to go.
“We lost 54 today, including Rudi. Currently we have 20 wounded in the wagons, but I am pretty sure that half will not make it if we continue to march.”
“If we stop we all die. Very low ratio of WIA.”
“Yes Sir. Most wounded did not make it back to our lines. We lost at least one squad trying to carry back one of theirs.”
“Fuck. Supplies?”
Wolfgang Schwarz had taken over the Auxilia`s “lean” logistics arm. “Currently we have ammo for two more days like this and one major engagement, maybe a little less. We are better for the mortars, but they seem quite useless for now. Emergency rations will last for this week, then we really need to stop and cook.”
“Next week we are dead or gone”
“Gone where if I may ask.”
“Sorry, let`s not spoil the surprise there, shall we?”

About ten kilometers from the Auxilia another Group of beings were making an equally miserable camp. There were some fires, but only very few. There was food, but very little of it was hot as the Cavalry was long on mobility and lethal arms and low on supply chain.
One of the fires lit a small depression into which the leaders of the Asur huddled. Normally of elegant appearance and graceful gesture they all just tried to get the smallest possible outline not to lose body heat. Splendid coats and tabards had been soiled by flying mud, skin had not seen water for days and exhaustion lined the beautiful faces. Steam rose from every breath and the small bowls of some soup were emptied with undignified hast lest they become cold.
“We have one more day to catch them. If we do it tomorrow all is fine, if not then we have to slow the chase.”
“You cannot mean that Tyrion, we are chasing them down and killing them bit by bit. Soon they will be exhausted and will succumb to our weapons.”
“Morvael, I have not seen the usual signs of a force that is on the verge of exhaustion. There were no stranglers, no discarded equipment but for some packaging and a broken cart, nothing more. Pinning our strategy on that is very risky”
“So, they are still infantry-we can outmarch them.”
“Maybe if it were summer Morvael. But it is not and our horses need far more time to find sufficient fodder under this snow-actually in this tundra we will not find food for all the horses, period. And in this cold they need far more of it than normally. Either we catch the mercenaries by tomorrow or we will never catch them.”
“I will tell the Princes then Sire, they will win this battle for us, they must.”
“Make it so Morvael.”

Forest, Middenland, Angertag 33. Vorhexen

The animal standing in the former field was unperturbed by the soft snowfall all around it. The beast probably had ancestors that had been Great Aurochs. These animals had given the farmers of the Empire a start to breed their cattle while the original species was too territorial, aggressive and powerful to be useful as a domestic animal. Weighting nearly two tons they were feared for their attacks when enraged.
The beast that stood on the clearing that had a year before been part of a small farm that had been abandoned during the Storm of Chaos was far from such humble beginnings. Having probably more than a few Beastman genes and multiplying under the mutative power of warpstone its breed had been subject to selective pressures of a different kind. Much bigger than its ancestors its eyes reflected an intelligence that should be unknown to a bovine and its teeth suggested a diet that consisted of things that could run and maybe feebly fight back.

The beast was not the only predator in the field. In front of it a human looked unflinchingly into the bulging eyes of the monster. No ordinary human would do such a stupid thing but closer inspection revealed that the man was far from ordinary and closer inspection would shed some doubts on the moniker human. The eyes had amber irises and pupils hat seemed slightly too big and black. The human was clad in a carapace armor and some clothes of undefined color. Hair and beard had not seen much grooming for a while, the clothing was dirty and showed bulges where muscles had grown faster than they should. But the most inhuman thing about the man was the fact that he tried to stare down a being that weighted 30 times his mass and who had bloody murder in its mind. Even the most cursory observer would conclude that only one of the two would walk off this field alive.

The moment took each other’s measure was short when measured by a watch and seemed eternal to the two opponents. With a speed that belied its bulk the Aurochs extended his head forward and gnashed his teeth in an attempt to bite the face in front of it clean of. Yet the teeth closed on thin air and the human no longer was where it had been. Pain blossomed on the side of its huge head and blood started to flow. Turning first head and then body the animal found itself again facing the human who had an halberd in his arms, end planted into the ground and fixed with a boot, the blade at the top pointing at the great chest. The beast looked like it would take the challenge and charge into the waiting point and then incredibly something like a grin formed on the huge face. Roaring a challenge into the grey sky the Aurochs stated to circle the human who watched him with unblinking eyes. The Aurochs had seen such eyes before, but not in a human. A week ago the winter had left a wolfpack hungry enough to try their luck with him and failed. They had warmed his stomach instead and had had eyes like the man in front of him.

Something about the memory bothered the circling monster. He was getting even more aggressive whilehis mind failed to make a connection was about to throw caution tothe wind when one of the snow mounds at the edge of his vision erupted upwards and another human emerged, brandishing a weapon just like the first one. The animal roared its disdain and retreated a few steps when a sharp pain from its hindquarters erupted. Managing to turn with incredible speed the Aurochs saw even more humans that now backpedaled through the snow. White-hot fury overwhelmed what little sense rested in the mutated head and the animal begun a deadly charge that combined a weight of more than two tons with tremendous acceleration. Anything caught in that rush would be dead, just as always. Just that there was suddenly more pain in the other leg, and this time the leg no longer followed orders. The charge slowed and veered off course, making its way between two attackers who promptly hacked at the monster again. Slowed by its injury it stood its ground, daring all and any to make an assault and threatinga bloody death with hooves, horns and teeth. And yet the humans always attacked where it could not look or kick as it had only one functioning hind leg left. In its fury it turned into the latest attack only to be stabbed from a blind angle again and again.
Once it managed to trap a halberd behind its horns and throw its user across the field, yet the others were redoubling their efforts. There was no killing blow, just more and more burning pain and a fury that masked the loss of more blood till the vision went dim, the air became hard to get and the ground that suddenly just came up to meet the Aurochs` head. It could only lie in wait when the first human it seen came closer,lifted his weapon high, and stabbed with all his force.
The human took seconds to regain his breath, changed the grip on his weapon and then delivered a powerful slash across the breast of the dead monster, opening it to the sky. The others assembled around him, dropped to their knees in a semicircle around the open wound and stucktheir right hands into the chest cavity. Lifting the bloodied limbs into the unseen sky their combined howl would have frightened the dead Aurochs if he would have been around to hear it.

The old priest had watched the battle between man and beast from the treeline, unperturbed by boththe bad weather and the violence in front of him. He waited for the howl to subside before entering the clearing proper. Looking into the eight pairs of wolves eyes in human faces he lifted his great hammer-axe above his head with both arms. A deep voice gave no hint of his age and boomed into the sudden silence.
“I hereby declare the blooding complete. You are all Champions of Ulric now. Ulrich Stoiber-you may rise now.”

A year ago Emil Valgeir, Ar-Ulric, high priest of the War God had initiated the two tank crews in front of him together with some others into the Cult of Ulric for their killing of Archaron the ever-chosen. They had been the strangest initiates ever and probably the first ever to undergo the rites for reasons of Public relations-whatever that was. Still they were obviously worthy.
A few weeks ago the bedraggled survivors of a great battle in Skavenblight had marched into his temple and asked for guidance. He had fasted, sacrificed and had asked the eternal flames for an oracle. It just confirmed what he had already assumed when he had heard the men and seen their eyes. Ulric himself had used these men as his tool during the great battle with the Horned Rat, had given the tankers the mental fortitude to fight in spite of a terror that should have paralyzed them, despite odds that should have made them give up instantly, and the strength to protect theirs to the fullest of their abilities-and then some.
Such attention by Ulric could not be without consequences. The men now sported the lean muscles of wolves, the eyes of predators, faster reflexes and minds that were even more in tune with the realities of war than before. Yet such changes will not come without a price, paid in confusion, despair and pain. Valgeirhad shown the tankers the way of Ulric, helped them to make peace with themselves and complete the path begun more than a year ago on a battlefield not so far away. He could see that the men were at ease with what they had become now-but whether their fellow Germans would be was a totally different question.

Nagarythe, Ulthuan, same time.


Lurhel Blackheart saw only the few meters of ground in front of him, not because the weather was so bad, but as lifting his head any higher would have been too much of an effort. He was chewing a string of dried meat for the last 20 minutes or so, but had not swallowed a single bit of the rubberlike food as it had not yet softened enough to do so. He did not think about how far they had to march today, about fighting the enemy or anything but placing one foot in front of the other one.
A wind full of wet cold seemed to bypass his clothes magically as if they were not there and chilled him to the bone.

Several hours before dawn the Auxilia had resumed its march into nothingness. It had seemed like he had not slept at all when the order came to get up, that his pack had somehow gained weight during his slumber and that his legs had transformed into lead. Only a chunk of Bentwort had allowed him to get up, organize his team and get marching at all. The effect of the root had worn off hours ago and now he was marching through a landscape in which a ground covered by dirty grey-white snow blended into a sky filled with grey-white clouds.
No amount of marching seemed to bring the mercenaries closer to their target, whatever that was and Lurhel had to search his mind to find sufficient reasons to continue marching despite everything. It needed Manfred Richter, who had taken the heavy weapons Platoon under his wings now that Areta was somewhere, two tries to get Lurhel`s attention.
“Get your team on the back of that ridgeline over there. Provide overwatch to 4th company. Pull back in 30 minutes or when the bleeding Asur do not take no for an answer. Understood?”
“Get to ridgeline, provide cover for 3th ah 4th Company. Pull back in uh pull back in 30 Minutes or if the assholes really want it.”
“Get to it then.”

It was a sign of Lurhel`s exhaustion that he did not even think about the amount of double timing that he would have to do to rejoin the unit later. He thought that he might not make it and was totally unmoved at that expectation. That finally stirred something up in his mind and made him dig in the pockets on his belt for another slice of the Bentwort. He was still chewing it when he and his team reached the place on the reverse slope that the German had indicated and watched the rifle company take up positions a few meters in front.
He sat on the small saddle fixed on top of the machine gun carriages trailand watched the empty white plain before him. Sitting down and stopping to walk felt wonderful for a moment-until the wind picked up again and the chill seemed to redouble. Clenching his hands and stomping his feet moving a bit-nothing seemed to help.
And then nothing of it mattered any more.

One moment there was only the unending white that was barely broken by ridgelines in front of him, the next seemingly hundreds and then thousands of riders crested the next line of hills. Even in his exhausted state and filtered by a hate thousands of years old Lurhel had to admit that the High Elves looked impressive. Clad in white, grey and blue, riding in perfect formation on horses that moved through the snow as if it were not there and holding arms and banners that would make human artists weep with envy. It would have been pretty if they would not all have tried to kill him. The Asur stopped the very minute they spotted the Druchii and fanned out to the sides of the road.
Blackheart watched how rapidly the Dragon Princes formed their broad lines, how little confusion and stumbling there was and spit on the ground. He did not need to see his team to know that they were getting fidgety. Hardly surprising, there were very few of the Auxilia and a great bloody lot of the cavalry. Yet getting nervous wasn`t helping and running was out of the question, so it was time to do something about it.

“Ain`t the horse buggerers pretty? Gotten themselves dolled up for the dance after they finished their much needed beauty sleep, didn`t they?”
He heard the small chuckles behind him and to the sides.
“Oh Prince Tyrion, look, did I do my makeup right?” It had to be Iliasses of course, the two loaders were too slow, but they were fast enough to catch on and a minute later a bit of laughter came from a four Druchii team staring down a couple of thousand Cavalry out to kill them.
The laughter froze in the Lurhel`s mouth when the cavalry started its charge. There was a distance of more than a mile between the two kinds of Elves. The cavalry`s charges had something of a formal dance or a game of chess-the moves they would make were quite predictable. The cavalry would start on a canter, accelerate to a trot and charge at a full gallop only when in range of the enemy so not to wear out horses and riders as well as to keep formation. If the rifle company timed things right they could get off their 5 or 10 rounds and then run before they Asur could run them down.

And that was exactly what the Dragon Princes were not doing. Horns pleated, shouts and oaths could be half-heard and then the charge went in. And yet things were very different this time. This time the cavalry accelerated to a full gallop right from the start, shortening the time the Auxilia had to shoot and scoot dramatically. Lurhel saw that the Company Leader waivered for a second before the company moved-into a square. The infantry`s eternal answer to cavalry charges, a time proven remedy to a new stratagem. But the company`s square looked tiny in comparison to the charging horde and Lurhel had the sinking feeling that the long lances wielded by so many Dragon Princes would break the square easily.
He had to make a decision. If he stayed to support the rifle company he could probably kill another hundred cavalry before they killed him. If he ran now his team might survive and his orders had been to go when the enemy would “really mean it”-and how much more could they mean it than that? And he certainly had no time to make the right choice. In the end it was easy.

“Saddle up-we move.”
By now the machine gun crew could handle these things like a Formula One pit crew and needed less than 30 seconds to hitch the machine gun up. Heaving muscles and whipped animal combined their strength to push the gun from its last position. They managed to be inside the infantry square before the charge hit and were only a few meters behind the Germans who had a far lighter gun.
The rifle company had started shooting nearly a minute ago. Well rested and prepared, with ammo in attendance and on the leisurely atmosphere of the shooting ground the rifleelfs could manage 12 rounds per minute. Cold, tired and hungry they managed more easily and were shooting at an enemy that was by necessity densely packed.
The Asur were good, even in his hate Lurhel had to give them that. Across uneven ground covered by snow they rode at a speed that would guarantee instant death if a mishap were to happen. Even at this breakneck speed they managed to keep good formation even when horses and men were killed every second. In a moment the lances would lower, the riders would pick targets and their 18-foot lances would easily bypass the bayonets that the two ranks of rifleelfs presented them and that seemed so short and useless in the face of the avalanche of horse, armor, hate and steel that was thundering down on them. By that time Blackheart was turning the crank as fast as he possibly could and new plates were fed into his gun in an instant-and it was like stopping a wildfire with a garden hose.
He could by now see the open mouths of the elven horses that strained to muster a little more speed, the rider that concentrated on their target and were clad in such fine, useless armor, the mud and snow that was thrown high behind moving hooves and the sharp points of lances that came for him and that would not be denied.

He was totally surprised at the shadow that blocked the light for less than a second and the gust of wind that made the snow dance. The Black Dragon flew so low that his tail nearly touched the rifleelfs heads and made a beeline from the square to the Princes that arrogantly had taken its name. For once no special German weapons rained on the Asur but an unending stream of black smoke tore through the middle of the charging High Elves. It hid the cavalry for a second and when it dissipated it revealed death and destruction. Horses and Elves lay on the ground, the lucky no longer moving. Horses who missed most of their skin were kicking in pain at everything in range, elves were clawing for eyes that were no longer there or tried to pull air through airways that were swollen shut.
Lurhel never saw the Dragon fly back to the Auxilia`s line with all speed, never saw the magnificent beast being covered by nets and what few vegetation was to be had. He was too busy shooting the enemy and screaming with joy while he did so.
The middle of the great charge was broken, the Asur on the flanks were just bypassing the square and got shot for all of their troubles. They barely stopped at the foot of the next ridgeline to reform for another charge. They were dressing their ranks nicely and cheered themselves up for another go when the ridge seemed to change shape. Just a undulating line of grey against a lighter grey one second it grew a veritable forest of rifles and bayonets the next. The fire from three rifle battalions and the rest of the heavy weapons company ripped through the Dragon Princes. One moment they were a proud army, the best of their kind, about to commit to a killing, the next a mob of screaming Elfs and Horses looking for a way out.

This time there was no need to double time, Lurhel could make the way back to the Auxilia at his best speed which was slow indeed. The rifle company were greeted by their General, Wolfgang Böhler.
“Thought you guys and gals could use a little help and we could sit down for a decent meal together afterwards. What do you say folks.”
Lurhel found to his amazement that he still had the strength to shout.

Tower of Cold, Naggarond, Naggaroth, same time

Thorsten Breitkop had been saved by his gut. Not any gut feeling, his gut had slowed him down so much that he had not reached the Black Company`s bunkers in time. Together with some others he had been caught by Druchii a few hundred meters from the entrance that had promised a false salvation. He had been tossed and freshened up a little and frightened a lot. The Druchii had asked him about secret entrances into the bunkers and he had truthfully told them about all entrances he knew. The damned Spitzohren had of course not believed him, which had cost him two finger nails and a tooth among other things.
None of that mattered when the explosions came and killed nearly every friend and ally he had in this world. He had fully expected to die while around him Spitzohren argued, screamed, fought each other and ran. He had just sat there and had barely registered it, even if it might have well been the last moments in this life. And then more Spitzohren had arrived, had cleaned him up, magicked him up and hustled him over here. Now he was properly afraid as he was facing the Witch King all by his lonesome-and even to the engineer it was more than obvious that Malekith was in a fool mood.

The voice which emerged from the helmet above him was flat, gravelly and full of a hate that could have seared worlds. Somebody had taken what Malekith regarded as his, used it, broke it and now was unable to make amends. To add insult to injury the German engineer had to relate bad news and he was not sure if he would survive that and if survival was the best thing that could happen to him.
“So Thorsten, son of Breitkop-you are alive when the others died. That is at least something. Tell me human-can you continue the task I have given to Claus, son of Tolles.
“Yes Highness-and no.”
“What are you telling me.”
“Sire, I am no military man-these have all perished or are still in Ulthuan. Also missing or killed are a lot of the chemists and engineers that worked at Neustadt, so I cannot train or lead more troops. Can also not continue to expand the industry at Neustadt at the same pace than before. But I can, with the help of the survivors and the slaves that we have trained keep up the workshops that have survived the attack. I can teach more people so we can expand slowly in future. But to do more we either need the missing people back or hire more from Germany.”
“Forget the people missing for the moment. Hiring might be difficult, your government wants me to arrest you.”
“There still might be ways Highness. If covert contact could be made there are more people who would like to live longer than usual.”
“Can you help with such contacts even if you have to stay here?”
“Yes Sire, think so.”
“Then Thorsten, Son of Breitkop, you are now the first human Dread Lord. You will take over the workshops and other holdings of the black company and I will be your liege.”
“Thank you Highness.”
“You are also invited to a cultural event that will transpire this evening. We have finally rounded up all of Silvar Bloodcrests wives. They will provide the entertainment, you might enjoy this.”
The German managed to hold back throwing up till he had left Malekith`s throne room.

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-01-18 08:05am

Bay of Thrones, Ulthuan, early morning, 2. Brunntag Vorhexen 2523

Wolfgang Böhler sat on his horse with less elegance than a sack of potatoes. This was not due to his failures as a rider but to near total exhaustion. He had led the Auxilia in one of the most difficult maneuvers possible, a fighting retreat and succeeded as well as anybody could. Now all he could do was wait and that leeched whatever energy he still had right out of him.

The Nagarythe winter at the coast made for a chilly and humid cold that crept into him and made him shiver. The feeling of being watched by nearly 4000 beings that waited for his promised salvation did not help any either. Their long march had come to an end in the bay last night. This morning would show if his plans would amount to something or if things would end here in ignominy and death. Together with lots of others he watched the waters of the Bay which were cold, black and partially shrouded in fog. And they were empty of anything but a few pieces of flotsam. The cold outside was balmy compared to the feeling that went through him. Icy despair clawed at him and the thought that an elderly hunter had no place trying to outgeneral beings that were next to immortal and had practiced warfare much longer than he was alive. Three years ago he had been a Landwehr member who was taking potshots at Druchii Corsairs, what place did he have in leading a regiment of them to their deaths? What the fuck had he been thinking?

Behind him the murmurs were getting louder and he started to wonder if he had to bother the Asur for his demise or if his own troops would do him the favor and put him out of his misery. When the murmurs turned more excited he lifted his gaze before turning around. Before he could address anybody something registered in the corner of his eye. Something small and black could be seen above the fogbanks that shrouded most of the bay. A small black and slender pole that got itself a neighbor within seconds and that moved towards the shore. A sudden gust of wind revealed what had been hidden and then the cheering started.
There was no longer a need to talk to the troops, the sight of “Khaine`s Spear”, the coaster Bärbel and a small gaggle of sailing merchants ships lifted the mood much better than any rousing speech Wolfgang might have made. Which was a good thing as he ordered them to dig in, something which they really did not like to do after such a march.
The boat took 15 minutes to row to the shore and in its bow were two women, one Druchii and one Human. One woman saluted smartly once she had firm beach under her boot, the other flew towards Wolfgang and dropped at his feet.
He lifted her up and showed the assembled Auxilia that even in his age one could kiss his wife for more than a minute in one go when he had not been sure if they could ever meet again. He put Ludenka back on her feet before addressing Areta Bane.

“Looks like you did a good job Company Leader Bane. Your report please.”
“When we went back to Naggaroth we tried to explain things to the captain of the “Spear”. He had a problem with understanding but his First Officer was not interested in becoming fish bait, so now he commands the ship. Captain Diebitsch and the “Bärbel” were whereyou said they would be. I took first and second Platoons to Neustadt and contacted your wife. She met us two nights later and brought most of the people that you said you wanted. We put in a quick raid to the Neustadt Small Arms Factory, got what we could carry in a short time and brought out all theslaves. We did not lose anybody on the way back to the coast, thank Khaine and set sail. Only problem was that we were packed too tight already and so we convinced some freighters from the supply fleet that they should join us. They did not all see things our way at first, but these cannon can be quite convincing.”
“Well done Company Leader, very well done indeed. Actually I suspect that there is a lot more to the tale than you let on, but that should wait a bit. We have to get the Auxilia on board and I would be surprised if we have much time for that. Please present me and the staff to the captains, we will work something out then.”

Kreideklippe, Sea of Claws Coast, same time


A few days before a small low-pressure area surrounded by a high-pressure one had been the birthplace of the storm. The vastness that was the Sea of Claws was where it grew to its full size and the coastlines of Germany, the Empire and Kislev were the places where it spent all its adult fury. By now the Germans had given him a name, Cyril, and its power mocked human accomplishments. The humans in these parts of the world cowered before its might, securing their belongings and hoping the beast would pass them by without doing too much damage. Only in a few places heroes could be found to battle the beast and some of them were unlikely ones.

The sky above was grey and full of clouds that moved far too fast for comfort. Gusts of rain lashed a landscape mostly consistingof pastures. The road that led behind the seawall was a muddy one and nearly nobody was on it exceptfor two horse-drawn wagons. “Faster Bessie, faster” Master Commers flicked his driving whip barely above the horse’s head in an attempt to accelerate the old mare. He knew quite well that this was pretty hopeless as the wagon he was on was heavily loaded and Bessie was much more used to pull the plow than racing a cart. Still every second counted and so the Captain repeated the process. He was having quite a rush that he could only compare to the few times he had to fight for his life. Totally awake despite the hour, feeling everything from his surroundings like it was new and fresh and a heartbeat he expected to be audible outside of his head. And while he was driving to a struggle of sorts, it was no combat. Instead it was the wildest of wild ideas, something he had picked up the first time he had been to Germany and when he had explained it back at Kreideklippe he had been looked at as a touched man.
And yet-it was an idea of the Germans who often had totally crazy ideas which worked. So enough citizens stated they would join, the burgomaster of Kreideklippe had written the letter that Master Commers had recommended and for all wonders they had received an answer. An answer, equipment and training to do something they had never tried before. But by Mannan, did the first test of that have to come so soon?

Despite Bessie`s plodding the two wagons reached the point where they could cross the seawall. When they had negotiated the climb the assembled Kreideklippe citizens were greeted with a sight out of a seafarer`s hell.
An unending line of white-topped breakers were marching towards the shore and breakingon the shoreline, sending shivers through the ground into the booted feet of the men. The storm drove droplets of rain and salt water to a speed where it hurt the skin and the men had to bend forward to compensate for the force that wanted to drive them from the seawall. A series of rocks and a sandbar could sometimes be seen when the waves allowed.The wreck of a Barque just like his “Frederike” had been smashed against one of the rocks and now lay in two halves on one of the sandbars. Most of the hull was awash with every new breaker but some crewmembers had taken refuge on top of the main mast’s stump.
The sight made Commers cringe with commiseration and doubly thankful that he had invested the 500 Euro into a marine radio that had given warning of the storm three days ago and had made him keep his ship in the harbor.
A couple of years ago nobody would have gone out and tried to rescue anybody, instead the wreck would have been plundered when the storm was over. And a survivor would have been lucky indeed if somebody helped him and not just put him out of his misery when nobody was looking. But these were the new and crazy times and things were different now.

Hannes, the Burgomaster came up to him. “So how do we do this?”
“Only one way-Breeches Buoy”
“They will not know what to do with the line even if it reaches them.”
“They are seamen, if they do not know what to do with a line they are dead anyway”
“Let`s try.”
And so the 12 men set to unpack their equipment.
Leaving their whaler on the second wagon they got their gear from. the first one and brought what they had to the seawall. Hannes led the men who were anchoring the tripod in the ground while Master Commers and his Boatswain Felix took care of a couple of hexagonal containers. Frederike`s Captain could not help butto check on the work done by the others. Hermann the butcher, Josef the baker and Mathias the candlestick maker usually did very different things but had been wildly enthusiastic about this “rescue the shipwrecked” thing. Now they seemed to do a good job, but his boatswain would check unobtrusively later. Master Commers took a small stick from another box and ripped a cord. The Bengal light went off with an intense red flare and the captain wavedit above his head. It did not take long for the survivors on the wreck to waveback.
“Aim to starboard Felix, wind is from there.”
“Yes yes”
Holding the container under his right arm the Boatswain pulled a cord. A small bang was practically inaudible in the storm, the small exhaust trail of the rocket could be seen only from a few meters. Both men watched the weight at the end of the cable that played out from the container which was making a beeline for the wreck-until a gust of wind pushed it to the side and dropped it uselessly into the sea.
“Manann damn this storm-again Felix.”
This time the line went out perfectly and passed under the feet of the survivors without any chance for them to grab it.
“Third time lucky”
“Better be, we do not have so many of them anymore.”
And the third line, to both men`s relief, the line went over the heads of the men clinging to the wreck and one caught it. The men on the wreck did not need very long to decide that they should haul in the thin line and were rewarded by a far thicker hawser at the end. Commers could just hope one of them could read the “Fasten securely as high as possible” note fixed on the end of that hawser, but that seemed to work out as well.
So the easy part was over, now came the hard one.

Master Commers changed into one of the two precious cold weather suits that the Germans had bequeathed them and then sat himself into the breeches buoy. It hung under the hawser like the misbegotten child of a too-wide trouser and a life buoy and was supported by a tackle running over the hawser. And now came the moment he had dreaded ever since they had decided on this mad venture. Pulling himself along the overhead hawser he pulled himself away from the seawall and towards the wreck. As soon as his feet had left the ground he was swayed from side to side like a ball on a string by a playful cat. Every meter forward was a fight-and he had not yet reached the breakers. It did not take too long and he was over the part of the beach where the waves impacted and the top of these waves seemed to grab for him. At first it was only the feet, then the legs were pummeled by the powerful waves again and again. When they came in he could only hang on for dear life and hope the wrecked seamen he had never met would indeed know how to tie a knot. Water ran inside his suit and made him shiver despite his backbreaking efforts till it had warmed a bit. Despite everything he refused to give, taking only short breaks until he had reached the other side.
There were seven survivors who had lashed themselves to the few meters of main mast the storm had not put into the sea. They were very cold and had to watch how the angry sea had demolished their old home around them while they faced a death by drowning or hypothermia. Even when the line had been dropped to them they did not know what to expect, only hope that something would save them. The wail of the storm was too great to allow anything but the most talking.

“Mannan..praise you”
“Thanks. Now get your people into this thing here, I willhelp”
Commers lashed the line he had kept with him to the mast and then helped to put a boy of some ten years into the breeches buoy. Pulling on the second line a couple of times he watched as the device was pulled back to beach and safety, playing out another line by it. It took a small eternity till the buoy was at the other side and then they had to haul the buoy back. The next to go inside was a middle aged woman, supposedly the captains wife and things repeated themselves.
Even inside the Cold Weather suit Frederike`s Captain was chilled to the bone and his arms burned from the effort to pull on the line again and again. His eyes burned with the seawater and he felt the many places were waves had bumped him into the mast. He was still far better off than the shipwrecked and had to push even them to higher efforts. He certainly did not like the sounds of the wreck below, the increased swaying of the mast on which they all perched or the flotsam that streamed by. This wreck below him would break apart and the only question was whether they were off or not.

Finally only one survivor was left-and he was as near unconscious as possible. Commers simply had no choice and went into the buoy. Bending as far forward as he dared he cut the seaman free and clung to him as much as possible. The trip back was even worse than before. The two men pushed the buoy deeper and the sea did its level best to claim them. Three times at least Commers went under and each time he was still there when the wave receded. And then they were free of it. They were pulled in the last meters over the beech and offloaded from the buoy. Put under a lot of blankets, the way back to Kreidefelsen was far more leisurely for Commers. He did not see much of it as he still thought about his last view of the wreck while he was climbing the seawall. A series of breakers had crashed into the ship and pulled it under about five minutes after he had reached dry land.

Bay of Thrones, noontime Markttag 3. Nachhexen

The Waters of the Bay were as black as Tyrion’s mood. He had finally managed to get enough troops to the Bay of Thrones with the hope to catch at least some of the embarking mercenaries. From his vast experience troops embarking to a fleet were hideously vulnerable if they could not do so in a harbor. Usually only very few boats could be loaded at a time and the beach tended to be chaos. A few arrow volleys into that, a well-timed charge by the Dragon Princes and he would have extracted the pound of flesh that was needed to placate the Caledor nobles. But from his point on the ridgeline even that seemed too much to ask for. There were two bigger ships close to the shore, one a sailing shipof a design he had never seen before, the other a German model. Flames erupted from both ships at irregular times and heavy detonations on the shoreline indicated the targets of their wrath.
Closer to the shore a couple of boats had the hated machine guns in their bows and rained down fire whenever the Asur wanted to assemble for an attack. This was not going to work. He was watching the latest eruptions from the ships when he realized how much he had silhouetted himself against the sky above the ridgeline and jumped down into a small depression. Earthshaking detonations and a rain of dirt and spent fragments that dropped on him showed the folly of that. He was not sure if he hated the mercenaries-but he sure hated the new face of warfare.

Khaine`s Spear, Bay of Thrones, evening

When the ironclad “Khaine`s Spear was laid down Neustadt had just started to make great panesof glass on a molten tin surface and so added a beautiful gallery to the admiral’s cabin to show this off. Currently this cabin had been set up with the biggest dining table that ship had and around it a mixture of clearly exhausted Humans and Druchii sipped on hot beverages and waited for the man at the top end of the table to organize his thoughts.
Wolfgang Böhler looked at the beings at the table and could not help wonder about the changesthat had happened to him. A year ago nearly all of these would have been total strangers to him, now they were all relying on him for their lives and purposes. Most of these were a bunch of sadist killers who would perpetuate heinous crimes if he let them off the leash. And he feared few things more than letting them down. What he was about to do might be at least as dangerous as the campaign that just ran out and he checked again for the pistol he had clipped under the table.

“Ladies and Gentlemen-pay attention or pay the price. Currently we are embarking the last of our warriors and the last equipment we can take with us. I am rather pleased we made that with acceptable losses, it is an honor to serve with you.”
Daggerhandles rapped on the table, thrice, in perfect time, loud as gunshots. The Druchii had not taken the German ways all the way, but the emotion was the same.
“That leaves us with the little problem what we do now that we have accomplished that. We all agree that Malus Darkblade has hung us out to dry. I would not be too surprised that we would have been the price he paid to the Asur for his escape.”
He was getting better at reading the Dark Elves faces and he was pretty sure that most of them thought this not only likely but something they did not think out of the ordinary.
“I very much doubt that we would have found transport if we would have continued to cover his highborn ass, so arranged for some of my own. Areta Bane, please stand up. Brigade Leader Areta-this was an excellent job, and I thank you both as your commanding officer and as a husband. Congratulations for your promotion, you have earned it.”
The daggers went at work again, this time longer and louder. A leader who recognized good work and who rewarded it impartially was still a welcome novelty for most Druchii.
“I very much doubt that we would be welcome if we come back to Naggaroth. Anybody who wants to try his luck there can be discharged from the Auxilia with no bad feelings once we are away from here, but I certainly do not recommend this.”

No daggers, no voices-just a strained silence. It was Areta Bane who found the courage to speak up first.
“So what do we do now Sir-raisethe black flag and become Corsairs-on our own?”
“Not the worst idea Brigade Leader-but I think this is not our specialization. I suggest that we stay what we are-mercenary infantry-and just look for new employers.”
“But Sir-we cannot go back to Neustadt-where do we get our resupply-and where do we look for an employer?”
“I have received some interesting bits of information about that. Last month the “Pierced Eyeball” Marauders had a bit of very bad luck-they ran into a German Q-ship.” Seeing that some faces sported the grins of “schadenfreude” while others looked blankly he explained.
“Q-Ships are sent by the German government to combat pirates. They look like a civilian cargo ship, maybe with engine trouble. When a pirate fleet attacks theydrop their disguise and open fire from a lot of cannon at point-blank range. That has cut down on piracy like no tomorrow from what I hear. No matter-this has severely reduced their numbers and we should be able to take their old base at the Isle of the Wyrm without undue trouble. That will give us a base and from there we can develop the rest. With a bit of luck a potential employer will also show up soon, but again, no promises.
I know this is not what you had in mind for your futures and as I said before you can get out if you want. But we have served our masters well together-do you think we can serve ourselves as well?”
The daggers went at it for real. Wolfgang started to believe he might he might live for another week or so.

Tavern Fish&Anchor, Kreidefelsen, Bezahltag, 5. Nachhexen

“To a job well done and to the sea cheated of their due”
The steins rang together loudly and a bit of ale splashed on the rough table below. The 12 men that had gone out had recovered enough from the ordeal to celebrate their accomplishment properly. They had enjoyed the piglet that the butcher had put up and had washed it down with a few ales already, but the serious drinking had not yet started.
“Hannes, have you heard something about the two at Shallya`s temple?”
“The sisters said something about pneumonia and something else-it is still touch and go.”
“That would be a real shame. Did you call Commers?”
“Yep I did, and the call went through to the Germans. But as long as the Storm is like this they cannot send a flying doctor-will be tomorrow at the very earliest.”
“That would be a fu..shame to lose them after all that.”
“In-bleeding-deed. Well at least the others are fair and square. What did the Germans say when they were here last-“retten statt redden” rescue, not talk. And we did just that, rest is in other handsnow.”
“Yea, but still…”
“You are right and we can still change nothing. Drink up man.”
The 12were at their next round when a boy ran into the Tavern.
“There is a ship coming into the harbor-a small German one.”
“Don`t tell sea stories here youngling, nobody goes out in this weather.”
“I have seen it with my own eyes Master. It is strange-white and orange”

He did have to jump out of his way when a small stampede towards the door ensued. Pulling their coats about the men ran towards the quay to see if there was truth there-and there was. Compared to some of the ship Commers had already seen it was small and the lines were not very sleek-but it handled the storm as if it was no more dangerous than a rainsquall.
The “Harro Koebke” made for the quay under its own power, even able to move sideways for the last meters. The ropes went around the bollards quickly and it was not before long that a group of Germans in bulky orange jumpsuits made their way off the ship.
“Master Commers at your service Ser.”
“Jens Wendelin at yours. And don`t Sir me, I work for a living. I hear that the local rescue has asked for a doc-we brought him.”
“That was us Sir-I just did not expect you so early.”
“Hey, we are in the same service-you call we come.”
“Thanks greatly Si-Jens. It would have been a shame to lose the two after we got them in. I`ll get you to the Temple, please follow me.”
The Imperials helped to carry the equipment while they made their way through the small alleys that made up Kreidefelsen.
“Master Commers-how did you get them out of the drink anyway.”
“Breeches buoy.”
“You went out into this-a thumb indicated the still-churning sea-in a bleeding buoy?”
“Yes, we had nothing else.”
“You are totally crazy-good job.”
The temple of Shallya was entered by a small German team and 12 very proud men.

Antiguilla, Great Western Ocean, Brunntag, 26. Nachhexen

Areta Bane did not move despite the trickle of sweat that ran down her back and disappeared between her buttocks. She was commanding a platoon again for the occasion and everything had to be shipshape, including her bearing. Unfortunately her uniform was made for the unforgiving cold of Naggaroth and not the comparatively balmy temperatures of the semi-tropical island of Antiguilla.
The island has an good natural harbor, wide beaches and an interior with a couple of substantial hills that contained a lot of useful caves. An assortment of houses and huts that should not rate an endorsement such as Town or Harbor was at the middle of the harbor bay and its denizens were mostly geared towards taking money from the Corsairs that had made this Island their harbor. Most had decided that it was far more profitable to arrange themselves with the Auxilia, the few who saw things otherwise had wisely chosen to move elsewhere quickly.
Most mercenaries were busy building proper housing and storage these days, but today visitors were expected and so it was time to turn out the best face they could muster. Areta still felt stupid guarding not the harbor but a piece of beach close to it, but if Wolfgang Böhler said it needed to be done she would do it to the best of her abilities.

The strange droning sound was the first indicator that someone-or something was indeed coming and before long she had to call her warriors to attention to keep them from staring at the craft approaching them. At least as big as most merchant ships and of spindly shape it flew. It got closer to the ground while flying a long curve that terminated exactly over the piece of ground besides her Platoon.
Her warriors presented arms while a couple of humans exited the flying ship. Six of them were warriors, quite different for her charges. Clad in some sort of armor they wielded weapons that looked a bit like the Germans personal arms, but more black and they had no wood on them. Once these gad spread out and watched everybody through mirrored glasses two more humans left the craft. One was a tall blond man in a long black coat and peaked cap, the other a nondescript middle-sized man in beige-colored suit.
As soon as the men had departed the “airship” it went back into the Sky, keeping station a few hundred meters above.
Wolfgang Böhler stepped forward and greeted both. They passed down the platoons line before they disappeared inside the Auxilia`s headquarter. It was two hours later that she was called to a meeting of all company leaders.

Sitting on several mismatched benches the Druchii and Germans faced Wolfgang Böhler and the two men that had just arrived who sat at a table. After attention had been called and everybody was seated again the former sniper stood up to address them all.
He shocked everybody by dropping a broken stainless steel ring to the ground before the table. Everybody recognized it as the ring worn by his wife Ludenka.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to announce a number of changes that will affect us all. First off-as of now the Auxilia will no longer have slaves. It is not right, it is not good, it will weight us down. If a job needs doing then we pay for it. If you cannot take this then I cannot be your General. Anybody got any problems with that?”
Silence. More of it.
“Very well then, I did not expect loud approval, but this is how we do things in future. Secondly-we already discussed it, we will be a free mercenary company. Those of our former slaves and the specialists that work for us will form a separate brigade within the Auxilia so they get a voice.
We no longer aid the Black Company-we are the Black Company now, so will should choose a new name one of these days. This will be up to a vote.
We will take employment with whoever will hire us as long as we can be reasonably sure we will be paid. That said I have negotiated a long-term contract for us with a part of the German government. Ottokar Proktor here will explain the contract to you.”

Sitting down the nondescript man stood, adjusted his glasses and somehow stopped being nondescript and nonthreatening.
“General Böhler and me go way back, we know each other well and he has worked for me before. He has convinced me that you are a capable regiment of infantry and already accustomed to modern weapons. My government has need of a unit that will take the tasks that we do not officially be bothered with. So we have decided to take you on a five year contract. We will not only pay you but also allow you to acquire machines and materials that will allow you to maintain and replace your current weapons, make ammunition and what other gear you need. The group I represent will hire the “Bärbel” and use it to supply you with a limited selection of German gear.
You will have about six months to regroup, retrain and get your things in order. After that you will deploy for Cathay where a Chaos invasion takes place that the German government does not want to be bothered with.
We will not make changes to your command structure, but we will leave a representative with you who will make sure you understand our wishes. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Kommissar Ibrahim Dürr.”

An hour later Ottokar Proktor and Wolfgang Böhler shared a cigarette and a little privacy on a balcony overlooking the harbor.
“Wolfgang, I can only say never ever do this again. The Section does not like such things and I had a hard time convincing the others it is worth the effort”
“You were about to abandon Jim Knopf, Urmel. What was I to do, die for the Fatherland? Hardly so. And these guys and gals have earned their right to a second chance.”
“Just as long as we understand each other.”
“Oh yes, Ottorkar, we do.”

Temple of Hashut, Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, Festtag 32. Nachhexen

The City of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund were an industrial hell. The sun had not shone through the polluted overcast since centuries and the air carried the tang of metal, badly burned carbohydrates and other airborne wastes. The clouds were illuminated from below by countless fires and arcane lights.
The city was ringed by manufactories, slave pens and high walls made from obsidian. The road that led from the center was bordered by the statues of great Dawi-Zharr mages. No artist had shaped these lifelike statues, the mages themselves had been turned to stone as an side effect of their dealings with the fell powers.
The small group of humans and Druchii that made their way down the road made their best attempt not to look to impressed or too exhausted by the long journey they had just completed. They were escorted on both sides by a line of Dawi-Zharr immortals who had to march fast to keep the travelers pace.
The road ended at the Ziggurat in the middle of the city and the escort mostly peeled off to let them ascend the hundreds of stairs that led to the top.
When they had arrived at the top they had to wait before a huge open door that led into a dark interior. Nobody moved until the wheezing of escaping steam and the heavy impacts of metal on stone could be heard.
Bigger than any of the newcomers due to his mechanical prosthesis Astragoth, High Priest of Hashut, supreme ruler of all Chaos Dwarves stepped outside and looked at the newcomers to his domain.
“So, you are Jasla and those are the Humans that will teach me the secrets of the Germans, right?”

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-02-19 04:02am

Dragon Gate, Ulthuan, same date

Cales watched Ernst Hermann`s goodbyes as he went through the room and wondered at how much had changed. Six months ago everybody regarded the Germans as naked apes with an attitude, now they were regarded as ..well that seemed to depend on the person.
Cales had been put back by Germans at first. That they washed, wore clean clothes and kept other hygiene was very nice, but it was somehow wrong at the same time. Like with their manners-they had shown acceptable behavior from the start and it had only improved over time. It had irritated not afew Asur who had regarded the Germans with the same lack of comprehension as the Germans would have for a speaking dog. Yet if one worked with them for a longer time the irritation went away and Cales had learned to appreciate the Germans as persons intheir own right.

The KSK officer in particular had shown a lot of the qualities that Cales would value in an Asur-he had great integrity, courage and honesty. He had also tried his level best to learn the ways of the sword from Cales and while he would never make it to the level of a elven Sword Master, he handled himself much better these days. He was also quite likely the only German officer with a magic sword. During the Druchii assault on the defenses before the Dragon Gate he had defended himself with his old German officer`s sword which had bent severely as had to be expected.
Cales had given the sword to one of his artisans to remake it and now it would pierce anything in its way and certainly not break when it was subjected to a mere halberd.
In all Cales would miss the Germans-they made him question some beliefs that he had held for several human lifetimes. He doubted that many Asur would see things the same way, but very few Asur were Sword Masters. Korhal certainly was not one of them, but even he had come to this informal meeting. While he would never like the Germans he had come to respect them. When one of them leaves a virtual carpet of dead Druchii at your doorstep anything else is hard to do, even for a High Elf noble.

Isa of the House of Heras matched the half-bow of the German officer with precise courtesy. She would actually miss the humans who had been part of her household for so long. She would not have expected that six months ago, quite to the contrary, but she had always been good at hiding things. Her finances were in balance for the first time in a long time as the Germans had paid their rent in full even when absent in the field. She had also found that her cook had purchased spices from the Germans at a ridiculously low price and had resold them for the going one, filling her coffers even more.
The Germans had behaved much better than she had anticipated and had caused less damage to her reputation than she had feared. She would also miss Ernst Hermann who had proven to be a surprisingly inventive lover, but again, she was good at hiding things.

Ernst Hermann settled into the more-or-less comfy seats of the Airship for the 12-hour trip back to Lotheren. Some friendly soul had provided a stash of newspapers so the KSK team could play some catchup. The lack of modern communications in far-off posts was something that the Germans had to get used to in the last few years and it was not easy. They had the news that could be gained by old-fashioned long-wave radio, but these 5 minutes of news hardly contained more than an appetizer.
He had already been through the e-mails contained in a USB-stick and now went for the news. Hermann had heard something in the little news he had received and now wanted to confirm on it.
A piece in the “Spiegel” written by Jakob Augstein would hopefully provide some insight.

“The end of Liberalism as we know it”
The last elections have not been good for a couple of parties, but none got clobbered worse that the AfD and the FDP. While the Anti-Euro message of the AfD was suddenly no longer relevant after the Weltensprung and left the party hanging in the air,the demise of the FDP was the end result of a longer process.
While the old FDP of Genscher`s fame stood for civil rights, a reduction of state involvement into people`s lives,and many other things;she had been reduced to a “lower-the-taxes” party by 2009. When they could not deliver on that promise and their internal strife were practically the only headlines they could make,their approval ratings dropped like a stone. That they tried to push an “every man out for himself” message just when the Weltensprung made everybody look for safety in numbers helped to reduce their votes from nearly 15% in 2009 to 3.5% in 2521/2014.

At the same time the conservative Christian Democrats have moved far left from their old position. Abandoning their long-held support for nuclear power, abolishing conscription, even only for a short time,and embracing same-sex marriage; they managed to edge out the Social Democrats from parts of their electorate. While this gave them a comfortable majority it left many conservatives without a home as all parties to the right of the CDU are considered unelectable by most voters.
So when the AfD and the FDP both realized that they would have to bury any hopes for seats in Parliament because neither of them could get over 5% of the votes as demanded by the German constitution they found a reason to negotiate.
The FDP had been much more conservative in old West Germany and had thought about going back there several times. The AfD had tried to sell themselves as a party that was wise on economy, being founded by a professor of economy after all, long a hallmark of the FDP.Last year both parties decided that this was enough common ground and decided to fuse into a new party which calls itself the “Freisinnige Partei” (Liberal Party-literally Freethinking Party) now and campaigns on a platform of supporting the troops, reducing the many new rules and regulations that have appeared since the Weltensprung and a more conservative worldview. The latter includes a quota for refugees and immigrants and a stop for any more gender-equal legislation.
The new Party will be headed by a triumvirate of Gerhard Lindner, Olaf Henkel and Bernd Lucke.
The FDP of Genscher and Scheel, the party that helped reforming our constitution and laws to modern standards, that coined the word environmental protection and was a defender of civil rights is no more-it will be sorely missed.
The eyebrows of the KSK officer rose perceptibly. The German political landscape had been pretty stable since 1990, this had a potential to remake it. Whether in a good way Hermann could not say.

Peenemünde Nord, noontime, 10. Brunntag Jahrdrang

Winter in southern Denmark is usually a humid, windy and rainy affair in grey, yet today was different. A pale sunshine lit up a featureless landscape that that was mostly covered in the grass of countless meadows. Apart from other human settlements,an assortment of boxy white buildings were clustered about very wide area covered in concrete. In its middle a huge tower held a rocket. It was more than 60 meters high, and the slender central stages were flanked by two 30-meter long boosters of the same diameter as the first stage.
A lot of spectators watched the proceedings from the nearby seawall or fields that had a good view. An invited few had better places under a roof, and a little closer to the tower.
“Nathan, what is that steam coming off the top of that rocket. Did you not say it was not driven by steam?”
“The 3rd stage uses a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen so it has more power. But these two are very,very cold dear, and so a little bit of it always leaks out so the pressure does not become too much.”
“And that stage makes this rocket so powerful that it could lift you into-how do you call it-orbit?”
“That is a part of it, but the much bigger part is the two cylinders that you see on the left and right. They are not the same solid fueled ones we used on the first rockets, but have the same engine and the same fuel like the first stage. They are much more powerful and improve payload a lot. But the most interesting part is the “Rune of Flying” they put on everything. If this works out then the payload will be incredible-much better than anything tried before.This thing should lift more than much bigger rockets on old Earth.”

“Why should it not work? It works fine on your Storch, does it not?”
“Oh yes, it does. But first off we do not know if it will work in space. Many magic users become weaker the farther they get away from the Chaos Gate or the Towers in Ulthuan. Rune magic normally does not do so, but we have to check. Secondly rocket engineers are a very conservative bunch and like to keep things that work and distrust anything that is not proven. These machines have so many parts that have to work right under tremendous forces that anything that can go wrong is ruthlessly eliminated. And magic is something that these guys did not know until three years ago and still see as unreliable.
But if we want to go into space in a big way we need any advantage we can get, so they built this test model. The complete payload is comparatively cheap and if this goes wrong then nothing important does for a swim in the Sea of Claws.”
“So these rocket engineers try to make this thing as safe as possible?”
“Yes my love”
“I like them already.”
“Why-ah you mean as I will sit on top of one of these one day? Not yet decided my dear, let us not spoil it.”
“You will be selected Nathan, I am sure.”

The last 10 seconds of the countdown commenced a little later. Many tons of water were pumped over parts of the tower and the pad to protect it from the intense heat and pressure that would soon wash over them.
Inside the 15 engines that were ignited highly potent fuels mixed together and ignited. They converted into superhot gas that drove a series of turbine stages to ever-higher rpm until they had a combined power of several ten thousand horsepower.
These were the fuel pumps.
They used all that power to bring many tons of the same fuels into the main combustion chambers in an incredibly short time where it reacted with primal fury. The hot gasses exited the bell-shaped exhaustsof the engines with a sound that could be heard many kilometers away and that could be felt by the onlookers on the stand with every piece of their body. Most remained speechless in the face of so much power, others stood up and screamed with approval.
At first the rocket did not seem to accelerate much, but with each passing second it went up and gathered speed. After less than a minute it was just a glowing speck in the sky that was connected to the ground by a dissipating smoke column.
Just 3 minutes into the flight the two boosters extinguished their engines and small explosions cut them off the speeding rocket. The central stage had taken part of its fuel from these boosters and burned for a minute longer before it was also cast off. The second stage took over for another 5 minutes of acceleration before shutting down, and throwingthe rest into a high arc above the Warhammer world. The remaining spacecraft coasted for a while before the last stage accelerated it into an orbit of 500 kilometers.

By that time the white-knuckled crew that manned the control center had relaxed considerably and when the 3rd stage finally burned out at the desired attitude even the best of German discipline could not keep cheers of joy from the tension-filled room. The rocket, including the magic parts, hadworked as advertised and had put a payload in orbit that rivaledthat of a Saturn 5. A great lot of plans were set into motion on that day that would influence every being on this world-and more besides.
The payload shroud had been discarded a while ago, now a framework held several smaller platforms and satellites that were ejected at various times. They used small, low powered engines to gain distance from their peers and tried to establish communications with their ground control.
Most of them were low-budget projects by the students of German universities and even some high schools that normally never would have been taken to orbit but got their place as this was a high-risk mission.
One was different. A black cylinder broke off the frame last of all. It its end a block of stainless steel started to glow cherry red and then ejected a long plume of steam. Accelerating slowly but steadily the cylinder gained a much higher velocity and changed orbit to something far higher.
Heated by a Rune of Fire this stainless steel block was the first magic-powered space drive in history. It contained a lot of channels into which water was put from the back side. Converted into superheated steam it exited a bell-shaped nozzleat high speed as long as the propellant lasted, then the block and nozzle werecast off the cylinder as well. All of that had been carefully monitored by German scientists who noted that there was an opportunity for a station-keeping drive or a transstage for satellites that needed to go into geostationary orbit.

Skori Morgrimson had been a remarkable Dawi. He had been the King of Karak Raziak, a good and just King. He also had been an stargazer, which was very unusual for a Dwarf. One of the last joys of his life had been the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that the German ambassador to Kiev had given him as a gift.
His Runesmiths had cut the Runes of Flying for the experimental “Greif” rocket, and their mastery was second to none. They had reduced the weight of payload, rocket and fuel by 38% and had allowed a humungous payload. They would sell their services again to DASA for Gold, but this time the payment had been different.
The black Gromril cylinder was closed by neat rows of rivets, in its upper third a window of the clearest crystal allowed a view inside. The dead King Morgrimson could now gaze at the stars in a clarity that a place on the ground would never allow. His sarcophagus was at least 10000 kilometer from the Warhammer World`s surface which meant that his orbit would not decay for many thousands of years. It might be a trick of light, but the King seemed to smile. He was in good company.

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-02-19 04:04am

Tower of Cold, Naggarond, Brunntag, 10. Jahrdrang

Elrik Straker thought that Admiral Malik a very lucky Druchii. About ten minutes ago he had to bring the news to Malekith that the Auxilia had run off to parts unknown. The Germans with them had been the Witch King`s best hope to maintain the industrialization that had been started by the Black Company and that was stagnating now due to a lack of skilled manpower.
Malekith was already running rampant these days, purging the Bloodcrests, purging everybody who had anything to do with the failed attempt to reign the Germans in, purging everybody arrested who confessed something under torture and those implicated in said torture…
Malekith rage had exceeded all bounds and the Witchfire that glowed from his sword had mirrored the mood of its Master. Going from mere illumination to crackling lightning in a moment the release of energy had scoured the throne room with violence.
Straker, who had seen the signs had managed to take cover behind a massive pillar, others were not so lucky. When the thunder subsided and the inside of his eyelids were no longer showing nearly overwhelming sensations he had taken a look. The pile of smoking flesh and glowing metal had been Admiral Mailik once. Given what the Witch King would have done to him if he had controlled his temper better the former Admiral was a very lucky Druchii. His family on the other hand...

Karond Kar, Bäckertag, 20. Jahrdrang

The Corsair went through the slave market, looking at the offerings in the pens and caves to the left and right. He seemed to have a penchant for brunettes as he checked on several which were offered by a trader specialized in Breton slaves. He haggled for a while with the traders but they could not arrive at an agreeable price and so he could be seen wandering off through another passageway. When he passed through a small arch that connected two slave pens two other Marauders suddenly stopped ogling naked humans and followed without a sound. They checked the arch before stepping through it, but once the first was inside a dagger found his neck still.
The other Marauder jumped back by an impressive distance and had his sword out before anybody could raise an eyebrow. He was still scanning for a target when a small crossbow bolt entered his right eye. None of the onlookers was in any haste to check on either of the two or look what lurked in the arch.
On the other side of it an assassin covered his underarm-held crossbow again and checked for more pursuit. This was the 3rd attempt in as many days and it was just a matter of time before one of them succeeded. Yet tonight the “Credit of Torture” would leave the harbor, carrying him as another ordinary crew member. He would jump ship at the right time.

The assassin had been born Ivil Bloodcrest before the Brides of Khaine had carried him from his home as an infant. He had survived the ordeals and tests to become one of the Temples best assassins. Normally such a calling superseded all family connections, but these days any and every member of the Bloodcrest clan were very much wanted by the Witch King. He had assumed a role as a common Corsair the last weeks, but that legend had been broken somehow. He just had to hope the captain of the hydra ship he was about to embark did not know about it yet.
There was one possible way to evade Malekith`s wrath and that lay with Wolfgang Böhler, the renegade General. He thought he had a solid lead on his position by now and he was on the way to make something out of it.

Lothern, Ulthuan, Bäckertag 2. Pflugzeit 2523

The room inside the palace was still the same, small but tasteful, enclosed to give privacy but managing to give the feeling of sufficient space.
The persons in the room were-more or less-the same again with some additions, but the dynamic between them had changed considerably. Finubar, Arielle, Tyrion, Teclis and Aurelius had been here before, Admiral Aislin and Osirion had been attached to the group. Osirion tried not to notice the Asurian ambassador to the Reiksbund, which was hard to do in such a small group and when Aurelius`role was giving a presentation to the assembled rulers.
It reflected the verbal beating he had received from Finubar when the Phoenix King had realized that Osirion had failed to report the full news about the Germans. He was attached to his position by a thread only and knew that any move against the ambassador would be fatal which did not endear the two to each other.

Aurelius had brought a couple of new German toys with his and used them to project a picture against the off-white wall opposite to the tables and chairs of his audience.

“My King and Queen, honored Princes-you have called me to advise you on what the Germans know about the new Druchii army that has decimated our forces. Also I should report on the changes that have come to the Old World and what changes, if any, we should embrace to accommodate them.
I have heard about the losses of Prince Tyrion`s Army with great pain and my House suffers from the grievous harm done to the Dragon Princes. These losses highlight that this is indeed a new time and show us that we need to make and use new things to use them in new ways or this will not be the last painful defeat that we will suffer.
I have cultivated several sources at the Reiksbund headquarters who have gained some intelligence on the new Druchii force. According to them a band of German renegades has taken up service with the Witch King. These renegades seem to have manufactured better rifles and trained the Auxilia which murdered so many of us. The Germans learned of this only recently and have asked Malekith to apprehend them, something they refused.

There is some very recent intelligence that something went wrong for these Germans as aerial recognizance has revealed widespread destruction in the settlement the renegades claimed as their own.
The German government is very unhappy about these renegades as they do not want to spread their technology and as they hate the Druchii on their own, but realistically I cannot see them going to war about this. They had to fight several campaigns and a war in the last three years and currently do not need any more.”

“These careless humans cannot control their own, we pay the price and they say we just have to bear it?”
“Admiral, I have voiced this in a slightly different wording to the German Foreign Secretary, Steinmeier. He stated that Germany would take responsibility for the renegades as soon as we do the same for the Druchii.”
“This is totally different.”
“Yes, of course Admiral. Unfortunately I could not make the German government see it the same way. But they hinted that they are willing to sell us technology and weapons to counterbalance whatever advantages our misguided cousins have gathered.”
“So they make a business out of our misery.”
“Yes Prince Osirion, in parts. Yet it is my understanding that we will be offered very low prices and be offered opportunities for balancing trade deals. The Germans would also argue that their closing of the Bay of Drusilla and their No-Flight-Zone has helped us considerably in the last campaign.”
“And they think that is enough?”
“If we do not think so they do not care enough to do more Prince Osirion.”
“So what do the Germans offer?”
“They offer the K98 rifles they have also given to the Empire, some Dawi and their Tilean allies. These rifles shoot as far with similar effects as the rifles used by the Druchii but have a better rate of fire. There is also an offer by Heckler&Koch who want a share of the market, they offer a new repeating rifle with a bigger magazine and faster action-they call it straight-pull bolt action. We would be allowed to purchase a version of this rifle that can shoot even more precisely in limited numbers and we could receive some machine guns. The German ambassador also stated that they would not protest of we hire some German advisors. We could also purchase the necessary ammunition. One officer also hinted that barbed wire and some kinds of wireless gear are considered civilian goods and therefore open to purchase.”
“Could we make similar weapons on our own. I`d hate spending so much money outside of Ulthuan.”

“Prince Tyrion, these weapons are very hard to make, needing very good steels , tight tolerances and advanced chemistry to make the ammunition. We would be better off to provide services we are specialized in. But in the long run we need to be able to produce such things on our own, but this would mean large changes to the way we do things.”
“I have heard you say so before, can you be more precise.”
“Certainly, but I suggest that I present where we stand at present in regards to the new and shifting situation, so that we see where we have to go and why.”
“Make it so.”
“As directed by his majesty I have made a study of the current situation in the Old World and in what ways we can profit from them. Most of the information in this presentation is from open sources or a number of Reiksbund staffers that are sympathetic to our cause for various reasons.
First off, we have all heard that the Germans have mighty armed forces-just that so far few of us have an idea what that truly means. The Druchii Auxilia that mauled us so badly could do so because they used advanced weapons and had the appropriate tactics to use them.
By German standards these weapons are painfully primitive and the tactics outdated. Even the lowest tier of their allies receives better weapons and training. The German armed forces themselves are so much above that level that the rifle-armed Druchii that they would consider them hardly a speed bump.
As some of us might find this hard to accept I have a video of several battles that the Reiksbund has fought in the last years. I have visited the battlefields in this video and from the remains would vouch for their validity.”

The onlookers did their level best to project an air of amused interest, yet any Asur would have seen a mixture of fascination and aversion at the video that was projected in front of them. Three of them had seen most of that video before, but even they were aghast at the carnage that was Skavenbight. The explosion at the end shocked everybody.
“You said the Germans can cause such devastation anywhere they choose and that it is non-magical. But this-this was magical for sure.”
“Honored Osirion, this was a special case. The Germans ignited a huge bomb under the Screaming Bell, that gave them a magical explosion. But they can have a similar devastation anywhere they wish to have it within a few days.”
“So they say.”
“Yes-can we afford to ignore such claims in the face of such evidence?”
Silence.
“Ambassador, Sword Master Cales told me the Germans could produce 1000 of their rifles in one day. Were they jesting?”
“Prince Tyrion, let me put it that way: last year Germany produced 35 Million tons of high-grade steel, by the best estimate we made a thousand tons give or take a few hundred. Nearly eighty out of a hundred Asur are needed to feed us all. The Germans need two out of a hundred-the rest can do different things. I do not know the production capacity of Mauser precisely, but this is certainly possible.”
Silence.

“Besides the industrial might we should not underestimate the German trading and communication advances. We all have seen what the few ships we chartered from the Germans can do-less than 20 ships were able to transport more than all ships that Ulthuan can put under sails. The Germans can transport faster, cheaper and much more secure than any other power in this world. Even now our traders and seafarers complain about losing contracts-and this will not get any better.
In communications the Germans are able to send information to any point on this world, with the possible exception of the poles, virtually instantly. They can print books for the price of a good meal and can sort and analyze information, once it is inside these computers, with terrible speed.
The Germans are very weak when it comes to magic, they acknowledge such and try to learn everything they can. There are two developments of note when it comes to that: First off the Germans apply something they call scientific thought to magic which allows them to differentiate better between what works and what does not. The second is that they combine their machines with magic-and that is where they make impressive strides. The fliers that demolished the cliffs in the Bay of Drusilla would not have been able to do so without a dwarven rune.”
“If what you say is true than the Germans are the most powerful nation on the side of order.”
“Yes my Queen, together with their Reiksbund allies they are for sure.”
“How well are they tied to the side of light Ambassador?”
“They denounce Chaos, that is for sure. They are very tolerant when it comes to different opinions and religions, they do not hunt Witches in the style of the Empire, but still Chaos cults are arrested from time to time. They are very hard to judge as their style is so different from all human realms, but so far they have fought Chaos most effectively.”
“Do you think that is enough?”
“I have no idea. It seems very relaxed but so far surprisingly effective. I have heard rumors I have been unable to identify that the Germans are looking at their internal communications for hints of conspiracies and cults even when their own laws do not allow such things.”
“ We can only hope that is enough.”

“Yes. I also have to report that the Empire is engaging in something they call the “industrial revolution”. They are starting to produce items, even quite complex ones, in huge amounts by using assembly line processes. The steel production of the Empire has increased tenfold with German help already and there is more to come. The new railroads and telephones will tie the Empire together like nothing ever seen before-one can now travel from one end of the realm to the other within days and a letter will reach anybody within a week. The Empires armed forces are getting thoroughly modernized by the Germans and are much more effective already.
Several Dawi clans have received even more modern weapons as part of their alliance with the Germans against the Skaven and are trading raw materials for machine tools and knowledge. They will be able to field much more effective armed forces within very few years and we can expect them to retake some of their old Karaks soon.
Two Tilean City states have allied themselves to the Germans and will become important trading centers. The balance between them and the Estelians is drastically altered.
The Bretons are unwilling to change their ways presently-and that shows. Just five years ago they fielded the strongest armed forces in the Old World after the Empire-now they are dropping back to third or fourth rank-and if they do not do anything they will become worse off with every year. If they would go to war against the Reiksbund they would go under so fast that they would probably have surrendered by the time we have news of the war at all.
We have to understand what these changes mean. An established railroad system means that the nation which has it can shift major armies around in weeks, sometimes days-and supply them in the field. Repeating rifles have more range than any bow, fire at least as fast and from cover and penetrate nearly any armor there is. Riflemen can be trained within a few months to a useful standard and to competent soldiers within two years or so.
Machine guns are even worse-those who fought the Druchii know about them. As some of us have already experienced - this drastically changes the way battles are fought. These changes mean that we need such weapons and we need to be able to make them on our own.”

“Ambassador, with all due respect-I have seen human and Dawi manufactories. Do you think Asur needs these stinking monstrosities that befoul nature? Do we need to put Asur in workplaces where they never see the sun and repeat the same simple task again and again till their minds succumb? Change a way of life that has stood the test of millennia just because of some upstart nation that is here for just three years?”
“Prince Osirion-you have not been to a German factory yet-these places are vastly different. But this is not the question-the question is whether we want to matter in 50 years or not. Nobody knows for sure, but it is easily possible that the Druchii have retained the ability to make more rifles, maybe even more of their armored ships and other weapons. Do we want to rely on the Germans to protect us or do we want to be able to stand on our own feet?”
“As long as I live and have this office we will stand on our own Ambassador, history has shown us we cannot rely on anybody for our survival for long. I take it that you have some proposals that we can discuss besides the immediate purchases of weapons.”
“Yes my King. First off we need to improve transportation. In Germany and the Empire that means railroads, here coastal and riverine shipping should have priority. Then there is a program for foreign students the Germans call Erasmus and….

Ohrdruff, Thüringen, Sigmarstag, 30. Sigmarszeit

The 13th Demi-Brigades barracks were a hive of activity. Everybody was busy with last-minute preparations and anybody who had nothing special to do tried to hide so that the always eager noncoms would not find them something to do. The latter would be a problem as everybody tried to look their best. Today was a special day for the 13th Demi-Brigade as it was not only their special holiday but also the first parade of any kind since the unit had been declared operational a month ago.
One of the noncoms was taking his time in his small room to adjust his uniform for the last time. The dress uniform was a light grey with red epaulettes and a darker grey belt. That was already adjusted and James Andrea Corradi placed the white kepi on his black hair. A critical view in the mirror showed a well-trained man of nearly 1.8 meters with the typical features of a North Italian. James was quite proud of the uniform and what it stood for and justly so. Less than one in eight applicants to the Legion had made the selection and initial training. He had done well but was also aware that his early promotion had a lot to do with the fact that he came from a technological society, something the legion was currently short of. His squad had two Imperials, two Bretons and no less than three Norscans. At first there had been some tensions about this mix, but the hard training had provided a common enemy in form of their drill sergeants. Yet while the freshly-baked legionaries were becoming proficient soldiers the nuances of modern gear still escaped them. That he spoke French and Italian had helped with the Bretons and Tileans and when he did not fuck up visibly enough he got his promotion.

An hour later found him in the front of his squad, standing at attention when Colonel Thiery spoke about the day most precious for the new unit.
“In a different universe on a different world less than sixty opposed to a whole army. Its numbers crushed them. Life rather than courage abandoned these soldiers. The date of this battle was the 30th April 1863, the place a village called Camerone and the soldiers were the soldiers of the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Foreign legion led by Captain Danjou. Today we celebrate their eternal memory…”
When the new Foreign Legion was set up it had been clear that this unit would need their own culture and traditions to accommodate the many soldiers from vastly different cultures. Rather than try something new enough former Legionaries had been found in Germany to found their own version of the famed unit. The Legion was about to be sent to Araby to secure the oil fields there and it was fitting they could celebrate Camerone Day before that.

School of the Reik, Berlin, same day

Valten wedged his huge frame into one of the frail-seeming chairs that ringed the lecture hall. Law might not be his favorite subject, but he already knew how important at least some knowledge would be sooner or later. When the professor entered the pulpit the usual small talk vanished completely. Not because Professor Libsch was such a gifted orator, which he was not, but as he speaking so quietly that even the smallest of whispers would make it impossible for a group of students to hear him at all.
Still, the lecturer had practiced law as a judge for quite some time and was always good for an anecdote or two.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the day I introduce to civil law. Less than a year ago, the Empire had an assortment of local laws, traditions and bylaws that varied from region to region. As Empirewide trade has increased so much and new forms of trades and association are on the rise Emperor Karl-Franz enacted the new Civil Law six months ago.
The good news is that you will not need to study a separate law for Germany as the Empire has taken the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, Germany`s civil, law lock, stock and barrel. They are in a good tradition as countries like Japan, Taiwan or Brazil did the same. It is a good, precise and clear law and it may be the only law where at least one paragraph rhymes in hexameter…

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-02-19 04:07am

Bahnhof (Railway station) Soest, Germany, 10. Brunntag Jahrdrang

Florian Schneider was not a jealous man and knew that the guy, who had taken the spotlight beside his fiancee, would soon be gone. At the moment, a crowd ringed the two returning soldiers on the track platform, eagerly listening to the stories told by them.
Some, but few people among the crowd looked less happy and more angry at them, damnable "peaceniks". Denouncing the soldiers, spoiling the return to their loved ones, by people who would scream up first, if the soldiers would not be here to defend Germany. In the packed railway station, the first few returning soldiers to Soest had to endure shouting by the "Peace Brigade". Fortunately the years on this new world had changed many things and the crowd awaiting the soldiers embarking the train had thrown out most of the rabble. Still, sometimes a few could sneak in again, due to mass of people in the station.

Florian had feared the worst when he had taken Sylvia into his arms again and felt more than saw the activists in the first row of the people ringing them. But the insults did not come. It sure was partly the special vibe surrounding members of the Rattentöter (Rat Killers), the unofficial nickname of soldiers who had gone down into the deepest levels of Skavenblight, which made them shut up. But maybe even more it was the presence of the second soldier, who was here on a one day visit on invitation by Silvia´s parents and himself. The tall man´s branch designation showed the "Halo-Eye", the sign of a German Kriegshexer (War sorcerer). Even without this it was obvious. His blue eyes shone attractively, but too brightly to be natural.

Florian thought that the decorations on Silvia´s and Günter Koch´s, as the sorcerer was named, uniforms did their part too. As survivors of the most vicious fighting in the damned Skaven city both were highly decorated. Silvia, his other half, had been given the Ehrenkreuz für Tapferkeit (Honour Cross for Bravery), Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (Federal Order of Merit first Class), the Skavenblight Kampfmedallie (Combat Medal), the NRW Rettungsmedallie (Rescue Medal), while it was unlanded, Silvia was a now a Freifrau (female Baron) of the Empire and last but not least, she had gotten the Gromril-Amboß in Bronze (Gromril Amboss in bronze) from the Dwarven contingent.
Günter Koch too had gotten the Honour Cross for Bravery, the Order of Merit first Class, the Skavenblight Combat Medal and had been made a Freiherr (male Baron) of the Empire, but then it changed. Since Günter lived in the Palatinate, he had gotten the Rescue medal of his Federal State and since the Dawi had some "complications" with non-Runesmith magicians, the sorcerer had "only" gotten the lowest level of bravery decoration, the Gromril Nugget. This was offset by
another decoration he got, the Nachtsonne von Sylvanien (Nightsun of Sylvania).

What made Florian happy as well was the fact that Silvia had not been changed by the fighting as much as the famous Wolfpack was. He had seen an interview with Ulrich Stoiber on TV and it was obvious that "something" had happened.
Florian could not speak for the sorcerer, he did not know him much, but beside the magical signs, his body at least was still normal. While Silvia and Günter told the fascinated crowd the officially approved war stories they lived through, Florian knew more truth. He still had sometimes a nightmare from what she had told him by satellite phone. One event had been burned into his brain the most.

"Flori, I was mortally wounded by that strike, I knew I was going to die. I saw myself racing towards a bright light, when I suddenly felt yanked back into the hellish pain of my shattered chest. From far away I heard a voice saying or screaming, I do not know the melee was so loud and fierce, that enough was enough. Too many good people had to die because of this mutated rat scum! Not anymore! There will be no dying on my watch for the rest of this damned war! Renner, bring me some rats or let them through to here!

The pull from the brightness was still very strong, I was hurting badly, when that hurt began to recede. I don´t know how time had passed when I could really see again. Günter, err Hauptmann (Captain) Koch had one of his hands on my chest, strange lights and arcs crackling around his arm, the colour of his face fluctuating between normal and chalk-white in rapid change.
One of the Skaven near us was decomposing before my eyes, while at the same time my wound was rapidly healing. Once during this brutal fight, he stopped for a moment to fire purple-black lightning into the Rats´ ranks. Günter- he seved my life, maybe even brought me back..."

Florian Schneider was very glad to have Sylvia back, but he did not know what to think of the sorcerer until they met about an hour earlier. Günter Koch did not look like he had imagined him. The man from the Palatinate was really tall, a bit on the meager side, pale-skinned, attractive blue-eyed with dark-blond hair. He had so far a nice disposition. A bit shy, but still jovial personality. Nothing that would let somebody think about the magic he seemed to possess, the carnage he at times had made among the Rats, the Skeletons he could command...
Günter Koch was a poster-child of the proverb: Beware the nice ones!

And so, while he was indebted to the sorcerer for the life of his future wife, Florian was a bit glad that soon Günter Koch would travel on to his home.

DLR Airship “Enterprise”, close to Algrab Mountains, Southlands, Markttag 32. Sigmarszeit

The spacious room was used as a mess, for assemblies, as a cinema, for lectures and as now as a briefing room. It was huge for anything that flew, sparsely equipped with lightweight furniture and offered a breathtaking view through the panorama windows in one wall. Currently the view was the steppe and desert that was Arabia which slowly rolled with the airships cruising speed.
Nahib el Harum de Harsch watched the diverse group that had assembled around the table and marveled at the twisted path of fate that had brought him into this flying palace.
A year ago he had been a proud and experienced Caravan Boss and Trader, six months ago he had been destitute and bankrupt when the Undead had attacked a Caravan he had invested into too much “en masse” and now he was engaged as native guide and translator for nearly 2000 Euros a month.
At the head of the table sat Captain Katrin Jennewein, a compact 40-year old officer who seemed more than a little competent despite being female. Nahib had already learned that voicing that was an extremely bad idea. To her left was Caner Calp, a swarthy ex-army warrant whom the trader would have hired in a second as caravan guard in his old days. He commanded the few armed guards the “Zeppelin” had, followed by Thomas Phillip who was heading the airships small plane group. On the other side of the table were Theodor Plank who headed the scientists on board. He had brought his assistant, a stunning blonde by the name of Sabine Neun with him. Nahib had been sure she would have gone for a pretty penny in one of the Sultan`s markets until he saw her take down a careless pocket thief in the Suk of El Shamab.
The wall on opposite site showed a couple of pictures that seemed to be taken from another flier. Captain Jennewein opened the briefing.

“What you see in these pics are recent takes by a Kondor flight. They show a very isolated Oasis at the foothills of the Algrab range. It has an Arab settlement, but does not seem to lie close to any established Caravan trail. Normally we would not have bothered, but the irrigation systems seem remarkably advanced. Yesterday we had Mr. Phillip take a closer look and more interesting things emerged. Here you can see the yoke used on the oxen-it is more elaborate than anything we have seen in such settlement. Normally the farmers around here tie the plow or cart to the horns-this is more efficient.
Then this shows a waterwheel of a design that we have never seen in Araby and this here could be an elaborate scheme for waste disposal. All in this means this settlement is more advanced than it should be, especially given its secluded nature. Since one of the goals of this mission is looking for “Waratah” survivors we have additional motivation to have a closer look.
Before we do anything more we will send an exploration team. Herr Zoltan, please detail two men to accompany the group. Professor Plank-please provide one person. Master Nahib, you are needed for translation. You will launch in two hours, contact the local people and do a first assessment. Be back before nightfall, we will establish further studies after your report.”
“Captain, I have to protest-how can we make an assessment when I can only send one scientist?”
“Professor-there are only 6 places in the plane and we have to have both a security team and a translator. This is mostly to see if we can establish closer contact, for that this one of your team should be sufficient. You cannot report when you are dead.”
“There is no proven threat from these people, why should their first impression of us be armed guards?”
“Because they are not proven to be safe either Professor.”
“I still protest.”
“So noted. Any other questions? No? Get to it.”

Two hours later Nahib went into the huge room that lay sternwards of the living quarters in the front of the Zeppelin. He could still not get used to how big this thing was. In some ways it was like a soap bubble-huge for its weight, beautiful and fragile. But by the Sheik`s beard-this thing was huge. The room he had just entered was more than 50 meters long, as broad as the airship and impressed the hell even out of the Germans who were supposedly used to such things. He had been told that it was normally used to transport freight, but on such a mission as this one it was used differently.
It contained a lowerable platform that could be used to transfer goods or people from and to the ground as well as two planes that hung from the ceiling and could be moved into the slipstream on crane arms through a trapdoor. For whatever reason the Germans who worked here called it the “transporter room” even when the Captain insisted to call it a hangar.

He went to the plane that had been moved above the trapdoor already and went over the very small bridge that connected the floor with the plane. Asking himself if the triangle that the pilot had drawn on the door was a ward of protection he got himself a place in the last row of seats and pulled himself tight. The rest of the group went in as well and their gear found place in various nooks and crannies. The former trader half listened to the chatter between the pilot and unseen people whose voices could be heard somehow. And then came the moment that he dreaded. The door under the plane opened up and revealed the landscape hundreds of meters below them. After a moment the plane was lowered into the air below the Zeppelin and the slightly jerky sinking movement made his stomach turn in unfunny ways.
Once in the air the plane`s engine started, the prop started to spin-and then the plane dropped. Dropped for some 20 meters before flying stable again and making everybody but the pilot jump.
Once the plane had settled in the flight was short and Phillip circled a field that he had chosen as a landing strip. Finding nothing that could stop them he settled the plane into a pretty jarring landing which shortened the landing run and reduced the chances to find something that could snag the landing gear.
Nahib watched the two guards who went out of the plane first and only moved out of the plane when he saw their signal that this would be safe. Happy to have his feet on firm ground again he watched the wall that ringed the settlement for a moment. Just when he thought he would have to make for the Gate a small party went out to meet them. Clad in off-white robes and headscarves against the ever-present sun they carried spears and kept something like formation but did not appear overly threatening.
An elderly man separated himself from the group and Nahib met him half-way, hoping that the armored vest he had under his robes was as good as the Germans claimed.

“Peace be upon you honored elder, may your life be long and fruitful. I am Nahib el Harum de Harsch, these are Thomas Phillip and Sabine Neun and their guards of the Allemani. They are on a mission to gather wisdom and I translate for them.”
“And peace upon you travelers. I am Anwar al-Harad. What brings the riders of such mythical transportation to our humble settlement.”
“The allemani, whose coin I take are a strange people. They have great curiosity in all things and see your beautiful village with great interest. They have seen some of your inventions and want to bask in your wisdom.”
“People who travel in a flying whale and land without a magic carpet are interested in our ways. That is a miracle to behold, were it true.”
“They also search for the descendants of people like themselves whom they believe stranded in these parts of the world more than a hundred years ago. Maybe you have heard about such people of fair skin and often yellow hair, very gifted in all things mechanical?”
“Now this is a curious thing you should discuss with the chairman.”
“Pardon me, honored Anwar, but I have in my old age not heard you well. Did you say Chairman?”
“Yes wise Nahib. In other tribes he would be called Chieftain but here he is called Chairman. He can tell you himself. For the Moment please feel welcome in Asrar.”

The group of Germans and Nahib was taken into the middle of the small spear carrying guard and got themselves a look at the settlement. It was not long before the Germans started pointing small boxes at everything to take picture and talked about everything they saw in German. It was close enough to Reiksspiel that Nahib could understand the gist of the conversation.
They commented on things that were quite normal-and on some things he had not noticed at all. They were right, the normal stench of Night Soil was nearly not noticeable, the alleys well-made and the carts used by the people of a curious design.
One thing they missed so he joined in. “Fräulein Neun-excuse me Frau Neun-there is another interesting thing. There are fewer children than usual in such a settlement, but they seem to be better fed and more healthy than usual.”
“Thank you Nahib-do you think you can ask this “Chairman” about this?”
“I will try my best.”
They arrived at a three-story building that was opposite to the market square. White-washed and decorated with beautiful mosaics it gave the Germans pause.
“Thomas, do you see this too?”
“Yes, very strange.”
“What is strange honored Pilot?”
“You see this thing above the entrance. That mosaic looks like it is three of our letters-“IBT”-but you use a different script here. Do you have any idea about that.”
“No Pilot Phillips-I have not seen such before. I will endeavor to find out.”

They were led into a busy palace which seemed to combine the usual ceremonial places with rooms surprisingly close to offices and were put into a large room that contained no throne but a huge desk with a comfortable chair behind it. On the ceiling a huge fan was moving forwards and back, undoubtedly pulled by a boy in a nearby room.
The stocky man behind it was also clad in a robe but had ditched his headscarf. His skin was surprisingly light for an Arab and he seemed genuinely pleased to meet the Visitors.
“I am Insar Riddle af Harve, welcome to our humble abode honored visitors. My house is your house, feel at home.”
Tea was passed out, small gifts exchanged and admired and lots of polite and meaningless conversation ensued. It took nearly an hour to get to the point of the matter.
“Yes, beautiful Sabine, we once had a visitor who looked a bit like your people. A little more than three score years ago he appeared here after having wandered in from the desert. He was old already then, but our healers could rescue him and he learned our language after a while.
He was full of wisdom and showed us many wonderful things. The Water Wheel, the correct way of trash disposal, to cook our water before drinking and the yoke, Population Control-he had a great mind. He also taught us that slavery is an evil thing and to honor the workers.
Alas he was an old man and still longed for his home that he could never reach again. Despite the best we could do he passed away after ten years surrounded by his comrades, his wives and his children. I am proud to be one of his descendants.”
“Can you tell us more about him-like his name?”
“Oh, I can show you the relics, maybe they can hold your interest.”
“Please show them honored Chairman”
The ringing of a bell brought a beautiful assistant to the office and she returned with an elaborately carved chest minutes later. Opened very carefully it revealed several items that Nahib could not immediately identify, even when they looked a bit like things used by the Allemani.
“Am I allowed to look at this?”
“Please do Mrs. Neun.”
Nahib watched the scientist remove a small, yellowed card from the box on which a picture and some alien script could be seen.
“Let’s see-Michigan Department of Motor Vehicles-one of you guys know a Jimmy Hoffa?”

Munster, Königstag, 2. Sommerzeit

Ulrich Stoiber made his way between all the low-slung brick walled tank garages that took up a large part of the Munster barracks. He no longer needed to look at people`s faces to see that the new Ulrich was less accepted than the old one. “Thanks” to that bloody TV reporter everybody knew about the Wolfpack`s eyes. The stupid Witchhunter and his henchmen they had encountered on the train from Middenheim had not helped things either. The picture of Frank holding up said worthy one armed at the throat had been retweeted about a bazillon times. A good thing that the picture did not carry the sound, the Darth Vader imitation had been credible-and scary.
Still, they were respected for what they had done in downtown Skavenblight, that had to be sufficient for now. Presently the tanker was far more interested in what he was about to see. Oberst Grube had been a little cryptic and Ulrich was interesting in what the Bundeswehr had planned for the Wolfpack. A couple of years before they would have probably been honorably discharged, these days soldiers who knew how to fight were a more valuable commodity.

The garage in front of him was no different from the dozens that were around them, but a closer look reveal a couple of cameras. He and his two crews were led in through a small door set into the huge gate that closed the building to the front. They were greeted by the Oberst and a few civilian representatives. Ulrich had made ten times sure that his crews would conform to military etiquette-about the last thing they needed was a “renegade” reputation.
Still it was quite hard not to be distracted by the two vehicles that dominated the room. They were undoubtedly tanks, but the Wolfpack had never seen their likes before.
“So Oberleutnant Stoiber, I gave you to Mr. Müller of KMW, he can explain to you what the two tanks here are about.”
“Hello Oberleutnant, let me take the opportunity to say that I deeply respect what you have been doing in downstairs Skavenblight. I am pretty sure that my nephew would not have gotten out of that hellhole if you would not have slowed down that abomination”
“Thank you Mr. Müller, it is good to hear the sacrifices our comrades made are appreciated. So-what have you cooked up here.”

“Ah well, what we have here are two-well let us call them proof-of concept vehicles than real prototypes. We made them for the competition that Porsche won, but as we both know they got picked for the Tiger.
Both tanks have the same chassis, we took it from the Panzerhaubitze 2000 and modified it. It now has active suspension so you can higher and lower it in front and back as needed. The engine we took from the old VT-1 prototype, a turbocharged version of the old Leo 2 engine with 2200 horsepower. Armor is a 20% less than you are used at present, but it is modular and is optimized against magical attacks. The bottom and interior is optimized against IED since this will be the most creditable mundane attack for decades, we used what we learned with the Puma. Since weight is below 60 tons on both the tanks are quite responsive.

The one on your left is an MBT. The turret is in the back and is completely unmanned. Don`t look at me like that, most tankers are against it. Have a look at the new vision system before complaining for real, please.
The main gun is the 140 mm we ripped off that Leopard prototype, but mated to a band autoloader. As the turret is empty you get 45 reloads and it is seriously powerful. The coax is a 0.5” Rheinmetall-it fires far faster than the old Browning ones. It can elevate to 55 degree so you have some capability against airborne targets. You also retain the old remote control weapons station from your Leopard2A8 with the Grenade Launcher.
The one on you left was our take at an Air Defense Vehicle and it might still see the light of day. The turret has a 35 mm Millennium gun on the right side, it fires faster than the two guns on the Gepard combined. On the right side you have an armored launcher for 8 missiles. The radars are optimized against biologicals. Armor on the turret is a thinner as for the MBT, but should still be good for 99% of all threats out there.”

Thirty minutes later the tank commander sat inside the tank and activated his new helmet for the first time. He had faced cultists, demons and even a god-now he flinched. The bloody tank around him had just disappeared. When he turned his head the picture moved-up, sideways, just downwards lay darkness. He had to turn his head very rapidly to make the picture jump and when he looked very closely he could see some off colors.
“Use that joystick to move the Comanders Vision Turret Oberleutnant and the coolie hat for zoom and frequency.”
All of a sudden a square in the middle of his field of view had a slightly larger magnification and he found he could zoom in and out as well as switch to night vision and infrared.
“Wow, this is really good.”
“Yes, with the new camera systems and enough processing power this is possible. You still need to get your head outside?”
“Yes, in case this breaks down.”
“Oberleutnant, you have 16 cameras, two independent computers and the CVT-how can all of that break down at the same time?”
“You have not been in combat yet, haven`t you? Everything in possible there-or impossible, depending what will hurt you most.”
“If so much breaks down you best skedaddle”
“Which I can do to the back only through that small tunnel-thanks loads.”
“But at least you are inside a second armored shell. Very few things can penetrate that. Plus you got four drones now to show you what is about, a separate drone operator and a magical indicator. Come on, this is not a bad crate.”
“Did not say so, I just wonder what I am supposed to fight in this thing.”
“Best ask Oberst Grube, he had some ideas he did not want to divulge to me.”
“Oh-Oh. Well something different: When can we give these Iron Pigs a spin.”
“Later today.”
“Yesssssss”

Penemünde Nord, Markttag 15. Sommerzeit

Ten people sat around the long table in the room with no windows. Nine were young, fit, healthy and moderately good-looking. One was on the wrong side of 50, pasty-faced from too many hours in windowless offices and overweight from too much junk food eaten in office.
He was chairing the meeting.
Olaf Merz was the Deputy Director of Germany`s space program, which meant he was the one formulating the decision that his boss signed off. The seven men and two women on the two sides of the table were the ones he had chosen to be the spear tips of this effort.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me congratulate you again to your selection. You are now officially Germany`s next astronauts and in a few years you will be the first to enter orbit in a spacecraft of our own devising.
You have also signed a statement of non-disclosure and these two facts allow me to give you a briefing that you direly need for your future duties.
Thumbing a remote control the picture behind him changed to the slightly fuzzy picture of a cylinder sprouting several rectangles against a black field with many bright stars. Everybody in the room recognized this pic, it had been all over the news a little more than a year ago.

“This is, as we all know, the object we know as Sage 1, likely a satellite left by the Old Ones. It is one of the reasons we always bring forward to justify our expenses to the public. If we are to seize and study it untold Inventions and Improvements would undoubtedly follow. Unfortunately this is not the only reason and we have taken great pains to keep some of our discoveries under tight control.
The next picture made everybody such in breath. It showed a similar cylinder, but this one ringed with more slender cylinders around them. Pointed at one end and with fins at the other their lethal purpose was just too easy to see.
“This is Sage 15, one of 5 such satellites that we have been able to find so far. One of these satellites is above Germany at nearly any hour and we are pretty sure that the thingies around it are KE weapons, practically nothing else makes sense. We estimate these weapons to have an energy of 2 Kilotons at the very least. What makes this into a real problem is that Sage 15 and two others have surface temperatures that we cannot explain by simple radiation. Something on these satellites is still active.”

“I can see why we keep this secret-but what are we going to do about this?”
“Lieutenant Alpers, a very good question I cannot answer completely yet. The Bundeswehr is currently working with DASA to modify sounding rockets with a warhead so we can take the satellites if we need to. But as we do not know how the satellites might react this does not seem like the wisest choice to make. Instead we will send manned missions to non-threatening Sage satellites and will try to learn as much about them as possible. When we believe that this is enough we will tackle one of the KE-equipped ones that shows no activity and study it. With any luck we will learn how to take the rest out without unfortunate consequences.
I think you can all see now why a manned space program is not a waste of precious resources but a dire necessity, but please again remember that we cannot speak about this.
Now that this is settled let us talk about the broad outlay of the planned missions and the hardware for it. All of you are aware that “Greif 8” pushed nearly 40 tons of payload into a 250 kilometer orbit. That is quite a lot with a rocket with next to no cryogenic fuels and such a northerly starting platform and it was only possible due to the use of the Rune of Flying. This also gives us quite a mass budget, especially with the “Greif schwer” that we will test in a couple of months. With four boosters instead of two it will push the biggest payloads.
Since last year DASA constructs a spacecraft based on the Keppler ATV, this will be what will carry you to orbit.

Foreign Ministry, Berlin, Sigmarstag, 21. Sommerzeit

The office was huge, had ceiling-to-floor glass and was exquisitely furnished, which was hardly surprising for the office of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign secretary. Since the Weltensprung and the last election he had seen some fascinating Ambassadors seeking confirmation in this room, but Tehentoto was surely taking the price. Looking like an uprights walking velociraptor that had no feathers and a little less teeth the Skink was guarded by towering Saurus warriors. Knowing that both were currently discretely targeted by high-powered rifles took some of the threat off, but their presence could not be denied.
“Tehentoto, I welcome you and your staff to Germany and hope that your Ambassadorship will be a long and fruitful one. Germany is very keep on cooperation and trade and we hope to accomplish much with your aid.”
“SSteinmeier, it iss good to meet you finally. You have given uss good dwelling, thank you. We should sspeak further when furthen when ssettled.”
“I am happy that you like it, we had to modify at short notice. One thing ambassador, usually ambassador present a document of their governments that authorizes them to us. I am aware that having an embassy is a new thing to your people, so this does not need to be presented now.”
“Quippu here”-The Skink presented the Foreign Secretary with a square piece of many threads that were intrically knotted and set with small stones. “Alsso have thiss.”

The nictitating membranes closed in front of the Skins eyes and his posture became ridged. Steinmeier began to wonder about this when a moist smell laced with strange odors hit his nostrils. Then he was no longer in his office but standing on the cobbled floor of a huge temple. In front of him was a stair of several meters height that ended in a platform containing a throne. Any other details about this place ceased to matter when he saw the being on the throne. Looking like the biggest frog in the world it radiated a presence that could not be denied. When then huge eyes turned to him it was like looking into endless tunnels full of terrible secrets. The voice that filled his head bypassed such crutches as language and projected knowledge directly.
“He speaks for me. When needed I will speak through him.”
And then he was back in his nice chair in the huge office. Even such an old pro as him needed some time before he could talk intelligently again.
“That is surely sufficient Tehentoto, thank you.”

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-02-19 04:09am

Catonium, Hamburg, Markttag 23. Sommerzeit

The Catonium is an interesting place. Sized like a 10-appartment building is contains a sauna with a spa, three bars, four hotel rooms and some of the biggest SM-Playrooms you might find anywhere. One of the rooms is more than 7 meters high and offer a wide gallery at half level.
On the floor a beautiful raven-haired beauty with slightly oriental features stood under a yoke, with her hands chained above her head and her feet secured to a bar on the floor. She was naked save for a pair of heels and her back showed the red marks of several whip strokes she had already received. A small crowd both clapped and counted each stroke she received of a suit-clad man behind her. Her face was nearly blank from emotion save for raw lust while every year of her birthday was marked on her back by the whip.

Three meters up and a few to the side the priest watched the proceedings with a stony face while his fingernails dug deeply into the wooden railing with suppressed wrath and frustration. These proceedings were an affront to the gods, a display of naked depravity and unbridled emotions. How could these Germans dare to do such things without the blessings of Slaanesh?
He had heard about it before but could not bring himself to believe it before. The Germans had a very relaxed stance about the way people satisfied their sexual urges and their churches on average did not try to curb this too much. They simply had no need to turn to his Lord just to receive gratification-they just did it and neither their gods nor neighbors would care too much. There would always be some who would seek more sensation, found fitting partners unavailable or had needs that would not fit this consensual theme. Unfortunately they were too few so these were obviously not the fertile fishing grounds he had imagined when he had first heard of swinger clubs, pornography and other recreational activities available in Germany.
Ok, one avenue that was closed, this drug thing definitively worth looking into. Germans had used drugs before that were no longer available and not too few of them were looking for substitutes. He would contact a couple of men that had been pointed out to him.

The fingernails that dug into his lower arm reminded him about his companion and his cover as a an Imperial trader who wanted to sample the famous fleshpots of Hamburg. While paid for the woman at his side was quite a looker and would be an acceptable partner in the supplication unto Slaanesh he had planned.

Close to Altdorf, Empire, Bezahltag 25. Sommerzeit

The target was more than a kilometer away, slightly more than man-sized and moving. Joakim Vos pulled the trigger on his rifle to the first detent, triggering the laser range finder. Keeping the target inside the crosshairs gave the computer the means to predict the necessary deflection. The scope´s picture and the new aimpoint were projected into the visor and Joakim`s thumb pushed another button. Now the movement of his thumb on a coolie hat controlled the movement of the actuators in his right arm, not the less accurate muscles there. Making the minute adjustments necessary he finally pulled the trigger. The rifle was extremely loud and the recoil would have broken several bones if not for the power armor. A 20 mm round was accelerated to more than 1000 meters per second, closed the distance in less than three seconds and the explosive charge utterly destroyed the target.

Seconds later the rifle was dismantled into two parts, attached to the back of his suit and he sped back in an run that resembled a moonwalk with long low jumps sped up considerably. Checking on the suits power levels the Landwehr soldier decided that stealth was not necessary and started the microturbine inside his new backpack. There was a whine from his back side and he knew that he would now have a small exhaust of hot air. At the same time his batteries were charged and the suit would provide even more power of it were asked. He arrived at the 1st Landwehr barracks 30 minutes later.
He was allowed to get rid of the armor and a shower before reporting to a couple of officers, enthusiastic human technici and a few dwarfs.

“The Mark 2 a suit is fine, I would have liked to have it in Skavenblight. The movement lag is reduced so it chafes less, the additional power is welcome and the new electronic systems fine. Just that “assistant” needs to add a few IQ-points before he becomes truly useful.”
“We are happy that you like it. Unfortunately this one needs even more involvement with Master Tecnici than the previous version, but we can provide a small number for special purposes. The assistant will get better the longer you use it, it is supposed to learn.”
“Thanks Fräulein Meikle, even if that learning assistant seems a bit creepy.”
“So how about the rifle-did it work, do you think it is useful?”
“Herr Grimmnison, that rifle is insane. I do not think that firing it without power armor is safe at all, but it seemed very accurate and the terminal effects were impressive. Still, I have to ask myself what it is needed for, the 0.50” rifles we so far use were sufficient in most cases. I have to wonder if you wanted to build the most powerful rifle in the world in 20x138mm or you see a practical use.”
“I am told that Oberst Wolf will brief you next week on that.”
“I am not sure I am looking forward to that.”

Airport Berlin-Schönefeld, Angertag 1. Vorgeheim


The ILA Berlin Air Show used to be called the International Air Show, but that name would not make much sense for the foreseeable future, or so everybody had thought. And yet the event that combined the functions of airshow and trade exhibition had more than a few notable contributors that were not German.
Nathan Alpers had managed to gain entrance both for him and Ermine on one of the days that were closed to the public, so there was a lot more space and more time to talk with the various booths. As many exhibitors were using the Rune of Flying the pilot had brought to attention he was treated as VIP by many companies. If he were really honest with himself he did not just like that for himself but was also happy with the effect on Ermine. Not that such was needed, but he still liked to shine from time to time.
They had already visited the DLR booth and Nathan had given an interview as one of Germany`s astronauts, not it was time to look at the smaller fry. And Grob was one company that held the pilot`s heart as it made the “Storch” that he liked to pilot so much.

Andre Hiebeler, the CEO, found a bit of time for the couple and showed them around. “I hope you find the time one of these days to fly our new beauties and give us your opinion Lieutenant. Have you seen them before?”
“No Herr Hiebeler, read a little about them but that was when the two were still in the planning stage.”
“Then allow me to give you a quick rundown. This the Storch Plus. It uses the new 500-hp Diesel from Audi instead of the older 300-hp Centurion and adds 3 seats or more payload. It is also better able to handle the new combifloats that allow you to land on water or a runway and with the Rune it weights no more than the original Storch. This thing is what you need for serious bush flying.
This is the new Doppelstorch (Double Stork) – it has a new, enlarged fuselage and two 500 hp engines. It has similar characteristics than the old Ant-2 for payload and airstrip requirement but is much faster and more economical for fuel and maintenance.
This is just a mock-up yet, but we are pretty sure this will go through. There is a strong demand for a light attack plane that is cheaper to make and run than a helicopter or a Typhoon. It uses the same gas turbines than the "Tiger", each turbine works on a seperate prop on a coax shaft in the rear. We have the same two-person crew with the gunner in front. The canard layout was chosen for a low stall speed and better view. Basic armament would be a 27mm autocannon, and laser-guided weapons in addition to dumb bombs and missiles...."

The sales pitch went on for a while and when the glasses of Schaumwein (German version of Champagne) were emptied they could go to the next booth which was more colorful, less elaborate and offered a far smaller plane. It did look a bit like his old plane, but had a few wires for stability and was obviously made from wood.
“Yes, we are from the Nuln Aircraft Works. We have hired a few engineers and enthusiasts from Germany and this is our first prototype. The planes from Grob or EADS are marvels to behold-but cost a mighty fortune. We use time-tested materials-wood, fabric and steel pipe. The engine is customers choice, but we recommend a 70-hp diesel from Volkswagen. We still have to buy a lot of things from Germany-all the electrics, the shocks and other gear, but we are getting there. You can fly up to 4 people of they are not too heavy for the price of…”

Another booth was quite different from anything that had been seen in this place before.
"We are Hartmann&Rall, breeders of the finest Griffons. We already have gathered some interest from German buyers. You just missed the buyer from the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg...."

There were more booths, more bread rolls and EADS even treated them to a few bits of chocolate when they showed the pair their new “Sea Typhoon”. Nathan got into a somewhat technical discussion with Jens Heim whom he had met on one of the first flights with the Rune-equipped fighter. They had just reached the point where the pilots discussed the reinforced center rack used for the armor-piercing bombs when a slightly bored Ermine indicated it was time.

The exhibition stopped for good when the real show of the day began. A parade of nearly 20 airships, led by Makaisson`s “Spirit of Grungni” and managing to add the “Enterprise” as well as the “Hugo Eckner” and most of the NZ-Zeppelins yet constructed. It was a sight none of the spectators would ever forget.

Lourdes, Earth, 1st June 2015

The procession of the blessed sacrament had been preceded by bearers carrying leafy branches, incense burners and other devotional items. The bishop had been sheltered by a baldachin carried by four people who sheltered him from the elements. The Blessed Sacrament had been followed by a group of priests who concelebrated the rite. Following these were several groups of pilgrims, each with a group banner
The procession had made its way across the Gave, alongside the ramps, and past the Crowned Statue, along the Esplanade to the Cross at the far end, and then around it, and down into the Underground Basilica where the participants had taken their seats and the pilgrims in wheelchairs were brought to the front.
Many of the pilgrims were elderly and frail, while many of the younger ones tended to those in need. The pilgrimage was in the honor of the Virgin Mary, who was said to have appeared to a peasant girl in 1858 several times. The waters of the grotto`s springs were said to have healing powers, and it were these powers that were sought by many of the faithful.

The reverence of Mary is a strong tradition in the Catholic Church anyway and these pilgrims were inclined to it to a much larger degree. The bishop who was holding the rite-all decades of the rosary-was especially happy not to preach in a half-empty church like he had to do until two years before. The pilgrims before him were a shining example of deep faith and he was so taken with the rite that he did spot the changed light right away. He was taken out of his reverie when more and more participants looked past him and murmur and shouts rose to a level where they could no longer be denied.
He turned in place and dropped to his knees without further conscious thought. Above the altar a translucent, glorious image of the Virgin Mary floated serenely, silently blessing the congregation.

Far to the back of the pilgrims the lights were partially blocked and casted deep shadows. Alan Crowlair thought this was a good thing as he had a hard time keeping a big shit-eating grin from his face.

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-02-19 04:10am

Altdorf, Sigmarstag, 3. Vorgeheim

Henrik Gerber massaged some Diclofenac unguent into his lower right arm, where a tendon hurt quite miserably from the twin strains of pushing a mouse and participating in broadsword combat training.
The forced break took his memory back to a conversation he had in a room not far from here. Reiksmarshall Hellborg had been looking the part of a shaved Grizzly bear as ever while giving of favorite uncle vibes. Both had been in the Reiksmarshall`s office which combined a lot of heavy wooden furniture, an elaborate set of full plate, a magical sword and a pretty good Siemens computer.

“I hope you had a good holiday Lieutenant Colonel.”
“It was quite ok, thanks.”
“So, ready about to get back into the saddle, or better that comfy chair in Hammer?”
“Ah Sir, I am not so sure that…”
“Pssst-don`t you say it. Do not kill your career right away. Let me just guess-we could take your body out of Skavenblight, but your mind is still there from time to time?”
“Yes Sir, how do you know?”
“You know son, I may be old and frail these days, but I have fought a battle or two in my days. Not the kind of nightmare you have been in, but a couple of nasty scraps anyway. I am too stupid to have too many second thoughts about them, but I know more than a few good men who carried the scars in their mind, not the body. Most of our officers have the opportunity to go on half-pay and retreat to their estates for a couple of years or forever, but you have not, especially if the rumors about your wife are true? Are they?”
Henrik Gerber, who thought the Reiksmarshall was about as frail as a T-34 in prime condition but a little more dangerous, was taken aback and had to think about what to say besides the obvious.
“Uh, yes Sir. Will be six more months Sir.”

“Good, good. But brings you to the spot where you have to provide for them too, so let us see what we can do with you. Let`s see-Major von Pfeilstadt seems to do this to everybody`s satisfaction, but the job is yours if you want it.
Then we have the Tank platoon that you commanded-did a good job there, best I could imagine. But this is where the memories come in don`t they-no need to answer that one son.
And then we have this.”
This turned out to be several extremely thick folders which had titles like “Neptun Werft, Rostok”, “Blohm&Voss, Hamburg” or “FSG, Flensburg”.
The front page of the first one read “Medium Escort Vessel, Empire”
“So, that would be the 3rd job offer I have son. The Emperor has decided in his wisdom that we need a modern navy to secure the seas. At present the most powerful vessels we have a couple of chartered freighters that happen to have a gun or two, and even those ships are Imperial only in name as all their officers are German.
We will be eternally thankful for Germany`s help, but we should be able to stand on our feet sooner or later. So the Emperor wants to fund a series of ships that are frugal enough that we can pay for them, simple enough to be easy to maintain and crew and powerful enough to be a threat to anything that is not German.
Seems like Karl-Franz trusts you son, so you get to make first choice.
And as pushing papers only is bad for your health you get the job as trainer for close-quarter combat back. I think this is the job you`ll prefer, won`t you?”
“Yes Sir.”
So now he sat in the middle of a ton of paper and tried to make up if Vertical Triple Expansion machines were really needed or if Diesels were sturdy and cheap enough while massaging the worst strains out of his arm.

Pfullendorf, South Germany, Brunntag 4. Vorgeheim

Ulrich Stoiber walked through the small Helicopter Landing field that was at the perimeter of the Special Forces Training Center. It had been the home of the Special Operations Training Center with a lot of US use before the Weltensprung, now it had been taken over by the Bundeswehr entirely. The field held two Tigers and four of the latest Mil-24 variants, which was interesting normally the forces stationed here were more into lighter helis or NH-90`s so what were these doing here?
The meeting he and the Wolfpack had to attend was inside one of the hangars. He got his name and passport checked against a list and ushered inside the huge unadorned room. Several rows of chairs had been arranged in a semicircle before a lectern, and many of the seats had already been taken. Several helicopter crews were keeping to themselves, in the middle a small number of infantry looking types organized themselves, with one of them looking familiar and in the back a number of men and women wore very dissimilar clothes marking them as mages. One of them was slender, very red-haired and wore a mixture of clothes that combined rugged outdoor stuff with some very revealing parts. He recognized her immediately and by the look of things that was mutual.
Breaking off conversation with her peers she abled over in a way that made several heads turn.

“Ulrich, how nice to meet you again. You look smashing-what did you do to your eyes?”
“Good morning Ulrika Magdova, I did not expect to meet you here I will admit.”
“There was a call for mages who can hold their own when the red wine is served for real. Seems like I fit the bill, and my master sees it as an opportunity to grow.”
“Grow into what if I may ask?”
“As a person, a mage and out of his hair. And what happened to you if I may ask-this becomes you, really.”
“We went down into that hellhole they called Skavenblight. Ran into a spot of trouble, got some unexpected help, now we pay for that.”
“Interesting coin you have to pay.”
“I do not think we know how much of it yet Ulrika.”
“Don`t you tell me…”

Both saw the need to get to their places in time, each to their little groups, each stood to attention when it was called for and each sat, watched and listened when Colonel Wolf took the stage.
The Colonel was still in his 30`s, of a wiry frame that spoke of a lot of training and many wrinkles that told of bearing great responsibility too long. The Colonel had been the CO of the Cave Raiders for quite a while, so everybody was interested how they would fit into the scheme of things.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this meeting, it is high time somebody tells you what this is about. When Germany entered this world three years ago we were pretty sure that our armed forces would be the match of anything that could be thrown our way. We managed to win at Papenburg, Swinemünde, at Hag Graef and at the Quarry.
But the Shaman was the first to show us that here sometimes pure firepower is not enough, that it takes magic and very special beings besides brains, bullets and bravery. Then came the Battle for Middenheim, and while this was a great victory we had to learn that there were enemies that put such terror into men`s hearts that many could not fight and some turned to flee. Many of these foes would need the strongest of weapons to put down and they were not always available. We lost a lot of good people in that battle.
And then came Skavenblight which reinforced the lesson. There are things in this world that mere steel and explosives will not kill, there are foes so terrible that only the staunchest can fight them at all. We also found that some threats can come up so fast that we cannot take much time to get ready. When we took down the Horned Rat every minute we took to get ready was paid with blood, many of those who are here have been witness to that.

So we got the idea that we would assemble a unit of beings that have proven already that the can stand up to any terror. A group of beings that is used to wield magical weapons, that has magic users in their midst, that will receive the best training and weapons so they can fight the battles that others cannot.
We have assembled you here as we think you can be this group. We have the Wolfpack who will bring a heavy hammer if needed. We have the 1st Armored Infantry who have proven they can stand up to anything on two legs. We have a group of fine mages and the helicopters of Air Group 117. We can call the services any of our respective armed forces have, including heavy air transport. This is a volunteer-only group and the only thing I can promise you are more strenuous training, more time on standby and more fights.

Oberst Wolf had not anticipated any loud cheers of approval. Both he and the people on front of him were veterans, had seen death in the face and had come back. It had not been pretty at all, but necessary. All of them knew that and had a quiet pride in what they had done. Many of them were highly competitive and would relish the challenge as well as being part of the elite. Others wanted to protect those that could not do so themselves or had totally different motives. One of the latter group started a smile that revealed teeth-sharp, pointed teeth.
By the next morning everybody who had attended the meeting had signed on.

Antiguilla, at night, Königstag 8. Vorgeheim

Ivil Bloodcrest was about to slither backwards from his observation post to bury the last pig`s bladder he used to contain his urine and thought better of it. This would be done, one way or another, by tonight and whether somebody found where he had been hiding and observing tomorrow would make no difference.
He had been hiding inside a small copse of bushes high on the craggy side of a hill that overlooked the small settlement that the inhabitants called “Tortuga”. It was busy as hell-he had seen lots of construction going on during the last four days he had kept his vigil. Some of the construction was easy to identify, barracks, warehouses and some workshops. Other were far harder to identify but not his worry. He had noted that the Auxilia no longer had slaves. There were enough humans about, but it had been easy to see these were day laborers, shopkeepers or providing other services. But there were no collars, no whips and no chains. He had heard rumors about that before but had discounted them. Indeed the Auxilia was taking on the German ways, not just in the ways they fought.
But even all of that was secondary, he had observed the going-ons in a house on the other side of the settlement, one of the bigger ones. Observed until he was reasonably sure of the habits of his target, knew the patrols of the guards and the ways of the dogs. Now that he had the info it was time to act before he got too weakened from dehydration and hunger. He had waited for nightfall before making the move.

The first part of the trip was easy-he simply had used an Auxilia uniform he had stolen yesterday from a place which seemed to offer wholesale laundry. The spotty lighting and simply striding down the alleys as with a purpose served to avoid any notice.
He had to turn around a block twice before nobody was in the street when he wedged himself between two buildings. Pushing his back against one and the legs against the other he was able to scale the walls in a couple of minutes. The roofs between him and his target were mostly flat with small walls around them and used for drying clothes and fish. Just tailor-made for his approach. He traversed the next three buildings without a sound at all. His mind was too concentrated on what he was doing but his body remembered the training in Khaines temple. They had been required to move through unknown rooms blindfolded and if they made any sound were punished by trainers who had elevated torture to an art form and considered it a supplication under their god.
Many believed otherwise, but Druchii assassins were not invisible nor did they use the arcane much as it tended to give them away to magic users. They were simply very very good.

He had waited for an endless 20 minutes before the patrols were at the farthest point, the static guard took a leak a cloud occluded the moon. He jumped the 4 meters and landed with all the noise of a tone dropped on soft ground. He remained frozen and barely breathed for a minute but no shouts and no sudden movements reacted to him.
Again he waited, again he watched and when the moment was right he dropped to the balcony below him. He used his dagger to part the airy net that was probably there to get a sea breeze in and the bugs out and moved into the room beyond. He waited till his eyes had accustomed themselves to the low light available before he started to move again. He found the bedroom easily enough and the snoring figures below the covers did not react at all when he went in.

He was still sitting in the chair opposed to the bed when the first rays of the sun went through the window and the human woke up. He did not even flinch when the man grabbed a pistol from a low table beside his bed with commendable speed and pointed it at him. He had calculated right, his relaxed pose, the smile he forced on his face and the finger he held in the universal “hush” gesture in front of his lips stayed the German`s hand.
The German made a “go there” gesture with his hand and the Bloodcrest moved along into the bigger room, with the human staying always a few meters from him. No fool that one, good.
Closing the door behind him the human finally addressed him in quiet urgency.
“Explain yourself, now”
“I am Ivil Bloodcrest, assassin. My fellow Druchii seek only my death because of my family, so I needed to leave. Khaine hates weakness General Böhler, and you surely are not weak.”
“So you want to tell me you come into my rooms to seek work?”
“Yes General.”

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-04-03 12:34pm

Dragon Gate, Ulthuan, same date

Cales watched Ernst Hermann`s goodbyes as he went through the room and wondered at how much had changed. Six months ago everybody regarded the Germans as naked apes with an attitude, now they were regarded as ..well that seemed to depend on the person.
Cales had been put back by Germans at first. That they washed, wore clean clothes and kept other hygiene was very nice, but it was somehow wrong at the same time. Like with their manners-they had shown acceptable behavior from the start and it had only improved over time. It had irritated not afew Asur who had regarded the Germans with the same lack of comprehension as the Germans would have for a speaking dog. Yet if one worked with them for a longer time the irritation went away and Cales had learned to appreciate the Germans as persons intheir own right.

The KSK officer in particular had shown a lot of the qualities that Cales would value in an Asur-he had great integrity, courage and honesty. He had also tried his level best to learn the ways of the sword from Cales and while he would never make it to the level of a elven Sword Master, he handled himself much better these days. He was also quite likely the only German officer with a magic sword. During the Druchii assault on the defenses before the Dragon Gate he had defended himself with his old German officer`s sword which had bent severely as had to be expected.
Cales had given the sword to one of his artisans to remake it and now it would pierce anything in its way and certainly not break when it was subjected to a mere halberd.
In all Cales would miss the Germans-they made him question some beliefs that he had held for several human lifetimes. He doubted that many Asur would see things the same way, but very few Asur were Sword Masters. Korhal certainly was not one of them, but even he had come to this informal meeting. While he would never like the Germans he had come to respect them. When one of them leaves a virtual carpet of dead Druchii at your doorstep anything else is hard to do, even for a High Elf noble.

Isa of the House of Heras matched the half-bow of the German officer with precise courtesy. She would actually miss the humans who had been part of her household for so long. She would not have expected that six months ago, quite to the contrary, but she had always been good at hiding things. Her finances were in balance for the first time in a long time as the Germans had paid their rent in full even when absent in the field. She had also found that her cook had purchased spices from the Germans at a ridiculously low price and had resold them for the going one, filling her coffers even more.
The Germans had behaved much better than she had anticipated and had caused less damage to her reputation than she had feared. She would also miss Ernst Hermann who had proven to be a surprisingly inventive lover, but again, she was good at hiding things.

Ernst Hermann settled into the more-or-less comfy seats of the Airship for the 12-hour trip back to Lotheren. Some friendly soul had provided a stash of newspapers so the KSK team could play some catchup. The lack of modern communications in far-off posts was something that the Germans had to get used to in the last few years and it was not easy. They had the news that could be gained by old-fashioned long-wave radio, but these 5 minutes of news hardly contained more than an appetizer.
He had already been through the e-mails contained in a USB-stick and now went for the news. Hermann had heard something in the little news he had received and now wanted to confirm on it.
A piece in the “Spiegel” written by Jakob Augstein would hopefully provide some insight.

“The end of Liberalism as we know it”
The last elections have not been good for a couple of parties, but none got clobbered worse that the AfD and the FDP. While the Anti-Euro message of the AfD was suddenly no longer relevant after the Weltensprung and left the party hanging in the air,the demise of the FDP was the end result of a longer process.
While the old FDP of Genscher`s fame stood for civil rights, a reduction of state involvement into people`s lives,and many other things;she had been reduced to a “lower-the-taxes” party by 2009. When they could not deliver on that promise and their internal strife were practically the only headlines they could make,their approval ratings dropped like a stone. That they tried to push an “every man out for himself” message just when the Weltensprung made everybody look for safety in numbers helped to reduce their votes from nearly 15% in 2009 to 3.5% in 2521/2014.

At the same time the conservative Christian Democrats have moved far left from their old position. Abandoning their long-held support for nuclear power, abolishing conscription, even only for a short time,and embracing same-sex marriage; they managed to edge out the Social Democrats from parts of their electorate. While this gave them a comfortable majority it left many conservatives without a home as all parties to the right of the CDU are considered unelectable by most voters.
So when the AfD and the FDP both realized that they would have to bury any hopes for seats in Parliament because neither of them could get over 5% of the votes as demanded by the German constitution they found a reason to negotiate.
The FDP had been much more conservative in old West Germany and had thought about going back there several times. The AfD had tried to sell themselves as a party that was wise on economy, being founded by a professor of economy after all, long a hallmark of the FDP.Last year both parties decided that this was enough common ground and decided to fuse into a new party which calls itself the “Freisinnige Partei” (Liberal Party-literally Freethinking Party) now and campaigns on a platform of supporting the troops, reducing the many new rules and regulations that have appeared since the Weltensprung and a more conservative worldview. The latter includes a quota for refugees and immigrants and a stop for any more gender-equal legislation.
The new Party will be headed by a triumvirate of Gerhard Lindner, Olaf Henkel and Bernd Lucke.
The FDP of Genscher and Scheel, the party that helped reforming our constitution and laws to modern standards, that coined the word environmental protection and was a defender of civil rights is no more-it will be sorely missed.
The eyebrows of the KSK officer rose perceptibly. The German political landscape had been pretty stable since 1990, this had a potential to remake it. Whether in a good way Hermann could not say.

Peenemünde Nord, noontime, 10. Brunntag Jahrdrang

Winter in southern Denmark is usually a humid, windy and rainy affair in grey, yet today was different. A pale sunshine lit up a featureless landscape that that was mostly covered in the grass of countless meadows. Apart from other human settlements,an assortment of boxy white buildings were clustered about very wide area covered in concrete. In its middle a huge tower held a rocket. It was more than 60 meters high, and the slender central stages were flanked by two 30-meter long boosters of the same diameter as the first stage.
A lot of spectators watched the proceedings from the nearby seawall or fields that had a good view. An invited few had better places under a roof, and a little closer to the tower.
“Nathan, what is that steam coming off the top of that rocket. Did you not say it was not driven by steam?”
“The 3rd stage uses a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen so it has more power. But these two are very,very cold dear, and so a little bit of it always leaks out so the pressure does not become too much.”
“And that stage makes this rocket so powerful that it could lift you into-how do you call it-orbit?”
“That is a part of it, but the much bigger part is the two cylinders that you see on the left and right. They are not the same solid fueled ones we used on the first rockets, but have the same engine and the same fuel like the first stage. They are much more powerful and improve payload a lot. But the most interesting part is the “Rune of Flying” they put on everything. If this works out then the payload will be incredible-much better than anything tried before.This thing should lift more than much bigger rockets on old Earth.”

“Why should it not work? It works fine on your Storch, does it not?”
“Oh yes, it does. But first off we do not know if it will work in space. Many magic users become weaker the farther they get away from the Chaos Gate or the Towers in Ulthuan. Rune magic normally does not do so, but we have to check. Secondly rocket engineers are a very conservative bunch and like to keep things that work and distrust anything that is not proven. These machines have so many parts that have to work right under tremendous forces that anything that can go wrong is ruthlessly eliminated. And magic is something that these guys did not know until three years ago and still see as unreliable.
But if we want to go into space in a big way we need any advantage we can get, so they built this test model. The complete payload is comparatively cheap and if this goes wrong then nothing important does for a swim in the Sea of Claws.”
“So these rocket engineers try to make this thing as safe as possible?”
“Yes my love”
“I like them already.”
“Why-ah you mean as I will sit on top of one of these one day? Not yet decided my dear, let us not spoil it.”
“You will be selected Nathan, I am sure.”

The last 10 seconds of the countdown commenced a little later. Many tons of water were pumped over parts of the tower and the pad to protect it from the intense heat and pressure that would soon wash over them.
Inside the 15 engines that were ignited highly potent fuels mixed together and ignited. They converted into superhot gas that drove a series of turbine stages to ever-higher rpm until they had a combined power of several ten thousand horsepower.
These were the fuel pumps.
They used all that power to bring many tons of the same fuels into the main combustion chambers in an incredibly short time where it reacted with primal fury. The hot gasses exited the bell-shaped exhaustsof the engines with a sound that could be heard many kilometers away and that could be felt by the onlookers on the stand with every piece of their body. Most remained speechless in the face of so much power, others stood up and screamed with approval.
At first the rocket did not seem to accelerate much, but with each passing second it went up and gathered speed. After less than a minute it was just a glowing speck in the sky that was connected to the ground by a dissipating smoke column.
Just 3 minutes into the flight the two boosters extinguished their engines and small explosions cut them off the speeding rocket. The central stage had taken part of its fuel from these boosters and burned for a minute longer before it was also cast off. The second stage took over for another 5 minutes of acceleration before shutting down, and throwingthe rest into a high arc above the Warhammer world. The remaining spacecraft coasted for a while before the last stage accelerated it into an orbit of 500 kilometers.

By that time the white-knuckled crew that manned the control center had relaxed considerably and when the 3rd stage finally burned out at the desired attitude even the best of German discipline could not keep cheers of joy from the tension-filled room. The rocket, including the magic parts, had worked as advertised and had put a payload in orbit that rivaledthat of a Saturn 5. A great lot of plans were set into motion on that day that would influence every being on this world-and more besides.
The payload shroud had been discarded a while ago, now a framework held several smaller platforms and satellites that were ejected at various times. They used small, low powered engines to gain distance from their peers and tried to establish communications with their ground control.
Most of them were low-budget projects by the students of German universities and even some high schools that normally never would have been taken to orbit but got their place as this was a high-risk mission.
One was different. A black cylinder broke off the frame last of all. It its end a block of stainless steel started to glow cherry red and then ejected a long plume of steam. Accelerating slowly but steadily the cylinder gained a much higher velocity and changed orbit to something far higher.
Heated by a Rune of Fire this stainless steel block was the first magic-powered space drive in history. It contained a lot of channels into which water was put from the back side. Converted into superheated steam it exited a bell-shaped nozzleat high speed as long as the propellant lasted, then the block and nozzle werecast off the cylinder as well. All of that had been carefully monitored by German scientists who noted that there was an opportunity for a station-keeping drive or a transstage for satellites that needed to go into geostationary orbit.

Skori Morgrimson had been a remarkable Dawi. He had been the King of Karak Raziak, a good and just King. He also had been an stargazer, which was very unusual for a Dwarf. One of the last joys of his life had been the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that the German ambassador to Kiev had given him as a gift.
His Runesmiths had cut the Runes of Flying for the experimental “Greif” rocket, and their mastery was second to none. They had reduced the weight of payload, rocket and fuel by 38% and had allowed a humungous payload. They would sell their services again to DASA for Gold, but this time the payment had been different.
The black Gromril cylinder was closed by neat rows of rivets, in its upper third a window of the clearest crystal allowed a view inside. The dead King Morgrimson could now gaze at the stars in a clarity that a place on the ground would never allow. His sarcophagus was at least 10000 kilometer from the Warhammer World`s surface which meant that his orbit would not decay for many thousands of years. It might be a trick of light, but the King seemed to smile. He was in good company.

Tower of Cold, Naggarond, Brunntag, 10. Jahrdrang

Elrik Straker thought that Admiral Malik a very lucky Druchii. About ten minutes ago he had to bring the news to Malekith that the Auxilia had run off to parts unknown. The Germans with them had been the Witch King`s best hope to maintain the industrialization that had been started by the Black Company and that was stagnating now due to a lack of skilled manpower.
Malekith was already running rampant these days, purging the Bloodcrests, purging everybody who had anything to do with the failed attempt to reign the Germans in, purging everybody arrested who confessed something under torture and those implicated in said torture…
Malekith rage had exceeded all bounds and the Witchfire that glowed from his sword had mirrored the mood of its Master. Going from mere illumination to crackling lightning in a moment the release of energy had scoured the throne room with violence.
Straker, who had seen the signs had managed to take cover behind a massive pillar, others were not so lucky. When the thunder subsided and the inside of his eyelids were no longer showing nearly overwhelming sensations he had taken a look. The pile of smoking flesh and glowing metal had been Admiral Mailik once. Given what the Witch King would have done to him if he had controlled his temper better the former Admiral was a very lucky Druchii. His family on the other hand...

Karond Kar, Bäckertag, 20. Jahrdrang

The Corsair went through the slave market, looking at the offerings in the pens and caves to the left and right. He seemed to have a penchant for brunettes as he checked on several which were offered by a trader specialized in Breton slaves. He haggled for a while with the traders but they could not arrive at an agreeable price and so he could be seen wandering off through another passageway. When he passed through a small arch that connected two slave pens two other Marauders suddenly stopped ogling naked humans and followed without a sound. They checked the arch before stepping through it, but once the first was inside a dagger found his neck still.
The other Marauder jumped back by an impressive distance and had his sword out before anybody could raise an eyebrow. He was still scanning for a target when a small crossbow bolt entered his right eye. None of the onlookers was in any haste to check on either of the two or look what lurked in the arch.
On the other side of it an assassin covered his underarm-held crossbow again and checked for more pursuit. This was the 3rd attempt in as many days and it was just a matter of time before one of them succeeded. Yet tonight the “Credit of Torture” would leave the harbor, carrying him as another ordinary crew member. He would jump ship at the right time.

The assassin had been born Ivil Bloodcrest before the Brides of Khaine had carried him from his home as an infant. He had survived the ordeals and tests to become one of the Temples best assassins. Normally such a calling superseded all family connections, but these days any and every member of the Bloodcrest clan were very much wanted by the Witch King. He had assumed a role as a common Corsair the last weeks, but that legend had been broken somehow. He just had to hope the captain of the hydra ship he was about to embark did not know about it yet.
There was one possible way to evade Malekith`s wrath and that lay with Wolfgang Böhler, the renegade General. He thought he had a solid lead on his position by now and he was on the way to make something out of it.

Lothern, Ulthuan, Bäckertag 2. Pflugzeit 2523

The room inside the palace was still the same, small but tasteful, enclosed to give privacy but managing to give the feeling of sufficient space.
The persons in the room were-more or less-the same again with some additions, but the dynamic between them had changed considerably. Finubar, Arielle, Tyrion, Teclis and Aurelius had been here before, Admiral Aislin and Osirion had been attached to the group. Osirion tried not to notice the Asurian ambassador to the Reiksbund, which was hard to do in such a small group and when Aurelius`role was giving a presentation to the assembled rulers.
It reflected the verbal beating he had received from Finubar when the Phoenix King had realized that Osirion had failed to report the full news about the Germans. He was attached to his position by a thread only and knew that any move against the ambassador would be fatal which did not endear the two to each other.

Aurelius had brought a couple of new German toys with his and used them to project a picture against the off-white wall opposite to the tables and chairs of his audience.

“My King and Queen, honored Princes-you have called me to advise you on what the Germans know about the new Druchii army that has decimated our forces. Also I should report on the changes that have come to the Old World and what changes, if any, we should embrace to accommodate them.
I have heard about the losses of Prince Tyrion`s Army with great pain and my House suffers from the grievous harm done to the Dragon Princes. These losses highlight that this is indeed a new time and show us that we need to make and use new things to use them in new ways or this will not be the last painful defeat that we will suffer.
I have cultivated several sources at the Reiksbund headquarters who have gained some intelligence on the new Druchii force. According to them a band of German renegades has taken up service with the Witch King. These renegades seem to have manufactured better rifles and trained the Auxilia which murdered so many of us. The Germans learned of this only recently and have asked Malekith to apprehend them, something they refused.

There is some very recent intelligence that something went wrong for these Germans as aerial recognizance has revealed widespread destruction in the settlement the renegades claimed as their own.
The German government is very unhappy about these renegades as they do not want to spread their technology and as they hate the Druchii on their own, but realistically I cannot see them going to war about this. They had to fight several campaigns and a war in the last three years and currently do not need any more.”

“These careless humans cannot control their own, we pay the price and they say we just have to bear it?”
“Admiral, I have voiced this in a slightly different wording to the German Foreign Secretary, Steinmeier. He stated that Germany would take responsibility for the renegades as soon as we do the same for the Druchii.”
“This is totally different.”
“Yes, of course Admiral. Unfortunately I could not make the German government see it the same way. But they hinted that they are willing to sell us technology and weapons to counterbalance whatever advantages our misguided cousins have gathered.”
“So they make a business out of our misery.”
“Yes Prince Osirion, in parts. Yet it is my understanding that we will be offered very low prices and be offered opportunities for balancing trade deals. The Germans would also argue that their closing of the Bay of Drusilla and their No-Flight-Zone has helped us considerably in the last campaign.”
“And they think that is enough?”
“If we do not think so they do not care enough to do more Prince Osirion.”
“So what do the Germans offer?”
“They offer the K98 rifles they have also given to the Empire, some Dawi and their Tilean allies. These rifles shoot as far with similar effects as the rifles used by the Druchii but have a better rate of fire. There is also an offer by Heckler&Koch who want a share of the market, they offer a new repeating rifle with a bigger magazine and faster action-they call it straight-pull bolt action. We would be allowed to purchase a version of this rifle that can shoot even more precisely in limited numbers and we could receive some machine guns. The German ambassador also stated that they would not protest of we hire some German advisors. We could also purchase the necessary ammunition. One officer also hinted that barbed wire and some kinds of wireless gear are considered civilian goods and therefore open to purchase.”
“Could we make similar weapons on our own. I`d hate spending so much money outside of Ulthuan.”

“Prince Tyrion, these weapons are very hard to make, needing very good steels , tight tolerances and advanced chemistry to make the ammunition. We would be better off to provide services we are specialized in. But in the long run we need to be able to produce such things on our own, but this would mean large changes to the way we do things.”
“I have heard you say so before, can you be more precise.”
“Certainly, but I suggest that I present where we stand at present in regards to the new and shifting situation, so that we see where we have to go and why.”
“Make it so.”
“As directed by his majesty I have made a study of the current situation in the Old World and in what ways we can profit from them. Most of the information in this presentation is from open sources or a number of Reiksbund staffers that are sympathetic to our cause for various reasons.
First off, we have all heard that the Germans have mighty armed forces-just that so far few of us have an idea what that truly means. The Druchii Auxilia that mauled us so badly could do so because they used advanced weapons and had the appropriate tactics to use them.
By German standards these weapons are painfully primitive and the tactics outdated. Even the lowest tier of their allies receives better weapons and training. The German armed forces themselves are so much above that level that the rifle-armed Druchii that they would consider them hardly a speed bump.
As some of us might find this hard to accept I have a video of several battles that the Reiksbund has fought in the last years. I have visited the battlefields in this video and from the remains would vouch for their validity.”

The onlookers did their level best to project an air of amused interest, yet any Asur would have seen a mixture of fascination and aversion at the video that was projected in front of them. Three of them had seen most of that video before, but even they were aghast at the carnage that was Skavenbight. The explosion at the end shocked everybody.
“You said the Germans can cause such devastation anywhere they choose and that it is non-magical. But this-this was magical for sure.”
“Honored Osirion, this was a special case. The Germans ignited a huge bomb under the Screaming Bell, that gave them a magical explosion. But they can have a similar devastation anywhere they wish to have it within a few days.”
“So they say.”
“Yes-can we afford to ignore such claims in the face of such evidence?”
Silence.
“Ambassador, Sword Master Cales told me the Germans could produce 1000 of their rifles in one day. Were they jesting?”
“Prince Tyrion, let me put it that way: last year Germany produced 35 Million tons of high-grade steel, by the best estimate we made a thousand tons give or take a few hundred. Nearly eighty out of a hundred Asur are needed to feed us all. The Germans need two out of a hundred-the rest can do different things. I do not know the production capacity of Mauser precisely, but this is certainly possible.”
Silence.

“Besides the industrial might we should not underestimate the German trading and communication advances. We all have seen what the few ships we chartered from the Germans can do-less than 20 ships were able to transport more than all ships that Ulthuan can put under sails. The Germans can transport faster, cheaper and much more secure than any other power in this world. Even now our traders and seafarers complain about losing contracts-and this will not get any better.
In communications the Germans are able to send information to any point on this world, with the possible exception of the poles, virtually instantly. They can print books for the price of a good meal and can sort and analyze information, once it is inside these computers, with terrible speed.
The Germans are very weak when it comes to magic, they acknowledge such and try to learn everything they can. There are two developments of note when it comes to that: First off the Germans apply something they call scientific thought to magic which allows them to differentiate better between what works and what does not. The second is that they combine their machines with magic-and that is where they make impressive strides. The fliers that demolished the cliffs in the Bay of Drusilla would not have been able to do so without a dwarven rune.”
“If what you say is true than the Germans are the most powerful nation on the side of order.”
“Yes my Queen, together with their Reiksbund allies they are for sure.”
“How well are they tied to the side of light Ambassador?”
“They denounce Chaos, that is for sure. They are very tolerant when it comes to different opinions and religions, they do not hunt Witches in the style of the Empire, but still Chaos cults are arrested from time to time. They are very hard to judge as their style is so different from all human realms, but so far they have fought Chaos most effectively.”
“Do you think that is enough?”
“I have no idea. It seems very relaxed but so far surprisingly effective. I have heard rumors I have been unable to identify that the Germans are looking at their internal communications for hints of conspiracies and cults even when their own laws do not allow such things.”
“ We can only hope that is enough.”

“Yes. I also have to report that the Empire is engaging in something they call the “industrial revolution”. They are starting to produce items, even quite complex ones, in huge amounts by using assembly line processes. The steel production of the Empire has increased tenfold with German help already and there is more to come. The new railroads and telephones will tie the Empire together like nothing ever seen before-one can now travel from one end of the realm to the other within days and a letter will reach anybody within a week. The Empires armed forces are getting thoroughly modernized by the Germans and are much more effective already.
Several Dawi clans have received even more modern weapons as part of their alliance with the Germans against the Skaven and are trading raw materials for machine tools and knowledge. They will be able to field much more effective armed forces within very few years and we can expect them to retake some of their old Karaks soon.
Two Tilean City states have allied themselves to the Germans and will become important trading centers. The balance between them and the Estelians is drastically altered.
The Bretons are unwilling to change their ways presently-and that shows. Just five years ago they fielded the strongest armed forces in the Old World after the Empire-now they are dropping back to third or fourth rank-and if they do not do anything they will become worse off with every year. If they would go to war against the Reiksbund they would go under so fast that they would probably have surrendered by the time we have news of the war at all.
We have to understand what these changes mean. An established railroad system means that the nation which has it can shift major armies around in weeks, sometimes days-and supply them in the field. Repeating rifles have more range than any bow, fire at least as fast and from cover and penetrate nearly any armor there is. Riflemen can be trained within a few months to a useful standard and to competent soldiers within two years or so.
Machine guns are even worse-those who fought the Druchii know about them. As some of us have already experienced - this drastically changes the way battles are fought. These changes mean that we need such weapons and we need to be able to make them on our own.”

“Ambassador, with all due respect-I have seen human and Dawi manufactories. Do you think Asur needs these stinking monstrosities that befoul nature? Do we need to put Asur in workplaces where they never see the sun and repeat the same simple task again and again till their minds succumb? Change a way of life that has stood the test of millennia just because of some upstart nation that is here for just three years?”
“Prince Osirion-you have not been to a German factory yet-these places are vastly different. But this is not the question-the question is whether we want to matter in 50 years or not. Nobody knows for sure, but it is easily possible that the Druchii have retained the ability to make more rifles, maybe even more of their armored ships and other weapons. Do we want to rely on the Germans to protect us or do we want to be able to stand on our own feet?”
“As long as I live and have this office we will stand on our own Ambassador, history has shown us we cannot rely on anybody for our survival for long. I take it that you have some proposals that we can discuss besides the immediate purchases of weapons.”
“Yes my King. First off we need to improve transportation. In Germany and the Empire that means railroads, here coastal and riverine shipping should have priority. Then there is a program for foreign students the Germans call Erasmus and….

Ohrdruff, Thüringen, Sigmarstag, 30. Sigmarszeit

The 13th Demi-Brigade`s barracks were a hive of activity. Everybody was busy with last-minute preparations and anybody who had nothing special to do tried to hide so that the always eager noncoms would not find them something to do. The latter would be a problem as everybody tried to look their best. Today was a special day for the 13th Demi-Brigade as it was not only their special holiday but also the first parade of any kind since the unit had been declared operational a month ago.
One of the noncoms was taking his time in his small room to adjust his uniform for the last time. The dress uniform was a light grey with red epaulettes and a darker grey belt. That was already adjusted and James Andrea Corradi placed the white kepi on his black hair. A critical view in the mirror showed a well-trained man of nearly 1.8 meters with the typical features of a North Italian. James was quite proud of the uniform and what it stood for and justly so. Less than one in eight applicants to the Legion had made the selection and initial training. He had done well but was also aware that his early promotion had a lot to do with the fact that he came from a technological society, something the legion was currently short of. His squad had two Imperials, two Bretons and no less than three Norscans. At first there had been some tensions about this mix, but the hard training had provided a common enemy in form of their drill sergeants. Yet while the freshly-baked legionaries were becoming proficient soldiers the nuances of modern gear still escaped them. That he spoke French and Italian had helped with the Bretons and Tileans and when he did not fuck up visibly enough he got his promotion.

An hour later found him in the front of his squad, standing at attention when Colonel Thiery spoke about the day most precious for the new unit.
“In a different universe on a different world less than sixty opposed to a whole army. Its numbers crushed them. Life rather than courage abandoned these soldiers. The date of this battle was the 30th April 1863, the place a village called Camerone and the soldiers were the soldiers of the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Foreign legion led by Captain Danjou. Today we celebrate their eternal memory…”
When the new Foreign Legion was set up it had been clear that this unit would need their own culture and traditions to accommodate the many soldiers from vastly different cultures. Rather than try something new enough former Legionaries had been found in Germany to found their own version of the famed unit. The Legion was about to be sent to Araby to secure the oil fields there and it was fitting they could celebrate Camerone Day before that.

School of the Reik, Berlin, same day

Valten wedged his huge frame into one of the frail-seeming chairs that ringed the lecture hall. Law might not be his favorite subject, but he already knew how important at least some knowledge would be sooner or later. When the professor entered the pulpit the usual small talk vanished completely. Not because Professor Libsch was such a gifted orator, which he was not, but as he speaking so quietly that even the smallest of whispers would make it impossible for a group of students to hear him at all.
Still, the lecturer had practiced law as a judge for quite some time and was always good for an anecdote or two.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the day I introduce to civil law. Less than a year ago, the Empire had an assortment of local laws, traditions and bylaws that varied from region to region. As Empirewide trade has increased so much and new forms of trades and association are on the rise Emperor Karl-Franz enacted the new Civil Law six months ago.
The good news is that you will not need to study a separate law for Germany as the Empire has taken the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, Germany`s civil, law lock, stock and barrel. They are in a good tradition as countries like Japan, Taiwan or Brazil did the same. It is a good, precise and clear law and it may be the only law where at least one paragraph rhymes in hexameter…

User avatar
matterbeam
Youngling
Posts: 80
Joined: 2016-04-04 08:52pm
Contact:

Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby matterbeam » 2016-04-09 06:10am

Book-marking. I'm going to slowly read through all of this :)
Google + : matterbeamTSF

Hard SF blog: ToughSF

MetaSeed: Worldbuilding and Game Design discussion

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-09-24 03:14pm

Bahnhof (Railway station) Soest, Germany, 10. Brunntag Jahrdrang

Florian Schneider was not a jealous man and knew that the guy, who had taken the spotlight beside his fiancee, would soon be gone. At the moment, a crowd ringed the two returning soldiers on the track platform, eagerly listening to the stories told by them.
Some, but few people among the crowd looked less happy and more angry at them, damnable "peaceniks". Denouncing the soldiers, spoiling the return to their loved ones, by people who would scream up first, if the soldiers would not be here to defend Germany. In the packed railway station, the first few returning soldiers to Soest had to endure shouting by the "Peace Brigade". Fortunately the years on this new world had changed many things and the crowd awaiting the soldiers embarking the train had thrown out most of the rabble. Still, sometimes a few could sneak in again, due to mass of people in the station.

Florian had feared the worst when he had taken Sylvia into his arms again and felt more than saw the activists in the first row of the people ringing them. But the insults did not come. It sure was partly the special vibe surrounding members of the Rattentöter (Rat Killers), the unofficial nickname of soldiers who had gone down into the deepest levels of Skavenblight, which made them shut up. But maybe even more it was the presence of the second soldier, who was here on a one day visit on invitation by Silvia´s parents and himself. The tall man´s branch designation showed the "Halo-Eye", the sign of a German Kriegshexer (War sorcerer). Even without this it was obvious. His blue eyes shone attractively, but too brightly to be natural.

Florian thought that the decorations on Silvia´s and Günter Koch´s, as the sorcerer was named, uniforms did their part too. As survivors of the most vicious fighting in the damned Skaven city both were highly decorated. Silvia, his other half, had been given the Ehrenkreuz für Tapferkeit (Honour Cross for Bravery), Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (Federal Order of Merit first Class), the Skavenblight Kampfmedallie (Combat Medal), the NRW Rettungsmedallie (Rescue Medal), while it was unlanded, Silvia was a now a Freifrau (female Baron) of the Empire and last but not least, she had gotten the Gromril-Amboß in Bronze (Gromril Amboss in bronze) from the Dwarven contingent.
Günter Koch too had gotten the Honour Cross for Bravery, the Order of Merit first Class, the Skavenblight Combat Medal and had been made a Freiherr (male Baron) of the Empire, but then it changed. Since Günter lived in the Palatinate, he had gotten the Rescue medal of his Federal State and since the Dawi had some "complications" with non-Runesmith magicians, the sorcerer had "only" gotten the lowest level of bravery decoration, the Gromril Nugget. This was offset by
another decoration he got, the Nachtsonne von Sylvanien (Nightsun of Sylvania).

What made Florian happy as well was the fact that Silvia had not been changed by the fighting as much as the famous Wolfpack was. He had seen an interview with Ulrich Stoiber on TV and it was obvious that "something" had happened.
Florian could not speak for the sorcerer, he did not know him much, but beside the magical signs, his body at least was still normal. While Silvia and Günter told the fascinated crowd the officially approved war stories they lived through, Florian knew more truth. He still had sometimes a nightmare from what she had told him by satellite phone. One event had been burned into his brain the most.

"Flori, I was mortally wounded by that strike, I knew I was going to die. I saw myself racing towards a bright light, when I suddenly felt yanked back into the hellish pain of my shattered chest. From far away I heard a voice saying or screaming, I do not know the melee was so loud and fierce, that enough was enough. Too many good people had to die because of this mutated rat scum! Not anymore! There will be no dying on my watch for the rest of this damned war! Renner, bring me some rats or let them through to here!

The pull from the brightness was still very strong, I was hurting badly, when that hurt began to recede. I don´t know how time had passed when I could really see again. Günter, err Hauptmann (Captain) Koch had one of his hands on my chest, strange lights and arcs crackling around his arm, the colour of his face fluctuating between normal and chalk-white in rapid change.
One of the Skaven near us was decomposing before my eyes, while at the same time my wound was rapidly healing. Once during this brutal fight, he stopped for a moment to fire purple-black lightning into the Rats´ ranks. Günter- he seved my life, maybe even brought me back..."

Florian Schneider was very glad to have Sylvia back, but he did not know what to think of the sorcerer until they met about an hour earlier. Günter Koch did not look like he had imagined him. The man from the Palatinate was really tall, a bit on the meager side, pale-skinned, attractive blue-eyed with dark-blond hair. He had so far a nice disposition. A bit shy, but still jovial personality. Nothing that would let somebody think about the magic he seemed to possess, the carnage he at times had made among the Rats, the Skeletons he could command...
Günter Koch was a poster-child of the proverb: Beware the nice ones!

And so, while he was indebted to the sorcerer for the life of his future wife, Florian was a bit glad that soon Günter Koch would travel on to his home.

DLR Airship “Enterprise”, close to Algrab Mountains, Southlands, Markttag 32. Sigmarszeit

The spacious room was used as a mess, for assemblies, as a cinema, for lectures and as now as a briefing room. It was huge for anything that flew, sparsely equipped with lightweight furniture and offered a breathtaking view through the panorama windows in one wall. Currently the view was the steppe and desert that was Arabia which slowly rolled with the airships cruising speed.
Nahib el Harum de Harsch watched the diverse group that had assembled around the table and marveled at the twisted path of fate that had brought him into this flying palace.
A year ago he had been a proud and experienced Caravan Boss and Trader, six months ago he had been destitute and bankrupt when the Undead had attacked a Caravan he had invested into too much “en masse” and now he was engaged as native guide and translator for nearly 2000 Euros a month.
At the head of the table sat Captain Katrin Jennewein, a compact 40-year old officer who seemed more than a little competent despite being female. Nahib had already learned that voicing that was an extremely bad idea. To her left was Caner Calp, a swarthy ex-army warrant whom the trader would have hired in a second as caravan guard in his old days. He commanded the few armed guards the “Zeppelin” had, followed by Thomas Phillip who was heading the airships small plane group. On the other side of the table were Theodor Plank who headed the scientists on board. He had brought his assistant, a stunning blonde by the name of Sabine Neun with him. Nahib had been sure she would have gone for a pretty penny in one of the Sultan`s markets until he saw her take down a careless pocket thief in the Suk of El Shamab.
The wall on opposite site showed a couple of pictures that seemed to be taken from another flier. Captain Jennewein opened the briefing.

“What you see in these pics are recent takes by a Kondor flight. They show a very isolated Oasis at the foothills of the Algrab range. It has an Arab settlement, but does not seem to lie close to any established Caravan trail. Normally we would not have bothered, but the irrigation systems seem remarkably advanced. Yesterday we had Mr. Phillip take a closer look and more interesting things emerged. Here you can see the yoke used on the oxen-it is more elaborate than anything we have seen in such settlement. Normally the farmers around here tie the plow or cart to the horns-this is more efficient.
Then this shows a waterwheel of a design that we have never seen in Araby and this here could be an elaborate scheme for waste disposal. All in this means this settlement is more advanced than it should be, especially given its secluded nature. Since one of the goals of this mission is looking for “Waratah” survivors we have additional motivation to have a closer look.
Before we do anything more we will send an exploration team. Herr Zoltan, please detail two men to accompany the group. Professor Plank-please provide one person. Master Nahib, you are needed for translation. You will launch in two hours, contact the local people and do a first assessment. Be back before nightfall, we will establish further studies after your report.”
“Captain, I have to protest-how can we make an assessment when I can only send one scientist?”
“Professor-there are only 6 places in the plane and we have to have both a security team and a translator. This is mostly to see if we can establish closer contact, for that this one of your team should be sufficient. You cannot report when you are dead.”
“There is no proven threat from these people, why should their first impression of us be armed guards?”
“Because they are not proven to be safe either Professor.”
“I still protest.”
“So noted. Any other questions? No? Get to it.”

Two hours later Nahib went into the huge room that lay sternwards of the living quarters in the front of the Zeppelin. He could still not get used to how big this thing was. In some ways it was like a soap bubble-huge for its weight, beautiful and fragile. But by the Sheik`s beard-this thing was huge. The room he had just entered was more than 50 meters long, as broad as the airship and impressed the hell even out of the Germans who were supposedly used to such things. He had been told that it was normally used to transport freight, but on such a mission as this one it was used differently.
It contained a lowerable platform that could be used to transfer goods or people from and to the ground as well as two planes that hung from the ceiling and could be moved into the slipstream on crane arms through a trapdoor. For whatever reason the Germans who worked here called it the “transporter room” even when the Captain insisted to call it a hangar.

He went to the plane that had been moved above the trapdoor already and went over the very small bridge that connected the floor with the plane. Asking himself if the triangle that the pilot had drawn on the door was a ward of protection he got himself a place in the last row of seats and pulled himself tight. The rest of the group went in as well and their gear found place in various nooks and crannies. The former trader half listened to the chatter between the pilot and unseen people whose voices could be heard somehow. And then came the moment that he dreaded. The door under the plane opened up and revealed the landscape hundreds of meters below them. After a moment the plane was lowered into the air below the Zeppelin and the slightly jerky sinking movement made his stomach turn in unfunny ways.
Once in the air the plane`s engine started, the prop started to spin-and then the plane dropped. Dropped for some 20 meters before flying stable again and making everybody but the pilot jump.
Once the plane had settled in the flight was short and Phillip circled a field that he had chosen as a landing strip. Finding nothing that could stop them he settled the plane into a pretty jarring landing which shortened the landing run and reduced the chances to find something that could snag the landing gear.
Nahib watched the two guards who went out of the plane first and only moved out of the plane when he saw their signal that this would be safe. Happy to have his feet on firm ground again he watched the wall that ringed the settlement for a moment. Just when he thought he would have to make for the Gate a small party went out to meet them. Clad in off-white robes and headscarves against the ever-present sun they carried spears and kept something like formation but did not appear overly threatening.
An elderly man separated himself from the group and Nahib met him half-way, hoping that the armored vest he had under his robes was as good as the Germans claimed.

“Peace be upon you honored elder, may your life be long and fruitful. I am Nahib el Harum de Harsch, these are Thomas Phillip and Sabine Neun and their guards of the Allemani. They are on a mission to gather wisdom and I translate for them.”
“And peace upon you travelers. I am Anwar al-Harad. What brings the riders of such mythical transportation to our humble settlement.”
“The allemani, whose coin I take are a strange people. They have great curiosity in all things and see your beautiful village with great interest. They have seen some of your inventions and want to bask in your wisdom.”
“People who travel in a flying whale and land without a magic carpet are interested in our ways. That is a miracle to behold, were it true.”
“They also search for the descendants of people like themselves whom they believe stranded in these parts of the world more than a hundred years ago. Maybe you have heard about such people of fair skin and often yellow hair, very gifted in all things mechanical?”
“Now this is a curious thing you should discuss with the chairman.”
“Pardon me, honored Anwar, but I have in my old age not heard you well. Did you say Chairman?”
“Yes wise Nahib. In other tribes he would be called Chieftain but here he is called Chairman. He can tell you himself. For the Moment please feel welcome in Asrar.”

The group of Germans and Nahib was taken into the middle of the small spear carrying guard and got themselves a look at the settlement. It was not long before the Germans started pointing small boxes at everything to take picture and talked about everything they saw in German. It was close enough to Reiksspiel that Nahib could understand the gist of the conversation.
They commented on things that were quite normal-and on some things he had not noticed at all. They were right, the normal stench of Night Soil was nearly not noticeable, the alleys well-made and the carts used by the people of a curious design.
One thing they missed so he joined in. “Fräulein Neun-excuse me Frau Neun-there is another interesting thing. There are fewer children than usual in such a settlement, but they seem to be better fed and more healthy than usual.”
“Thank you Nahib-do you think you can ask this “Chairman” about this?”
“I will try my best.”
They arrived at a three-story building that was opposite to the market square. White-washed and decorated with beautiful mosaics it gave the Germans pause.
“Thomas, do you see this too?”
“Yes, very strange.”
“What is strange honored Pilot?”
“You see this thing above the entrance. That mosaic looks like it is three of our letters-“IBT”-but you use a different script here. Do you have any idea about that.”
“No Pilot Phillips-I have not seen such before. I will endeavor to find out.”

They were led into a busy palace which seemed to combine the usual ceremonial places with rooms surprisingly close to offices and were put into a large room that contained no throne but a huge desk with a comfortable chair behind it. On the ceiling a huge fan was moving forwards and back, undoubtedly pulled by a boy in a nearby room.
The stocky man behind it was also clad in a robe but had ditched his headscarf. His skin was surprisingly light for an Arab and he seemed genuinely pleased to meet the Visitors.
“I am Insar Riddle af Harve, welcome to our humble abode honored visitors. My house is your house, feel at home.”
Tea was passed out, small gifts exchanged and admired and lots of polite and meaningless conversation ensued. It took nearly an hour to get to the point of the matter.
“Yes, beautiful Sabine, we once had a visitor who looked a bit like your people. A little more than three score years ago he appeared here after having wandered in from the desert. He was old already then, but our healers could rescue him and he learned our language after a while.
He was full of wisdom and showed us many wonderful things. The Water Wheel, the correct way of trash disposal, to cook our water before drinking and the yoke, Population Control-he had a great mind. He also taught us that slavery is an evil thing and to honor the workers.
Alas he was an old man and still longed for his home that he could never reach again. Despite the best we could do he passed away after ten years surrounded by his comrades, his wives and his children. I am proud to be one of his descendants.”
“Can you tell us more about him-like his name?”
“Oh, I can show you the relics, maybe they can hold your interest.”
“Please show them honored Chairman”
The ringing of a bell brought a beautiful assistant to the office and she returned with an elaborately carved chest minutes later. Opened very carefully it revealed several items that Nahib could not immediately identify, even when they looked a bit like things used by the Allemani.
“Am I allowed to look at this?”
“Please do Mrs. Neun.”
Nahib watched the scientist remove a small, yellowed card from the box on which a picture and some alien script could be seen.
“Let’s see-Michigan Department of Motor Vehicles-one of you guys know a Jimmy Hoffa?”

Munster, Königstag, 2. Sommerzeit

Ulrich Stoiber made his way between all the low-slung brick walled tank garages that took up a large part of the Munster barracks. He no longer needed to look at people`s faces to see that the new Ulrich was less accepted than the old one. “Thanks” to that bloody TV reporter everybody knew about the Wolfpack`s eyes. The stupid Witchhunter and his henchmen they had encountered on the train from Middenheim had not helped things either. The picture of Frank holding up said worthy one armed at the throat had been retweeted about a bazillon times. A good thing that the picture did not carry the sound, the Darth Vader imitation had been credible-and scary.
Still, they were respected for what they had done in downtown Skavenblight, that had to be sufficient for now. Presently the tanker was far more interested in what he was about to see. Oberst Grube had been a little cryptic and Ulrich was interesting in what the Bundeswehr had planned for the Wolfpack. A couple of years before they would have probably been honorably discharged, these days soldiers who knew how to fight were a more valuable commodity.

The garage in front of him was no different from the dozens that were around them, but a closer look reveal a couple of cameras. He and his two crews were led in through a small door set into the huge gate that closed the building to the front. They were greeted by the Oberst and a few civilian representatives. Ulrich had made ten times sure that his crews would conform to military etiquette-about the last thing they needed was a “renegade” reputation.
Still it was quite hard not to be distracted by the two vehicles that dominated the room. They were undoubtedly tanks, but the Wolfpack had never seen their likes before.
“So Oberleutnant Stoiber, I gave you to Mr. Müller of KMW, he can explain to you what the two tanks here are about.”
“Hello Oberleutnant, let me take the opportunity to say that I deeply respect what you have been doing in downstairs Skavenblight. I am pretty sure that my nephew would not have gotten out of that hellhole if you would not have slowed down that abomination”
“Thank you Mr. Müller, it is good to hear the sacrifices our comrades made are appreciated. So-what have you cooked up here.”

“Ah well, what we have here are two-well let us call them proof-of concept vehicles than real prototypes. We made them for the competition that Porsche won, but as we both know they got picked for the Tiger.
Both tanks have the same chassis, we took it from the Panzerhaubitze 2000 and modified it. It now has active suspension so you can higher and lower it in front and back as needed. The engine we took from the old VT-1 prototype, a turbocharged version of the old Leo 2 engine with 2200 horsepower. Armor is a 20% less than you are used at present, but it is modular and is optimized against magical attacks. The bottom and interior is optimized against IED since this will be the most creditable mundane attack for decades, we used what we learned with the Puma. Since weight is below 60 tons on both the tanks are quite responsive.

The one on your left is an MBT. The turret is in the back and is completely unmanned. Don`t look at me like that, most tankers are against it. Have a look at the new vision system before complaining for real, please.
The main gun is the 140 mm we ripped off that Leopard prototype, but mated to a band autoloader. As the turret is empty you get 45 reloads and it is seriously powerful. The coax is a 0.5” Rheinmetall-it fires far faster than the old Browning ones. It can elevate to 55 degree so you have some capability against airborne targets. You also retain the old remote control weapons station from your Leopard2A8 with the Grenade Launcher.
The one on you left was our take at an Air Defense Vehicle and it might still see the light of day. The turret has a 35 mm Millennium gun on the right side, it fires faster than the two guns on the Gepard combined. On the right side you have an armored launcher for 8 missiles. The radars are optimized against biologicals. Armor on the turret is a thinner as for the MBT, but should still be good for 99% of all threats out there.”

Thirty minutes later the tank commander sat inside the tank and activated his new helmet for the first time. He had faced cultists, demons and even a god-now he flinched. The bloody tank around him had just disappeared. When he turned his head the picture moved-up, sideways, just downwards lay darkness. He had to turn his head very rapidly to make the picture jump and when he looked very closely he could see some off colors.
“Use that joystick to move the Comanders Vision Turret Oberleutnant and the coolie hat for zoom and frequency.”
All of a sudden a square in the middle of his field of view had a slightly larger magnification and he found he could zoom in and out as well as switch to night vision and infrared.
“Wow, this is really good.”
“Yes, with the new camera systems and enough processing power this is possible. You still need to get your head outside?”
“Yes, in case this breaks down.”
“Oberleutnant, you have 16 cameras, two independent computers and the CVT-how can all of that break down at the same time?”
“You have not been in combat yet, haven`t you? Everything in possible there-or impossible, depending what will hurt you most.”
“If so much breaks down you best skedaddle”
“Which I can do to the back only through that small tunnel-thanks loads.”
“But at least you are inside a second armored shell. Very few things can penetrate that. Plus you got four drones now to show you what is about, a separate drone operator and a magical indicator. Come on, this is not a bad crate.”
“Did not say so, I just wonder what I am supposed to fight in this thing.”
“Best ask Oberst Grube, he had some ideas he did not want to divulge to me.”
“Oh-Oh. Well something different: When can we give these Iron Pigs a spin.”
“Later today.”
“Yesssssss”

Penemünde Nord, Markttag 15. Sommerzeit

Ten people sat around the long table in the room with no windows. Nine were young, fit, healthy and moderately good-looking. One was on the wrong side of 50, pasty-faced from too many hours in windowless offices and overweight from too much junk food eaten in office.
He was chairing the meeting.
Olaf Merz was the Deputy Director of Germany`s space program, which meant he was the one formulating the decision that his boss signed off. The seven men and two women on the two sides of the table were the ones he had chosen to be the spear tips of this effort.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me congratulate you again to your selection. You are now officially Germany`s next astronauts and in a few years you will be the first to enter orbit in a spacecraft of our own devising.
You have also signed a statement of non-disclosure and these two facts allow me to give you a briefing that you direly need for your future duties.
Thumbing a remote control the picture behind him changed to the slightly fuzzy picture of a cylinder sprouting several rectangles against a black field with many bright stars. Everybody in the room recognized this pic, it had been all over the news a little more than a year ago.

“This is, as we all know, the object we know as Sage 1, likely a satellite left by the Old Ones. It is one of the reasons we always bring forward to justify our expenses to the public. If we are to seize and study it untold Inventions and Improvements would undoubtedly follow. Unfortunately this is not the only reason and we have taken great pains to keep some of our discoveries under tight control.
The next picture made everybody such in breath. It showed a similar cylinder, but this one ringed with more slender cylinders around them. Pointed at one end and with fins at the other their lethal purpose was just too easy to see.
“This is Sage 15, one of 5 such satellites that we have been able to find so far. One of these satellites is above Germany at nearly any hour and we are pretty sure that the thingies around it are KE weapons, practically nothing else makes sense. We estimate these weapons to have an energy of 2 Kilotons at the very least. What makes this into a real problem is that Sage 15 and two others have surface temperatures that we cannot explain by simple radiation. Something on these satellites is still active.”

“I can see why we keep this secret-but what are we going to do about this?”
“Lieutenant Alpers, a very good question I cannot answer completely yet. The Bundeswehr is currently working with DASA to modify sounding rockets with a warhead so we can take the satellites if we need to. But as we do not know how the satellites might react this does not seem like the wisest choice to make. Instead we will send manned missions to non-threatening Sage satellites and will try to learn as much about them as possible. When we believe that this is enough we will tackle one of the KE-equipped ones that shows no activity and study it. With any luck we will learn how to take the rest out without unfortunate consequences.
I think you can all see now why a manned space program is not a waste of precious resources but a dire necessity, but please again remember that we cannot speak about this.
Now that this is settled let us talk about the broad outlay of the planned missions and the hardware for it. All of you are aware that “Greif 8” pushed nearly 40 tons of payload into a 250 kilometer orbit. That is quite a lot with a rocket with next to no cryogenic fuels and such a northerly starting platform and it was only possible due to the use of the Rune of Flying. This also gives us quite a mass budget, especially with the “Greif schwer” that we will test in a couple of months. With four boosters instead of two it will push the biggest payloads.
Since last year DASA constructs a spacecraft based on the Keppler ATV, this will be what will carry you to orbit.

Foreign Ministry, Berlin, Sigmarstag, 21. Sommerzeit

The office was huge, had ceiling-to-floor glass and was exquisitely furnished, which was hardly surprising for the office of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign secretary. Since the Weltensprung and the last election he had seen some fascinating Ambassadors seeking confirmation in this room, but Tehentoto was surely taking the price. Looking like an uprights walking velociraptor that had no feathers and a little less teeth the Skink was guarded by towering Saurus warriors. Knowing that both were currently discretely targeted by high-powered rifles took some of the threat off, but their presence could not be denied.
“Tehentoto, I welcome you and your staff to Germany and hope that your Ambassadorship will be a long and fruitful one. Germany is very keep on cooperation and trade and we hope to accomplish much with your aid.”
“SSteinmeier, it iss good to meet you finally. You have given uss good dwelling, thank you. We should sspeak further when furthen when ssettled.”
“I am happy that you like it, we had to modify at short notice. One thing ambassador, usually ambassador present a document of their governments that authorizes them to us. I am aware that having an embassy is a new thing to your people, so this does not need to be presented now.”
“Quippu here”-The Skink presented the Foreign Secretary with a square piece of many threads that were intrically knotted and set with small stones. “Alsso have thiss.”

The nictitating membranes closed in front of the Skins eyes and his posture became ridged. Steinmeier began to wonder about this when a moist smell laced with strange odors hit his nostrils. Then he was no longer in his office but standing on the cobbled floor of a huge temple. In front of him was a stair of several meters height that ended in a platform containing a throne. Any other details about this place ceased to matter when he saw the being on the throne. Looking like the biggest frog in the world it radiated a presence that could not be denied. When then huge eyes turned to him it was like looking into endless tunnels full of terrible secrets. The voice that filled his head bypassed such crutches as language and projected knowledge directly.
“He speaks for me. When needed I will speak through him.”
And then he was back in his nice chair in the huge office. Even such an old pro as him needed some time before he could talk intelligently again.
“That is surely sufficient Tehentoto, thank you.”

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-09-24 03:16pm

Catonium, Hamburg, Markttag 23. Sommerzeit

The Catonium is an interesting place. Sized like a 10-appartment building is contains a sauna with a spa, three bars, four hotel rooms and some of the biggest SM-Playrooms you might find anywhere. One of the rooms is more than 7 meters high and offer a wide gallery at half level.
On the floor a beautiful raven-haired beauty with slightly oriental features stood under a yoke, with her hands chained above her head and her feet secured to a bar on the floor. She was naked save for a pair of heels and her back showed the red marks of several whip strokes she had already received. A small crowd both clapped and counted each stroke she received of a suit-clad man behind her. Her face was nearly blank from emotion save for raw lust while every year of her birthday was marked on her back by the whip.

Three meters up and a few to the side the priest watched the proceedings with a stony face while his fingernails dug deeply into the wooden railing with suppressed wrath and frustration. These proceedings were an affront to the gods, a display of naked depravity and unbridled emotions. How could these Germans dare to do such things without the blessings of Slaanesh?
He had heard about it before but could not bring himself to believe it before. The Germans had a very relaxed stance about the way people satisfied their sexual urges and their churches on average did not try to curb this too much. They simply had no need to turn to his Lord just to receive gratification-they just did it and neither their gods nor neighbors would care too much. There would always be some who would seek more sensation, found fitting partners unavailable or had needs that would not fit this consensual theme. Unfortunately they were too few so these were obviously not the fertile fishing grounds he had imagined when he had first heard of swinger clubs, pornography and other recreational activities available in Germany.
Ok, one avenue that was closed, this drug thing definitively worth looking into. Germans had used drugs before that were no longer available and not too few of them were looking for substitutes. He would contact a couple of men that had been pointed out to him.

The fingernails that dug into his lower arm reminded him about his companion and his cover as a an Imperial trader who wanted to sample the famous fleshpots of Hamburg. While paid for the woman at his side was quite a looker and would be an acceptable partner in the supplication unto Slaanesh he had planned.

Close to Altdorf, Empire, Bezahltag 25. Sommerzeit

The target was more than a kilometer away, slightly more than man-sized and moving. Joakim Vos pulled the trigger on his rifle to the first detent, triggering the laser range finder. Keeping the target inside the crosshairs gave the computer the means to predict the necessary deflection. The scope´s picture and the new aimpoint were projected into the visor and Joakim`s thumb pushed another button. Now the movement of his thumb on a coolie hat controlled the movement of the actuators in his right arm, not the less accurate muscles there. Making the minute adjustments necessary he finally pulled the trigger. The rifle was extremely loud and the recoil would have broken several bones if not for the power armor. A 20 mm round was accelerated to more than 1000 meters per second, closed the distance in less than three seconds and the explosive charge utterly destroyed the target.

Seconds later the rifle was dismantled into two parts, attached to the back of his suit and he sped back in an run that resembled a moonwalk with long low jumps sped up considerably. Checking on the suits power levels the Landwehr soldier decided that stealth was not necessary and started the microturbine inside his new backpack. There was a whine from his back side and he knew that he would now have a small exhaust of hot air. At the same time his batteries were charged and the suit would provide even more power of it were asked. He arrived at the 1st Landwehr barracks 30 minutes later.
He was allowed to get rid of the armor and a shower before reporting to a couple of officers, enthusiastic human technici and a few dwarfs.

“The Mark 2 a suit is fine, I would have liked to have it in Skavenblight. The movement lag is reduced so it chafes less, the additional power is welcome and the new electronic systems fine. Just that “assistant” needs to add a few IQ-points before he becomes truly useful.”
“We are happy that you like it. Unfortunately this one needs even more involvement with Master Tecnici than the previous version, but we can provide a small number for special purposes. The assistant will get better the longer you use it, it is supposed to learn.”
“Thanks Fräulein Meikle, even if that learning assistant seems a bit creepy.”
“So how about the rifle-did it work, do you think it is useful?”
“Herr Grimmnison, that rifle is insane. I do not think that firing it without power armor is safe at all, but it seemed very accurate and the terminal effects were impressive. Still, I have to ask myself what it is needed for, the 0.50” rifles we so far use were sufficient in most cases. I have to wonder if you wanted to build the most powerful rifle in the world in 20x138mm or you see a practical use.”
“I am told that Oberst Wolf will brief you next week on that.”
“I am not sure I am looking forward to that.”

Airport Berlin-Schönefeld, Angertag 1. Vorgeheim

The ILA Berlin Air Show used to be called the International Air Show, but that name would not make much sense for the foreseeable future, or so everybody had thought. And yet the event that combined the functions of airshow and trade exhibition had more than a few notable contributors that were not German.
Nathan Alpers had managed to gain entrance both for him and Ermine on one of the days that were closed to the public, so there was a lot more space and more time to talk with the various booths. As many exhibitors were using the Rune of Flying the pilot had brought to attention he was treated as VIP by many companies. If he were really honest with himself he did not just like that for himself but was also happy with the effect on Ermine. Not that such was needed, but he still liked to shine from time to time.
They had already visited the DLR booth and Nathan had given an interview as one of Germany`s astronauts, not it was time to look at the smaller fry. And Grob was one company that held the pilot`s heart as it made the “Storch” that he liked to pilot so much.

Andre Hiebeler, the CEO, found a bit of time for the couple and showed them around. “I hope you find the time one of these days to fly our new beauties and give us your opinion Lieutenant. Have you seen them before?”
“No Herr Hiebeler, read a little about them but that was when the two were still in the planning stage.”
“Then allow me to give you a quick rundown. This the Storch Plus. It uses the new 500-hp Diesel from Audi instead of the older 300-hp Centurion and adds 3 seats or more payload. It is also better able to handle the new combifloats that allow you to land on water or a runway and with the Rune it weights no more than the original Storch. This thing is what you need for serious bush flying.
This is the new Doppelstorch (Double Stork) – it has a new, enlarged fuselage and two 500 hp engines. It has similar characteristics than the old Ant-2 for payload and airstrip requirement but is much faster and more economical for fuel and maintenance.
This is just a mock-up yet, but we are pretty sure this will go through. There is a strong demand for a light attack plane that is cheaper to make and run than a helicopter or a Typhoon. It uses the same gas turbines than the "Tiger", each turbine works on a seperate prop on a coax shaft in the rear. We have the same two-person crew with the gunner in front. The canard layout was chosen for a low stall speed and better view. Basic armament would be a 27mm autocannon, and laser-guided weapons in addition to dumb bombs and missiles...."

The sales pitch went on for a while and when the glasses of Schaumwein (German version of Champagne) were emptied they could go to the next booth which was more colorful, less elaborate and offered a far smaller plane. It did look a bit like his old plane, but had a few wires for stability and was obviously made from wood.
“Yes, we are from the Nuln Aircraft Works. We have hired a few engineers and enthusiasts from Germany and this is our first prototype. The planes from Grob or EADS are marvels to behold-but cost a mighty fortune. We use time-tested materials-wood, fabric and steel pipe. The engine is customers choice, but we recommend a 70-hp diesel from Volkswagen. We still have to buy a lot of things from Germany-all the electrics, the shocks and other gear, but we are getting there. You can fly up to 4 people of they are not too heavy for the price of…”

Another booth was quite different from anything that had been seen in this place before.
"We are Hartmann&Rall, breeders of the finest Griffons. We already have gathered some interest from German buyers. You just missed the buyer from the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg...."

There were more booths, more bread rolls and EADS even treated them to a few bits of chocolate when they showed the pair their new “Sea Typhoon”. Nathan got into a somewhat technical discussion with Jens Heim whom he had met on one of the first flights with the Rune-equipped fighter. They had just reached the point where the pilots discussed the reinforced center rack used for the armor-piercing bombs when a slightly bored Ermine indicated it was time.

The exhibition stopped for good when the real show of the day began. A parade of nearly 20 airships, led by Makaisson`s “Spirit of Grungni” and managing to add the “Enterprise” as well as the “Hugo Eckner” and most of the NZ-Zeppelins yet constructed. It was a sight none of the spectators would ever forget.

Lourdes, Earth, 1st June 2015

The procession of the blessed sacrament had been preceded by bearers carrying leafy branches, incense burners and other devotional items. The bishop had been sheltered by a baldachin carried by four people who sheltered him from the elements. The Blessed Sacrament had been followed by a group of priests who concelebrated the rite. Following these were several groups of pilgrims, each with a group banner
The procession had made its way across the Gave, alongside the ramps, and past the Crowned Statue, along the Esplanade to the Cross at the far end, and then around it, and down into the Underground Basilica where the participants had taken their seats and the pilgrims in wheelchairs were brought to the front.
Many of the pilgrims were elderly and frail, while many of the younger ones tended to those in need. The pilgrimage was in the honor of the Virgin Mary, who was said to have appeared to a peasant girl in 1858 several times. The waters of the grotto`s springs were said to have healing powers, and it were these powers that were sought by many of the faithful.

The reverence of Mary is a strong tradition in the Catholic Church anyway and these pilgrims were inclined to it to a much larger degree. The bishop who was holding the rite-all decades of the rosary-was especially happy not to preach in a half-empty church like he had to do until two years before. The pilgrims before him were a shining example of deep faith and he was so taken with the rite that he did spot the changed light right away. He was taken out of his reverie when more and more participants looked past him and murmur and shouts rose to a level where they could no longer be denied.
He turned in place and dropped to his knees without further conscious thought. Above the altar a translucent, glorious image of the Virgin Mary floated serenely, silently blessing the congregation.

Far to the back of the pilgrims the lights were partially blocked and casted deep shadows. Alan Crowlair thought this was a good thing as he had a hard time keeping a big shit-eating grin from his face.

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-09-24 03:17pm

Altdorf, Sigmarstag, 3. Vorgeheim

Henrik Gerber massaged some Diclofenac unguent into his lower right arm, where a tendon hurt quite miserably from the twin strains of pushing a mouse and participating in broadsword combat training.
The forced break took his memory back to a conversation he had in a room not far from here. Reiksmarshall Hellborg had been looking the part of a shaved Grizzly bear as ever while giving of favorite uncle vibes. Both had been in the Reiksmarshall`s office which combined a lot of heavy wooden furniture, an elaborate set of full plate, a magical sword and a pretty good Siemens computer.

“I hope you had a good holiday Lieutenant Colonel.”
“It was quite ok, thanks.”
“So, ready about to get back into the saddle, or better that comfy chair in Hammer?”
“Ah Sir, I am not so sure that…”
“Pssst-don`t you say it. Do not kill your career right away. Let me just guess-we could take your body out of Skavenblight, but your mind is still there from time to time?”
“Yes Sir, how do you know?”
“You know son, I may be old and frail these days, but I have fought a battle or two in my days. Not the kind of nightmare you have been in, but a couple of nasty scraps anyway. I am too stupid to have too many second thoughts about them, but I know more than a few good men who carried the scars in their mind, not the body. Most of our officers have the opportunity to go on half-pay and retreat to their estates for a couple of years or forever, but you have not, especially if the rumors about your wife are true? Are they?”
Henrik Gerber, who thought the Reiksmarshall was about as frail as a T-34 in prime condition but a little more dangerous, was taken aback and had to think about what to say besides the obvious.
“Uh, yes Sir. Will be six more months Sir.”

“Good, good. But brings you to the spot where you have to provide for them too, so let us see what we can do with you. Let`s see-Major von Pfeilstadt seems to do this to everybody`s satisfaction, but the job is yours if you want it.
Then we have the Tank platoon that you commanded-did a good job there, best I could imagine. But this is where the memories come in don`t they-no need to answer that one son.
And then we have this.”
This turned out to be several extremely thick folders which had titles like “Neptun Werft, Rostok”, “Blohm&Voss, Hamburg” or “FSG, Flensburg”.
The front page of the first one read “Medium Escort Vessel, Empire”
“So, that would be the 3rd job offer I have son. The Emperor has decided in his wisdom that we need a modern navy to secure the seas. At present the most powerful vessels we have a couple of chartered freighters that happen to have a gun or two, and even those ships are Imperial only in name as all their officers are German.
We will be eternally thankful for Germany`s help, but we should be able to stand on our feet sooner or later. So the Emperor wants to fund a series of ships that are frugal enough that we can pay for them, simple enough to be easy to maintain and crew and powerful enough to be a threat to anything that is not German.
Seems like Karl-Franz trusts you son, so you get to make first choice.
And as pushing papers only is bad for your health you get the job as trainer for close-quarter combat back. I think this is the job you`ll prefer, won`t you?”
“Yes Sir.”
So now he sat in the middle of a ton of paper and tried to make up if Vertical Triple Expansion machines were really needed or if Diesels were sturdy and cheap enough while massaging the worst strains out of his arm.

Pfullendorf, South Germany, Brunntag 4. Vorgeheim


Ulrich Stoiber walked through the small Helicopter Landing field that was at the perimeter of the Special Forces Training Center. It had been the home of the Special Operations Training Center with a lot of US use before the Weltensprung, now it had been taken over by the Bundeswehr entirely. The field held two Tigers and four of the latest Mil-24 variants, which was interesting normally the forces stationed here were more into lighter helis or NH-90`s so what were these doing here?
The meeting he and the Wolfpack had to attend was inside one of the hangars. He got his name and passport checked against a list and ushered inside the huge unadorned room. Several rows of chairs had been arranged in a semicircle before a lectern, and many of the seats had already been taken. Several helicopter crews were keeping to themselves, in the middle a small number of infantry looking types organized themselves, with one of them looking familiar and in the back a number of men and women wore very dissimilar clothes marking them as mages. One of them was slender, very red-haired and wore a mixture of clothes that combined rugged outdoor stuff with some very revealing parts. He recognized her immediately and by the look of things that was mutual.
Breaking off conversation with her peers she abled over in a way that made several heads turn.

“Ulrich, how nice to meet you again. You look smashing-what did you do to your eyes?”
“Good morning Ulrika Magdova, I did not expect to meet you here I will admit.”
“There was a call for mages who can hold their own when the red wine is served for real. Seems like I fit the bill, and my master sees it as an opportunity to grow.”
“Grow into what if I may ask?”
“As a person, a mage and out of his hair. And what happened to you if I may ask-this becomes you, really.”
“We went down into that hellhole they called Skavenblight. Ran into a spot of trouble, got some unexpected help, now we pay for that.”
“Interesting coin you have to pay.”
“I do not think we know how much of it yet Ulrika.”
“Don`t you tell me…”

Both saw the need to get to their places in time, each to their little groups, each stood to attention when it was called for and each sat, watched and listened when Colonel Wolf took the stage.
The Colonel was still in his 30`s, of a wiry frame that spoke of a lot of training and many wrinkles that told of bearing great responsibility too long. The Colonel had been the CO of the Cave Raiders for quite a while, so everybody was interested how they would fit into the scheme of things.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this meeting, it is high time somebody tells you what this is about. When Germany entered this world three years ago we were pretty sure that our armed forces would be the match of anything that could be thrown our way. We managed to win at Papenburg, Swinemünde, at Hag Graef and at the Quarry.
But the Shaman was the first to show us that here sometimes pure firepower is not enough, that it takes magic and very special beings besides brains, bullets and bravery. Then came the Battle for Middenheim, and while this was a great victory we had to learn that there were enemies that put such terror into men`s hearts that many could not fight and some turned to flee. Many of these foes would need the strongest of weapons to put down and they were not always available. We lost a lot of good people in that battle.
And then came Skavenblight which reinforced the lesson. There are things in this world that mere steel and explosives will not kill, there are foes so terrible that only the staunchest can fight them at all. We also found that some threats can come up so fast that we cannot take much time to get ready. When we took down the Horned Rat every minute we took to get ready was paid with blood, many of those who are here have been witness to that.

So we got the idea that we would assemble a unit of beings that have proven already that the can stand up to any terror. A group of beings that is used to wield magical weapons, that has magic users in their midst, that will receive the best training and weapons so they can fight the battles that others cannot.
We have assembled you here as we think you can be this group. We have the Wolfpack who will bring a heavy hammer if needed. We have the 1st Armored Infantry who have proven they can stand up to anything on two legs. We have a group of fine mages and the helicopters of Air Group 117. We can call the services any of our respective armed forces have, including heavy air transport. This is a volunteer-only group and the only thing I can promise you are more strenuous training, more time on standby and more fights.

Oberst Wolf had not anticipated any loud cheers of approval. Both he and the people on front of him were veterans, had seen death in the face and had come back. It had not been pretty at all, but necessary. All of them knew that and had a quiet pride in what they had done. Many of them were highly competitive and would relish the challenge as well as being part of the elite. Others wanted to protect those that could not do so themselves or had totally different motives. One of the latter group started a smile that revealed teeth-sharp, pointed teeth.
By the next morning everybody who had attended the meeting had signed on.

Antiguilla, at night, Königstag 8. Vorgeheim


Ivil Bloodcrest was about to slither backwards from his observation post to bury the last pig`s bladder he used to contain his urine and thought better of it. This would be done, one way or another, by tonight and whether somebody found where he had been hiding and observing tomorrow would make no difference.
He had been hiding inside a small copse of bushes high on the craggy side of a hill that overlooked the small settlement that the inhabitants called “Tortuga”. It was busy as hell-he had seen lots of construction going on during the last four days he had kept his vigil. Some of the construction was easy to identify, barracks, warehouses and some workshops. Other were far harder to identify but not his worry. He had noted that the Auxilia no longer had slaves. There were enough humans about, but it had been easy to see these were day laborers, shopkeepers or providing other services. But there were no collars, no whips and no chains. He had heard rumors about that before but had discounted them. Indeed the Auxilia was taking on the German ways, not just in the ways they fought.
But even all of that was secondary, he had observed the going-ons in a house on the other side of the settlement, one of the bigger ones. Observed until he was reasonably sure of the habits of his target, knew the patrols of the guards and the ways of the dogs. Now that he had the info it was time to act before he got too weakened from dehydration and hunger. He had waited for nightfall before making the move.

The first part of the trip was easy-he simply had used an Auxilia uniform he had stolen yesterday from a place which seemed to offer wholesale laundry. The spotty lighting and simply striding down the alleys as with a purpose served to avoid any notice.
He had to turn around a block twice before nobody was in the street when he wedged himself between two buildings. Pushing his back against one and the legs against the other he was able to scale the walls in a couple of minutes. The roofs between him and his target were mostly flat with small walls around them and used for drying clothes and fish. Just tailor-made for his approach. He traversed the next three buildings without a sound at all. His mind was too concentrated on what he was doing but his body remembered the training in Khaines temple. They had been required to move through unknown rooms blindfolded and if they made any sound were punished by trainers who had elevated torture to an art form and considered it a supplication under their god.
Many believed otherwise, but Druchii assassins were not invisible nor did they use the arcane much as it tended to give them away to magic users. They were simply very very good.

He had waited for an endless 20 minutes before the patrols were at the farthest point, the static guard took a leak a cloud occluded the moon. He jumped the 4 meters and landed with all the noise of a tone dropped on soft ground. He remained frozen and barely breathed for a minute but no shouts and no sudden movements reacted to him.
Again he waited, again he watched and when the moment was right he dropped to the balcony below him. He used his dagger to part the airy net that was probably there to get a sea breeze in and the bugs out and moved into the room beyond. He waited till his eyes had accustomed themselves to the low light available before he started to move again. He found the bedroom easily enough and the snoring figures below the covers did not react at all when he went in.

He was still sitting in the chair opposed to the bed when the first rays of the sun went through the window and the human woke up. He did not even flinch when the man grabbed a pistol from a low table beside his bed with commendable speed and pointed it at him. He had calculated right, his relaxed pose, the smile he forced on his face and the finger he held in the universal “hush” gesture in front of his lips stayed the German`s hand.
The German made a “go there” gesture with his hand and the Bloodcrest moved along into the bigger room, with the human staying always a few meters from him. No fool that one, good.
Closing the door behind him the human finally addressed him in quiet urgency.
“Explain yourself, now”
“I am Ivil Bloodcrest, assassin. My fellow Druchii seek only my death because of my family, so I needed to leave. Khaine hates weakness General Böhler, and you surely are not weak.”
“So you want to tell me you come into my rooms to seek work?”
“Yes General.”

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-09-24 03:18pm

Nanjang, Cathay, Angertag 9. Vorgeheim

Li Hong Mei wore the red robe of an applicant, like the 799 other applicants around him. Besides the robe he had a tablet holding a brush, india ink, a small cup for water, a kettle of tea, a bowl of rice and a sheath of blank rice paper. Like the other he stood with bowed head while the revered scribe spoke from the podium. “You all have applied for entry in the hallowed ranks of the bureaucracy. All of you dream of becoming one of us, the ones who deign to order the chaos of daily life, who make this great empire possible by their hard work and who humbly accept the thanks of the populace. Alas, the demands of this calling are so high that we can only accept the best and brightest and so you are called to prove your abilities in the test that is before you. Any man who wants to take up the heavy mantle of governance must be wise in the ways of the ancestor`s wisdom and you will display your knowledge thereof during the next three days.Now go to you assigned sheds and wait until the flag is raised.”

He worked very hard to keep any tremor from his face and hands. He had already flunked this exam twice and this was his very last chance. His family had invested heavily in him, hiring tutors, buying expensive books and allowing him the spare time to study so he could support them once he had won one of the fabled places in the bureaucracy. They accepted one in a hundred applicants but he was sure to receive one of the posts available.
He walked to the booth he had been assigned, no. 188, surely a sign that he was meant for high things. Kneeling on the mat inside a shed that was open just to the front and only high enough for him he placed his utensils on the tablet in front of him and mixed the ink to just the right amount. Now he could just wait for the flag raising and after an indeterminable amount of time a chime was struck and the flag unfurled.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” was written on the flag and every applicant was supposed to give his best treatise on this wisdom.
Groaning could be heard from many of the sheds, but not his. Besides his studies he worked as a teacher and he knew by heart what the ancients had meant by that. Putting the brush into the ink he started to write in the clearest calligraphy.

Mingol Zharr-Naggrund, same time

The stench was everywhere. No matter how well you closed the doors, have your technicians install filters, sprinkle perfume-whatever one did the stench was always there. It smelt of sulfur, of badly burned oil and too-well burned iron, of slaves sweat and of sacrifices ashes. It had been hell during her pregnancy and she had been so glad that she had not arrived in Zharr-Naggrund during the first months of it.
Now that her son was safe with his nanny she could do her best to ignore the spell and get on with her real job. And that one had, to put it mildly, changed quite a lot. She had managed to entice some of the brightest Germans that had gone to Naggaroth, brilliant engineers and chemists. What she should have lured besides these would have been some gifted administrators. Who, on the other hand might endanger her position, which was also not an option. Besides the fact that she had to learn her new job while doing it she had to convince some of her eggheads that she was to be taken seriously in administrative matters. She managed that by the skin of her teeth. While she could make anybody pay badly for disrespecting her she still had to produce results which was much harder to do.
So now she was sitting at the head of a massive table and watched her Germans sweat under her gaze when they reported their progress and vied for favor and resources.

“So Mathias one Eye, what do you have to report”
“My task here is easier and more difficult at the same time. The Dawi-Zharr have a penchant to accumulate all sorts of raw materials against future use, it seems to be a religious thing with them as well. I can use a lot of that which makes things easier-I have access to crude oil in sufficient quantities and I have found a source of vanadium. The latter is important to make nitric acid and better steel and we lacked it in Neustadt. On the other hand we had a lot more equipment brought with the Britta and currently I am mostly engaged making tools to make tools to make stuff.
I am sure we can provide Cordite in four months or so, yet I have to state again that wood is a real problem-there is a shortage compared what we are used to. In three months I should have the first refinery set up so we can offer diverse petroleum products to our sponsors. I have located a source of asbestos, this could be used for insulation and high-temp seals. Given that our hosts are already working with primitive steam engines this could improve their capabilities markedly.

I am working together with Udo on the steel thing-we have enough Chrome, Vanadium and Manganese to make really nice steels, but at the moment this is just in the lab. We have impressed the Dawi-Zharr with those samples and they seemed to be willing to finance something like a Siemens-Martin Furnace which is probably the best we can do at the moment.
Then I have to emphasize the greenhouse program again-we need to make sure that we get non-contaminated food or our stay will be a short one. The soil here is contaminated to no end with all sort of heavy metals and only Dawi or Greenskins can stand this for any length of time.”

“Thanks you-I will push our hosts harder there. Udo-how far are you along then?”
“We have finished two assembly lines for glass pane production and can provide the necessary glass for the first ones in the next weeks. The girders are no problem, them I can order from a couple of forges around.
In other good news, we have finished the lathe with the parts I smuggled out of Neustadt and given it a test run. So far it looks good and if nothing bad happens we can make the parts for more lathes soon. This will give us a real start for other productions. I have talked to Astur-Hohep about the changes we need to make on the Mark 1a rifle and I am working on a prototype. I could talk them out of a higher caliber when Petra shot some Black Orcs with her rifle. We will also go for brass cartridges-it is better overall and brass could be easier to get than decent treated paper. I get the feeling that the Dawi-Zharr react badly to any sort of advice outside of engineering.”

“We are in a different situation than in Neustadt Udo, we are fewer and our hosts have different ideas about our worth. We provide them with the toys they want, they give us what we want. I deal with them, understand?”
“Yes Mistress.”
“Very well then. How about that railroad project?”
“That will take much longer Mistress?”
“Why, they already have some steam engines.”
“Yes, Mistress. But they did not even manage to agree to one rail gauge and the engines are really inefficient. We need better steel, a real forge,…

It was much later that Jasla finished dictating her notes to Petra to write down and clear up. She checked with the nanny about Mordred. She had liked the book that she had received from the strange German that sometimes visited. Ottokar Proktor had been right, she liked the book, even probably for different reasons and different parts then the Germans.
In the end she had been impressed enough to use the book as an inspiration to her child`s name. Sitting beside the crib that held the peacefully sleeping boy she thought it was time for another session-it was time to prepare her son for what lay ahead. Singing with a voice that seemed to come from a different throat that should not belong to either Druchii or Human she started the lullaby that had accompanied his sleep since he was born. Funny, the Germans were not know for magic, but this surely was more than mundane, even when it was from them.

Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep,
And carry you down into sleep
Child, the darkness will rise from the deep,
And carry you down into sleep.

Guileless son, I'll shape your belief
And you'll always know that your father's a thief
And you won't understand the cause of your grief
But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty only to me.

Guileless son, your spirit will hate her
The flower who married my brother, the traitor
And you will expose his puppeteer behavior
For you are the proof of how he betrayed her loyalty.

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty only to me.

Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep
And carry you down into sleep
Child, the darkness will rise from the deep,
And carry you down into sleep.

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty only to me.

Guileless son, each day you grow older
Each moment I'm watching my vengeance unfold
The child of my body, the flesh of my soul
Will die in returning the birthright he stole.

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty only to me.

Hush, child, the darkness will rise from the deep
And carry you down into sleep
Child, the darkness will rise from the deep,
And carry you down into sleep.

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty only to me.

Raiffeisen Storage, Haltdorf, Festtag, 10. Vorgeheim


Rudko Kawchinski was still amazed how well the biggest investment his caravan had even made paid off. His Strigany caravan had made their money by entertaining the villagers in the Empire since several generations. Yet the coming of the Germans had given his people much better toys for doing so than juggling or fortune-telling, even when this was still useful. But it was hard to beat a Laptop, a powerful beamer, a generator and a big screen. His travelling cinema was working all-year and the farmers were lapping it up. Currently he had set up inside the Raiffeisen barn serving Haltdorf, with his customers seated on long benches, flour sacks and machinery. His repertoire included monthly newsreel, documentaries, science shows, instructive clips about many issues but most of all motion pictures. Kawchinski bought Blue-Rays whenever he was in Berlin and cashed in on them wherever his people went. This evening the major feature was an eternal favorite in the railroad colonies. The “Battle for Papenburg”.

Christopher Walz looked at the Parachute deployment and was in shock: How could anybody be so stupid and deploy the Fallschirmjäger so close to the battle. The Parachutists would need time to prepare, but here they would not get it.
If nothing happened, and soon, then this would turn into a major disaster.

Heio von Stetten was no longer unhappy, livid or anything else, he was amazed. Amazed at the flying machine which passed close to his position, amazed at the men jumping out of it and dropping slowly by parachute and amazed at the German stupidity.
If the enemy soldiers were indeed landing where they looked like he could engage them in hand-to-hand combat and no other unit were likely to fire into this.
From this combat he could either take hostages and go or even consolidate into the other Germans if they were too close in order to help.

He gave the necessary orders to his officers and saw in their faces that this was what they needed, the despair which had begun to creep in their minds was gone - this was where he could turn the battle and avenge their hurts at the enemy.
The Dark Elves aligned their troops with the line of dropping Paratroopers, still trying to keep as low as possible.

Christopher Waltz was torn between two equally bad choices: He could stay in place and try to do battle for there, it would be comparatively free of losses to his Company but would do not much good as the battle would be more than half a Kilometer away.
An all-out assault against a numerically superior foe who could do real damage at closer ranges would ask for better trained soldiers who practiced assaults more regularly-it takes a lot of training to make men run directly into danger with any chance for few losses.
His men had left the Bundeswehr up to 20 years ago and while they had some training together it was not the kind which would breed the mindless following of orders which would make good cannon fodder aka true assault troops.

Still the Captain had a duty and called his Platoon leaders: “ Meine Herren, we have no choice, we have to assault these assholes. Keep the autocannon back for fire support. As for the rest, we advance on my mark."
When he got the “readies” back he started the assault the only way he knew which might make these old soldiers follow-taking the lead. He resolved not to look back to check and started the sprint for the spot he had picked.

If there is something faster than light in the Warhammer Universe it has not yet been discovered by German scientists, but rumours and bad news were definitely a candidate.
The soldiers of the 31st Company were "old" and compared to 20-something soldiers short on breath. But they were also fathers and uncles and far too many had seen the remains of the Martensen children, or at least had heard of them.
The problem was not getting the assault started, the problem for the Leutnant would be stopping it.

Till Schweiger was running towards the “pointy ears” as fast as his legs would carry him. Any sense of tactics was gone in the burst of emotion which had engulfed him. In his case it was also a relief from his perceived failures in the first engagements.
He did not recognize when he and his men started singing, screaming the Wildgänse song - it did not matter anyway. Wildgänse rauschen durch die Nacht, mit schrillem Schrei nach Norden... (Wild Geese rush through the night, with shrill cry northward)
He could see the Dark Elves getting up from their concealment and the rearmost ones orienting themselves in his direction. So much the better, his most fond wish was to close with them and KILL. ...Habt Acht, die Welt ist voller Morden (Take care, the World is full of killing)
All of sudden there was a shock which was so unexpected that it stopped him in tracks-looking around for the magic user attacking him. He nearly started to laugh when he found he and a lot of other soldiers were stopped by an “electric fence” meant to contain cattle.
As this gave him and the part of his unit alignment he decided to do his battle from here, the distance was not too bad.

Not bothering too much with directing his unit he started to pick targets and to dispose of them as quickly as possible. The tearing sound to his right showed him that at least one machine gun team had joined in.
Still firing single shots he went through his first magazine quickly, then fumbled in a new one and looked for new targets. Wir sind wie ihr eine graues Heer und fahr´n in Deutschlands Namen... We are like you a grey-clothed host, and march in Germany´s (originally: the Kaisers) name...
The Corsair which all of a sudden filled his sight was just another target and went down, but then he felt a burn on his right arm. Looking there he saw a bloody furrow in his right Biceps, obviously left by a crossbow bolt.
Since the still could move the arm he resumed firing but wondered why the light all of a sudden seemed so bright.
He did not see the muskus running down his face or realized that he had to labor harder to breathe. ... singt uns im Herbst ein Amen (sing for us in fall an Amen)
Between the more accurate shooting of Frediksens unit and the wild bursts by the rest of the maniacs they managed to get the Dark Elves attention just fine.

Benno Führmann was so amazed at the unexpected sight of the “Opas” assaulting the Dark Elves that his landing became the classic “three point landing”-toes, Knees and Nose.
He still released his parachute and then scrambled to retrieve his G36 rifle from its bag so he could defend himself.
When he finally had it out he got it on his shoulder just in time to shoot a sword wielding fury. He was unhappily surprised when it took 2 3-round bursts to stop her - the thin witch did not look so tough.
Thank God, there were not to many Elves shoot and/or assaulting his position at the moment, they were too busy getting ripped a new one by the Landwehr for that.
More and more of his comrades readied themselves and stared to fire on the “pointy ears”. Nobody tried to find his unit-defending themselves was much more important.
Besides the rifle fire some of the Fallschirmjäger fired their Grenade Pistols at any concentration of Elves. Fragments and Overpressure meant that there were few survivors.
When he heard the first machine gun joining the fight from his side he started to hope that he could survive the fight.
How he would live down being rescued by the “old Men” from the Landwehr was a totally different matter.

Rudko Kawchinski knew that he would have to replay this scene at least three times before he could continue with the rest of the film. The citizens of Haltdorf were the quintessential Railroad Colonists, self-reliant to a fault and accepting everything from Germany without a fault. The latter was hardly surprising given that it was German-inspired railroads that gave them a chance to escape squalor and sharecropperdom by joining a German-inspired and German financed Raiffeisen Union. On average these had a lot more money to spend than other Imperial farmers, not in the least by using German-build farming machinery. The Strygani was making good money of the Colonists, much better than his small caravan would have made from similar villages that were farther from the railroads or older an led by some conservative noble. Kawchinski was not sure a noble would be so happy about a scene where the local militia had to bail out the professional soldiers.

20 Kilometers from Nanjang, Cathay, Angertag 25. Vorgeheim

The sun did shine, but it did not light his view nor did it warm his body. The fields to Li Hong Mei`s left and right displayed a riot of colors and yet they were just grey to him. His feet went down the road step by step and he did not want to arrive at his destination. His head held only one thought that chased its tail like a mad dog and that pushed out all others. “Failed-I have failed the exam where I was so sure to have it right. I am unworthy of my tutors, my parents and my ancestors. I am a failure” repeated itself again and again in his mind. When he had received the news he had torn his clothes and hair, had wailed and wept-and the world still turned. He had started the trip back to his home only when he was forced from the dormitory.

Now he shambled through the way back home where his shame would be open for all to see. He had just passed a small village consisting of a few houses along the road which had been strangely without life. The houses displayed even worse squalor than usual, which was easily explained by the carved poles that were on the front side of each house. The Village housed Myo, a people that usually lived far south of Nanjang, often working in manufactories and menial jobs elsewhere as their province was a wretchedly poor one. The majority people of Cathay were the Dan who provided the government, the army`s officers and the bureaucrats. They looked after the problems of Dan first and for anybody else`s problems distantly second. The village might very well have an epidemic of sorts and the he had passed it without stopping when a raspy voice pulled him out of his misery.

“Some alms for the ancestors sake, please give a bit noble Sire, this unworthy needs something to eat.”
The voice came from a formless pile of rags and limbs that squatted at the roads side. Li Hong heard it just on the third repetition. For an eternal moment the thought that chased itself stopped and his could see his surroundings a bit. The rags revealed not much about its owner but for a stench, but that he was painfully thin was obvious. Realizing that he could provide a small service to anybody instead of being totally useless he fumbled a cooper coin from his pouch and was about to throw it into the beggars bowl when the beggars hand darted forward with snake-like speed and gripped his arm. The hand that took control of his was dry except for a few moist spots and far too hot. He could not break the iron grip from the frail-seeming limb which held him for a few seconds. Hot pain laced into his arm when dirty fingernails broke his skin and he started to scream when he saw the red pustules that covered the now exposed hand.

“Thank you kindly for your alms Li Hong Mei, my Lord will bless you for sure.” And then the hand was gone and the rags dropped as if their occupant had just vanished. The stinking puddle that developed under the garment indicated otherwise. Li Hong ran as fast as his legs would carry him for a while till his burning lungs would slow him down and his slow trek towards home resumed in even deeper desperation. He slept in a glade and woke up light-headed and with fever.

User avatar
Mechman
Youngling
Posts: 138
Joined: 2015-06-22 02:25pm
Location: North germany

Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2016-09-24 03:19pm

Black Forest, roughly the same time

The Black Forest is a very beautiful National Park, an area of 60x100 kilometers of fir and pine woods, several mountains and rivers. For an densely-populated and industrialized country such as Germany it is a minor miracle that such a big forest would still remain and it had a lot to do with Germany`s veneration of all things green.
Joakim Vos had no eye for the beauty around him nor an ear for the birds song, as his eyes were burning with sweat and his ears were mostly full of his beating heart and his labored breath. The KSK, Germany`s special forces, had a cross-country run through this forest as part of its selection process, a 90-hour run. Oberst Grube thought it a fitting part of their training and team-building effort to get everybody through that run. Two of the mages were excepted from that, but everybody else had to participate. Joakim had not been looking forward to it at all and had been very skeptical about some of the other team members such as the tankies or the flyboys.
By now he was pretty sure that the pilots were safely far behind the Armored Infantry who were of course not wearing their suits, but he was equally sure that the Wolfpack had taken the lead. Now that was something that had provided motivation in the first hours of the grueling endurance session, but by now it was hardly noticeable. Little things like pride fall by the wayside when exhaustion and lack of sleep become overwhelming. The only thing that mattered now was to put one foot in front of the next one, to have a look if his team was still with him and making sure of keeping the right bearing.

Even such runs had an end, it just seemed like they never did. They had passed the last checkpoint an hour ago and if the instructors did not pull their legs the tankies and Ulrika were still ahead of them. He had tried to push his people faster but realized soon enough that any more would just mean that at least one of them would not reach the finish line. Fuck this-arriving as a group had to be enough. An hour later they heard a wolves howl that made their hairs stand on edge even in their exhausted state. This would be costly-not only in beer which was customary enough, but a part was payable literally in blood.

20 Kilometers from Nanjang, Sigmarstag 27. Vorgeheim

“A cancer cell is immortal” Li Hong had no idea what a cell was, even if cancer usually meant something to him. Currently the thought hovered in sickly yellow letter in his field of vision which also showed a red sun, deeply black clouds, purple fields and a girl with eyes made from splinters of colorful glass.
“Bacteria never age, they just divide”
Another thought that just made half-sense. He thought that he moved somehow, or was it the landscape that moved by him? He did not think that the swollen legs or the feet he could no longer feel would be able to move him, but maybe that was just an illusion like so much else.
“All men are equal before the plague”

That superimposed itself above a sky that moved past his face somehow.
And if what had happened before was strange things became even more surreal now. He saw a vast..something. For his point of view it was vast, bigger than the palace that had been the backdrop of his examination grounds. It was somehow transparent and he could see inner workings that were so complicated that he would never understand them. Fibrous ropes were going here and there and secured structures that looked like sacks or intestines or any other shape. “Things” tried to get inside the structure, some were let in, others rejected. What was led in was transported to a million places and somehow processed into different things. Deep inside the structure was something else, a semi-transparent barrier that hid a long folded, undulating coil of something.
His view was somehow focused on another, much smaller structure that moved against the bigger one. It fixed itself against the structures walls with something like spiders legs and pushed a tube through the structures walls. From this tube a fluid of a different color was injected into the bigger thing. It moved as if by its own violation to the center of the structure and some of it seemed to penetrate the walls around it. Soon after the center of the structure became darker and less translucent. It did not take long before the many "things” inside the structure moved in different ways and many of the sacks and intestines swelled up.

It took much longer before the structure bloated and then burst, releasing more of the smaller ones. Now his view panned back, showing a vast network of such structures which all in turn started to emit the smaller ones. The view went back, always larger until the picture somehow started to make sense. When the point of view finally was far enough back he saw his body on a stretcher, carried by two robed figures. Remarkably enough he still had enough strength to scream, even if not for long.
It was when he was totally exhausted and his mind like a blank slate that his education started for real.

Naggaroth, Brunntag, 28. Vorgeheim

The Girl was just how Thorsten Breitkop liked women slender, raven-haired, extremely grateful for having been taken out of the cruelty that was the lot of human slaves owned by Druchii and very very talented at what she did. The engineer could not see what she did exactly as his paunch was in the way, but he was sure he did exactly what he liked. Just that it had no effect at all and her efforts were getting frantic, which was an even bigger turnoff that the fear that he would not be capable of performing.
“It’s ok dear, this won`t happen today”
“Did I do something wrong Ma..Thorsten?”
“No, you are great, I am just a little tired, that is all. Come here cutie and coddle with the old man.”
Incredibly his lover was asleep after a few minutes while the German was still awake, kept that way by his thoughts. Of course his fat belly did not do anything good for his performance and his lack of sleep was real. But if he were honest with himself, that was not the real problem, the problem was that his dream had turned to ashes.

He wanted nothing more than to adapt the German machines and procedures he needed to the means in Naggaroth and see the production grow. To rip machines apart, figure out how they worked and reverse engineer them. Invent something for himself or tinker with an old invention to make it better. To be able to bed beautiful, grateful, supple and talented minxes was just the icing on the cake but not the cake itself.
And currently only the icing remained. He was here with only four other Germans for company and all of them were running themselves ragged to keep up the factories that they had already made. He had hoped that he could use a lot of the slaves that they had trained before the ill-fated attempt to rein the Black Company in. Only when he took stock of the workforce did he realize how many of the best trained workers and supervisors were missing. From what he had puzzled together somebody had come a day or so before Bloodcrest started his ill-fated attempt and took off with several other Germans and many slaves.
Now he had to train their replacements while keeping the factories running, had to reorganize the flow of material and half-finished goods, establish a new Quality Control and generally keep his little fiefdom running. If the day would have 48 hours he doubted that he could do everything necessary-far less the stuff that he liked to do. On top of that a lot of Druchii had lost major money with the Share Companies that the Black Company had set up. Malekith had made very sure that nobody threatened him or Neustadt physically but any deals he had to make with other Lords were strained. So his life just consisted of a series of things that he did lot like to do at the very least and that he often abhorred and he simply had no alternative. He was a wanted man in Germany, that was for sure and even thinking about going elsewhere was probably dangerous. The things Malekith had done to Silvar Bloodcrest`s wives and children had given him a totally new appreciation of what “bad” really meant plus a host of nightmares.
And to cap it all off even his pecker no longer worked on demand. This was enough to make a grown man cry.

Close to Nanjang, Markttag 31.Vorgeheim

The sounds that could be barely heard a meter from the bed made no sense at all and should not have come from a human throat. The rag-clothed figure besides the bed understood it all too well regardless. Pushing an arm below Li Hong`s back he lifted the former teachers head up high enough to allow him to drink a bit of tea. There was a lot of coughing at first but it became faster and better after the first successful swallows. His helper applied a watered rag to his eyes and wiped away the dried pus from Li`s eyelids so that he could finally see his surroundings. He found himself on a rice straw mat inside a decrepit hut. To his left somebody crouched besides his mat, holding a simple earthen bowl with bitter tea. A combination of missing hair, a skim completely covered with pustules and a scrawny body hid by a lot of robe would have normally made it impossible to determine the sex of his nurse. His new and improved sight showed him so much more and while some of it was still confusing he saw the woman below the diseased skin easily.

“Take it easy-don`t try to get up now, you are much too weak.”
“Thank you for your kindness and do not worry too much dove, I am better than I should. Pry tell: Where am I”
“You are in what used to be the village of Nengbo. These days it is used by us to spend the rest of our days.”
“Thank you. And how can I address the one who so kindly looks after me?”
“I am Lian”
“Ni hao Lian, I am Li Hong Mei and in your debt. Do you have some healers who look after you?”
“We are Myo, we look after ourselves as nobody else will do.”
“Ah well, you helped me, a stranger. Blessings be upon you. Say dove, can you help me up please, I need to get rid of some of that tea.”
“I do not think you are strong enough Yet, you should…”
“Please Lian, honor me”

Lian`s skin was very delicate from the pustules and broke easily when he applied a bit of pressure with his fingernails, blood from both intermingled with only one of them aware of it. He got to his feet on the second attempt and made his way on his helpers arm.
“You are already very strong Li. Maybe the illness is not so strong in you.”
“The illness is strong in me Lian, you just have to go with it.”
He spend the next two days mostly in the same hut, eating maggot-ridden rice and bitter tea while regaining strength. During this time he developed even more pustules which dried within hours, scabbed over and were now on the way to leave hundreds of small scars.
He was not too surprised when he was led into another hut where he settled kneeling in front of a heavyset man who had scars like himself and eyes with the color of boiled eggs.

“Ni Hao ma Li Hong Mei?”
„Wo hen hao xiangdao, xie xie“
„So you are well Li Hong, that is good to hear. I am Shixin and people here rely on my guidance for some reason. You have made a very speedy recovery, which is good. What is a real wonder to us is that Lian seems to make a similar recovery-which is nothing short of a miracle as she was ill for many months now.”
“It seemed like a small gift to give.”
“What would it take to make this gift available to all of us.”
“I am-I was a teacher honored Shixin and I would be overjoyed to teach you and your people about the ways of the dealing with the plague.”

University of Technology of Compigne, 1. August 2015

Yvette Marchant looked at the filter paper in front of her in amazement. She had been closing shop before the great holidays and that meant, among other things, that the “doctorant” had to put all her glassware back into storage clean.
One of her Erlenmeyer flasks had been used all semester to work out the composition and properties of the sweet crude oil that was produced in France`s part of the Wasteland. While it was very close to WIT oil it contained more of some long-chain hydrocarbons that were usually quite rare. She had been working on refineries dregs for quite some time and the flask in front of her had seen quite a lot of that. When the more normal methods of cleaning the glass had failed Yvette had used brute force. High-test hydrogen peroxide will clean out nearly anything provided that you boil it. This takes a bit of nerves, but hey that Erlenmeyer would be expensive.
The cooking had worked as advertised and converted the black dregs that clung to the glass into a honey-like substance that could be extracted easily by applying some Acetone as solvent. This in turn left some flakes swimming inside the solution and the curious doctorant had poured the liquid over a filter paper.

She was having a good look at her catch when the paper started to catch fire at its own violation. The combination of hydrogen peroxide and acetone is not very begin and if not cooled well will provide an exothermal reaction-actually Yvette was lucky not to have exploded the flask. She was about to remove the ashes when she spotted a small green particle inside the grey flakes. A green particle that glowed fiercely while it reduced itself in size.


Return to “User Fiction”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests