An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-19 07:46am

School of the Reik Dormitory, Berlin, same time

There were some things about the meeting and the apartment that reminded Heinz Albers of his own studies. The furniture had a lot of second-hand pieces, the food was take-away pizza plus cheap red wine and the desk that was in the back part of the living room barely contained papers, books and a Laptop.
What was definitely different from his study times was the armor that hung on a rack in the same room, the hammer besides it or the stunning raven-haired beauty that fawned over his host. Not that Heinz had been celibate at the University and had met some beautiful women there, but Valten had taken a real prize it seemed. And from what the engineer had already learned she was not just a pretty facade either.

Valten himself was the same young man Heinz Albers had fought side-by-side during the siege of the Quarry-and yet he was different. Gone was the boiled-leather armor, he was now in Polo shirt and slacks. He was no longer holding his hammer at all times as it was attached to him, but ink stains indicated that he was writing a lot these days. And yet his physique had not waned in any way, actually he looked like he had gathered even more strength and his movements still had grace of a cat.

Between two bites of a deep-dish pizza Valten referred how the two had met: “Here I was getting stir-crazy from all these studies and not much exercise and another student recommends me to this gym. And there Andrea is giving lessons in taek-won-do. She gives me a split lip and a blue eye when I was gawking too much at her to pay attention. So here I am, in love with a woman which is a beautiful as she is tough-how much better can life get?”
When the laughter was running down Heinz thought it was time to go for his target. “So besides getting your ass whupped-how is life treating you?”
“Very very nice Heinz, could not be better in any way. The Emperor has granted me a stipend that allows me to concentrate on my studies without having to take job-which is a good thing as I started out as an ignorant smith and even had to learn to read and write for real. I have met great minds, I get thought by the best and a whole new universe can be seen. A strange place to be sure and frightening at times but mostly exiting. Such possibilities-I never thought.... Heinz it is as if I have always only lived in a small room in a big house and thought that it was the whole world. And now I get a glimpse at the world, just a hint, and it is grandiose. So much to learn, so much to master, it boggles the mind. The biggest challenge is choosing what is the most important to learn and what would just be nice to know.”

“Sounds great, enjoy it while it lasts. Looking back my studies were one of the best times of my life.”
“I need no looking back for that-I already know it.”
“Heard of Father Hus lately”
“Ah-that is where the wind is coming from. Did the good Father send you?”
“I would have come around on my own-scouts honor-but yes, he asked me to have a look.”
“Don`t fash yourself-better you send him some info than he worries even more-or sends somebody else. But to get back to him-he writes me letters from time to time and I answer. I just get the feeling that he does not like the answers.”
“Oh, he warns me of pitfalls and dangers that I have seen, evaluated and heartily enjoy.”
“What is he worried about?”
“What do you think-loose woman, drugs, alcohol and above all independent thinking.”

“And you checked them all?”
“Ah-weed is for people who will be potted plants in their next life, too much of this wine and Andrea kicks my ass again next morning and independent thoughts I revel in. But I have this feeling the Father is not so much interested in my Alcohol input or whether I screw myself silly.”
“But he is interested in whether he can use me in his crusade to reform the Cult of Sigmar when I a go back to the Empire or whether I will be a pawn of the Emperor in future now that I have accepted his coin.”
“Uff, I do not think that is all that Father Hus is worried about”
“No, it is not, but it is his main concern. He is a believer, a fanatic and a crusader. And taken in the right dose that is a good thing-the Cult of Sigmar needs reform badly, especially in light of the new times we all find ourselves in. But too much of that, and especially the brand Hus wants to dispense will rip the Empire apart, not heal it.”
“That sounds serious-you sure.”
“Dead sure. I have access to libraries now that would make the good Father weep. I have read up on Calvin, Hus and Lutter in your world on recommendation of my teachers. That is not a good role model to follow-there must be something else.”
“So anything I can tell Father Hus?"

“Yes, whatever he thinks-I am not Sigmar`s second coming-I am Valten, I live in a different world and I will try to become the best Valten I can be, not an ignorant fool who is fast with a Hammer. If he wants to drive corruption from the Cult and still wants my help in that if I am done here I am game. If he wants me to lead a crusade to kill all he deems deviant I am off.”
“Sounds like you need my advice like the clap”
“I need your friendship and your advice-I learn so much, but lack the background knowledge to compare it to. Andrea helps, my Tutors do as well and Father Hus will when he comes around-but you have experience in Germany and the Empire both, that will help most.”
“I`ll be glad to help, but I cannot stay here for too long”
“They do not have E-Mails where you are going?”
“Sigmar, who is the ignorant barbarian about here?”

Road near Hautmont, Bretonia, late next evening

“Make way, make way for the Seigneur Giles de Raimes, make way” The herald galloped up and down the road, clearing the way for his master. The small mule-drawn coach lingered on the road long enough that he was about to employ his whip when the driver found a small crossing into a field that did not require him to push his cart into the drainage ditch that bordered the road in most places. A couple of men and women on or at the coach watched the party rode by. None of them were deigning them a full look, but there were many glances. “Guerier et ries” was painted on the cloth of the wagons cover. Anybody who cared assumed that the Wagon belonged to a group of carneys who offered entertainment and a little bit of healing potions. While officially the helpers of the Lady were supposed to be the main healers they were often thin on the ground and expensive. So any Liege with more sense that a worm ignored them as they gave the serfs a little bit of extra hope and entertainment.

That did not mean they were well-received and anybody who wanted to give such a group a beating was entitled too, but they were tolerated. This group looked especially motely with ill-matching clothes, half of them without shoes and not enough space on the carriage for all of them, but who cared.
The group continued on it way till the evening and then made a small campsite in a copse of wood that offered a little additional shelter from the autumn chill. The small fire heated up some bacon on something that probably doubled as a shovel and something spicy was cooking in a battered pot.
The wind rustled the twigs of the surrounding trees, probably a bit too much when the biggest member of the group got up, snatched his long staff and moved to one of them. Before more could happen a darkly clad man stood up.

“Salut mes Amis-I am Rene of Valois, I think I have been announced-non?”
“Right you were you sneaky bugger. But if that is so you are supposed to say something, don`t you?”
“Pardon, what?”
“Ah, you have to excuse good Andy Thrope here, he is still catching up with his Breton. I am Jean of Dubois and as Andy tried to say you are supposed to give Parole.”
“Oh, that. “Liberte”
“That is right-oh “Egalite” by the way. Sit down man and get yourself something to eat.”
Some munching later the swarthy newcomer found more time to explain himself. “Marquis de Valois gave word that you would help serfs who wanted to leave from Bretonia-is he right?”
“Damn right-ah oui.”
“Good. The Marquis is known to be quite good with the serfs so during the last two years a lot of runaways have come to his estates. It is hard to feed and hide them and so he would be more than happy if you can lead a group of them to Allemange and a better life.”
“Sounds good to me-how many, can they all walk and when will they be there?”
“42 overall-mostly adults with a few children, but all can walk well or are small enough to be carried easily. They could be here in a few days.”
“We go to Hautmont first and make our show-we should be back in 6 days then. Be there then.”
“That we will do.”

Berlin Apartment, a little later

Sophie Wagenstein put the final paragraph into the file she had been working on. “To sum it up all the loss of life could have been avoided of German armed forces would not have been in places where they do not belong and if they would not have placed high-powered explosives in the hand of unschooled barbarians. We are to blame for this disaster and no amount of disaster aid and development will make things right.”
Ah fuck, it sounded badly even to her ears and did not sum up what Joakim had told her at all, but would play well with the newspaper that was offering her an internship. But probably it would be better to think things over a little and then to correct.

Getting back into the bedroom she did not go back into bed but watched the quiet shape of the soldier there in the moonlight coming through the window. The man seemed so much at rest now, quiet and relaxed. It was hard to connect this picture to the man driven by what he had seen and done during the last months. He had not been boastful-and it looked like he had no need for that. Instead he had been wounded by doing his very best-and his very best not being enough to keep so many from being maimed and killed. He knew intellectually that this was not his fault-but his heart would take a much longer time to arrive at the same conclusion, if ever. Their long conversations seemed to have helped, but what she was about to do would likely open new wounds. Fuck.
She watched the man she had made passionate love with for more than an hour before pulling her shoulders up in a melancholic shrug. Some things could not be helped.

Looking at her computer again and reading what she had wrought earlier made the decision easier.
"We are to blame for this disaster and no amount of disaster aid and development will make things right.”
“Nobody can be sure what caused the flooding of the Skaven warren under Altdorf. Nobody could doubt that this was a devastating disaster that befell the Skaven. But at the same time nobody and nothing forced the Skaven to attack the citizens of Altdorf and to massacre as many of them as they could before they were put down. Even if they believed rightly or wrongly that they were under attack they could have charged the human armed forces in and around Altdorf and could have made an effort into saving their civilians. But they did not-their final act in this disaster for everybody was an orgy of bloodshed and destruction that really was not needed. An orgy that could have been much worse but for many good women and men who did their best to protect and heal.
This is their story.”

It took her half of the night to write this, but it felt far easier than before. When she had to correct “wounded” three times in a row she decided that enough was enough and slipped back into her bedroom. By that time the birds were signing and the sun started to rise. No matter, she was pretty sure her lover would sleep for a couple of more hours. She had quite a smile on her face when she drifted into sleep.

Landungsbrücken, Hamburg, next morning

The construction workers were erecting a wall inside the entrance that in earlier times led into the Elbe Tunnel. Built a hundred years ago the tunnel that connected the City Center with the harbor and yards on the other side of the Elbe had been a mechanical marvel when it was finished. Built deep under the river in unstable loam and sand it used a couple of elevators to bring lorries and cars into the tunnel proper or lift them back up at the other side.
Now it would have to be renovated from the ground up-and that would have cost a cool 100 million Euro. Before the Weltensprung that might have been doable, especially because the old tunnel was a renowned landmark, but in a Germany that was struggling to survive it would not work out.
It was another remnant of a world that was no longer open to the Germans, but need must when the devil drives.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-19 07:48am

Ibrahim Dürr´s office, Wiesbaden, next day

Ibrahim Dürr contemplated if it had something to do with the shared family name or if above average magical talent made you eccentric or you had to be to begin with.
Unlike yesterday with the informative talk with Gregor, today he had a likewise informative talk about magic with a Günter Koch with equally unusual gestus as his resident computer wiz. Still, there were differences. Gregor Koch was a bit of a messy, Günter was more classy, but deliberately special when it came to clothes. The apprentice sorcerer actually wore stuff Gregor would never wear nor recognise. The pointy, elegant shoes had patent lace tips, the black jeans were designer trousers, Ibrahim estimated Trussardi. The blue-hued shirt was from Versace, the neckcloth was coloured like the Winds of Magic. This bandana showed a person learning magic, but still had not decided which wind to follow. The most eye-catching piece of cloth was the coat Günter wore. A retro-designed heavy leather officer´s coat. The special thing about his complete set of clothes was the casualness how Günter wore them.

He looked more like a police officer of old than many of Ibrahim´s collegues and the Kommisar doubted that it was chance. But what mattered more was the magical expertise of the apprentice. Günter Koch was one a few Germans in the accelerated, advanced program set up by the Imperial Mages and his talent and knowledge showed. The information about the Banshees was really good, but Ibrahim was now more interested in the magic of the Dark Elves.

"The Darkies, well, they are good at Necromancy. Really good, but wasteful."


"Magic can be done in various ways. Taking what you need and form it or just grab the Winds and compress it into the form you want. While using Dark Magic always has a bit of grabing the Winds which are present, the true masters can make it into a Dark Art.
The Darkies normally sacrifice slaves to power stronger spells or rituals, far more than are 'needed'. On the contrary, practicioners like Zacharias or Nagash do not need mass sacrifice. The Dark Elves are a danger to all societies."

French Occupation Zone, Wasteland, Earth, another time

The red painted Container sat pretty much alone in the marshy part of the Wasteland. It bore the logo of the “Compagnie d'Exploration Pétrolière“ and contained a couple of apprehensive engineers. “So you still think this is a big waste of time?”
“Yes-why should any deposit be here? Makes no sense”
“So, this Wasteland makes no sense anyway. Might as well try here.”
“Yes, but why here of all places. I wouldn`t know of any other place where we search, just here.”
“Beats me. I asked the same question and just got “the location came from the very highest source” whatever that means.”
“Well, no matter. We go in 3..2..1” The rumble of explosions outside negated any need for a continued count. Lots of geophones listened for the echoes that were reflected from various strata in the ground below them. In the old days it would have taken quite some time before any results were in, but with much faster computers the picture began to build up soon.
“Merde-somebody knew more than he was letting on.”
“Looks that way.”

During the next weeks a series of drills established a more accurate picture of the geology and a second set of blasting was conducted, this time with far more geophones to give a 3D-picture. Then the drilling began for real and it became obvious that the French part of the Wasteland was on top of an oil field. A big oil field-bigger than what was left in the North Sea, bigger than many Middle East fields-it was huge. Furthermore it was well pressurized and it yielded light, sweet crude that went well into the refineries.

All of a sudden the French state had a huge influx of money into its coffers which played well into a slowly recovering European economy. The French President was ecstatic as he might well be-his popularity soared immensely. He had no way of showing the public that the exploration was done due to info he had provided-that would have raised awkward questions. But the rising tide lifted all ships-his included.
It was funny how juicy scandals had weakened several of his closest rivals, especially as there were no ties between the Scandals and info from the Elysee-where the info was coming from nobody seemed to know. President Hollande himself had an idea who might be behind it but was surely not telling.

This was the sum of knowledge that scientists on Earth had about warpstone-nobody knew anything and so nobody checked for it. And so when the Renaults and Citroens exhausted the petrol distilled from the new oil the fumes of warpstone were dissipating through the environment, introducing magic into a world that had never known it to any big extend.

The warp reverberated with a strange sound-the closest analogy in human terms would be a chuckle issued by a beak of ships size at the sound level of a landslide.

Despoiler Battleship “Fortress of Agony” Hurikan System, Another Universe, Another time

Eldred Skyrax craved sensations and grand emotions like any other follower of Slaneesh. Whereas other looked for these in the depths of creative torture, boundless sexuality or the consumption of ever more powerful drugs he had found another way to serve his needs. Scores of the finest wires went from his shaven skull and met a jeweled port of the finest design. Yet he was no simple wirehead stimulating his pleasure centers till they burned out. He had devised ways to route the data provided by the ancient senor suite of the great battleship directly into his brain where nerve clusters had formed to interpret them.
While his body was surrounded by several kilometers of war engine, meters of armor and a multitude of Chaos Worshipers he saw himself alone in the Abyss, taking in the Universe directly. He saw the light of the systems sun and its reflections, he heard the chatter of the many ships that were either refitting or patrolling the system. He felt the caress of many surveillance and targeting systems on his alloy “skin” from several of these ships and the sprawling network of orbital fortresses that surrounded the planet below like an iron halo. It was glorious and he could have enjoyed it forever. It made him the ultimate sensor operator for a warship-provided he could coaxed into paying attention to his meat body and his place in the crew.

Eldred put in a filter that spared him the message that was broadcast by a nearby “Slaughter” class cruiser, broadcast by the ship, not its crew that was. That ship, together with a “Murder” class and several “Iconoclast” destroyers made up the Fleet of Exalted Grand Admiral Credeli. It was one of the several fleets that had thrown in their lot with the Iron Warriors and patrolled this system in exchange for docking rights and other payments. Personally Skyrax despised the dour Chaos Marines that were so willingly cutting themselves of the sensations of the flesh, but nobody could deny their fighting prowess.
This system was as safe a refuge as most if not much better and allowed the Chaos Raiders and pirates a base for rest, refit and the consumption of their ill-gotten loot. The Slanesh-worshiper was looking at the emanations of a far-away quasar which pulsed just in the right way to rouse his lust when much closer and much more immediate sensations took his attention away.

More than a hundred thousand kilometer away-next door so to speak-space under pressure from “outside”, bent and shifted in contortions and wondrous colors till it ruptured and gave a tantalizing glimpse into the warp. An immense ship emerged from the short-lived portal. At least as long as the “Fortress of Agony” it was about as massive, if not more so. Less beautifully detailed than his vessel it was mostly red and sported the cog design of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The sensor operator was baffled-what the hell were the cogboys doing here. And-even more puzzling-why did they send a Mechanicus Arc. He had been a sensor operator for several centuries but had never seen one in the many raids of the “Fortress”-some of his shipmates considered the Battleships that were said to be on an eternal quest for lost technologies mere myths.
His fingers moved and his vocal apparatus worked without him being really aware of it. Such things were unconscious reflexes by now. He knew that klaxons would sound throughout the ships and that messages were exchanged with the other ships of the squadron.

Around him servitors and crew were taking positions, sensor systems were activated, weapons were loaded which ammunition or charged, shields powered up and fighters were readied in the Despoilers roomy hangars. None of this managed to impress itself on Eldred who was bound in speechless wonder when more and more warp portals opened and disgorged ship upon ship. The misguided worshippers of the Carrion god were making a real incursion into this system. This was no raid, no misjump-this was a major attack.
None of this would have fazed the Chaos officer so much-what held his mind in thrall were the core of the enemy fleet. Mechanicus Arcs were so rare than many held them to be mere space stories-and there were 5 of them in clear view.
They were not alone-they were accompanied by other Battleships, scores of cruisers and shoals of destroyers. There seemed to be a squadron of Space Marine ships as well, holding back markedly. All the wonder could not keep him from noticing that the ships were turning their armored prows into his direction.

Mechanicus Arc “Ommnisiah Victory”, nearly same place and time

The Venerated Arc Magos Hel Karbor had been human once, but that was hard to tell by now. He was covered by a robe and cowl but even so the proportions were off, the many mechanical limbs that were waiving around him, claws that replaced the feet and the whirring sounds that emanated from his torso made him look more like a robot than human-and he liked it that way. His face was his way to express irony-it showed porcelain-white even features of eldritch beauty and was totally unmoving as it was a painted mask on steel.
Currently he watched the fleet unfold from the warp and registered that nearly everybody had shown up at the appointed time and place. Using a rally point in a nearby system had paid off and from the enemy`s disposition it looked like they had not been detected prematurely because of that.
The holosphere in front of him became more crowded by the second when then sensors detected the enemy. There were a lot of ships in the system and even more fortifications could be discerned, yet most of them were far away from him, others were obviously not ready to fight so he could concentrate his forces on those that were close and ready to fight.
Lines of runes on the screen before him told the story of a successful connection between his ships fire control and that of his squadron-this was managed by an arcane device of archeao-tech that had been found millennia ago. How to make more was no longer known, as was the reasoning that had made its finder call it “Aegis”

Any starship of appreciable size was protected by void shields, often multiple ones that kept small impacts and energy weapons off their hulls, a dire necessity when travelling at speeds that could be described in percentages of C. Even more useful in combat they kept the hulls of ships from most harm unless they were overwhelmed-and that was best accomplished by the simultaneous fire of several ships. Taking this task from feeble organic minds and putting it to an electronic solution suited the Mechanicum fine-just how to swing this at the distances of space eluded them so far. But maybe it would not do so any more very soon; there had been an incredible discovery.
For now the Aegis on his ship would have to do.
One of his Mechandrites touched an icon inside the holosphere, coloring it red-that one would make a good beginning.

Several kilometers away from the archmagos to the bow of the mighty ship rites were chanted, incense was burned, sanctified oil spread, valves opened and fuses set. Finally the orders were relayed and connections made. The real firing order was given by the Aegis system.
Inside a barrel with a caliber of several meters and explosion fit to level a small city started the shell down the barrel. When it travelled downwards it was accelerated by coils built into the walls until it had reached a speed where relativistic effects were easily measurable. It was fired from a ship with a mass of millions of tons-the shot decelerated the Arc quite a lot and shook everybody on board like mere rats.

The shell crossed the distance to the target within seconds. Blind to its surroundings it could only count time, which it did with infinite precision. When the time came a small ball of plutonium was compressed by a carefully shaped charges placed around it. The fission event that followed yielded a couple of kilotons of energy, but this was just the burster charge for bigger things to come. The shell was mostly filled by Bucky Balls-Carbon molecules shaped like a soccer ball. Inside each atom rested an atomic nucleus with a negative charge, repelled by the electron shells of the carbon atoms.
When confronted with the energy of the fission reaction the Bucky Balls turned into plasma-and released their cores of antimatter. More than a ton of antimatter reacted immediately with the same amount of “normal” matter, yielding energies normally associated with stellar events.

Five such shells detonated simultaneously between the ships of Exalted Grand Admiral Credeli`s fleet. The sensors in all nearby ships were overwhelmed for seconds, but when the plot cleared again it showed utter destruction. Both cruisers had lost their shields and the “Murder” class had scorch marks that spoke of more damage. Several of the Iconoclasts were rapidly dissipating gas now and whatever small craft the Despoiler had managed to deploy before the shells arrived were nowhere to be found.
Hel Karbor went down a menu of his internal systems and triggered an artificial gland that secreted a mixture of chemicals into his bloodstream. What was left of his organic brain felt pride and joy and even the crystal parts had intense activity. All of that lasted for 2.9 seconds before he went at the holosphere again, marking icons in sequence.

Despoiler Battleship “Fortress of Agony” same time

Eldred Skyrax was still speechless, but this time not at the beauty of the universe but for the utter destruction that had been meted out so quickly. He had felt the burn of the explosions against the “Fortress” hull if his own skin were burned and relished the sensation. Unfortunately the explosions had also destroyed numerous sensors he relied on and he had to reroute lines, open shutters which hid replacements and switch to other sources.
When the picture stabilized again he did not like what he saw any. The Mechanicum Arcs had formed into a wall that aimed to pass his squadron, planning to rake his ships with their broadsides at close range. The Chaos ships outranged their imperial counterparts considerably but there would only be a short window where they could inflict harm before there would be return fire. He could already “see” the streams of fighters and bombers that were catapulted from the “Fortress” bays, they made their way towards the enemy. While the “Murder” class cruiser turned with the “Fortress” the “Killfrenzy” accelerated towards the enemy. The damage suffered by the cruiser obviously had angered the demon that suffused the ship so much that it forgot about squadron or sensible tactics.

The sensor operator saw shoals of Torpedoes that were fired by imperial cruisers speed towards his ship, saw fighter squadrons peel off to intercept as many of them as possible. He also saw the many close-in defense systems of the Arcs clobbering the bomber squadrons that approached unescorted and the few survivors failed to deal appreciable damage.
The weapon batteries on all three ships went out, but only the “Fortress” and the “Murder” coordinated targets, the fire of the “Killfrenzy” was wasted on the shields of another Arc.
The weapons employed by the Chaos ships were mighty to behold. Energies that would suffice to glass the surface of a big country in one salvo were projected against shields that were made to stop exactly this kind of onslaught. No normal eye could have witnessed it but Eldred saw and felt the titanic discharges of energy, the deflection of powerful strikes and the overload that claimed shield of shield. He dared to hope when the protection of an arc failed in an explosion of colors and more strikes impacting on the bow of the craft. Yet, when the debris cleared it became only too obvious that only armor had been damaged.

And then the enemy was close enough to reply. No shields were in the way of the shots and the sensor operator was treated to the sight of the “Killfrenzy” which was the target of the Mechanicums wrath. The ship was struck from the opposite side so at first she seemed to be surrounded by a shining halo before she started to glow on his side as well. She did not do so for long, her eternal signal of “Killfrenzy” stopped when an explosion took half the ship.
The next salvo from both Chaos survivors struck a ship which no longer had shields. Most hits just ablated armor, but some of them destroyed weapons mounts and sensors. The strike killed the equivalent of a city in crewmembers-and the ship fought on.
Eldred was amazed at the Close-in defense of the cogboys-so many weapons and some had so much range they could actually also defend nearby ships in the same squadron. No wonder the bomber attacks had been a waste.
The return fire received by the squadron concentrated on the damaged “Murder” and the results were even more devastating. Instead of the explosion of some warheads the warp engine malfunctioned drastically, ripping open the thin surface of reality and opening the warp to the world for a short time. Eldred was always hungry for new sights and had an intense look at his future-and did not like it any.

Battle Barge “Holmgang”

Loren Grimmar watched the plot in front of it with quiet intensity, only letting of a howl when the last two enemy ships in their way annihilated each other. “I did not know the walking spanners had it in them, but this looks good. Shall we lay course for Hurikan II?”
“Don´t dismiss them too much Loren-I heard things about their civil war on Mars that made even me cringe. But they hold up their end of the bargain all right-lets get to our part. Leman Rus turned to Captain Ulfgar. “Set course to Hurikan. Make sure the cogboys do not get too far ahead.”
“Aye Aye Partiarch”

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-19 07:49am

Premises of “Laurenz and Klement” Altdorf, afternoon of the next day

Neidhard Klement put the postage stamp on the letter himself. He could have an employee doing it, but he still marveled at this new service, Instead of sending messages and letters and paying the courier by the recipient these days you paid up front.
The bundling of many letters and parcels for most of the trip allowed for a very very cheap price compared to what he was used to in the past-and the speed was simply amazing. Letters he send to his business partner in Hamburg arrived no later than 2 days after he sent them-how fast was that. Actually letters to much closer destinations still could take much longer-where the railways did not reach yet, the speed slowed to what he was used to.
If something was really urgent to a remote location he could write a letter on a special lightweight paper and pay a hefty surcharge-then the air mail would deliver it at what seemed like lightning speed.

The “Storch” planes of the “Kaiserlich-deutsche Post” would land in the smallest places and started to bring very far places in the Empire much closer to the center.
Some of the newest Storch pilots were even from the Empire now and of course all boys-including his son damnit-wanted to become pilots.

He himself liked the small precise pictures shown by the stamps, like small pieces of art-he had heard of people who collected them and could understand that. Actually he waited for a parcel send from Hamburg, said to contain a special book for collecting stamps.

“Knock Knock”
“Master Klement, your 11:00 appointment is there.”
“Bring her in please and bring some tea.”
“Yes Master” His secretary brought in a 40-ish pudgy blonde women bearing an medium-sized parcel into the traders office.
“Good morning Mrs. Winkler, nice to see you again.”
“And a good morning to you Master Klement. I bring you the greetings of my husband who is unfortunately not able to attend. He asks if all is well with you and your pocket calculator?”
“Oh yes, we are well, among other things as we have taken his “double entry bookkeeping” up early, now it is required of all traders in Altdorf by the damn thieves-err the tax office. Many of my competitors had to pay catch-up and engage costly German advisors.”
“That is nice to hear. I still have very fond memories of the weekend on your barque.”
“I hope so. Now, you told me you have a business proposal for me.”
“Yes, I do. I think with all the changes in the Empire there is now a market for an old machine that would be new here. I have brought a small version of one.”

Opening her packet she took a strange little device out, it features a stand, a drum with an outside gear and a crank with another gear which gripped into it.
“What is this?”
“This is a hand-operated washing machine. You put the laundry and the soap in here and then fill with water with the right temperature here-then you turn this crank for 20 minutes and you are done. It allows the user to wash at a much higher temperature while using less detergent and gives much better results than standard hand washing. Also the fabrics last longer than if you use a washing board. Just do not use it on silk or brocade, you would not like the results.
This one is mostly plastic, but similar and bigger models can be easily made from bronze and wood or zinc-plated steel”
“Uff, this is not really my area of expertise, but whom do you think you can sell this to?”
“Oh, first off there are all the Farmers in the railroad villages: They are rich enough to have several sets of clothing and they have received so many German lessons about keeping things clean-and by now they see these lessons pay off.
By tradition these farmers do not have many servants-and certainly no maidservants. So if you give the wives something to make washing easier then they will pester their husbands to buy one-like with the stove craziness during the last year.”
“That would be one market that I can see too-any other you have in mind?”
“Oh there will be enough burghers in the bigger cities who have similar needs these days. Now that clothing is so much cheaper and there are more paying jobs there should be. And then there is the order of Shallya…”
“What about them?”
“Oh, they like to cook their laundry to kill the germs. And believe me; with this machine it is much easier.”
“So you think your husband would recommend them.”
“If the machines are well made and priced-yes”
“Then we need to talk to somebody I know in Nuln. Tell you what-you show us how this works, leave it here for a while and if it my servants say it helps then we go ahead.”
“Is one week enough for a decision”
“Easily. And now please come, my wife is dying to talk to you. She has seen pictures of the fashions in Berlin and wants to know….”

Woods close to Hautmont, later at the evening

Andy Thrope was parting the shrubs in front of him very very carefully-that kind of movement could be seen too easily. Yet for all the care there was nobody to watch and so the former Englishman continued on his way. He had averaged about 500 meters per hour during the last hours and c considered himself recklessly fast. A few more meters and he would conclude the second round he had taken through the woods that held the campsite of the serfs.
At least there seemed no armsmen hidden in the woods-that was good already. Lifting his Night vision Googles-ex East German Armed Forces vintage, heavy and temperamental-he studied the group of serfs again that huddled in small groups on the clearing.
Even when he lit the scene up with the integrated infrared light none of them had obvious arms besides some staffs, there was no concentration of too-fit men-probably this group was legit.
Pulling his microphone out of his shirt he pushed the “to talk” button twice-then twice more after a short break. There was a short “klick” for an answer and 15 minutes later he watched Jean walk into the clearing as if he had no concern in the world.

“Bonjour mes amis” brought a lot of people to their feet in alarm, but no daggers were pulled and no alarm was given. Andy Thorpe watched many greetungs and introductions, Gallic embraces and expensive gestures before he went back and summoned the rest of the crew.
When he arrived Jean had already convinced to go deeper into the woods as the “Musketeers” had to apply camouflage to everybody, and for that a little light was necessary.

Road close to Hautmont, next morning

“Make way, make way for the Marquis de Lesac” The herald who cleared the way for his master had already cussed the slow-poke driver of a small entertainer group as they had the gall to drive to a point where they could stash their carriage on level ground.
This group was proceeding on foot and was at least as slow to leave the road as the entertainers but here the herald kept his distance carefully and his whip stayed at his side. The sad figures which slouched down the road wore shabby clothes of all description, but all featured full-length sleeves, hoods and had either wrapped their hands in rags or wore some sort of gloves.
The faces were in the shadow of their hoods anyway, but still masks and rags hid the faces from a sun. The Herald was glad for this as the glimpses of blackened fingers and boils that were visible wherever skin was exposed was a ghastly sight. Several of the afflicted wore staffs with small bells attached and one beat a board with a stick repeatedly.
The rest was heard in a hoarse chorus “Unclean, Unclean, beware of the plague, unclean” and that made him keep distance better than most other things he could think of.

Andy Thrope was regularly beating on his board, looking downwards in a show of dejected suffering when a huge shadow fell upon him. When he lifted his eyes sufficiently he saw that the shadow was cast by a huge knight on an equally huge charger. The knight watched him for what seemed to be eternity before pushing his horse on. One of the servants stopped a second later and dropped some coins at the Englishman`s feet. Andy made a show of getting to his knees and gargling around “merci” with a stone placed in his mouth to simulate a damaged tongue.
The long sleeves of his robe hid the extended middle fingers well enough. When the party was past the horizon everybody breathed easier and soon thereafter a small lunch was taken inside a conveniently placed copse of wood.
“Two more days like this and then we hit the wilderness. We can change into something less smelly and do the rest in style.”
“I am greatly looking forward to that.”

Battle Barge Holmgang, Hurikan System, another Universe, another time

A Battle Barge has a mass far upwards of a million tons and any force that can move it at all must be great indeed. Anything that shakes the warship sufficiently to overcome its internal dampers was titanic by definition.
Currently even Leman Rus was gripping a handrail for stability as the ship around him was experiencing nearly regular tremors to rival an earthquake. So far the void shields of the sturdy Battle Barge had mostly held and the thick armor had absorbed what they could not, but whether this nice state of affairs would last was anybody`s best guess.

Of course things had not been so easy as hoped after the first skirmish. It had taken the augurs (a small voice inside his head persisted to call them sensors) several hours to show the major combatants in this system and there had been more of them than hoped. Actually there were enough enemy ships to overwhelm even the Imperial Task Force of Astartes, Mechanicum and Space Fleet. The only chance at victory lay in overwhelming the scattered groups of enemy warships in detail before they could coalesce into an overwhelming whole. The all-out attack that this meant was suiting his instincts fine, yet the hours that lay between each battle and the lack of own involvement was testing his patience to the max.

One of the factors that helped him putting up a straight face and not getting into everybody`s hair was indeed that small voice that propped up from time to time. It had become less these days but it was still there-and he did not mind it at all.
Like nearly all Astartes Leman Rus had the ability to sift through the memories of the fallen of which he could consume the brain of. A rarely used capability it could be useful in learning new languages or gave glimpses into enemy`s intentions. Normally these memories did not last long or made big impressions. Yet Leman Rus had been so mentally empty after his aeon-long stay in the warp that the memories of the German had an impact out of proportion. The Patriarch was pretty sure that he had taken some personality traits from the Eastern Friesian paratrooper and while the memories were fading with time he was equally sure something was left.
In a sense a German Paratrooper was watching one of the biggest Space Battles ever through the eyes of the Patriarch of the Space Wolves.

That view currently was the running battle between a “Desolator” Battleship, a couple of “Carnage” and “Slaughter” cruisers and their escorts against the Space Wolf task force. While they had the upper hand in firepower and two of the Chaos Cruiser were slowly falling behind for engine damage the battle was by far not one sided.
The Arc “Omnisiah`s Wisdom” had lost her shields to two sustained salvos from the Chaos Warships who finally had managed to coordinate their fire. Most had vandalized the armor but gaps and rents showed where even that armor had been insufficient. Weapons no longer tracked, actinic arcs showed where energies were misdirected and the ship continually operated her lateral thrusters to keep accelerating in a straight line with her sisters.
“Captain Ulfgar-we are too far away to use our Bombardment Cannon-can you bring us closer?”
“That will mean more hits Patriarch.”
“Shall I try to shield the Arc then?”
“Make it so.”
“Helm-course change to assigned coordinates. All hands-brace for impact-repeat Brace for impact”

The Forces needed to move a battle barge are titanic indeed and inside the ship small suns were fed inside magnetic fields that would rip a human apart if here were to come too close. These reactors were pushed to produce even more power that was fed into the great engines and the shields. The “Holmgang” managed to put itself between the “Omnisiah`s Wisdom” and her enemies just in time to catch most of the salvo that was meant for her.
Leman Rus was no stranger to space battles, but the violence that gripped the Battle Barge was like nothing he had experienced yet. Outside of the ship great streams of energy that would have been sufficient to vaporize a small moon were either directed in other ways or sent to the warp. Yet, the shield generators were never meant to take this kind of punishment for long and one by one they switched off before they overloaded with fatal consequences for their ship.

Only the last shots of the salvo actually contacted the hull of the Holmgang. Battle Barges were slow to accelerate and compared to their size their armament was actually not so much, but they were armored to an incredible amount. Given that their purpose was to deliver the Space Marines on board unharmed that made sense and their armor overall was at least as good as the very thickest on the already well-protected arcs.
Meter-thick plates of Adamantium were ejected into the void, sensors vaporized and whole departments were unable to function for long seconds due to shock damage-but there was no wholesale hull breaches.
Picking himself up the Space Wolf Patriarch watched the seeming chaos on his bridge when crewmembers pulled themselves out of the shock of impact, displays reset themselves and reports were coming in. A look at the damage board showed that so far his orders had not done appreciable damage-but the next salvo might be well different.
All shields had shut down and they would be dead lucky if 2 of them would be working again when the next impacts were due. Still before the enemy was ready again the Desolator was finally in range of the bombardment cannon. Their main purpose was to hurl huge shells at ground fortifications and as such the shells would fly on for all eternity when launched. Yet in a space battle the chances of hitting something were minute when the range was more than the bare minimum sanity required-not that this was applicable of the Space Wolves anyway-so they were used up close.

And the Desolator was very close-to an unaided eye it would be a mere moving light, but the screens of the Holmgang`s bridge showed the majestic ship in brutal detail. Many millennia ago it had been a ship build and crewed by the Empire, but now its mass was in the service of other powers. Sigils on the hull made for queasy stomachs, many additions changed the majestic spires and flying buttresses of the original into a nightmare of sharp edges and shapes that seemed as off as an Escher painting.
What remained was a brutal firepower that could lay waste to entire worlds. The battle had not left the ship untouched, like the Holmgang it had temporarily lost its shields and some areas of the hull were blackened by previous hits.
The bombardment cannons were fired with minute intervals as not to destroy their own ship but managed to shake the Barge nearly as badly as the weapons impacts had before. The results at the target were much different. The heavy shells were difficult to employ, costly and not the ideal weapon in space. But when they hit they were often able to punch through the heaviest armor as if it were not there and then exploded inside the target.
What seemed like small sparks on the targets hull were in fact acre-sized sparks that denoted these hits. Armor and systems were ejected outwards, whole sections went dark, lit up again, went dark and stayed that way, weapons ceased moving-but the Battleship accelerated like nothing happned.
The crash of hits and the alarms that went off on the bridge of the “Holmgang” showed that the new focus of the enemy was the Battle Barge. Shaken at least as badly as before the damage board changed colors from green to yellow and red in many places and more reports came in that told of sections open to space.

The gamble had not paid of-the Desolator was still there and now the “Holmgang” was the center of the enemy`s wrath. Leman Rus was about to address the Captain when he found that worthy looking intensely at the enemy battleship.
Leman could not fathom what Ulfgar saw there, yet it must mean something to the experienced space warrior.
“Helm-take us in more close-much more close. Engines-I need all you have got and then some. And get these shields up again, Kraken may take you.”
The ships frame groaned when even its sturdy frame came under forces they were not really designed to take and the picture in the screens had to be adjusted for sight all the while as the closing range allowed for a lower magnification. By now even Leman could see what the Captain had sensed earlier-the infrared picture of the Desolator showed ever increasing temperatures. One of the hits had probably damaged the cooling system beyond quick repair and the reactors that powered the great war machine now killed it.

Unable to fire, unable to accelerate or change vector the bulk of the desolator protected the Holmgang from the fire of its squadron mates whether it wanted or not. It could not do so totally, but the number of hit registering on the Battle Barge was markedly reduced. The surviving sensors showed that several Mechanicum cruisers had attached themselves to the mad charge and the ceaseless work of men and Astartes posthumans brought the Shields back on line.
When the Battle Barge emerged from the sensor shadow offered by the dying Chaos ship Ulfgar let of a howl that raised hair even among the Space Wolves and hit the tab that ordered his cogitators to fire with a resounding clang.
The Holmgang and the cruisers that followed had all targeted the “Carnage” that was the first to emerge behind the destroyed battleship. While the Battle Barge had fired first its shells were not as fast as the Plasma barrage issued by the Mechanicum cruisers, so the shields of the cruiser were out by the time they hit. They arrived together with the lance beams from the same cruisers and went through the armor like through tissue paper. The mighty Chaos ship simply became dark and started to loose parts.

Twenty minutes later the Holmgang and the other ships were back in position.
Message from Hel Karbor to Leman Rus:
“Stop playing around and taking unnecessary risks-without you this mission fails”
Message from Arcmagos Stf-2b, Captain “Omnissiah`s Victory” to Leman Rus
“We can continue our service to the Omnissiah-thank you-just do not do it again”
Replay from Leman Rus to both
Filtered by software as non-pertinent and anatomically difficult to impossible

The good news was that that this had been the largest enemy task force left in the system and many of those left knew a losing prospect when they saw one and set course for the outer system where they could enter the warp safely.
That did, of course, not keep ships showing the mark of Khorne to attack without much tactical sense or reason, usually they were vaporized before they could do any greater damage but in one case they managed to board the “Mars” battlecruiser “Iterant Truth”. The Wolf`s offer of assistance was curtly rejected and as could be expected the crew of the cruiser was able to kill the Khornates in a series of intense but brief skirmishes in the ships passageways.
As the Chaos Marines were too bend on close combat and bloodletting they managed to kill an inordinate amount of crew before they were finally put down but neglected to sabotage any critical equipment. The battlecruiser`s Nova cannon and the squadrons of fighters and bombers that rotated through his bays helped to defend the imperial Task force till the end.

Having achieved local superiority the imperial ships “climbed upwards” from the ecliptic plane. There were still orbital fortresses to reduce before more could be done and it would not do for any misses to be backstopped by the planet.
Leman Rus did not need much sleep, like any Astartes but debated with himself whether he should retire. The fixed defenses could have played an important role if they would have been closely coordinated with the various fleets, but as his allies had caught the enemy out of position or his own instincts worked against him that option was gone.
The impressive short range firepower of the fortification could be outranged by the Mechanicum Arcs , the torpedo (guided missile-silence Jens, will ya?) capacity was too small to overwhelm point defenses and the small crafts were already depleted by the look of things.
It would be a good time to retire, let the professionals do their job and get back once the ground assault came due.

Next night, 700 meters AGL, Sea close to Ulthuan

Hartmut Klawiter was roughly as busy as a one-armed wall paper hanger. He had to use a hand-held laser range finder, a temperamental NVG of Soviet manufacture and a wireless set. On top of that he had to keep all call signs in his head.
That he was so busy was a good think as it kept him from being afraid too much-and sitting on a Black Dragon that could spew poisonous fumes or swallow him whole piloted by a sadistic arrogant Druchii who would kill him quickly in his better moods if allowed.
But as he was far too concentrated on his job not even his somewhat queasy stomach intruded and he pushed the to-talk button of his 70 cm wireless set with a gloved hand.

“Flyboy to Flag actual-we see 3 groups of ships, all with a course towards you. First is 5 ships, 2 medium 3 small sized, speed roughly 12 knots course 35 degree, second is 3 medium sized ships at 11 knots…”
He was one of the few members of the “Schwarze Schaar” who could speak Druchii well enough to be understandable via Wireless and needed no translator. No German was crazy enough to go on an Druchii ship without a lot of backup he could trust, let alone a fleet commanded by Admiral Malik. Ever since his humiliation at the hands of the “Task Force Hag Graef” he hated Germans with a vengeance. The chances of having an unfortunate accident were just too high.
Said Admiral was currently looking at the newest piece of equipment installed into his hydra ship “Karmond`s Spear”. It was piece of Glass held by a sturdy frame. On the other side of it a wireless operator and two helpers were penciling the positions of his fleet and the enemy`s ships with a strange looking pen that could be wiped off.
He had been very skeptical when he was first told how this would work but was a believer by now. This made visualizing the battle look so easy like the war games he had played when the world was young. All very nice-if it were not so dependent on the bleeding Germans.

It had taken some trial and error, but by now the Germans had installed some of their innovations on his flotilla. How stupid it had seemed at first-who had ever heard of a stiff sail with a profile of a birds wing or a sail ballooning like a wind-filled sack when the wind came from astern.
It was a good thing that the first trials were conducted when he was not around-he might have done unfortunate things to this Thorsten, son of Breitkopf. But when some basic mistakes were eliminated the ship could nearly fly, or at least it seemed that way. And now he had a choice of tactical opportunities like a gourmand in front of the buffet.
“We take this group-we can kick them out and are still leeward of the second one. That one will never catch up till we are at the Bay of Drusilla. Plot a course for an intercept.”
When he stepped back his staff got busy using the wireless sets to contact the other ships. He was aware what the Germans charged for the lease of their sets and was sure it was worth every gram of gold in a night battle. No need for highly-visible signal lamps, no ships lost in a fast turn that would show up the next morning if at all and a much more detailed set of orders and reports that could be relayed.
The combination of aerial recon and wireless communication allowed him to leave just a minimal guard with the convoy he was protecting and going after the enemy`s blockading squadron one-by-one.

It took more than an hour to get sufficiently close to their decadent cousins, by that time he was on the bridge and tried to spot the enemy with the glasses he had purchased at such costs. He was about to doubt the reports he got when first the crow`s nest gave a bearing and then the masts of the ships appeared above the horizon for him.
“Hared-signal the squadron-Enemy in sight. Captain Hirach-I suggest we assume Battle Stations, but silently.”
The Admiral watched as sand was distributed on the deck as to soak up blood and keep footing, watched as the boats were lowered into the water and towed behind-they would be cast off when the real fighting started. Inside the ship bolts were retrieved from their lockers and in Maliks field of view a last coat of grease was applied to the Bolt Throwers.
Lifting his glass again he found his first estimate to be true-3 Eagle Ships were making a line towards the convoy but were now changing course towards him. Normally they would be more than a challenge to his 5 hydra ships, but he had hopes that the upgrades his ships had received would give him an upper hand.

He watched the magazines of the repeating catapults being loaded with 5 bolts each with an additional one that went into the slot. “Take the clamps off you dolts, otherwise we might not bother at all.”
“6 clamps removed Sir”
The rating who had received the job presented 6 small metal clamps to the noble that was in charge of the “Spears” artillery.
“Very well-carry on. Wind her up.”
Great crank levers were inserted into the bulky bolt throwers and with sweat and swearing the mechanism that stored the energy for 6 shots was wound up-just in time.
There was no great report or flashes of lightning that warned of the Asur fire but bolts from 9 catapults rained down all over his ships. The “Spear” received two hits-one hit the hull above the waterline, the other made an inconsequential hole in the sails clothing-Khaine was looking after his own.
And now was his turn.
“Fire” send the mechanisms of the two throwers of his ship into motion. The energy stored in the crossbow-like arms threw the first bolt downrange. The magic that had been imbued into the bolts accelerated them to cannonball speeds.

The clamps that had been removed from the bolts heads had so far restricted propeller-like bronze fittings at their tips from turning, now the slipstream spun them around their axis. They spun for several turns till they dropped off the threads cut into the axis around which they turned.
When the bolts hit the walls of the Elven ships the axis was pushed backwards into the bolts head where it crushed a small capsule containing fulminate of mercury. The small explosion that followed caused the sympathetic explosion of a few grams of black powder-they finally ignited the kilogram of dynamite inside the bolts head.
The explosions fulfilled Admiral Malik`s wildest hopes-the fire that claimed Asur`s ships was almost too beautiful to watch.

Nearby, 20 meters below the Surface, one hour later

“The signals are gone now Sir, we can lower the Elint mast now.”
“Understand. And you are sure they were 70 cm signals in Druchii language.”
“Positive Sir.”
“What the fuck? Well, we`ll kick it to the intelligence types, they will make something out of it.”
Lowering her periscopes U32 continued her patrol

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-19 07:51am

Skavenbight, same Time

A very long time ago this place had been known as Tylos, a place of enlightenment and beautiful architecture, surrounded by a pastoral landscape. Below it had been a Dwarf undercity, Kavzar, a shining example of Dvarven and human cooperation.
Now the city was the scene of moldy and half-shattered ruins where Skaven drove squeaking carts pulled by mechanical monstrosities spewing black fumes. The pastoral landscape had changed into a blighted swamp in which countless dead were resting lightly, getting up at the slightest provocation.

The foggy air was filled with vermin of all descriptions that bore a thousand diseases that were crippling or lethal to humans but only a nuisance to the Ratmen. The once-grandiose undercity was dirty, partially flooded, half-decrepit and enlarged in crude ways beyond all sanity. It was filled with a teeming mass of skittish bodies of all descriptions that plotted, schemed, conspired and fought among themselves till their early death. The center of the City was a temple, a high tower at its middle the only visible edifice above ground. White marble tried to shine after millennia of neglect, elsewhere crumbling walls were supported by shoddy repairs and rickety scaffolding.
A Bell was placed in that tower, made of the biggest piece of Warpstone ever seen and deep below was a column of 13 sides listing the often contradicting rules that Skavenkind supposedly followed.
This was the Skaven`s utopia, their haven, the center of their ways and their model for the whole world.

Near this column a huge chamber held the Council of 13, the ruling body of Skavendom. Known as the Lords of Decay theirs was the Under-Empire that stretched nearly all over the known world with the exception of Ulthuan and which possibly outnumbered the denizens of the surface.
The central position of the table was held by an empty chair, leaving the pride of place to the Horned Rat, the terrible god of Skavendom. To the left and right sat the self-styled Lords of Decay. The least of them had occupied his current position for more than 200 years.
In a race where the vast majority members did not live past 20 years this could only be achieved by the most ruthless application of magic and paranoia-they were the bright examples of skavenhood every Ratman aspired to.
They were all Skaven and yet all different-the black furred powerful Warlords of the warrior clans, the gadget-laden Lord of Clan Skryre and the white pelt of Seerlord Kritislik. As different as all of them were, as much as their goals differed and as much as they worked to upset each other`s plans they were allied in their disgust and hate at what they had just heard.
They watched the few wretched survivors of the Altdorf warren being led outside by hulking stormvermin. Missing patches of fur and gaunt frames told of the hardships these Skaven had undergone to reach Skavenblight as quickly as possible.
Some of them would be kept in the Dungeons for further questioning, the rest would be silenced-no need to panic the multitudes.

The Seerlord opened the discussion by dint of his seniority and position.
“Told you that the humans would be trouble now the Conspiracy of Silence is over after Middenheim, told you. Clan Ershine is not capable of keeping secret quiet quiet.”
Lord Sneech, the most feared Skaven of the group and the leader of the Clans of Scouts and assassins was enraged by this as expected.
“It was not us who betrayed secret by bringing Warp Stone Bomb to Middenheim, not us. Clan Skryre is clumsy clumsy.”
Lord Morskittar, the Clan Skryre leader was covered by warpstone amulets and gadgets, some of them quite lethal rose to that.
“Only because you cannot kill those who have seen us, seen us. And now we all pay the price for this incompetence. Never before have we lost a warren-nevernever. And now we humans dare to attack us because they think us weak weak. And they dared to attack by destroying a pumproom, they dared that. We have to show us that we are not weak-we have to teach them to fear us if they must know us.”
The rippling muscles under the fur of Lord Paskit showed how he had started his way to warlord of all Skaven warrior clans. “We can assemble the host, host and attack one of their cities and raze it to the ground. Much loot and slaves can be ours, ours”
“You seem to forget that there are no tunnels under Germany yet. What town do you want to attack, attack”
“Only because you are too slow remaking the tunnels under the Wasteland we Warriors can still fight, fight. We use the tunnels under Bretonia and attack Town on the Border of Germany, Germany. Maybe this SSaarlouis-or Kaiserslautern. Then we teach them why they should be afraid of the Horned Rat-teach them we will.”
“Can Skryre can help you.”
“Clan Mors will graciously supply troops, yes yes.”

The wheezing, bubbling voice cut through the din. Its owner was swaddled on many cloths and robes for which even the hardened members of the Council of 13 were thankful. The Lord was even more hidden by the swarms of flies that surrounded Lord Nurglitch, Lord of Clan Pestilens. If any of the assembled Skaven had earned the title “Lord of Decay” it was him.
“Has any of you heard what these deliciously wretched Skaven had to say? They attacked the humans with every Clanrat, Stormvermin and Slave they could push up to it. Maybe the humans were alert, maybe it was even a trap-but I doubt the latter from the reports –wheeze-.
But no matter what-even so they should have given a good fight and killed many many humans and leave a city in the clutches of Grandfather Nurgle and his blessings blessings.
And what of it-are the Imperial or German armies decimated by fighting against us-no. Is Altdorf a depopulated pit full of staving sick-regretfully no. Do the humans fear our attacks-no, no.
Instead all Skaven were dead after 3 days days. And the Imperials are less dangerous than the Germans Germans.
And why is this so? Were the Skaven from Altdorf bad fighters? Are they cowards? No. All of this is so because the Germans are allied with the Imperials. And the Germans have machines-many many machines that fight for them as they are afraid afraid. And the most dangerous of these machines can fly and drop bombs and burn their enemies. How how do you fight an enemy who flies so high that you can hardly shoot him and who rains magical fire upon you to kill an whole army?
If we send a mighty army to fight them now they will all die-die.”

“So So what do you want to do do Lord Nurglich-nothing?”
“No no, we shall give them the Blessings of Grandfather Nurgle, that will teach them respect respect.”
Lord Sneetch did not speak any louder than normal conversation would require and he did not pitch his voice any more than any other and yet he stopped the clamor that started.
“This is wise, wise-they do not need who kills them-kills them. Clan Erskine will send assassins to kill leaders. Sick and leaderless they will no longer be a threat threat.”
“Clan Skryre will teach them to fear our mighty machines-fear them.”
The squealing that ensued filled the chamber with shrill sound and the glands of the Lords made the air even less breathable but the results were clear.
No open warfare against the Germans at present-the covert variant would serve for entre` into the Germans punishment.

Hurikan II, another Universe, another time

The sea that lapped against the beach covered with ash-colored sand was probably blue once, but nobody could see this from the rainbow-colored slick that made waves against the shores. The moon had shone on this setting millennia ago before the factories and construction of the many fortifications had turned the air into a mixture of chemicals that would not allow such a low amount of light to pass.
Would it have passed it would have reflected on a number of low bunkers that dotted the landscape, all arranged around a plascrete-covered field that sported many massive hatches and a huge projector like-device.
The plascrete around the hatches was blackened as the silos below them had fired their munitions into the battle that raged in the orbit around Hurikan some time ago. The projector turned in minute amounts while its power banks were recharging for the next shot.
Nothing insubstantial like moonlight would penetrate the murk that served as this planets atmosphere but the energy beam that lit the landscape briefly now had no problem at all. Designed to penetrate many meters of advanced starship armor and then strike at innards kilometers behind said defenses the lance strike pushed a column of superheated air aside before it impacted close of the projector. Having enough energy to vaporize a substantial chunk of plascrete-in addition to bunkers, weapons and defenders which formed a donut-shaped rapidly expanding cloud from which a mushroom of smoke and fire rose.

Similar strikes hit inland and to the flanks of the first ones and eradicated most of the defenders that guided the shore and the ground-based space defenses. Left was an soot and ash covered wasteland that had several glowing craters in its midst.
There were very few survivors, mostly at the fringes of the strike zone. Most of these could not see much beyond arm`s length due to the dust and smoke but the few for which such restrictions did not apply were impressed by the armada of fliers closing in from seawards. Having performed their entry-burns over the ocean they had avoided most ground-based anti-space weapons. On the outside of the armada Lightning interceptors searched for airborne targets, protecting shoals of Marauder Bombers and Vulture Troop Carriers.
Few defenders fired at the troop carriers that settled in for a landing, which after all had been the point of the exercise. Presently the Marauders were keeping the enemies attention just fine by attacking fortifications close to the edges of the beaten zone. What anti-air weapons there were opened fire on the ungainly craft, Laser beams seeking incoming bombers, missiles trying to maintain lock despite ECM and the bright explosions of plasma cannon.
They caused the losses upon the Imperials but in turn invited counterfire from the Marauders configured to combat such weapon systems. Called “Iron Hand” by a tradition predating the Imperium these fired missiles homing on the targeting systems emanations or simply dropped bombs on anything threatening.
Much closer to the shore a Vulture came in for a combat landing. Hovering just a meter of ground but never touching it, it opened side doors and a mixture of Skitari Infantry and Gun Servitors jumped or simply dropped to the ground.

Specialist Adolphus Rho-2 never had the impulse to look back to the leaving transport. The optics that replaced his right eve superimposed a field of observation he was responsible for and the first point he was to reach. His squad exchanged orders in Binary and hand signals.
He was not slowed down by his stout carapace armor-augmetics and long training saw to that. Likewise his mind was not burdened with fear nor senseless questions about the higher sense of this action. While he had not been mindwiped like the Gun Servitors that made up the platoons heavy weapons component the hypnoconditioning and surgeries he had received had removed him far from the human norm in mind and limb.
He was a typical example of a Skitari, the near-human infantry employed by the Adeptus Mechanicum.

The Platoon made a good clip forward behind a screen of scouts till they reached the end of the lance-strikes zone. Here they slowed down to advance by squads, keeping overwatch and opening the space between the soldiers. A Marauder strike earlier had left a series of suitable ruins and craters into which company command send Rho-2`s platoon.
Others provided overwatch while he was tasked to provide firing positions for the gun servitors. The servitors were an Omnisiah-sanctioned fusion of man and machine. The upper body of a mindwiped convict had been crafted onto a tracked platform. The eyes of the servitor had been replaced by optics and their arms replaced by heavy weapons-in the case of this platoon, Heavy Bolters. The latter weapons were able to pierce the heaviest armor capable to be worn by humans and had excellent range and rate of fire. Yet for all of that they were unable to dig themselves decent firing positions that would expose them only so much as necessary-that the near-human Skitarii had to do.
Aldolfus did not mind the waiting. While he was not bothered by his lack of knowledge about the bigger picture orders were “Hold until relieved” and that was far easier if his unit was not attacked. In the beachhead defended by him and all the others screaming engines told the story of heavier transporters landing and disgorging their valuable cargo. Any minute they could be about their business undisturbed counted.
Of course it could not last-the enemy was tainted, spoken for by the fell powers and opposed the divine will of Omnisiah and God-Emperor-yet he was also brave, resourceful and clever.

Adolphus would not lift his eyes from his assigned sector, yet even so he could easily detect the upsurge in aerial dogfights and the ever-closer bombing runs by Marauder Bombers and gunships.
The only warning that the Mechanicus soldiers had was a freight-train rumble that was only audible for seconds before the world went mad. Terrible explosions ripped new craters all around the Skitarii line. While none too accurate any hit by the high-caliber grenades would wipe out a position like the one occupied by Adolphus.
The Skitari soldier did not see most of the explosions but felt them. It was a mark how far he had removed himself from “normal humanity” that he did not try to climb deeper into the crater that his squad occupied-he was already covered as much as possible while still being able to observe and shoot. And then none of that counted when his world got mad. He was thrown up from the ground and slammed down twice like a discarded toy and dirt thrown by the twin explosions that were oh so near covered him.

He needed several seconds to get his wits back together enough just to wipe the loam from his optic, grab his rifle and crawl back to the craters rim. He arrived there just in time. Behind the instant-poplar shapes of the artillery`s explosions came a line of yellow-black armored figures. Much bigger than him they seemed unfazed by the violence all around him and like robots moved in step towards his position.
His optics went to work then and offered aiming points for his Hellgun. While the puny Lasgun issued to the Guard would have next to no chance to penetrate the powered armor of the Traitor Marines his more powerful version offered at least a decent chance. Discharging his gun again and again he scored his that were shown by their infrared signature on the enemy-ad not much else. Sometimes the Marines flinched, sometimes they did not react at all-and very rarely did they fall.
A bout of smoke hid the enemy even from his optics and allowed him an opportunity for a look around. He found two of the gun servitors at the bottom of the crater on their sides, track spinning uselessly. This presented him with a dilemma-leaving his position was utterly forbidden-but so was losing the fight.

It took him two long seconds to make up his mind-and then he proved his maters decision to leave his mind nearly intact when he kicked another Skitarii and they pushed, heaved and kicked the Gun Servitors upright again with all power they could muster. They scrambled upwards to the craters rim just in time so see the approaching enemy open fire. The head of Adolphus helper vanished in an explosion of blood and bone and the Skitari himself could hardly shoot when a close miss pushed dirt and blood into his eyes.
The stutter of two heavy bolters at close range came as no surprise to him, but the vicious crossfire of the two heavy weapons went through the Traitors that had come so close like a scythe through wheat. The toneless chant of “Iron within, Iron without” never wavered-but it got much quieter when there so much fewer Marines left to utter it.
There was a second attack-while it had more Marines in it, it no longer was supported by artillery and more defenders had found their firing places again. Still there were losses, especially with the “meats” of the Skitari but the line held long enough for more support to arrive.

The first indication of this was a bright lightning that passed Adolphus on the left and the sun-bright plasma explosion that consumed a Marine squad. Rumbling engines and the vibrations of treads on the contested ground told the story of a unit of Leman Rus Battle Tanks that had arrived. Taking positions in craters and behind topples walls their firepower secured the line in ways that made the even this enemy pause-just not for long.
The change of affairs was heralded by a laser beam that was far too short to be seen directly but left an afterimage that showed its path. The armor that was spalled off the Leman Rus and the hasty deployment of smoke made much more of an impression. The Laser beam was not the last to search for targets and several missiles arched from the ruins beyond the Mechanicus lines towards the smoke deployed. A “Krumpf” and the sudden brightness that ensued inside the cloud spoke of at least one hit on a MBT.
The optics and the orders Adolphus received in holy binary left no space for interpretation-and few chances of personal survival. Which did not make him flinch-much. Together with the survivors of his squad he sprinted off to the enemy`s position while a vicious stream of bolt rounds from the gun servitors tried to keep the Chaos Space Marines heads down. The latter worked only moderately well as the Marines depended much more on their Power Armor than on taking cover. Still taking position allowed the Plasma gun armed Leman Rus to put a short-lived sun over a part of the enemy squad and that allowed half of Adolphus squad actually to reach the ruins alive.

Taking cover behind a half-toppled wall the Skitari tried to get his bearings. He could see nothing and the Mechanicus Soldier on the other end of the wall that extended his head too far died for that effort. Yet he did not die totally in vain as the sound of the shooting allowed Adolphus to pinpoint the Chaos Warriors. Dropping his rifle into its sling he primed two Krak Grenades and stood up as rapidly as possible. He found himself to the side of several hulking Space Marines in their grey and yellow armor. Throwing the Grenades one after the other he dropped for a low sprint before too much fire found him. The Grenades were originally made for killing armored vehicles, so that the one that actually hit had no real problems to blast the Marine inside the armor into so much jelly. Adolphus ran a zigg-zagg course, crouching as low as he dared, yet this mattered little to warriors who had trained for several centuries of warfare. One of the rounds that hit was actually defeated by the carapace armor, but threw him into the dirt. The other two removed his right arms close to the shoulder. Hurt beyond measure he hardly saw the tracer lines from the Gun Servitors that ended the long lives of the Chaos Space Marines. Lying on his back and waiting to die he wondered whether the artillery had set in again as strong tremors assaulted his already hurting back.

Turning his head he was graced by a sight that made it all worth the while-the fight his unit had been in had bought the time to unload the real hammer of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Incredibly unpractical and a huge waste of resources they Titans were nether the less highly imoressive and for a Skitary were the embodiment of the Mechanicum, the might of the Omnissiah made metal. More than 90 meters high several Warlord Titans followed their smaller scouting brethren into enemy-held territory. Powered by huge fusion reactors the war machines were protected by void shields and thick armor, their weapons would not have been out of place in a starship.
The path of destruction these engines of war tore through the enemy`s fortifications was a delight to behold for the Skitary, it nearly beat the feeling of being located by medics and getting treatment right away.
Adolphus Rho was very far removed from humanity, yet even he would have been amazed if he were to find out that all that he had seen was just a feint, a ruse and a distraction.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-20 02:22pm

Parador Gym, Berlin, next evening

The Cross-trainer showed “249 Watts” as it had for the last 5 minutes-this supposedly simulated an incline leading to some sort of plateau where Joakim Vos would be required to spend the next 5 minutes at a leisurely 180 Watts. It was the last stretch of a 45 minute Cardio session that capped of an hour-long iron-bending stint.
Joakim was still a fair bit from his top shape, but given the extent of his injuries he was happy to have achieved so much already. He was especially happy that his ankle no longer acted up at any chance it got. Still, like for any good training session the cool down could not come soon enough and he watched his pulse come down from a lofty 170 to a more acceptable 130 before he was done. Feeling quite happy he went to the showers. Thinking about Sophie he promptly missed the huge patch of soapy water that had accumulated and his foot accelerated forward for nearly half a meter before running out of lubrication and stopping as quickly as it had started.

The white-hot pain that went through his foot and lower leg was indescribable and left him cold-seated and nauseous on one of the benches. Half of the strong reaction was due to the pain, the rest were the doubts that he ever would heal right again-and then what would he do with his life?
Hobbling back to his locker he extracted his smartphone. It indicated a few new E-Mails which he scanned while getting his stuff together. Only one caught his eye for real.
“We should meet to discuss a matter of possible common interest. Best regards-Fräulein Meikle”
What the fuck?

Furaustrandir, Norsca, later the next day

Paul Müller had imagined a lot of things about his meeting with Sliv Ormsdottir-from cold rejection to hot accusations, but being invited to a good meal and something that resembled a rational discussion had not been on the menu. He realized he should have expected it, this was no wee maiden he had seduced and disgraced but a hard-as-nails warrior who had pulled him into the sleeping sack at least as hard as he had pushed.

“Now I really appreciate that you want to acknowledge them-yes they are twins-as your children and support them-but do you really believe I would stand for educating them as pampered, soft southern pansies?”
“No, I would not believe that. At the same time do you want your children to become illiterate barbarians who are not fit for much better than subsidence farming or being somebodies bouncers? And if they live to the ripe old age hope they will that will be all they will be useful for if they do not learn things like reading, writing and something about what you call magic and I call science and engineering.”
The light in Sliv`s eyes spoke of her wounded pride. “We have lived like we do for more than a thousand years and nobody, not the effete Bretons, the oh-so noble Elves nor the Imperials could keep us from living as we would. And do not tell me that you Germans want to come over here and conquer us all.”

“Certainly not-but the environment is about to change. You make your livelihood in 3 ways: Hunting/fishing, raiding and trade. Now, most of the raiding is out, you know better to raid the Empire or Germany. And if I am not off by too much Kislev will join the Reiksbund rather sooner than later-so they will be out too. And Ulthuan and Naggaroth are too far to be profitable.
And trade is also getting iffy-many Imperial shipping lines now buy modern ships in Germany or us Germans carry the freight. And again-you cannot raid these ships either. Hunting will not change, but fishing is similar-German and Imperials have better methods or will adopt them soon and then the price of fish will drop like a stone. So either our Children learn different ways, not necessarily German ones, or they will simply not count in the larger scale of things. What is it going to be?
“So you want them to become pansies after all”
“If you let me I will teach them how to shoot an assault rifle as soon as they can hold it. But yes, I want them protected from certain diseases so they have a better than one-in-five chance of becoming 4 years old. And they need to be able to read, write, navigate and have an inkling about a computer. I want them to be mighty and wise Chieftains who can make a mark in this world.”
“Uff-you want to teach them your ways and mine at the same time then. Neither fish nor fowl, hm”
“If you bring them up as warriors of your clan it will mean they will remain obscure at best. If I take them to Germany they will not fit in-this is their best chance.”

“I need to think more about that, but it makes sense-you better hope so. But there was this thing about the Site of the Gate-and something about your Government.”
“Yes, we need to make sure this Gate remains out of Chaos hands-and the German scientists want to study it. Frankly speaking-they are willing to pay for that provided that there is political stability in this region. If we can swing that we will have much better access to German markets and goods.”
“We are not the only clan here, you know. How are we going to do it-fight them with German aid?”
“If it comes to that-yes. But the guys and gals from the Foreign Office have another idea I want to mull through with you.”
“Ok, this is the crazy prepositions day anyway, I am game. Anything else?”
“Yes, one thing: Will you marry me?”
“Yes it is a crazy preposition, what are you thinking, I can whip you any day of the week you soft southerner.”
“As if I were to fight the women pregnant with my children.”
It was probably not the only marriage proposal ever decided by arm wrestling, but it is a rare thing even among Norscans. Paul was never totally sure whether Sliv had let him win or whether he really was strong enough on that day.

It was quite some time later, a lot of it spent in something that resembled the wrestling match that Paul had wanted to avoid that Sliv was curious enough to come back to the original question.
“So now what has you government in mind?”
“Oh it was something to get all the clans of the Skraelings that are close to the gate involved. A long time ago on my world a people called the Iroquis had something they called the “Confederation of the 5 tribes”-and there are people in Germany who think that this could be a model for this area.”
“Uh, tell me more.”
“Tomorrow love, ok”
“Told you you are a soft southerner-err what are you doing there…..”

Ulthuan Embassy to the Reiksbund, Altdorf, same evening

Aeolus watched the “Party” that his master had offered in the rooms of his embassy with interest. Aurelius` newfound respect for humans had opened doors and connections that had definitely not been available before. Given how much parts of this world had changed in the last 2,5 years that was a good thing-probably.
From where he stood he could make out several German staff officers attached to the Reiksbund headquarters, several Reiksguard and Landwehr officers and their civilian counterparts. The Ambassadors from Kislev and several Tilean ones were present as were several Traders from the various states.
The elegance and class of the High Elves Party arrangements, as well as the novelty of an Elven Ambassador who did not look down his nose at everyone had made the Embassy into an in-place everybody who was something just had to go. It also made a convenient spot for the talks and the feeling out of positions that should not be too public.

Adding to the Elven décor of the place were the high-end sound system and the tasteful LED lighting that was hidden behind chandeliers and crystals. The cuisine did not exactly suffer for several fridges and electric appliances. A very wide range of drinks, some of them very much non-eleven in origin added to the comfort of the guests. Aeolus was asking himself how the esteemed guests would feel if they know most of this was paid for by horse sperm.
Laws so old that they predated the elven civil war forbid the sale of Elven horses to anybody not of the Asur. Only in very special occasions were horses granted as gifts by the Phoenix King, but that was exceedingly rare. Somehow these laws had never mentioned the sperm or the ova of these horses and when Aurelius had learned what German horse breeders were willing to pay for that he had gone for it to raise the funds needed.
From what he had learned it was very very unlikely that Ulthuan would be threatened more if the Germans had access to better horses.

Aeolus watched one of guests leave the room for the washrooms-they were among the first things renovated with the horse money. The nondescript balding man was supposed to be some sort of mid-level functionary at the German mission to the Reiksbund. Aeolus might have been a stripling youth of 112 years, but a look into the German`s eyes had shown him that that was no more than a façade. It took him far longer to realize that the German had wanted him to see just that.
Aeolus went after the man when he could be reasonably sure that nobody would think the events related. He went into the room besides the men`s room marked as “staff” where the “functionary” already waited for him.

“Well met Ottokar Proktor. I did not think you would react so fast to my invitation.”
“Actually I planned to pay homage to the Asur anyway-I have a little gift for you.”
“Nice-and what might that be?”
“Oh, nothing much, just a printout of our last “Kondor” and “Hammer Hawk” overflights above the Druchii occupation zone in Ulthuan. It shows their troop deployments and their probable plans. There is also a summary of our findings attached. From what I saw their supply convoys now reach the Bay of Drusilla again and so the Darkies are gearing up for a mayor offensive.”
“That will surely be a boon to our planning. Is there more?”
“Oh one of my Bundeswehr contacts remarked how much this terrain and the general situation reminded him of a campaign on Earth. He gave me this book and mentioned that you should have a look at the pages 240 and following.”
“Oh, what have we done to deserve this?”
“Some of my associates think Germany should support the Asur against the Druchii-time that somebody tells the bleeding torturers to stay on their icebox. Unfortunately my government sees things differently. But still…”
“Who would I be to say no, I accept the gift with the appropriate thanks in the spirit it is given”
The small smile Elf and Man exchanged spoke of the many motives that both suspected the other harbored, like Aeolus who was pretty sure that Germany gave just enough help so the Asur could bleed themselves dry and Proktor who tried to prop up the Asur so that German help was not necessary-at least not for now.

“You told me you have something for me too?”
“Well, two things actually. Our cousins are now employing explosive bolts for their reaper bolt throwers, at least at sea. They are able to sink wooden ships in a heartbeat-that makes your imperial allies vulnerable as well.”
“How do you know?”
“They used them to sink some of our ships.”
“Ok. Magic explosion?”
“No, chemical-we had several of our mages present and the survivors are sure that there was no magic involved.”
“That is strange, they do not run that direction so far.”
“Indeed-and then there is this.” Aeolus handed 5 sharp, metal fletched bolts to the German
“I take it these are crossbow bolts, right? So what is so special about them?”
“We dug them out of our wounded or dead in several battles. The special thing about them is this.”
“Ah sorry, I forgot about your eyes. Well, if you take a magnifying glass you will find all of them have an identical small “C” shaped dent close to the point where the fletching is. From what I know this is a mark of industrial production, some small fault in the mold used to make them-and our cousins are not know for that.”
“That is quite interesting-I`ll look into that for sure.”
“Thanks-now let`s get back to the party before tongues start waggling.”

Several hours later Ottokar Proktor was back at the German Embassy in his office. Taking the package with the crossbow bolts from his pocket he had a long look at them before throwing them into the trashcan.
At the same time Aeolus was wondering what value a biography of Wellington might have for the Asur, but kept reading nether the less.

Hurikan II, another Universe, another time

Warsmith Spep`tukan wondered what he had done to anger the four gods. He had it made-securing a star system that was heavily defended enough to fend off all but the most determined assaults and at the same time usually not being interesting enough to get serious attention.
That had made for a secure base from which raids were possible and where he could further the cause of Chaos-and his own of course-from relative safety. This in turn had attracted pirate fleets and other Warlords who used this system as a base of operations-for a cut of course.

And then a fleet nobody had seen the likes of since the Vandire or so invaded full throttle-and of all possible enemies it had to be the bleeding cogboys. He really did not have them on the radar for such an undertaking. Currently a horde of Titans was running rampant roughly a thousand kilometers from here and making a hash of his best defense plans by plowing fortifications under as a tank would do with so many foxholes.
He had released his remaining bombers and most of his interceptors to make sure then arrived intact. These had the best chance to stop the towering war machines from his remaining options. Now he had to have a look again at the resupply of his artillery assets in that area and “Whoop Whoop Whoop”
Looking up from his cogitator the first time in hours he realized the frenzied activity inside his command center. Hololiths that were rimmed by gargoyles that moved and mouthed information to those of not too much sanity, Servitors and demon-possessed humans compiled maps and Champions tried to contact their commands via wireless or more arcane ways.
He was sufficiently connected to the hustle of this headquarters that he did not need the reports of his underlings-this fortress was about to come under attack. The hololith showed a gaggle of red icons that had changed vector towards the center. At the same time there were the indicators that announced that several somethings were entering the atmosphere at speeds that were only considered sane when under fire.

He looked through his available forces: Very few interceptors were ready to launch in a timeframe that made sense. His short-range air-defense was mostly intact and would play an important role in the coming battle but he already knew that they would be unable to stop them all-this fortress was about to come under attack.
Good-this was far better, far more rewarding than fighting by proxy, than managing the flows of reinforcements and supplies and listening to the voices who told him what he could not do.
He would fight inside his own fortress. In a Legion known for shrewd fortifications this one stood out for the ingenuity and the resources poured into it. He would fight the very design of the Bunkers and ways like a master-crafted weapon wielded by a warrior and when the enemy was sufficiently divided and weakened he would relish partaking in their killing.

Close to him-at least close for flyers-Adept Koniev 2-S did a last check on his crew and craft. Both answered in holy binary, which was fitting as several of his crewmembers were so integrated into the Marauder bomber that they would not be alive outside of it without special equipment that replaced the support given by their steed.
The crafts cogitator was good enough to handle navigation on its own which was a good thing as there was no navigator on board, instead a dedicated EW specialist took his place. Slightly above and to his left a couple of Lightning fighters peeled off to intercept some Chaos Craft approaching. From what the auspex was telling him that should not be too difficult-there were only a few of the enemy and quite a lot of the escorts.
The real problem was up ahead. His screens were superimposing a number of amber and red colored domes over the landscape, denoting the tracking systems of gun, laser and missile anti-air batteries. All the other craft were taking pains to avoid these domes if at all possible-he and his squadron made right to them.

His EW officer spoke up.
“I have a Hell Hound radar at 11 at 233 degree, emission strength make it 28 klicks distance. It is still scanning-pulse rate increasing-got us now.”
“New course 233 degree. Spool up Hellstrike 2 and 5. Can we track them when the music is still on?” Both his Marauder and several more specialized variants emitted radiation an the same frequency as the radars that wanted to guide harm at Koniev`s craft in order to confuse them.
“The machine spirit of the holy missiles will not like it, he seeks clear and pure emissions from its targets.”
“All Iron Hand and Gamma elements cease K-band jamming till further notice.”
“Acknowledged Iron Hand 6”
Unfortunately these emissions would also make his task difficult to impossible. That turning the jamming off would make his squadron even better targets was par for the course.
And the enemy promptly showed that he was aware of that. Both his augurs and visuals showed the takeoff of several powerful anti-air missiles that streaked up vertically before bending their flight path into his direction.

“Any minute now bombardier.”
“One more second, steady-now now now”
Koniev engaged the filters that protected the optics replacing his fallible biological eyes so he was not blinded by the launch of several missiles that were streaking off both his craft and the ones from several squadron mates. Their tiny computers were drawn by the emissions of the guidance radars used by the Chaos to guide the missiles to them.
This became a race between the Hellstikes used by Koniev and the weapons closing in for the kill. As soon as the ARM`s had cleared his Marauder sufficiently Koniev pulled his craft into a series of S-bends. It made the missiles maneuver and loose energy once their boosters were burned out.
“Hell Hound radar went offline-too early”

The enemy had switched the radar off to save it, that was good and bad-good as the missiles inbound now had to rely on their small cogitators, bad as his own missiles now had to look for their target in the infrared-that might work or not. Speculating there was not useful and he turned the Marauder back directly into the course of the incoming missiles.
The missiles that flew towards him were not yet locked in by his radar so he had to estimate speed and distance by estimation-something he was good in from long experience. At the last possible moment he released a cloud of chaff, IR Flares and two active decoys and pulled the tightest turn that the Bomber was capable of. Both missiles lost track momentarily and then, bereft of the guidance of their ground crew, choose the juicy active decoys as their new targets. The pilot turned again to see that his wingman had managed to do the same but a greasy smoke trail arching downwards indicated not all had done as well.
His EW officer use this time to chime in. “One missile has successfully destroyed enemy radar. Other radars currently shut down.
Koniev pulled a reverse Immelmann maneuver and sped towards the laser and autocannon emplacement. The bomb bay of his machine still contained unexploded ordnance and he was not going to take it home.

The Thunderhawk transport was and ungainly piece of machinery. With all the aerodynamics of a brick it needed a lot of brute power to stay aloft or move, power it had plenty of. Said aerodynamics were the result of an armor that made it as though as said brick and they were not helped at all at their cargo that was underslung them with magnetic grapples.
The transports were escorted by Thunderhawk gunships that pelted the Landing Zone with their Turbo Lasers and firing off the occasional Hellstrike missile.

Björn the Fell Handed saw this but did register it only peripherally. He was the oldest living being in the Empire with very few exceptions like the Emperor himself. Being a member of Leman Rus original company he had been left behind when the Primarch departed on his last mission.
He had always wondered what flaw Leman had seen in him to leave him behind and he would have died wondering if he had not been so grievously wondered a century later. Lauded a great hero his smashed body had been interred in the Sarcophagus of a dreadnaught. Woken up only for combat and correcting the Skalds sagas from firsthand account he had passed the millennia since the his transformation. Still the question lingered and was a part of what made him. Still, he longed for the answer even when he dreaded the outcome.
It had taken him a couple of days to screw up the courage to confront the Primarch in something that resembled privacy. When he finally did he was more than a little surprised by the results.

“Ah Björn, that, don`t fash yourself. Not taking you was never an insult to you and it was not easy to leave you behind. You were to follow me-until Ingif the Wise, you remember that Rune Priest don`t ya-told me to leave you at the fang. Told me it was a dire necessity and that I was not to tell you about it, otherwise it would jinx his vision of the future, he did.”
The only being in the Fang that towered over the Primarch took his time for the answer. “Why”

“Till today I have no idea-and I had a long time to think on it as you all other things, believe me. Best guess is he saw you would become, well-this. He probably saw that you would keep the Great Lords and the Skalds straight-and a mighty fine job you did lad. I was away an awfully long time-and I still recognize my Wolves. I gather that most of my brothers would be quite unhappy if they saw their erstwhile legions now-you kept mine on the straight and narrow, thanks Björn. So, I won`t say sorry but I`d like to invite you to a hunt of you feel up to it your old age and all.”
Björn the Fell-Handed had replayed the recording 89 times so far, could still not believe that the nightmare was over and glad that it was. And now he could enjoy the combat to come with an open mind and not second-guess himself.

The ground in front of the Thunderhawk was clouded in smoke and flame from the hits already did not look like anything could be left alive in there but that was an illusion as always. Switching to infrared and MM-wave radar he could make out a landing area covered by many low slung bunkers and unmanned turrets. They had multiple overlapping fields of fire and would be death even for the Space Wolves were they to land there-tie to change that. Spotting a patch of well destroyed fortifications he voxed the crew of the transport.
“Drop us at Blue 42-we`ll take it from there.”
“Acknowledged Trueclaw-good hunting”
The four Dreadnoughts that hung under the Thunderhawks might not have seen their real hands for centuries and had not used their own voices for at least as long, but the howls that emerged from their speakers and through the wireless fazed even the normally unflappable Iron Warriors.

The Thunderhawk dropped to tree-top attitude and slowed to a little more than the speed of a walking man when the fighting machines released their holds. Dropping in to the destroyed plascrete they broke the momentum by flexing hydraulically powered legs. Immediately they were assaulted by Bolter shells and laser beams which would have been deadly to their Brothers but ore of a nuisance to them. Björn fired his autocannon at one of the closer automated turrets, was awarded an explosion for his pains and switched to the slit in one of the nearby bunkers were a heavy bolter peeked out and shot at the Space Wolves. Following a zigg-zagg course he avoided the fire best as he could accepted the hits he could not and searched for any weapon emplacement that could really harm his brothers. A laser cannon missed his venerable hide and made him ran parallel to a wall. Doubling back and emerging from the flank the enemy was not expecting him to come from he was able to close with the weapons pit before the Iron Warriors could slew the weapon around in time. One of the crew shot at him with his bolt pistol-he could have used a water pistol for all his efforts were worth, another was fumbling at his belt, probably for a krak or melta grenade. Björn`s lightning claw shot forward and the energy-sheathed blades cut the Chaos Marine in two before he got something done. Björn`s foot came down on the laser itself while his assault cannon took care of the rest of its crew.

Taking a quick peek the Dreadnaught saw that his antics had the desired effect-his three brothers were able to close with their targets comparatively unscathed. By now they had reached the fire lee of the bunkers that were covering this part of the landing zone. They pushed lumpy-looking arms forward against the walls facing them and even the din of battle could not drown the sound of the drills that penetrated the bunkers walls with ease.
Björn saw the sally of the fortifications crew in time and closed with them, firing his ranged weapon all the time. It bought the Siege Dreadnaughts enough time to trigger the heavy flamers integrated into their drill arms and flood the fortifications with liquid flaming death.
This part of the LZ was cleared-time to take the rest of the defenses out and there seemed to be a convenient gap in the enemy`s fire to the left..

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-20 02:23pm

12000 Meters AGL, aboard Airbus A320, several days later

Nathan Alpers was deeply afraid-afraid of his own treacherous body. He was on board of a modified airliner used to simulate microgravity by flying parabolic trajectories. This plane had inherited its nickname “Kotzkomet” (Vomit Comet) from its US role model for a reason and as far as he was concerned it had earned that name with a vengeance. On both preceding flights he had spilled his stomach as there were no tomorrow.
He was only granted another chance as he and the other candidate had been the last ones to join the party. But if he were to fail again he would wash out of the program-something which he really did not want to think about.
Standing in the middle of the empty section of the fuselage with the well-padded walls and secured with nylon straps both candidates and the helpers laid down for the first part of the maneuver-the dive. Taking on enough speed for the parabolic part of the flight they pressed everybody deep into the padding. Nathan tried to breathe easily and through the nose and visualize himself going into Zero-G with no problems, but always the memory of the puking session came up.

And then with little warning his weight was reduced and reduced, convincing his inner ear that he was falling and making the reflexes he had acquired during flying an enemy. He was about to feel his stomach crawl up and then-nothing. Instead he lifted of the padding with the lightest of pushes and extended arms and legs as if flying by his own. His rebel yell would have done any Confederate proud. He was flying for real and he would not be washed out-not now and not in future-or so he hoped.
He did not puke, not in this flight parabola and not during the next 11. The docs wrote it down to him not having stood the smell of the others vomiting, he had a different idea. Ermine had invited Father Hark to Berlin and the Jade mage had done his best.
How he loved that woman.

C53 Helicopter, 300 meters AGL, above the Great Forest, same time

The Helicopter was quite clearly a military machine-foldable net benches for seating which would be useful for “enhanced interrogations” when used for any length of time, green color and warning labels throughout and noise and vibration enough to raise the dead. It was escorted by smaller combat helicopters-Mil 24 variants equipped for anti-infantry operations.
Likewise its occupants were clearly armed forces, wearing the camouflage armor with a rigid carapace and spidersilk softer parts that became more common with front line soldiers every day. They carried a wide range of small arms, from G62 assault rifles, Heckler&Koch shotguns to a light machine gun or two. The armor usually had individual modifications-an additional webbing here, a bottle opener there and the soldiers were all veterans and by the looks on their faces and the off-color jokes that masked the tension of experienced soldiers on the way to combat.

All of them-nearly so. Looking like a child in adult clothing a slim, red haired woman clad in civilian hiking clothing and an armored vest seated at the extreme end of one folding bench, oblivious to the discomfort she held her head in her hands.
As she had done a lot during the last days she thought about the joke and the fanatic. The joke had been played on her by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign secretary. When she had decried the many wars that Germany fought in this brave new world instead of establishing peace and understanding he had asked her to be an envoy to the beastmen. While her core voters had been up in arms against this the rest of the Republic had a good laugh at her expense.

The fanatic was one Oswald Krieger, an acclaimed Witch Hunter and general arsehole who had seen the opportunity to “cleanse” the Great Forest of the Beastmen and even went so far to promote camps for “their confinement and eventual disposal”. It had both been reported in German newspapers as generally discussed-as in discussed as a real possibility-inside the Empire.
That had been the point when she could no longer ignore it and the joke became reality. Petra Pau was on her way to the Beastmen to negotiate. Like the soldiers around her she saw the realistic chance for a fight-and that would threaten disaster far beyond the small group of humans that risked their lives together with her. Both the possibility that she might be badly injured or killed and that others might be as well for a fool`s errand she had instigated weighted heavily on her, but the genocide that was pretty sure to follow by her estimation was even worse.

She was so much in her own world that she registered the pat on her shoulder only at the second try. She looked up into the face of a young Paratrooper who bent close to her so that she could hear him.
“We are approaching the Landing Zone Frau Pau, we should arrive in 15 minutes. Time for the last minute preparations to make us more appealing to the Beastmen I gather.”
“Err, sorry what?”
“You should apply this to any exposed skin, it will help with the Beastmen”
It took Petra Pau a couple of seconds till she registered what the bottle presented to her really was and what this meant.
“Heinz BBQ Sauce, Sweet&Spicy”
Time seemed to stop. The individual sniggers were lost in the din of the helicopter but she could hear them-everybody was thinking her “loco” and was angry at her for making them risking their lives for a forlorn hope. And now this-what should she do for fucks sake?
“Ah thank you soldier. But I have it from reliable sources that the Children of Chaos insist on good Bautzen mustard I am afraid. Do you have some of that?”
Everybody laughed-with her. And for 10 glorious minutes she was no longer afraid.

Astur the Touched bend over the speaking box again. The voice from it was tinny and spoke only Reiksspiel-but he still could understand it. Many such boxes had rained down on this part of the Great Forest during the last weeks.
It was one of the few the young bucks had not destroyed-and it had only escaped that fate as there were so few young bucks alive any more. The vast majority of them had heard the call of Garek when he had roused them for the Great Storm-and now they did not hear anything anymore.
Others had gone to smaller raids against the humans or tried their luck with the great Army that was said to assault Middenheim-gone all gone. The few that remained were usually those who had tried their luck attacking other herds-but even that meant that there would be few Children of Chaos. How empty the woods seemed now without the challenges and triumphs of its former masters sounding over hills and valleys.

Like the other boxes this one spoke of an approaching envoy who wanted to meet him-if he would press a prominent red button. He had taken some deliberations-and then he had pressed it. Since this morning the box would announce the approach of the humans-so he was here.
Astur was the shaman who had pledged his life to the upkeep of the shrine-the terrible, the glorious, the all-powerful shrine that had been so far hidden from the humans. Or so he thought until speaking boxes rained from the sky in a near-perfect circle around it.
Now he could only pledge the life of his followers against whatever assault the humans might attempt and then die-die in shame of having failed his task. Or he could do what the talking box tried to seduce him to do-talk to them. Hear them out.
However useless the talks might be in the end-it pushed the inevitable for a little more time. That in itself was a worthy goal-he doubted that the true gods would be merciful with him once he had died in failure.

And then it was time to stop pondering and gawk like the remaining Gors in awe. The strange throbbing sound that some warriors reported to have heard only faintly before, and usually before some raiding party vanished, intensified until its source could be perceived.
Several flying machines appeared above the treetops –most of them were of one size. They showed two humans under transparent bubbles and more of them behind doors in their side. Some of them circles the site-others watched his party. A much bigger machine held station. Two of the smaller machines landed just for seconds and disgorged 4 humans each who started to search the woods surrounding the Glade, not taking any notice of Astur and his party.
Only then did the big machine land and a dozen humans emerged into the glade. Most were armored warriors-one one was smaller, a red-haired female.
Astur started to see why so many raiding parties had been killed inside the Great Forest recently-if the humans could plonk their warriors wherever they choose from such machines the Beastmen`s choses realm was no longer a safe refuge.
Oh joy, that would make the talks so much worse-and they had not even started.

Petra Pau stood on her side of the table erected for this purpose. Nobody was sitting-the Beastmen would not do sit down and if they did not the humans would look even smaller if they did. The politician tried very hard not to be intimidated by the Beastmen-they towered above the German soldiers and under their fur sported immense muscles. Even with their totally different faces and gestures it was hard to miss the violence that was the core of their personality. They would kill her as soon as talk with her. Combat and war was not an emergency for them-it was their way of life.
Pau had been told by a great many people that “living peacefully together” with the Children of Chaos was not going to work-the question was whether there was another way that not killed them all.
The preliminaries were already over and now it was time to get to the gist of things.
Putting her 15” Siemens tablet on the table she showed an aerial picture of the Glade they were in. She did not need to ask whether the beasts recognized the location-their low grumbles showed they did well enough.
She then zoomed out to show the larger part of the Great Forest until it showed both the Forest and the surrounding features.

“This is where we are at present. This Is Middenheim, this the Castle Wolfenfels, this is the Railroad, this is the Quarry” here the grumbling became much more threatening.
“The Empire is willing to grant you the parts of the Forest from this river here-to that mountain range-to that river-to this railroad line. Can you live with that?”
“Man or Chaos Child-you only command your guts and the ground under your feet, all other is human thinking”
She had expected that and did not like the answer she had to give, yet it was the only one the Empire was willing to accept-but after seeing the Beastmen in the flesh she was pretty sure it was the only answer possible-besides wholesale killing.
“You are of course right. But the parts of the Forest that I just showed you are the only parts where humans will not kill you outright on sight. In here you are safe-except for any raiding parties into the Empire-these we will follow wherever they go.”
One of the Gors to the left of Pau roared a challenge and pulled his copper-sheathed claws back for a strike. The politician jumped backwards and several weapons began to bear on the enraged Beast when its head exploded. Everybody looked at Astur who ended the gesture he just made and finished the words of power.
“Truth there, talk about this.”

Astur the Touched watched the Helicopters leave much later and was surprised to be alive. He had gotten his first personal look at the new humans and had now an idea why they had defeated the Children of Chaos so well. They relied on their machines, their order and the magic they called science.
They could indeed not best them but if they would grant them a place to live for whatever reasons he would take it.
The ruins that made up part of this holy place were proof enough that such order could not last, yet the Children of Chaos were forever.

Sparkasse Holstein (Savings&Loans Holstein) Ahrensburg, North Germany, two days later

The Managers office was quiet now that normal banking hour were over and the internal proceedings were taken care of. Mathias Knull had a little time to sit back and think about the drastic changes that Germany economy had undergone in the last 2.5 years. While Germany had a very active and diverse industry it had been largely oriented to exports and been a part of a global network of suppliers and customers that disappeared literally overnight.
Being depended on a great variety of raw materials had just been the most immediate problem and one that was getting better every day, sometimes incrementally and mostly by leaps and bounds.
The rationing of many essentials had been lifted by now with a few exceptions. Here rationing was heavily modified-everybody was allowed to buy a certain amount of heating oil or petrol at a set price, the rest was market supply. But every month the list of such commodities became shorter and lots of people breathed more easily that way.

A slower acting but at least as dangerous and difficult problem was how to keep technology and civilization running. So many items produced or simply used in Germany had been partly or whole made outside Germany. Volkswagen for example had to shut down production after a few weeks past the Weltensprung as components were running out and new suppliers had to be found. Production lines had been revamped and the ratio of parts made at VAG group itself had drastically increased. A great lot of cars were no longer produced, others now cost more.
Manufactures were in an interesting situation right now-either their products were no longer required at all or at a very reduced rate-or they were ripped from the production lines as soon as they were made. Marketing and advertising were seriously reduced these days-the need was no longer really there.

All this revamping of production lines, of producing parts never produced before at a site or in Germany at all, of retraining of workers and setting up new factories had required immense capital-still did in fact-and a hell of a lot of coordination.
Germany had two historical examples how to handle that and promptly turned to them. The capital needs were taken care of by something that had been a characteristic of West Germany from WW2`s end till the 80`s or so.
When many German firms had to restart from practically zero except for their workforce and property banks gave them credit-in exchange for shares. It had created an intensely interconnected network that Anglo-Saxon commentators had called the “Deutschland-AG” (Germany Inc.) The back up for this financing had partly been done by Marshall Plan, some by fiat money-and it had worked.
Now the backing was the KfW and the Bundesbank and to nearly everybody's surprise it was working again-after a fashion.

This was not just a thing for the big stock companies-on a more local level Knull`s S&L was the partner in a medium-sized flock of Ltd.`s, many of them newly founded to make some parts that were dirt cheap before and now valued in Gold to keep something important running. Others were taking advantage of the new opportunities that had opened up-one of the new companies he had help set up brokered the services of Jade Mages to farmers where they performed spectacular feats.

The coordination part was solved by going back to an even older role model. For the first two months after the beginning of WW1 the German economy had been in a state of confusion before things settled down. Then under the “friendly guidance” of the General Staff the German producers had organized themselves in to “Arbeitskreise” (boards) and divided the workload by themselves. It had worked rather well when once factored the ever worsening raw materials situation and the lack of workers. Nobody would call it “Kriegswirtschaft” (War Economy) now of course, but “Krisenwirtschaft” (Economy of Emergency) fit the bill.

And it would be so 20th century to actually meet in smoke-filled rooms and personally discuss this division-SAP had made standard software for that and now any company with aspirations to produce something was using it to see what was needed and offered on the quick.
As the finance thing it worked, after a fashion. Knull was one of those who would go back to old Earth in a heartbeat-he missed the foreign trips on holidays quite a lot and had been quite particular for scuba diving in the Red Sea. But seeing how an economy transformed itself with breakneck speed into something not seen before-that was interesting and exhilarating in its own way.

Neustadt, Naggaroth, next afternoon

Areta Bane stood at attention as rigidly as she ever had in her life. True-she was now Platoon Leader Bane, and her platoon was one of the new Heavy Weapons Platoons the Auxilia had received, which meant a lot.
She was a seasoned veteran now and part of a unit which had taken part in a difficult campaign-and had handed their enemies their heads. Neustadt had finally gotten their mechanical spinning and weaving to the point where they could afford to clothe the Auxilia in new deeply black uniforms that came together with partial armor. Her feet were now clad in “Desert Boots”, something the veterans of the recent campaign could value most.
All of this should have made her feel competent and relaxed at the review. Just that was not appropriate when they were reviewed by Malekith himself who had descended on Neustadt from the Iron Fortress.

Veteran or newbie, Druchii or German, nobody could help being impressed by the Witch King. Towering above any of the attendant his armor and helmet could not mask the torrent of emotions that lay molecules deep under the iron control he exercised about them.
The King radiated terrible willpower and violence and was polite and suave at the same time. It was frightening to the max.
The muster had gone well-given that Bo Swaggert, their old drill sergeant, had been running around since it could not have been different-and now the Witch King was addressing the troops.

“Claus, Son of Tolles, when I hired the Black Company I was really not sure what to expect. I had hoped that you would do well against the Hung and that you could show us some new tricks. And here you have within one year transformed a devastated valley into an area which produces marvels. You have shown us new ways to use our slaves better-something we were really sure to be experts in. And your knack for taking broken things and make them better did not stop there. You have taken Druchii who, for whatever reason were about to fail in their duties to me and their Dread Lords and have transformed them into one of the most powerful units that we have. Well done.

For you, the Auxilia the transformation was the most astonishing of all. When you were sent here it was your last chance-and you used it better than anybody could imagine. Welcome back to the ranks, True Elves. I hear that the Black Company has taken a vote and granted you a flag.
On cue Wolfgang Böhler stepped forward and lifted a flagpole, unfurling the new Flag for all to see. Unsurprisingly it took up the Black Flag from their Parent Company, adding a Druchii Skull with crossed Rifles below. 1st. Auxilia was shown above the Skulls and below the motto “How may we help you”
Even in the presence of Malekith this drew laughter as well as ovations.

It was much later that Malekith had shed his armor for the first time in days. He had taken Quarter in Jasla`s house which came closest to a decent quarter in this outback. He started to like some of the upgrades this place had received. This “Hot Shower” thing had to go into the Iron Fortress for sure and the toilet seemed to be a lot nicer then what he was used to.
He had used both and was now in a comfortable in a robe on the Ottoman of Jasla`s amusement suite and was attended by her. What a day. The decision to take in the German mercs had been an experiment and a huge risk. At first he was pretty sure that they would fail against the Hung and he could use the survivors knowledge and weapons. And now they proved to be remarkable effective in transforming the Druchii into something much more powerful.
Being largely unobserved he allowed himself a shiver when he thought about the video he had seen. “Manhattan Project” indeed. What could he do if he had such power – the possibilities would be limitless. And the Germans were leading the True Elves on the path to such power. And he controlled them-yesss.
The self-praise of having taken a very good decision and the dreams of power and destruction that came from it raised his desire as few things had done recently. Too bad-his normal coven of concubines were not on this trip.
His eyes fell on Jasla-and he liked what he saw. The time with the Germans had done her good it looked like. She was in a better shape than one would expect from a mage-the Germans marched into battle it seemed- yet she had none of that craziness one expected on a hag.
Quite nice really, and he knew already she could stand some pain well. Time for a little amusement then.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-29 04:04pm

Hurrikan II, another Universe

Björn the Fell Handed watched the entrance into the main fortification together with two angry Siege Dreadnaughts. The entrance had been covered by several heavy weapons from smaller bunkers close by, the 3rd ancient had paid with what was left of his life to clear them.
Now only a lascannon and two Heavy Bolters covered the entrance any more-and none could bear on them right now. Waiting would not do any good and neither when he had a meat body nor now was Björn given to such things.
“I take left, Urs you take right, Hemnir-take the guardhouse.” The Dreadnaught stepped into the breach and grabbed the barrel of the Lascannon with his Lightning Claw. The claw sliced cleanly though the weapon while his autocannon banged enough against one of the Heavy Bolters that it could not bear.
A few seconds of smoke and explosion-filled violence later it was over. This was the entrance into what this operation was about and Björn still had no idea what this could be.
He provided overwatch for the Terminators and the Techmarine that rushed forward to the massive doors, spend little attention watching them through a rear camera when they placed their charges and stepped aside when they were blown.
The doors were forced aside and left a dark ominous opening into the fastness beyond-an edifice that was specifically build to swallow units like the one assembled at the entrance and chew them to bloody bits.

He watched one of the Techmarines servitors trundle forward on its treads-he was ripped apart by projectiles before the remains partially vaporized from laser fire. It had done its job by that time-its auspex feeds showed where the enemy was. The Dreadnaughts checked these feeds and exchanged the Data, shared it with the Terminators-and howled. Their bodies might be smashed beyond recognition, their skin unfeeling armor plate and their hands tools of war-but the core of the war machines still belonged to a Space Marine Chapter who lived for this.
Stepping right into the fire dished out by the defenders they trusted their armor to take the punishment and attacked for all they were worth. Björn kept a steady stream of shells on the muzzle of a multimelta which could easily cook him in his shell. The dragon-shaped muzzle took two hits before it could release the shot and when its power cells released it destroyed itself and a part of its emplacement. Björn was no longer paying attention to this spectacle, he was already washing a firing slit with his flamer while playing “catch the Barrel” with his claw.
There was a sally through a side entrance-there always was a sally once the heavy weapons were out. The attack by the Chaos Space Marines on the Dreadnaughts might have seem funny, like small children attacking adults, but children rarely carry melta charges.

The flamers on the three surviving ancients cooked most of the attackers in their suits and Björn`s Lightning Claw got another one, but one of the Chaos Marines managed to get into the range of a Sieges Dreadnaught`s legs and attached the charge there. The damaged leg toppled the War Machine on its back and the Marine wanted to set another charge against the Dreadnaughts sarcophagus when he was caught by the drill arm. Pressed against the ground the Chaos Marine was unable to wiggle away when the drill head first went through the carapace armor and then plunged into the soft contents below.
“Having fun folks?”
“As much as we can stand Patriarch.”
“Then take a breather-from here we have to take it anyway.”
Loren Grimmar stood together with a Techmarine and looked at an Auspex screen. “There is a bleeding warren from here on-and some of the lines are so fuzzy we are not sure if they are not fake. And look here and here: more emplacements than you can shake a stick at. I am happy you got your way Primarch.”
“Don’t praise a day before the evening Loren, but I hope it works.”
Both men watched a Techmarine take some material of a pair of Terminators and arrange a cross on the wall in front of him.

Warsmith Spep`tukan checked on his troops again. The part on the Landing Zone could definitively have gone better but for an assault by no less than 4 Dreadnaughts. At least one of them was out but he had counted on the enemy taking much higher losses out there. But now it was time for the real fight to begin. His troops knew the layout of the Fortress like the back of their hands, the followers of the corpse god did not. He had prepared emplacements covering the main passageways, traps for the unready and not too few Obliterators. These Cyborgs could form appropriate weapons out of their very flesh and adept to any tactics the enemy might try. Now they just needed to wait till..
“Krumpf” uh? “Krumpf” what the fu…”KRUMPF”
“Warsmith, the enemy is blasting his way through the walls, they are evading our defenses.”
“I see that fool. Redeploy the Marines in the emplacements and send the Obliterators to..wherever they are going.”

The Warsmith was not yet engaged in combat but already felt that it went badly. The screams and howls in his headset indicated that the enemy was among his troops already and was fighting in close combat. And there were few Enemies better in close combat than the Space Wolves.
If he just knew what the enemy wanted it would be better-currently he could not see any rhyme nor reason. The Wolves were not going for the Generators, the CIC or any other neuralgic point he could see, instead they just went deeper and deeper into his fastness, killing all the while.
He had another look at the enemy`s deployments-that was strange, why had the followers of the carrion god gone there? This was just some vaults closed down since about forever.

Several hundred meters from the Warsmith Leman Rus had a fine old time. He had good Warriors at his side, fine Marines if there ever were, he had a willing foe and the confines of the Fortress allowed for all the melee one could wish for. That his Marines were Terminators and specialized in close combat and his enemies using standard Power Armor, being specialized in Siege warfare and caught out of position did not distract from the joy at all.
The idea to ignore the passageways of the fortress and blasting their own was a brilliant one and he really had to thank the German Sergeant that still resided in his head for it. This tactic had leveled the field that otherwise would have been tilted far in favor of the defenders.

Speaking of which-Jens Johannsen was making himself known again, and as was his wont by nagging. “When will you overgrown pup grow a brain, become an adult leader and concentrate on the mission? The Wolves need another fighter as much as a third leg-they need you to concentrate on the goals and coordination stupid.”
If the Wolf Lord would not have had his share of the killing any way he might have ignored this-but both as Jens had earned the attention and as he was probably right-spoilsport but right-Lehman Rus slowed down.
“Loren, take it from here. I look after the cogboys, they should have gotten things going by now. Björn, Nial-make sure that we have a way out when they are done…”
Taking his entourage of Terminators the Patriarch made his way down the corridors and passages that led to the deeper layers of the Fortress he contacted each of his commands in turn to get an idea about the overall situation.
So far things were good-the enemy was out of position and not fighting according to his own plan-in short he had the initiative. The Chaos Space Marines were not in flight or did panic, but there was no general offensive or other danger to the mission he could see. Distributing some of his reserves here, making sure that his boys did not overextend there he arrived at the vault that lay at one of the lowest levels of the Fortress.
Here two rings of Marines made sure that two Techmarines, several specialized Servitors and a couple of Adepts the Mechanicum had loaned could go about their business undisturbed. They had removed a pile of debris and were currently opening a last hatch made from Adamatium that did offer considerable resistance.
“Techmarine Hangulf, how much longer?”
“Emperor willing another 5 Minutes Patriarch. They build these things well back then.”
“Make it so.”

Leman felt more than he saw the change in the air and the immense pressure on reality that barely preceded the teleport assault. “Stand ready“ brought his entourage about so when several Obliterators and assorted Possessed dropped out of the Warp they did not achieve the surprise they had hoped for.
Lehmann`s Terminator Bodyguard tried their level best to put themselves between their Patriarch and the enemy but they never had any chance. Rus threw himself headlong into combat, using his Bolter as a normal Marine might use a pistol. Mutated heads were blown off, limbs dropped to the ground and almost-flesh colored the survivors. All of which did not stop Lehmann Rus from closing with his foes and cutting about with his Frostblade. A chain tipped with the teeth of the Kraken cut through armor, flash and bone with equal ease and stomach turning results. The best the Terminators could do was to make sure their leader had no enemy in his back.
Lehman Rus was elated-this was what he was born for, this was what he desired and what he excelled in. He was deep into combat but still found the time to marvel. “So this is what the fussy German was about-concentrating on the mission and all that. Of course he is right-need to protect the prize, not battle in some diversion. How did he know the assault were to happen-maybe he would have done the same thing?”
If Jens Johannsen still had a head he would have banged it against a wall-if he had a wall that is.

Warsmith Spep`tukan was a deeply frustrated Warsmith. After assaulting his fastness like there was no tomorrow the enemy was now in retreat. While that in itself would have been a good thing it was more than obvious that the enemy was not beaten in any way or form. Whatever the Space Mongrels had come to do they had probably done it and were now leaving.
Nobody would do this to him and live to tell the tale. Unfortunately they had started the retreat on their own time so it had taken the Iron warriors a while to catch on to the change. For some time now Thunderhawks were taking of and shuttled the carrion worshippers back into orbit while escorted by flocks of fighters.
So that none of his Iron Warriors could bring heavy weapons to the tarmac and shoot down at least some of the fleeing whelps they had left a guard that so far had managed to keep that from happening. Comprised both of Terminators and three Dreadnaughts this last stand had so far frustrated all attempts to interfere with the evac.
And yet this was his fortress and so his warriors had taken ways to the surface that the Wolves had not covered yet. Obliterators laid down covering fire while he took a combat group of Marines for an assault that was to break these obstinate Marines in time.

Running in front of his warriors the chant “Iron within, Iron without” was without inflection, without emphasis-and usually all the more frightening because of that. Their enemy could care less and fought back as well as he could. Yet a lot of his fire was intercepted by the Chaos Marines heavy Power Armor and even when that was penetrated the many bionics sported by the Iron warriors gave them an unnatural resistance. This would be over soon.
The Dreadnaught in the van was a sorry sight. The autocannon seemed to be out of ammo-but its slightly bend barrel would not pass it anyway. The other arm and the shoulder pauldrons had deep dents and at least two hits had penetrated. Whatever livery the ancient had sported was now in tatters and covered by blood and soot.
Still it roared challenges to everybody and laid about with his Lightning Claw. Spep`tukan would relish taking it down. Angling behind some of his Warriors he managed to close with the Dreadnaught enough to trigger his Multimelta, a weapon that had never failed him. The “whoosh” of the weapon managed to overcome the din of the battlefield momentarily and a mighty “clang” confirmed the hit and the drop of something heavy.

When the air was clear enough to see the Warsmith looked the ancients severed arm-only his arm. Before he could reconcile this sight something huge and heavy collided with him and even his heavy armor was lifted up by a Claw. The fizzling sparks along its metal showed that the energy field that helped with the armor piercing was out. Nevertheless the claw was closed with all the frightening power of a Dreadnaught behind it, pinning his arms against his chest and keeping him from attacking. Pushing the Warsmith between himself and the Iron Warriors the war machine protected itself from most shots that went his way-and punished the Chaos leader at the same time.

The defenders had been pushed back into a very small circle by now, shooting in all directions, many of them probably at their last rounds. It was then that Spep`tukan heard a grumbling “I seriously hate this” while had was unceremoniously dropped on the ground. Even his tainted blood`s coagulations could not keep him from bleeding from his many wounds, all to his back while a blue fire engulfed the survivors of the last stand-and then they were no longer there, taken by a teleport.The last sounds Spep`tukan made in this life were screams of frustration.

Up in orbit around the contested world both electronic messages as well as ever urgent messengers tried to acquire the Venerated Arc Magos attention to various bits and pieces of the evacuation from the stricken worlds surface. The Titans were already of and more and more of the Skitarii were flown to the waiting transports, protected by “firebreaks” cut by Lance strikes from orbit.
Hel Karbor was resting on what used to be his knees and replayed the same report again and again. It was not about the battle below him, it was about more important matters. The first report about the STC in the old “Raganarök” was in.
It had two very distinct functions: It was able to fab ammunition, armor and spare parts for the Space Marines, which in itself was already a very good thing. Too many of the Marine chapters had to patch their equipment again and again when they should have used new equipment long ago.
But the really really important part was that the STC provided plans and blueprints for nearly any piece of equipment you could name and changed them according to manufacturing capabilities and available raw materials.
Fragments of such STC provided tantalizing glimpses into the technological marvels produced during the Dark Age of Technology. This was all the Mechanicum had found during all the millennia –but this one did not offer fragments. So far not a single gap or malfunction had cropped up-this STC was complete.

The Magos took nearly another hour to come out of the rapture, just in time to give the necessary orders for the final bombardment. It took some time to get the last transports out and the ships to sufficient distance, yet there was all the time the world.
Now that the prize was on board of the “Holmgang” the weapons of the allied fleet could be turned to the surface of this world without restraint. Lances cut deep craters where installations were before, torpedoes replaced mountains with lava-filled lakes.
Nearly anything of strategic importance was hit, observed, hit again and deleted from the target list.
When the fleet went into the warp days later the world had ceased to have any strategic value for Chaos, yet it had not been totally depopulated.
This was to appease the strange but powerful creatures rarely spoken about, yet those few in the know called them “moderatii”.

Warhammer Store, Europazentrum, Berlin, next evening

“So without much further ado folks, lets open the first tournament of the new “Warhammer Fantasy Battles Apokalyse”
The applause and catcalls that greeted Lars Meier`s announcements showed that the attendants to the tournament were in good spirits. He put the microphone down and made his round through the tables. The new realities had forced the German remnant of Games Workshop to make lots and lots of changes to include new units, change older ones to more accurate values and above all changes necessary for common safety.
Lars was quite happy to see that all Gamers had changed the Chaos symbols to a 6-pinted star and that none of the named demons had any of the proscribed names. Everybody remembered what had happened to the store in Hamburg-the local SEK had their hands full till the Nurglings had been killed.

He stopped at one table that had the ever-popular “Reiksbund vs. Chaos” setting. The Chaos side had quite a lot of Bloodletters and some Juggernauts and more than a few mages from the look of it. His opponent was not completely done with his list it seemed.
Presently he removed a company of Reiksguard footmen with their K98 and put a figure showing the upper half of a tanker on a magnetized base on the turret of the Leo2A8 tank. A small flag went into the hole provided for it.
Sir Ulrich Stoiber and the “Wolfpack” then, smart choice vs. demons-a reroll for any invuln save, better Tank Shock vs. infantry, a steal at 50 points if you asked Lars.

Refugee shelter, Passau, same time

“Of course that Paper will easy dissolve yer stupid git, that is the paper for wiping the arse. The paper for wiping stains in the Kitchen is the bigger one with the dents on it. See-“Vildeda” is on it. Or better take a cloth towel. But for Pete`s sake do not use that in the toilet. Small paper-toilet. Big Paper, Kitchen. Get it?”
“Qui Andy, Excusez-moi”
“No problem Marie, just think about it next time. And how is that in German.”
“Merd-eh, Ja Andy, tsculdige”
„Well , nearly so. But for a much better recap-the kitchen looks much better this time. Remember, here are no hounds to eat of the floor and the local farmers get the night soil from the point where it is flushed in the loo. There is no need to keep it, ok?”
“Oui, eh ja Andy”
“Thanks. Just keep it up, you are doing very well. How was your visit to the job agency?”

“Marvelous-they kept me just there. They said most of their old cleaners did not make the Weltensprung, I earn 8,50 Euros an hour now.”
“Wow, very good. If you keep it up you can leave this soon and have your own apartment.”
“You mean like you and your wife?”
“Yes, mostly”
“Oh wow. Are you really sure that is allowed?”
“As long as you can pay nobody can forbid it. Remember, ever since your status was approved nobody can tell you where to go, what work you do or whom to marry-your own decisions now. Really, now come on stop crying.”
Andy Thorpe was not sure whether this part of the job was the worst or the nicest. Living in Germany was QUITE different from the life of a serf in Bretonia, and somebody had to explain the differences. He had been one of the volunteers and it really tested his patience-and then there were moments like the one he just had and then it was just worth the while.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-29 04:05pm

Near Neustadt, Naggaroth, next afternoon

Using a bullwhip is difficult, exhausting and up to a point dangerous. The end of the very long whip tends to wrap around the body parts it is used on and the tip hit with about 3 times the speed of the whip itself then, hitting these points especially hard. The warping around the body part makes hitting the intended spot difficult and there is a minimum speed for this kind of whip which means that a “soft stroke” is not possible.
Areta Bane had less practice with the Bullwhip than some other Druchii she could name, which meant she was quite competent but not an artist with it but she could care less that she could only hit hard. As long as no permanent injury or disfigurement resulted that was fine. Her target was a near-naked true Elf of ropey musculature bound to a handy tree who, in her opinion, deserved everything she dished out and then some.

<Crack> “So let us summarize again what are your failures lael”-<Crack>”I hope I have your undivided attention”<Crack>
”Yes Platoon Leader”
<Crack> “So first off it is not “just a slave belonging to a human”, it is a trained weapons mechanic belonging directly to Chief Engineer Thorsten Breitkop-a human with a permit from Malekith himself <Crack> Do you think Malekith picks unworthy humans for such permits?” <Crack>
“No Platoon Leader, certainly not”
“That is fine, splendid even. And what does a trained weapons mechanic do, even if he is a human slave?”<Crack>
“Undertake the maintenance procedures and repairs that we cannot Platoon Leader”
<Crack> “Very good lael. And as these weapons are what makes us a factor on the Battlefield a trained weapons mechanic is a very important asset. Far more important than a piece of shit that has yet to learn his place in this platoon. Don`t you agree, piece of shit?”
“Uh-I agree platoon leader”
<Crack> “I thought we would see eye to eye lael. Just needed to apply proper motivation. <Crack>

“And now we need to talk about your hearing problem lael.<Crack> All of this has been explained to you several times by members of the Platoon AND me, is that right lael?”
“Yes Platoon leader”
“So when you still insist on whipping a slave because he does not immediately crawl on his belly while his High Lord Piece of Shit appears while he is performing an important function for the Platoon-a function you are utterly incapable of-then it has to be down to a hearing problem, is that not so? <Crack>Nobody would be so stupid to do so if he had understood me correctly, wouldn`t he <Crack>
“Yes Platoon Leader”
“Fine lael, then get that hearing problem addressed before I get really angry and you find me not in such a forgiving mood as I am presently in” <Crack><Crack>
“Yes Platoon Leader”
<Crack>”And now you should pray to any god you know that I find Thorsten Breitkop in a forgiving mood when I apologize on your behalf. Because if I have to put it out to him because of your hearing problem I have an oaken truncheon I will introduce you to. <Crack><Crack>

Actually Areta was pretty sure she did not have “to put it out” for the German, even if showing a little more cleavage than usual would certainly help. The German`s tastes ran into different directions and surprisingly did not try to trade favors that way. Yet the slaves that had heard (and secretly watched) the whipping would bring the tale to the Chief Engineer before she went to him for formal apologies and that would assure him that his position was not under attack.
The latter did not bear thinking about-she had heard that some idiots in the shipyard had tried that game whereupon Breitkop had simply filed a complaint with Malekith`s envoy. The skins of the unfortunates hung from the walls several days later.
“Get yourself seen to then-and you better treat the medics right, even if they are slaves as well-these are trained by Dr. Corzilius and he takes care of them as well”
“Yes Platoon Leader”
“So the lessons for today are: Trained slaves are valuable. <crack> we do not keep them from doing their jobs <crack> And most important we listen to our beloved Platoon Leader <crack>
Do we have agreement here lael?”
“Yes, Platoon Leader Areta”
“Be about it then. We will have an additional training session in an hour”
Nearly no running blood on that idiots back-she must be in a good mood today.

Police headquarters, Wiesbaden, same time

While the curtains went down to allow a better view of what the beamer was projecting on the screen Ibrahim Dürr took a view of Gregor Koch. The electronics expert had actually bothered to don semi-decent clothing and both a shave and a current haircut.
Ibrahim would wager that this was due to Martha, the new secretary the team had been assigned. She was sitting together with Silvia Meins and was about to take the minutes.
“Well, now that everything works let’s get on with it. We have identified a group connected with Claus Tolles who contacted each other in the Telekom newsgroup “All about Jasla”. We know by now that a great lot of these people are missing-without any trace in fact.
And yet so far all the communication between these members in the group was innocuous-at least from the point of any criminal intent. We have been searching for other communications between them, but apart from some phone calls and at least two real-world meetings we have found nothing incriminating.

That was, until the day before yesterday. When I had another look at the pictures exchanged between members we found that they managed to hide text messages and simple files inside the pictures by a method called steganography. This means that in the pictures some of the bits-usually the weakest-are replaced by bits carrying the message. As long as does not overdo on file size this is invisible.
The messages were also encrypted, but not to a very high level-the group obviously relied on the hidden nature of the messages. As some members were a little careless with the keys and we know now what to look for I have started to decode these messages. I have not gotten all of them done yet, in fact not even 10%, but I have concentrated on the messages by Claus Tolles, and they paint an ugly picture indeed.
This slide shows the most interesting contents.

Ibrahim scanned the lines. While he certainly needed context to evaluate things correctly it was obvious that Gregor was, if at all, deadpanning.
“Enough weapons for everybody-including heavy weapons….”
“Acquired another Lathe for….”
“Look for suitable employer….”
“Are you sure we can use the local slaves…”
Ibrahim had to clear his throat before he could comment. “Very good job Gregor-thanks loads. Unfortunately it seems that we discovered something much bigger than just a bleeding prison break-this means lots of work. For now I want to keep things in here before we cry wolf-please keep things discrete for now. So what do we do now: Gregor, you keep up the good work and decode as many messages as possible. Sandra and I will take whatever messages you get us and try to verify. This Lasbek thing mentioned there might be one thing, that ship another.
When we can be sure this is not just lots of talk I will contact our esteemed superiors-not before. Scan me?”
“Fine then, off we go then.”

Ibrahim was sitting on his desk two night later and read a lengthy report of a major fire in Lasbek that had taken an old farm, looking for clues that there might have been more than dust and wrecked machinery inside the barn when his phone rang.
“Hello Ibrahim old boy, this is Heiner Brand. How are you these days”
“Ah Heiner I am fine, what is up-tired of looney watching and looking for a real job?”
“Not really no. But there are some people including me who urgently need to speak with you.”
“About what?”
“Oh, come on Ibrahim-on a service phone, really now. Why can`t we have a nice dinner and talk about things. Things like steganography for example.”

Bonnland, Germany, several days later

Joakim Vos stood on the left side of a doorway. Several shots from it had made it clear that it was held by the enemy, it was time to clear them out.
Counting from 3 with the fingers of his left hand he signaled his No. 2 who promptly threw 3 hand grenades into the room beyond the door. The explosions were well muffled by Joakim`s helmet, the microphones that normally conducted the sound quite well shut the explosions out as far as possible.
It allowed Joakim to extend his right arm holding his weapon through the opening. The camera attached below the barrel gave a picture that was superimposed into his visor. Spotting three moving bodies who`s cover had literally been blown he triggered a long burst that send 7,62 ammo into the room. The recoil tried to twist the rifle up, yet the actuators in his armor easily compensated for that. His companion waited for the fire to subside and then threw himself into the room checking the corners and other places out of sight.
“All clear”
“Very well, what…”

“Boss, I have two IFV coming down the main road-some help would be appreciated.”
Joakim triggered the map function inn his helmet and saw that to reach the rest of his squads he would have to go downstairs, double back the lane and then come down-fuck this, there was another way available now.
Sending “Follow me” to his No.2 he sprinted upstairs to the flat roof of his current building. All the while he worked on the touchpad on his inner left vambrance going through several menu options shown in his visor. When he had reached the roof he sighted the roof of the building on the opposite side of the road with his laser rangefinder and bent his knees downwards. When the “ready” prompt appeared he triggered the “jump” function before he had any chance to be afraid. Heights and roofs did not have his appreciation any more since the Battle of Altdorf, a slowly receding problem.
The Actuators in the legs of his armor got their commands from the computer that resided in the back of his helmet-he was just a passenger for the ride now. Releasing quite a lot of power the armor catapulted him cleanly forward for 6 meters, clearing the road below him and placing him squarely on the next roof. A special pneumatic bandage protected his foot and ankle well enough. Executing a roll forward to kill momentum Joakim went into a crouch and checked the real-time video of the approaching armored vehicles. Just in time it seemed.

Pulling a basketball-sized warhead from the side of his backpack he fixed it to the Bayonet holder below the rifles muzzle. Raising himself above the roofline he had a good view of the Road. Activating a button with his thumb he designated the second IFV as a target for his No.2 he lead the other vehicle a bit and pulled the second trigger. Normally the Rocket Assisted Grenade would have run straight, if a bit slowly to its target and deliver an ungodly amount of C4-now a laser triggered lights and a smoke pot.

Endex was declared not long thereafter and Joakim moved far more leisurely down to the bleachers which housed some Bundeswehr staff as well as General Grube and Major Wolf from the 1st Landwehr.
Joakin just stood silently with his rifle at port arms while Fräulein Meikle made her presentation. He was currently trading his reputation against a chance to stay useful despite his injuries.
“The current suit weights 100 Kilogram by itself. This comprises the motive system, the power system, the electronics , the cooling system and a basic set of armor which is equivalent to the best armor currently used by the Bundeswehr and the Elite formations of the Imperial Landwehr. The user can choose any weapon currently in the arsenal of our forces and several that would be too heavy to be man-portable currently. The armor can be adapted to the needs with additional spidersilk layer or trauma plates as desired and is compatible with Runes of protection or Protective Wards. In the latter configuration it can be proof against 7,62 ammo and nearly any attack that can reasonably be expected in this world. The backpack can carry up to 50 kilogram of load in addition to these things. The power and motive systems have energy for 24 hours of continuous operations and the batteries are comparatively small and can be changed on the fly. During this time the Power Armor allows to move as if he were in shirtsleeves and had considerable additional strength.
The electronic systems are of-the-rack, we were just able to combine them all as the power is already there and the additional weight is not slowing the user down. The suit can be made airtight and there is a fan-driven filter system that provides clean air.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the soldier from the future-available now. Your comments and questions?”

The first to move was a civilian from the Bundeswehr`s procurement side. “That was very nice, really. I think the C3I parts have great merit and should be included in future planning. As for the enhanced armor and weaponry-we seem to do very well without them presently and fire support can be provided by other sources. Maybe we can modify the concept for logistics?”
The next was a Colonel with a “KSK” patch on his BDUs-“If you can show the 24 hours endurance thing we would like to have a look. How about sound?”
“We will certainly be willing to demonstrate the endurance Herr Oberst. As for sound-as we are running electrical artificial muscles the sound level is roughly the same than a normal human. Only when the highest power levels are necessary is there much sound.”
General Grube was not looking at Fräulein Meikle-he was staring at Joakim all the time which was more than a little disconcerting. “I have only one question Fräulein-how much will a dozen suits cost?”

Joakim grinned behind his visor-he had just won a bet with a TyssenKrupp representative who thought the KSK would be more interested than the cash-strapped Empire. Joakim had work with and for these people long enough to know that their tactical thinking-and their experience-often turned about some great heroes who turned the tide on the battlefield.
And here they got heroes of the production line. But the far bigger part of the grin was about his hope that he would be part of the unit that would be formed. He was in this project only for the shortest of times but had taken to it like fish to water.
Much later he went down to the lab where he was to change out of the armor into something some suitable for the evening he was greeting by standing ovations by the Power Armor team-and Sophie Wagenknecht.
As this project had not been adopted by any government-so far it was strictly a private initiative-there were no requirements for secrecy. And after the series of articles that Sophie had managed to sell to “Focus” she was the flavor of the month for the armed forces of two countries anyway.
Clad in clothing suitable for the rather humid weather she looked hot enough to turn many heads and had taken the nerds on the team by storm. Joakim was very happy about the pressure sensors in the suit when he lifted her up like one would lift your favorite 5-year-old and put her down again.

Roland Meister, one of the budding technici that were needed to put the armor together was a gifted amateur photographer and got the two into a picture where Sophie sat on the Joakims`s armor`s shoulder. She looked quite nice there.
Roland showed the picture to his nephew who was a great fan of anything mecha who went apeshit about it. He took the picture from his uncles computer which was not so well protected as his Uncle seemed to think.
Sitting in front of it for a really long time he thought some improvements were needed. That gal really needed more bust and that shirt needed to go up a little-well maybe not only a little bit. The shoulders of the suit could be a bit broader, the crew cut of the soldier a bit more severe, the jaw more broad and that microphone that covered part of the mouth morphed into a cigar.
Photoshop is your friend-and Roland`s nephew was good with it.
Of course he could not keep the picture for himself-and as soon as he had shared it in a small circle it stayed there-for a while. When the suits showed up in the news for real some months later it went viral-big time.
The pic was key in replacing the dream occupation “Storch pilot“ of teenage boys in both Empire in Germany with “Knight in power armor”-and most would be hard pressed if they desired the armor more than the girl or the other way around.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-29 04:06pm

The Himalaya, Terra, another Universe, another time

If you could display hubris in a better way than to cover the biggest mountain range on earth with a palace then humanity has not found it yet. Built more than 10000 years ago, having withstood the Siege by one of the most feared armed forces in the Galaxy, being on top of the terminus of a warp tunnel that led to another universe of horrors-the palace had weathered it all.
It was full of incredible works of art, breathtaking architecture, hidden passageways and vaults full of secrets so devastating that they needed to be kept forever. It had been the stage for great feats of statesmanship, heroic deeds beyond telling, intense love, foul treachery, debased perversions – and often much of this at the same time.
One of the great halls was distillation of all that this palace was-the assembly room of the High Lords of Terra. The 12 members of this group represented the most important groups comprising the Empire and were endlessly jockeying for position, resources and status. Positioned around a round table these worthies usually projected a cool demeanor-heated outbreaks did not faze any of the others and would revel too much if things went wrong.
Today was different.

Tempers were flying, demands were shouted and the voice of logic was mostly silent. There was only one force which could lead to such a state: surprise. The creatures in this room-many of them so altered from their lineage that it was hard to call them human any more-were so old and experienced that nothing could astonish them any more-mostly.
Gasto Helix did not shout-his vocal apparatus was long gone. A flesh tongue and vocal cords would not do for the Fabricator General of Mars. Yet the electronics that replaced them were very much able to project sound enough to cut through the din.

“Yes, I know how unlikely all of that sounds. And yet all the tests we were able to conduct prove the same thing-yes, he is Leman Rus, in the flesh. We do have data on his genetics and it is him. From all we can check he is not tainted by Chaos and he already did humanity a great service.”
“Since when is the Mechanicum qualified to judge a taint and the “Service to Humanity” benefits the Adeptus Mechanicum at the very most.”

The current Inquisitorial Representative was far less than happy that the Mechanicum was about to receive a boost. The Martians were one of the few parts of the Empire of Man where the Inquisitorial remit did not carry very far.
And he was not the only one which made the clamor in the hall louder again. It was loud enough to drown out the bell-the first time. The High Lords of Terra did not place the sound right away. This was hardly surprising as it had not rung for a thousand years or more. Several functionaries whose job was taking care of the halls technical details were pasty faced in seconds, one collapsed. The bell rang twice more before the voice could be heard. It was a synthesized voice, a pale shadow of its owner`s and yet it sounded like tectonic plates grinding against each other, deep, immense and full of destruction and pain.

The clamor had ended at the first syllable. The Emperor himself had not spoken to the High Lord governing in his name for a millennium. That had just changed.

Lüneburg, North Germany, Two in the morning

The German autumn was not especially cold, even at night and Skrulk was clad in fur that should have kept him quite comfortable. And yet he shivered and experienced periods of great heat and shivering cold. He had been quite a healthy Skaven Plague Monk when he left his familiar warren. He had traveled through this alien country at night, keeping to the woods and avoiding the human roads. The passage was quite uneventful-there were no enemy patrols and the surprisingly extensive German woods were empty of dangerous wildlife. Instead there were enough smaller animals and fruits to live well, so his sad state could not be contributed to that.
What had happened was quite obvious-one of the bottles he carried had a tiny leak-and with its content even a tiny leak was supremely deadly. He knew he would not live long, yet to die without to fulfill his duties was unthinkable, the blessings of Grandfather Nurgle had to be brought to these humans. The trouble was-he had no idea how to do it. While the center of the town was more like the little he knew of human towns in general it lacked the feature of nearly all human settlements he knew: wells.

This was the best known method of bringing the blessings to the humans-but he had yet to find a single one. How this could be was beyond his ken-they certainly did not take the waters from the local river. So what was he to do. In his feverish wanderings he stumbled upon a place he normally would have never entered as it was big and offered no cover. And there is was, finally-a beautiful, big well for all to see. Seeing that hiding had no purpose he sped the last meters to the well and uncorked the bottles he had so lovingly kept for his pilgrimage.
The greenish fluid dissolved in the running waters and Skrulk wandered off in search of a quiet and hidden place to die, which he found in a convenient storm drain.

Fortunately the dead pigeons all around the fountain warned the city employees that passed by it on their work that something was badly off and the old fountain was checked, cleaned and disinfected. In their search what hand happened and by whom the police checked the records of two of them.
Skrulk was recognizable in several pictures as Skaven.

Police building, Wiesbaden, 5 PM, two days later

Ibrahim Dürr was reading his way through a report from his Hamburg colleagues. The usual stupidity-some members of the local Hell`s Angels chapter had taken up Khorne worship. As a lot of the motorcycle gang members in nearly all organizations had been left behind by the Weltensprung they battled for turf as everybody saw opportunities. Seems like the members got into a serious pissing match about something and two Khornates really laid about them. The Blood God was probably well pleased as Blood had flown and actually heads had been taken. The pictures attached to the report made for a pretty ugly sight.

The report speculated that the members might have met Khornates when they were in the Empire to recruit new prostitutes for their brothels-after the Weltensprung these tended to be pretty empty.
The police commissar mused that Claudia Roth might have done Germany her biggest service by dying so gruesomely and publicly. That way really nobody with more brain than a 3-year-old got the message “Chaos is bad” well enough. The rest who did distrust everything shown by public media were doing a pretty good job to Darwin themselves out.
The one percent which did not were his job, but for today it was over-he had a date.

The restaurant was one he too would have chosen for such a meet-it was attached to an autobahn, one of the unlimited-speed highways that crisscrossed Germany and as anonymous as one could get.
He arrived early to check out the location, only to find Heiner Brand and 2 other men he could not identify already there. Pulling up his shoulders in resignation he approached the table.
“Hi Ib, nice that could make it. Let me introduce you to Ottokar Proktor of the BND and Werner Reiser who is MAD.”
“Hello Heiner. Normally I would say nice to meet you, yet currently I am not so sure.”
“Straightforward as always our Ibrahim, like I promised you.”
“Good evening Commissioner Dürr. You do not seem to take it so badly, you left Martha in her job.”
“At least that way I know who is leaking Herr Proktor”
“I hope that won`t be necessary much longer. But let`s get some food first, we don`t want to attract attention.”
The 3 men got their fill at the self-service counter before sitting down and consuming the food with only the most cursory talk. Coffee was on the table when things finally turned serious.

“So Heiner, will you finally tell me why you are looking into my team? What have I done that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution finds objectionable?”
“Nothing, and neither do the two others present. We wanted to get your measure at work.”
“What the fuck for?”
“Remember when you asked me when the OPS got the guts to do a video surveillance of the “Rote Flora”?
“Yes, for sure, so?”
“The OPS did not-have the balls I mean.”
“Come on you know exactly the kind of bosses we have been saddled with from the politicos. Remember that Rowedder guy in Thüringen? Coming to office barefoot and holding candlelight dinners with the secretaries? And do not tell me that most of the appointees we received lately are of a much better caliber.
And even the better ones are there to defend the bleeding rules that were made up by even more self-serving politicians that have no bearing from reality. I can understand that data like I gave you is inadmissible at court-but forbid me to give it to you totally? What kind of idiocy is that? And we have similar things between the OPC and the MAD or the BND. Yes, there is a clearinghouse-but you have to make an application for any info exchange, and how can you make an application when you do not even know the info exists at all? So a couple of us decided the surveillance was needed and simply did it.”

“So you think yourself better than the rules and make your own.”
“Come off the high horse Herr Dürr-we all know you make your own rules when it suits you. We just do the same thing and at the same time try to keep exactly that within reason.”
“The great philanthropic Dr. Proktor aren`t you?”
“Me, certainly not. I am looking after my own ass, like everybody else. Maybe even a little more than others. Actually, that is another thing we do-we look after our own. Our esteemed superiors have a tendency to throw those who do their bidding under the bus when bad things happen that they initiated. If NSU still rings a bell with you, and I do not mean the car brand, then you know what I mean.”
“So you make the rules and protect each other’s backs-is it that?”
For the first time Werner Reiser joined the fray. “We do not just keep our friends afloat or eavesdrop without a warrant because we are all nefarious and /or compulsive snoops. We protect Germany Herr Dürr, protect it despite the blockheads that want to keep us from doing so. Before the Weltensprung this would not be a good idea-the threats were smaller, we had allies who helped, and if things would have gone seriously wrong there were other places you could go. Now it is different, there is only us. And if our bosses won`t let us do our damn duty we can either replace them or do the job regardless, but it must be done. You know yourself very well what were to happen if we do not.”

“So who is giving you your second set of marching orders then.”
“Nobody does. We do not have a hidden master fondling a cat and mouthing bad scripts. We are an informal network for people who want to do their jobs. No hierarchy, not many rules, just a little help among friends when you need it. We do not exchange decoder rings and we do not even have a proper name for us.”
“Not totally true that.”
“Come on Heiner, nobody takes that serious, that is a bleeding joke.”
“Maybe it started as one, but these days all who have a need know Section 31-and anybody who stumbles on it by accident will think it is just a joke. It serves the purpose, what more do you need.”
The laughter that went around the table served to ease the tensions somewhat.

“So, all joking aside-why contact me now?”
“Oh we could tell you that Heiner insisted to include you because of your abilities and we dearly need you, but let`s not insult your intelligence too much. The problem we have is your infatuation with Jasla.”
“Why, what bearing could that have on you?”
It was Ottokar Proktor who rose to that question. “You know the BND is supposed to provide info about everyone outside Germany, err potential enemies. We do have a quite interesting starting base with all that background from the Games Workshop-but we really should verify that. Especially as only 80% is good info. And we all know that nothing is more dangerous than a little knowledge. For the human and the dwarven realms we are establishing trade and diplomatic missions, so it is not that hard.
But spying on the Chaos guys or the Darkies is much harder. We have the aerial recon, we have a lot of what the freed slaves tell us and then we have a big whole lot of nothing. We do not trade with them, they do not use wireless or any other communication we could eavesdrop into and sure as sure we cannot hack their computers. And given the little bit of exciting history we have with this batch of Spitzohren that is quite frustrating.”
“Are you telling me YOU sprung Jasla?”
“No, of course not. We want to protect Germans, not kill them. But when it happened it opened up an interesting opportunity.”
“So you know where she is and are telling nobody?”
“So? She is in a place where we cannot get at her without a major effort and she and the imbeciles that went with her are killing Germany`s enemies at their own dime. I say let them-and if and when that changes we can end that for sure. Till then no harm done and info to us.”
“Before I say anything I want more info.”
“I see what I can give you, ok? And then we need you to….

Ulthuan, several days later

Bruglier Henbane was no longer a frustrated Druchii. He was still escorting supplies to the front-but by now this was an important position. He was still losing true elves, but as he was the guy who got his supplies through every time, so he got the soldiers he needed.
To top it off, not had far more supplies arrived at the Bay of Drusilla these days, he had received new wagons. A year or so ago he could have cared less for the design of a wagon, now he had become an expert on the. And the new ones were really really interesting.

Instead of the wooden pole that was the basis of most wagons the new ones mixed a wooden girder structure with steel for far improved stability and weight. Steel springs made the ride far less rough but were robust enough. They were also “damped” by disk shaped devices with mechanical friction. Whatever that meant-the wagons rode better-and much more quietly, whoever build them had changed the design of the bearing considerably. No longer were they lubricated by grease and brush, the new ones needed a pistol-like device to push grease inside.
The steering was also new-instead of two wheels that turned around a middle pole the new ones had wheels that turned on their own axis each. Bruglier, who had seen his share of turned-over wagons found the steering complicated, but clearly worth it. He was interested which genius came up with such a clever design all of a sudden-and where all the steel came from.
And that was just the chassis-the top of the Wagons held even more surprises. Currently they were pretty lightly loaded, but that was a good thing on what went for roads in this khaineforsaken part of Ulthuan.

The wagons were different enough and came with recommended tactics for use, so Bruglir had decided that a week of training was in order. That had proven wise when the first rehearsals had resulted in major confusion as they required the drivers to act like warriors. The slaves were certainly not trained for such and panicked when they foresaw punishment in their futures.
Only a handful of slaves had made the grade, and Bruglier had made it crystal clear that none of these were to be punished without his consent. These were too valuable.
Now that everything was as well prepared as Henbane could make it he was dying to see whether this worked.

He was currently sitting on a horse, not a Druchii stallion, he was not a member of the cavalry, but needed it to cover the convoy in reasonable time. Nobody laughed at his riding style, at least not after the first time.
He liked the current view-the formerly lush forest that existed to the left and right of the path had been reduced to a ruin of charred stumps that offered a good field of view and more maneuvering room by his convoy. It had been him who had suggested the laying of large-scale fires when the last summer draught had made it possible and had granted him lots of recognition.
If he was in position he always tried to have an eye on the true Elves walking point, a thankless job that lent itself well for punishment duty. He was one of the first to see the Druchii that marched in a line abreast fall like ninepins and the many High Elves that worked their way from brushes and well-concealed trapdoors. The Asur seemed to cover the ground with their white and blue clad bodies-where did they get the numbers after so many fights?

“Laager-form the bleeding Laager" really stirred everybody up. As trained many times the wagons were driven in a rough circle with the teams inside. Slaves and warriors both rigged chains between the wagons, while others dropped the specially constructed walls. The inside walls formed ramps into the Wagons while the outside ones dropped partially to the ground, closing the entrance into the Laager, while the upper sides dropped down to expose firing slits. His crossbowelves scrambled into the wagons while most spear-carriers assembled at the gaps between the wagons.

He took the reserve into the center of the laager and waited. His patience was not tried-the Naggarythe warriors were out for blood. They had to cross the murderous fire of his crossbow shooters before they could grapple with him and paid dearly for it. The repeating weapons could keep up a devastating rate of fire until the marksmen were too fatigued and their return fire did not penetrate the sturdy outer sides. Even in the few instances in did the arrows lacked the strength to penetrate his elves armor.
In two or three places where the Asur reached the circle of wagons they found that they lacked the tools to destroy the wooden walls and were reduced to push themselves through the openings between the wagons. His spear-carriers had no problem at all killing these and his reserve was never needed. In the end the enemy retreated, bleeding bodies all the time. An interesting way to fight a war-Bruglier could get used to that.

The new part of the tactics had worked beyond expectations, the older part not so much. When he checked he found that all the Asuran hostages that he had ordered bound to the outer sides of the wagons had been killed. The placement of the arrows made it clear that the shots had been intentional. Ok, that was a waste of potential slaves, note to self-do not repeat.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-10-29 04:07pm

Charite`, Berlin, next day

The Charite`is a very old place and has seen additions and modifications by the dozen over the many years of its existence. This process had left many nooks and crannies, some of them only known to a select few. One of them was a roof terrace that was hemmed in from all sides by slanted roofs and so protected the users from view.
Used by those who knew about it to catch some sunlight it was mostly deserted in autumn temperatures that asked for at least light clothing. Superior Mother Herad did not mind at all, she liked the solitude a lot. She really needed the rest and here she could get it.
Truth to be told-she needed more than a little rest. Ever since the five discovered what they could do besides mending nerves their services were highly requested. That they discovered new things they could do every other week was good-they could serve the Goddess better and heal the sick-but it took more effort every month it seemed. She had a harder time getting up, achieving the concentration needed to heal-ah the list was endless.
She knew very well that the time to leave the five was coming up but found it so very hard to go that step. Healing was such a big part of her that stopping to do so would be like a prelude to death-but sooner or later it would be necessary, likely sooner.
All the worries could not keep her from dozing for a while and she was woken up by the smell of some drinking chocolate placed next to her lounger.
Looking up she saw Brother Winkler who nursed a cup of tea while he waited her to wake up.

“Hi Mother, sleep well?”
“Too short as always Brother.”
“We take it when we get it.”
“Yes. Don`t tell me you just got up here to bring me a chocolate and touch up you tan.”
“I`d love to Mother, but we both know it ain`t so. I think we need to talk.”
“Oh sweet Mother, you all think it is time I leave? I know you are right but…”
“What? Who gave you that funny idea, we need you. No, what I wanted to talk about is that you have several conditions which need treatment-we should look after it these days.”
“What do you mean, look after it? Dr. Laupichler treats me these days, he does what he can.”
“I know. I thought we do it ourselves.”
“Brother Ralf, during all the time the order uses the amulets for healing they were never used on the healers themselves.”

The 5 normally worked in a dedicated treatment room which by now had been modified to their use. Among the amenities were water connectors for the cooling vests and good chairs with belts which allowed them to concentrate on healing instead of keeping balance. There was also a set of sensors for everybody that led to a workstation manned by short-lived tradition by Ralf`s wife Christine.
She was no longer restricted to monitor temperature but also got data on blood oxygen content, blood sugar Blood pressure and pulse. There was a project going to equip the healers with EEG, but that was for the future. She could even do something about blood sugar and temperature, and had a red button that would distribute a mild electric shock to break off a ritual that went off track.
Getting into the meditation took somewhat longer than usual-all of them were apprehensive about what they were to do, most of them Ralf, despite his nonchalance. Still, having lots of routine helped and the five rolled back their eyes and gave up individual consciousness.

The Gestalt that formed in the middle above the empty table was the sum of all of their parts-and much more besides. When it had stabilized it gave the closed thing to an exasperated sigh “Finally they get it” and went to work.
As it had suspected it was easier to work on one of their own instead of more difficult. The Gestalt was not so sure that would have held for any treatments related to one of the brains-that would have reduced its capacity-but for anything else it was easy. And these days the five were a lot more powerful when they were before. Their new equipment allowed them to handle power loads previously too dangerous to contemplate and with heavy use of power came experience and training.
They were certainly not the most powerful mages about, not even close. Many elves and even a couple of humans would laugh at the power they commended combined. What these worthies could not match was the knowledge about the human body and the sheer processing capacity that could be had by using five brains instead of one.
And now the Gestalt went to work on Mother Herad, something that was overdue. There were so many problems that needed mending-the bones were brittle, the inside of the arteries clogged including some that provided the brain and the heart with blood, brain cells had died and never been replaced……

Ralf Winkler had been granted a gift by Shallya last Christmas-eidetic memory. That meant he could read himself through many medical volumes-but making sense of so much information was still beyond him. But not for the amalgam of the five and that went to work with a vengeance.
In Mother Herad`s body telomeres were capped off, stem cells told to multiply and then to replace cells that had been used till destruction. Then the Gestalt went back as he found that some of his work would increase the risk for cancer too much-introducing more antibodies should cure that. And tell the new cells and some of the old ones to produce more hormones.
The To-Do-List was long, yet the work went much easier than comparable work on their patients. Being nearly done the amalgam found that he had reserves left-and that the other meat bodies of his parts were only in marginally better shape. Copying the work to the others was easy as pie. The better the five became, the better the Gestalt would be-it should have been simple enough for these humans.

Christine Winkler was watching the readouts she got diligently-her husband`s life was on the line. The readings by themselves were ok and did not seem dangerous. But taken together she had not seen them before. Temperature, pressure and everything else was ok, but blood sugar was only ok as she kept adding through the drips in copious amounts and the temperature was ok only as the vests were working full throttle.
The ritual took more power than anything else she had seen before-and it was rather long and showed no sign of abating. What the fuck was up? She was making up her mind-if they ritual was not over in a few minutes she would stop it-then and there.
Seeing not the slightest change after 5 more long minutes her hand reached for the red button. Before her fingers could reach it something slammed into her mind, deleting any conscious thought. The room stayed like it was, just that nobody was moving any more but for breathing.

Dragon Gate, Ulthuan, roughly same time

Prince Tyrion, Consort of the Everqueen and General of all Asur armed forces studied the reports that had reached him. Incredible-they had taken 8 days from Lothern to reach him at the Border of the Shadowlands. That was quite a feat and had asked for a relay of Griffon riders to carry the messages. The batch from Altdorf had taken 4 days to Lothern-a much longer distance including a vast ocean that no mere Griffon could traverse.
Thinking that he had sent that buffoon Aurelius to the Germans and their allies did no longer struck him as that clever in retrospect. It had been such a nice way to get rid of the bothersome fool just to find that he had send said fool as an intermediary to the arguably most powerful faction on this world. Interestingly enough the last reports indicated a steadily improving report with both the Empire and the Germans. Well, all is well that ends well.

And one said noble had sent a report-which he even credited to his aide which told quite a lot about the changes in the ambassador-which bothered the Elven prince more than he would show to the world. The Druchii had been so successful in their current Campaign till now as they had struck at the Shadowlands, the mostly empty part of Ulthuan most populated by nomads. They certainly had supply problems as they could not forage much. His own troops had the same problem and as they could use the sea for supply of their beachhead the Dark Elves were able to bring in troops to this particular battle faster than he could. So the first strategy he had devised against this incursion had been to go after the Druchii supplies-and that had worked at first, till Malekith`s ships all of a sudden had better weapons and faster ships.
The fallback plan was to slow the Druchii down as much as possible and then defeat them at one of the 5 Gates, most likely the Dragon Gate.

The Dragon Gate was part of a series of fortifications built millennia ago and unlike the fickle humans they had been build the right way the first time. There had been no large-scale additions or changes over the millennia, the superior planning and architecture of the Asur had made this possible.
The walls and Gates were a tribute to Asur artisans, high and slender they would bring tears of envy into the eyes of the lesser races for their combination of function and beauty. Unfortunately exactly these features brought the fortress into question now. The walls were so high that neither Siege Towers nor ladders had any chance to breach them. To make them so high they were slender, something possible because of the superior workmanship of the Asur-lesser races could have to build impossibly thick walls to make them.
And yet the report on front of him made him question the fortifications that stood the tests of time through millennia. It seemed that Aurelius, prompted by the reports about explosive weaponry in Druchii hands had asked a German Engineer what would happen if the walls of the Gates would be attacked by powerful detonations. The answer was devastating: They would drop at comparatively low effort.
And the army that was shown to make its way to the Gate was substantial-he was doubtful that he could amass enough defenders in time if the Gate fell to contain these. So he would need to protect the Gates themselves-and even for that the report had suggested a way.
It was not what the Asur would normally do, so he was here to see it through.

Solar System, another Universe, another Time

Of all the known star systems in the Milky Way galaxy the Solar System was the best defended. The Solar Segmentum Fleet was huge and sported some of the most mighty starships ever build. It was backed up by the Fleet of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but countless Defense Monitors, by planate-based interceptors and Orbital Fortress by the dozen. And all of them were on alert.
The Fleet they expected was not the dreaded Necrons who already once managed to pierce these defenses once, even if only for the shortest times. It was no new Chaos Crusade, no Thyranid Hive Fleet, no Dark Elven Pirates or Ork Waaag. It did not offer Death, Doom and Destruction; it offered something many in the Imperial Hierarchy considered far worse: Hope and Change. The fleet that approached was hauling a cargo of uncertainty and that was something that frightened a bureaucracy that existed for 10000 years more than anything else.

And then the wait was over-at the set time and place reality opened up to reveal a brief view at what lay at the other side and disgorged a fleet the likes had not been seen inside a system that should have seen it all.
The core were several Mechanicum Arcs, a sort of ship that never went in groups, and here it was. There were Battleships, Cruisers and destroyers, all protecting a small fleet of Adeptus Astartes. The tension was thick enough to cut in the various commands and not diminished at all when a series of communications were exchanged that had not been heard for a very long time.
A Primarch requesting an audience with the Emperor?
Still the very nature of Space where any act is an effort of coordination, where all distances are huge and every action needs to be planned beforehand stayed the tempers and allowed the passage of the fleet.
The tension dropped minutely when the Mechanicum fleet split off to get into an orbit around Mars. The only off thing about that was that they nursed a Battle Barge of a design unseen for many millennia in their midst and docked it into one of Mars shipyards with unseemly haste.

The ships of the Space Wolves decelerated later and dropped nicely into a high orbit around Earth itself. Several Thunderhawks and a single Stormhawk detached themselves from the "Holmgang", burned their engines long enough to drop their relative speed below that what was needed to stay in orbit and oriented themselves for entry into Earth`s atmosphere. From here their course and speed were very predictable.

Defense Station Con-A-ST16 was situated close to what had been Istanbul in a bygone age and like all others of its kind sported 4 humungous laser weapons. Able to destroy anything in Earth`s orbit that passed it the defense station had gone on alert several days ago. Such alerts were always ended within 24 hours with an “Endex” and those in the know would usually drop hints when such an exercise were about to happen.
Garrison troops not called to battle usually degrade after a time and these had nearly 5000 years to do so. Now they were in an alert that was not predicted, that did not end and had no idea what was happening. Everybody in control station 2 tried his very best to avoid drawing attention by Lieutenant Uziel as the Officer was so nervous that he would tear somebodies head off for sneezing-probably literally.
When the doors leading to the room opened without any warning it seemed that several hearts slipped a beat-till they saw the familiar uniform and face of Captain Dell Úzo, their favorite umpire.

Lieutenant Uziel got up on shaky legs and was about to salute when the laser cored his head through an eye. The warrant and ratings did not even have time to get shocked before they too died.
The assassin went to work on the various stations that had been manned by 4 people by jumping from one to the next one till they had all been slaved to the command console. Pulling the real eye of Captain DellUzo from a pocket she logged into the system and took the gun off the common fire control.
The link she had established to the augurs showed her target just fine, they did not evade, use neither jamming nor anything else that might throw her shot of. It was nearly too easy, but Mehlien was taking it with grace.
As any good Assassin she did not know the purpose of her attack or even the targets identity and like all good Assassins she did not care. Yet her superior found the uncertainty that was on its way to the Palace too much to bear. Plans that had taken hundreds of not thousands of years to come to fruition were in danger and nobody and nothing was going to jeopardize them.
The first attempts at communication had started when Mehlien had taken her gun off the grid, now that it turned on her command much stronger reactions were due. Still, nothing could keep her from lining up the biggest symbol in the flock of targets up with the curser. Flipping open a lid she turned and pressed the firing stud.

Outside a fat cylindrical projector made final minute adjustments and then fired a series of fast laser pulses designed to “bore” itself through the atmosphere. Vaporizing dust and droplets in the air its passage could be seen as an afterimage as it was over so fast. The beam terminated at a “Stormbird” landing ship that had a red-glowing underside from friction with the fringes of Earth`s atmosphere.
Constructed to punch through void shields and meter-thick armor the shot simply made the “”Stormbird” disappear in a bright explosion.
Mehlien`s last act was triggering a melta charge that incinerated her and the complete contents of her Command center minutes before white-faced Guardsmen breached the doors.

The explosion lit the passenger compartment of the Thunderhawk briefly before the filters caught in. All crafts dropped Chaff, Flares and a series of active decoys that muddled the augur picture and flew random course changes designed to break any other target lock and avoid further strikes.
Normal humans would have been incapacitated by the acceleration forces, the crew and passengers of these craft were a different flesh.
“I told you that this is a different universe Patriarch.”
“Yea, in my time they would not have fallen for such an obvious target.”

It took the Wolves another hour to get to the Palace. It took the Party that landed no longer than three days to reach the Throne Room and even they needed nearly an hour of fast marching to cross it.
If they were impressed by the many marvels that they passed their helmeted faces did not show it. It was rather obvious that it had needed quasi-divine intervention to get them past many imperial institutions that would have kept them for an eternity otherwise. The only thing that had taken them so long was sheer mind numbing distance.
If nothing had shaken the Wolves-the Golden Throne did. An incredible edifice that was obviously an amalgam of several technologies that handles eldritch energies of incredible power. It did many things-it kept the Emperor alive-as much alive as he was-it kept feeding him the energy taken from thousands of Psionics that were sacrificed every day.
The Emperor used that energy to keep up the Astronomican, the great psionic beacon that allowed ships to navigate through the warp. He used it to sustain himself-and he used it to keep shut the portal into a webway full of horrors.

Leman Russ had been here before, a year before he left his brethren on his final mission. His father had changed, as had the Empire. Back then he was a Superhuman bound to this prostatic mess-now he was more and less at the same time.
The burned-out husk that sat inside the Throne was no longer recognizably human and whether life existed inside it in any ordinary sense was a difficult question. But the presence of an incredible mind was undeniably and the Space Wolf was pretty sure that it was muted inside this room lest it killed all who wore there. It certainly exceeded anything the Emperor was capable of when he was still walking among men-handling so much energy over such a long time had its price and its rewards.
The Patriarch had been bewildered by the Imperial Creed and the deification of his Father-now he got a better understanding.
The Golden Throne too had changed since he last saw it, but it was obviously not to the better. Even when it was erected only very few people knew its workings-now there were none who could work on it. Now it showed the signs of age and patches on top of patches. They might be gilded jewel encrusted patches but patches never the less.
The Golden Throne was failing-bit by bit. When it did the astonomican too would fail and large-scale star faring would end for humanity. The Empire would be ripped apart by its centrifugal forces.

The voice was not “heard” by anyone in the conventional sense-no pressure waves reached the eardrums, no nerves conducted the signal-the brain itself received information. It was overwhelming.
A Patriarch who rested on one knee did not know if answering by voice would make any difference, but he was too human to do differently.
“Yes Father, I am here and I brought what you wanted. A little late but here I am. The prize is intact”
“Are you sure Father. It seems intact, but…”
“Yes Father.”
One of the worthies who had for several normal lifetimes been in charge of the Thrones input hesitated for a moment-and dropped lifeless to the ground. The rest showed what needed to be done wearing pasty faces.
Leman Russ watched the four Terminators who brought the heavy casks between them. Putting it to the ground at the right spot they waited for him while he deactivated a stasis field that had been active for nearly ten millennia.

Entropy and time did not have access to the contents inside the stasis field and the contents wore as they had been packed in there for an incredible time. As the field had to be maintained by quite a, lot of energy the overall entropy was maintained and the Universe did not mind too much.
And yet now the contents were part of time again. 4 cylinders were inside and even the Patriarch hesitated to open and empty them into the waiting port-and yet he did.
“And that is all?”

The Golden Throne was an incredibly complicated machinery that had worked for far too long. Now it urgently needed a rebuild from ground up-difficult when everything was all well, impossible when it had to continue to work even if you knew what to do.
Repairing it on the fly would have been like changing the pistons of a car-while it ran full throttle.
Or was it. There was one technique that would help-Nanotechnology. The Virus-sized machines could work on the Throne atom by atom. And yet, such machines did no longer exist. They had been plentiful during the Age of Technology-and had been part of its downfall. They had permeated everything-machines, humans and a lot of the environment, making sure that the humans were living in a paradise of their making.
And yet these machines were incredibly vulnerable to the Warp-using quantum effects inside the machines opened them up to anybody who could manipulate chance on such scales.

When the Eye of Terror opened up a lot of these machines just stopped working-or worked for new masters. The catastrophe that followed had nearly killed humanity off.
Only the very few nanites that had been kept in stasis were safe-and in the Anti-Nanite crusades universally destroyed. The Emperor`s throne room was one of the few places were the warp had no entry and yet he had no nanites. Only very very few untainted Nanites had survived and the Nanoforges that Lemann Russ had put into the Throne were probably the last surviving in this Galaxy.
A grey dust so fine that it could have been a fluid was pumped through the throne. Nano-factories took stock of the situation. Alone they were about as smart as an amoeba-as a swarm they were in some ways more clever than their designers.
The swarm made a plan of the facility it was in, found that it had no plan against which to work, went into default mode and checked again. By the time the Space Wolves had left the Throne room the nanites had a pretty good idea what was the purpose of the machine they were in, and hour later they had a plan on what to do.
Multiplying using the raw materials they found they went to work-reinsulating wires, reforming electronics, changing crumbling walls-in many ways in the same way a human body renews itself constantly while working.
The Golden Throne was on the mend-and as long as energy and materials were provided it would keep that way for all eternity as the nanites were easily able to reproduce. It would keep the Emperor alive-and hurting.
A few nanites were isolated in a fluid pipe closed off during the repairs. Unable to do their jobs they shut down till further notice.

Excerpt from a transcript of the conversation between Lemann Rus and the Emperor, 2 days later.
“You put WHAT on Mars? And now you ask ME to get rid of it? Father, you will never fail to amaze me.”

Four weeks later the clogged pipe was finally a part of the fluid circulation again and swept the shut-down nanoforges into another part of the system.
This part was obviously also failing and needed repairs, but this time a plan was found, in many parts of the system. It was molecularly coded and came in form of a double helix. Obviously a big job, so the Nanites started to multiply

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-02 08:16am

Sundeck, Charite`, Berlin, several days later

Superior Mother Serena had once turned heads when she walked in a room with a beautiful face and a marvelous physique. She had been chosen for a different path, and while the Order did not forbid marriage she had always been too busy to form lasting attachments. These days her once blonde hair had turned grey, wrinkled graced her face and gravity had taken hold of her physique.
Now she saw one of the surgeons of the Charite` enjoy a few minutes of what the Germans called October sun and for the first time in a long time felt like she was missing something.
Turning to the medic who occupied a lounge to the left of her she checked whether he was awake before addressing him.

“Think we overdid it Brother Ralf”
Ralf swept his right hand about his plate for the umpteen time today-there indeed was a low stubble where no hair had grown for the last 20 years or so.
“Way overdid it in fact.”
“So, what do you think happened?”
“Well, since Mother Herad is pretty sure that we are not tainted by Chaos we can safely say we did this to ourselves. I think it comes down to an old problem: medical personal treat themselves like shit most of the times. Remember that nurse, Johanna? Couple of days before she comes to work and the doc tells her is doing to have surgery on her the next day and she should skip dinner. Imagine treating a regular patient like that. And do not tell me we are much better. Not that Germans or us skimp to make decent treatment for our own, quite the contrary-but we can get quite rough on ourselves on the way.”

“Well whatever we form when we do the ritual is the best of us distilled-and the worst. So it finally got a chance to treat us-and improve itself in by the way-and took it big time. And when Christine thought about breaking it off it did the same thing to her Dr. Brand would do if I were to interrupt a surgery of his - a slap on my wrist.”
“How is she?”
“Mostly she has no memory of this-and that is a good thing I think. I had to promise not to do this again anytime soon and that settled things”
“That is good. I really like her and would be unhappy if she were distraught at what we do.”
“Ask me about it. Good news is that by all indicators we did such a thorough job that we do not need a repeat for quite some time. Christine is coming to terms with that she got most of the treatment too.”

“Even better. One thing I wanted to ask you about the test results-what is this thing about capped telomeres?”
“Oh hum-telomeres are counters at the end of the DNA-they mark every time a cell divides and become shorter with that. You remember the lessons about DNA?”
“Yes, the genetic information, right?”
“Right-once the telomeres are gone the DNA deteriorates and quite soon no functional cells are made by the division. Too much of that and you die. Some people call it the clock of life, but presently we do not know everything about it.”
“Does “capping the telomeres” mean what I think it means?”
“Uff-I am not sure yet if this is a good thing or not. Be that as it may-what do you mean by “higher hormone levels”
“We restored several glands to full working order and told them to produce hormones at optimum levels.”
“Well, the optimum hormone levels are at roughly 20 years of age. I am not sure about you, but at 20 I was pretty crazy around the girls.”
“And you tell me we are getting that back?”
“Supposedly, of course tempered by the wisdom we accumulated through the years. And if you believe the latter I have a bridge in Altdorf I want to sell to you.”
“Ralf Winkler, we way overdid things.”
“Yes. So?”
The laughter coming from their lounges indicated that they probably could take it.

Furaustrandir, Norsca

The office was one of many prefabs that had been erected close to the Norscan`s harbor. There were more of them at the Gates site, but here were the warehouses and the handling facilities for the incoming material as well as a runway.
Captain Von der Marwitz watched his former sergeant come in and was taken aback by the changes the man had undergone. He should have fought harder for him, he certainly was not the first soldier to father a child when deployed. The uniform the former paratrooper had worn proudly was partially replaced-the armored vest was still there, but a fur-lined leather jacket had replaced the Parka, the belt buckle was certainly not standard issue and the blue tattoo that went around Müller`s left eye would have brought the Bundeswehr down on him. The dagger hanging from that belt was also not army-issue.

“Good morning Müller and congratulations. I heard everything went well?”
“Good morning Captain. As well as it could-the twins were too big and Sliv had to get a Cesarean, but all should be fine now.”
“Should be?”
“Freya and Björn are both red-haired-neither me or Sliv are-and a bit too big. The Shaman was making funny noises about a great Fate-ah well.”
“But they are healthy?”
“Very much so, and all is fine.”
“Ok then. If you need any medical or other help you know where to get it.”
“Thanks, I appreciate that.”
“And what is it with that new tattoo-going grunge or what?”
“Nope-consider it my marriage ring-and badge of office.”
“Hetdroning`s enforcer-don`t ask.”
“So that means you`ll stay here for the time being?”
“Probably will leave feet first, but until then I am in for an interesting time, that is for sure.”

“So, how did the Thing of all Tribes go?”
“Not too bad, actually better than I expected. Didn't need to shoot anybody, not really.”
“Ah well, most of the proposal for the Federation`s Constitution went through, but of course there are a couple of additions-you did not expect them to swallow the Foreign Ministries proposal whole, didn`t you? If Germany accepts you will get the stability we need to properly investigate the Gate and the Norscans get access to more technology and markets. They might even be interested in joining the Reiksbund sooner or later. Here, have a look at your own, I marked the highlights.”
“So far so good...what-German settlement is 6th tribe with same rights than the others-uff, ok...slavery is outlawed-very good...Conflicts between tribes may also be resolved by personal combat between Champions-WHAT”
“Don`t get into an uproar Captain, Tasers are allowed...”

45 meters below surface, Sea of Claws, same time

Groluk Rivedwell held his ears against the screwdriver he had placed on the 3rd cylinder. The sensitive Skaven ears were able to discern the slightest error in the flow of steam that went into the mighty machine but presently it seemed that except for a slight leak about the exhaust valve all was fine.
Groluk straightened himself and looked at the complicated machinery around him. Two boilers to his left and right had been loaded with high-quality warpstone before they left base and now produced steam. That drove first two high-pressure pistons and then a much bigger low-pressure one that used the steam better that a single-stage machine. The steam was then condensed back into water before being readmitted into the boilers.
The three steam pistons drove a shaft that turned the cleverest of designs, a screw at the end of the submarine. Such mastery of engineering could only be built by Clan Skryre of course.

Normally the Warlock Engineer would never spend so much time in the engine room as this would kill him quite soon, yet this trip was different. By taking out a part of the crew quarters, especially that for the slaves that normally would have seen to the engine room in relays till they died Clan Skryre had wedged in a warpstone bomb into the submarine. When the sub would reach the end of its trip in two weeks it would enter the harbor of Bremerhaven and detonate the bomb there.
The explosion would kill a crew that by that time would be half-dead from warpstone radiation and if all went well roughly 100,000 Germans. If something would sow fear and confusion into the Germans hearts this would.

Groluk Rivedwell regretted taking part in the conspiracy that would have brought him to the peak of Clan Skryre`s warlock engineers in the Undercity of Mousilonne. Yet this mission allowed him to evade the torture that awaited the losers of such a gamble and make a name for himself even after his demise. He never thought about the sorceries that made him think like that.

Raiffeisen Center, Lasbek, next night

The Plague Monk was exited beyond words. For days he had combed the German landscape in a search for a granary and could not find any. It was strange-all these farmers-and none had a granary. He had found outside storage for these strange roots the Germans seemed to eat so much, but corn and grain had vanished.
The special blessing from Nurgle would only work on grain, but there they would work very well-that was if he could find any. But now his nose had shown him where to find Grain-and yet the building from which the delicious smell emanated looked nothing like a granary. It was a rectangular tower of 30 meters height, made from the strange German seamless stone-a little bit like a building completely made from mortar, how could that be?

The Skaven found a half-open window at last where he managed to squeeze through. Inside he found a huge metal cylinder that filled nearly the entire tower. Climbing ever upwards it finally found a hatch it could wrench open and recoiled in surprise. SO MUCH wheat in one place-and so well dried? How could that be in the wet North German summers? No matter. The Plague Monk emptied all of his flasks into the grain, closed the hatch and went from the granary undetected.
He felt very satisfied with himself-so much grain would bring Nurgle`s blessing to thousands of people.

In fact the bacteria that had been dormant while in the solution spread across the wheat, even if not very quickly as the grains were stored very dryly.
Several weeks later a lot of the grain was transported to Bad Oldesloe, where it was ground to flour. Two workers who did not wear they masks despite the weather allowed got themselves a rather nasty bout of pneumonia which reacted very well to a high dose of antibiotics.
Transported to Kerry in Brandenburg the flour was baked twice before being ground into pre-packed breadcrumbs. Being heated twice past 200 degree killed all bacteria successfully-Germans do not eat porridge or other grain mashes like Imperial farmers as a staple diet.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-02 08:17am

Close to Dragon Gate, two days later

Korhal Ethelrad watched the backs of the humans bent over their work, using their artless tools in clumsy ways to make ugly fortifications. He did not even allow to think himself that Thyrion may have made a mistake but he certainly had taken too much of the foreigners advise.
The Dragon Gate had withstood the assaults of the treacherous Druchii for 5 millennia and his family had served in its defense for nearly as long. Korhal had known every strength and weakness, any possible move of the enemy might make and its counters. The battles for the Gate had been nearly formalized events, something akin to a dance where he knew all the moves-just that now did no longer.

Just based on the rumor that the Darkies might have acquired explosive weapons capable of breaching the great walls Thyrion was giving all of that up. Instead the General had decreed that extensive defenses in depth were to be erected. Low slung walls were made from unhewn stones and packed earth, ditches dug into the ground that would be mud-filled hell come winter, and turrets and bunkers built which seemed so primitive the Orcs would be ashamed to call them their own.
Even worse was the fact that all of these fortifications were meant to be breached. None of them had the all-encompassing majesty of the Gates, they were low, easy to build and to be abandoned once they were breached by a resolute foe-but built with a weakness to the back so that counterattacks were easy.

Using the humans to build such a disgrace to true elvenkind was just fitting. Of course the humans were not slaves-it would be so gauche to have human slaves and would ring too close to what the Druchii were doing. These humans were free laborers, set free once they reached Ulthuan`s shores or when born from human parents. And yet they were so shiftless and unable to perform but the most basic tasks that their wages were just enough for the food in their bowls, the cloths on their backs and some accommodation. And who would be so stupid to educate such short-lived brutes when it was plain that the results would be poor at best. And when these humans could no longer work for the Asur one could dismiss them. Whether they had any funds to relocate or feed themselves was not an elven concern.
And so these humans were bending their backs and pushing their dirty misshapen limbs to build fortifications that Korhal and all the Elves that defended the Dragon Gate did neither want nor need. Yet they would never do something devoid of honor than refuse an order-especially when Prince Thyrion was around to watch.

Seeadler, Sea of Claws, same time

Captain Werner stood on the navigation bridge of his ship and watched the approaching plane though his binox with apprehension. He would have had a better picture from the flight bridge some 80 meters back on the ship but there he would have looked over the shoulder of Hermann Lenz, the Commander Air Group who was just trying to learn his new responsibilities on the job. Also crowding that bridge were a lot of representatives of several companies and tension was probably high enough to cut with a knife. No need to add to that.
No German captain had ever watched the approach of a fixed-wing plane landing on his ship before, but even a more experienced naval aviator would have judged this approach as strange. The plane clearly had an angle-of-incidence that was sure to stall it and the nose-high position was making it impossible to the pilot to have any look at the carrier while landing. And yet the approach seemed to be under control and actually things were going according to plan.

The Eurofighter`s EJ 200 engine had been able to take thrust-vectoring nozzles, but because the gains were seen as not worth the effort, but for what the planes were needed now different rules applied. Currently the fighter was holding an angle of 24 degree and practically balanced on its engines as the normal aerodynamic steering surfaces were practically useless at this slow speed and this angle of attack.
While the pilot was unable to see the carrier through is cockpit a camera was giving him a detailed picture to his helmet, including info on his approach and how much it deviated from the ideal. The pilot might have as well closed his eyes for now as he was not flying the plane.
The flight computer was given very accurate data from several lasers that tracked the plane and reported speed and vectors with high precision. Using the fly-by-light systems already there the plane flew itself directly into the angled part of the flight deck. The pilot kept his hands on throttle and stick in case something went wrong but for a change nothing did.

All of this allowed for a much slower landing speed and less stresses on the airframe for a given weight. Together with the rune of flying this meant that the “Seeadler” while operating as a “STOBAR” carrier could be used for strike missions as the planes were able to haul serious payload.
With a force that would have qualified the landing as a crash on a more normal runway the fighters hook caught the number-three wire that spanned the flight deck. Pulling against a hydraulic system the plane was slowed to a stop within very few meters.
The first landing of the new Typhoon had succeeded, which to Captain Werner meant that about 5% of getting the small air wing of his “Ersatz” Carrier was done. Time to tackle the rest of the job.

While waiting for the various reports to filter back to him Werner reflected that the ship`s rebuild had made his command into what Germans called an “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau” (wool, egg, milk and pork giving sow-jack of all trades)
The huge size of the ship had made it possible to put all manners of hardware and personnel on his carrier. He was now host to a mixed helicopter group, a 12-plane air group, a Marine Task Force with some landing craft and the ship had received “Taurus” cruise missiles as well as two 76mm guns from “Sachsen” frigates. Add to that all the C3I gear that an Admiral and his staff might want to have to coordinate the activities of the Carrier Battle Group.
It had made his job much more difficult than before and the rebuild had cost a pretty penny. It also meant that “Seeadler” decided who lived and died in a 1000 kilometer circle around the ship-when he could ever develop the procedures to work the Air Group right.

Seedorf, North Germany, afternoon next day

The Seedorf barracks are the home of Luftlanderegiment 31 and 32, the latter newly constituted after the Weltensprung. They were currently enjoying a nice autmn afternoon-and a barbeque.
The smell that wafted over the exercise grounds was rather overwhelming and made mouths water. A couple of charcoal grills were going and loaded up with Thuringian Sausages-spicy sausages that were done to near-perfection.
They were served in sliced bread rolls and served with Bautzen Mustard-the latter was slightly against tradition but the guest of honor had insisted.

Two former East Germans watched each other over said sausage-loaded bread rolls. They could not have been more difficult if they had tried and the food between them could very well be the only common ground they could agree on.Petra Pau was a member of a party descended of the old communist party of East Germany and slightly left of Marx, Gawallek one of the few officers of the old East German army to make a career in the Bundeswehr and hard as nails. It was the General who made the attempt to open a conversation. “I`d like to thank you Frau Pau, and not just for the gift of sausages and mustard-even if they are really nice.”
“Thanks for allowing me to meet your soldiers again General Gawellek. And yet I have to admit I do not understand for what you want to thank me. After all I took a platoon of your best into danger on “a totally harebrained mission that will only result in needless killing” if I remember correctly.

“Aehem-that was not for public consumption, but I am sorry for that. No, thanks for making it work-it was a mission clearly worth the risks-and you took the same risks as my men and could not even fight back if push had come to shove. That takes special courage and frankly speaking I would not have thought you had that in you.”
“Frankly speaking I did not know it myself until that asshole Krieger started to talk about concentration camps-and too many people started to listen in the Empire.
The thought of Concentration Camps in which Germans had any kind of hand was way too much-I had to try even if the chances were not very good.”
“Then you know what I wanted to thank you for. I would have hated German troops to take part on any “Resettlement” or “Punishment expedition” of the wrong kind. You gave us a chance to avoid that when none of us thought we could get out of it.
Thankfully Petra Pau had a full mouth and had enough time to hide her astonishment which would have been as rather impolite. When the meat had passed her gullet she managed a much better “Then we have more in common than love for good sausages. Care to sit down with me to talk this over?”
Both were too careful to drown their discussion-which was quite hot at times-in beer and even managed to write down a cleaned-up version of it later.
It was published both in “Bundeswehr aktuell” as well as the “TAZ”-and if that was not a first, what was?

Headlines from various German Newspapers:
“Glückwunsch Frau Pau” Spiegel *
“Peace in our Time?” Focus
“They make a desert and call it peace” TAZ
“Pau negotiates a new “Schießbefehl” FAZ (Order to shoot-the border guards had orders to shoot-to-kill anybody trying to leave the country-like the Imperial soldiers will with any Beastmen outside their reservation.
* Congratulations Frau Pau, based on a headline the Spiegel ran when Germany was reunified “Glückwunsch Kanzler”

Bundestag, Berlin, one week later

Thomas de Maziere was not the man given to biting nails or punishing his body in other senseless ways when waiting for something he could not control. All speeches had been made, all arguments exchanged and all backroom deals made. His proposal would go through the Bundestag, the German parliament, the majority of the “Grand Coalition” would see to that.Sitting back and closing his eyes to the last speech made and the beginning of the vote count he thought back on why he thought what he wanted was a good idea.
Germany now had a lot of “extraterritorial areas”, foreign bases for armed forces, “treaty areas”, “No undead zones” and whatnot-mostly to help allies, occupy strategic places and most of all secure raw materials. Never, ever call these areas-even if some were quite big-colonies, that would give the wrong impression-for now.
Nearly all of these areas needed armed forces of some kind. Some of these areas were well-connected to Germany by train, sea or air but some others were definitely counted as roughing it. Especially in areas where the digital communications nets did not reach many Germans were far from happy and needed to be rotated in and out at a high pace.
Also the Bundeswehr wanted to attract foreign talent that they could not supply on their own-Combat Mages or Dwarves came to mind. Yet putting them in the armed forces directly was quite difficult as they were not German citizens.
The law that was now voted on would take care of a lot of these problems, or so the German Secretary of Defense hoped.

§ 1

A Foreign Legion (Fremdenlegion) is to be formed. The Fremdenlegion will be part of the Bundeswehr. Its strength is determined by the federal budget.

§ 2

(1) Every able and grown-up sophont is allowed to enter the service. The rules of hiring new recruits of the Bundeswehr are to be used accordingly.

(2) No one is allowed to enter the Fremdenlegion who is worshiping Chaos gods.

§ 3

Recruits get a new identity for one year. After that the old one is restored.

§ 4

The service time is 5, 10, 15 or 25 years.

§ 5

(1) After 5 years of service a legionnaire gets automatically the German citizenship.

(2) The German citizenship is also granted in case of being wounded in action. The German citizenship may be granted in case of being wounded in service.

(3) The family of the legionnaire gets an unlimited right of residence.

§ 6

(1) The Federal government negotiates a life insurance for the legionnaire. He is free to determine the person, who shall get the insurance sum.

(2) The pay of the legionnaire is determined after the rules of the Bundeswehr.

§ 7

The legionnaire may become warrant officer if he has no German citizenship. Only after attaining citizenship can he become a German officer.

§ 8

(1)The officers of the legion are Germans.

(2)The quote of officers as of § 7 sentence 2 may not be greater than 10%.

The law was passed with 552 against 48 votes.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-03 04:15am

Pub "Andreasstube", Landstuhl, Germany

While "Section 31" was trying to recruit Ibrahim Dürr, other people were equally busy raising their numbers.
The small pub was located in the old part of the small city, giving it a lot of patina. It was well suited for nice talks under four eyes, which was one of the reasons the three men at the westernmost table were there.
The Andreasstube was one of Günter Koch´s preferred pubs, so it had been an easy choice. The two men with him were clearly imperial wizards, but this had become less remarkable for Germans over the last 2 3/4 years. Still, if one looked closer, which none of the other guests did, it was obvious that these two were not average magic-users.
The taller, dark-haired wizard wore clothing that was directly noticeable as high nobility type, with just enough signs that his status as a wizard was shown. It was equally obvious that he relished this chance to wear something more "stylish" than at home.
Unlike the clearly high-born wizard to his right, the other Imperial screamed "scholar" by his looks. A rather average face, with a mane of prematurely white hair and a robe like the prototype of all regulation robes.
Günter Koch himself wore normal clothing with the special multi-coloured bandana, marking him as a sorcerer in training. Since he already had lived for nearly 4 decades, his experiences alone told him that there was more to these two fellow sorcerers than met the eye.
And his newly activated magical senses showed him a picture like he had seen seldom before. The 2 were clearly Masters of the Winds. "Scholar" Hartmann in special was a very strong wizard, but since the magical senses never could pinpoint magical potential like a counter, Günter was not sure if Roland von Ravensberg´s power was less.
Günter was flattered and tired at the same time. On one hand, his "destiny" the seers of the Order of the Heavens foresaw, gave him learning privilidges and special attention, not to forget that for a person who saw himself as average suddenly having very high magical potential was a really great revelation, but there were drawbacks in Günter´s opinion. Destiny was overrated, especially if the good parts were nearly cancelled out by the bad parts and the expectations from many sides "hanging on you". Some days, Günter wished for nothing more than to live an anonymous life again, but then again he was a very reliable person and despite the dark destiny cloud over his head, Günter liked learning magic.
He knew why the Orders had sent more and more powerful wizards with each visit. Keeping watch on him and his development until German sorcerers could do so. Günter already had developed a good rapport with the two Imperials, but he was still surprised that the next book chest they brought with them, had contained more books than thought.
"I truly am thankful and like the additional books -which I still have to look at-, but is this not too much for a simple beginner like me?"

The two wizards had genuine smiles on their faces. "While we have to keep your humility intact, because it is part what makes you and becomes you, we certainly have to work more on your self-esteem and belief in magic. We know that your world lacked the Winds of Magic, so you all are not really aware just how much is possible with magic.
Helping you is a honour. The arrival of this wonderous land invigorated the research of all Orders and without that we would never have found Arika!"


"Arika is a girl from Wissenland, with a great magical talent. We might never have found her in the old days. It is because of you, our relatives from another world, that she was found before some vile hedge mages got their fingers on her. She has one of the greatest ever recorded potential and she will surely become one of the best Order wizardress. And I regret to have to tell you, that Arika´s talent probably is greater than your´s, even if she seems predestined for other Winds than you are."

"If you are testing me if I become envious, you have no luck. It is nice that I have a great talent, but if someone has more, well, it is a gift. You get as much or less as Fate will give you."

"Exactly. We wizards should have a healthy competition, but we have to stick together. Your arrival and what followed helped us magic users to get more and better social standing, but there are still enough zealous witch-hunters, who do not know any restraint."

Now Roland von Ravensberg continued alone.
"To put it bluntly, we have come to know you pretty well and we like you. The additional books are part thanks for Germany, so you can be better prepared for your destiny, gift to a person we consider a friend and an incentive to train your talents.
As we told you before, Günter, you need deeper belief in magic and so we give you an additional 'present'."

Hartmann opened his robe a bit and pulled out wooden box, roughly the size and shape of one for pralines or cigars, setting it on the table before Günter.
"We know from you that you miss some things and persons, who did not travel with Germany. While it is not possible and I know you would not do it even if you could, to bring someone through space and time from Earth to here, 'building blocks' can be brought to here. Look into ther box."

Günter opened the box. In it were several pages with instructions and starting points for experimenting and some vials with identification stickers on it. He read a bit and his eyes widened. "Is that really possible?"

"As we told you in former trainings and earlier: Talent and belief in magic makes many things possible. Except for thrice damned Chaos, magic is as good or bad as we make and use it for.
You showed us and therefore both the German and Imperial Orders already how creative you can be, even if on beginners level for now. One day, you will be among the greatest sorcerers who walked this world. We and our superiors are sure that you will add to the lores of magic quite a bit.
So our gift is both from us to a friend and as an additional incentive to learn the greatest art there is."

Günter was obviously moved. "I am honoured to call you friends and my deepest thanks for this gift. Hartmann, Roland, it is a pleasure to know you. Should you need-"

"Don´t mention it. Someday we might need your help, but that may or may not come to be. But if I could get another of those tasty beers...."

Free, happy laughter came from the three sorcerers and it continued to be a nice evening. The next day, Günter brought Hartmann and Roland to the train station, the two Imperial mages had to report to Berlin and Altdorf, how Günter´s and several other new sorcerers development went on and would return after some holidays of their own around Christmas.
When Günter was back home and in his study room, he looked at the books he had gotten, the standard ones and those Hartmann and roland gifted him. It was mindboggling what potential magic had on the Warhammer world. While Günter still had to fully embrace his destiny, he wanted to become a wizard who helped Germany and the Empire as much as he could.
Even if it meant testing borders. It might have been fate or irony that the radio played Drafi Deutscher´s song "Über Grenzen gehen" (Going beyond borders), when Günter looked over the special gifted books, among them "The Book of Vanhel" and "The Lore of the Patriarch", the latter with a dedication by Heinrich Kemmler.
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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-03 04:16am

U 220, 50 Meters below surface, Sea of Claws, 2 days later

“You`ve got it, I had it, any questions I am in the rack” Friedel Bauer, XO of U40 had heard more formal changes of watch but the submarine had been deployed for several weeks now and were on their way back to Wilhelmshaven after having monitored the battles around Ulthuan unobtrusively. Even in such a big submarine (at least big in the eyes of the German Navy) there was no room for excess personal and so the deployment was an unbroken chain of watches, 4 hours on, 4 off. The unexplored nature of the Warhammer seas made it impossible to go to a more relaxed posturing during the march to the area of operations or back. So everybody was dead tired and very much dreaming of getting home. The Captain probably more than most as he was the new father of twins and had to leave his wife a few days after their birth.
Friedel was already an hour into his watch when he got a call.

“1 O, sonar here. We have a bogie at 262 degree is not a biological-and certainly none of ours”
“Any hunch what it is?”
“I put it on screen and on your phones-one second please.”
The submariner watched as a picture of wavering colored lines appeared on one of his TFT monitors which seemed to drop from the upper edge to the lower. He put his Sennheiser phones on his head, leaving one ear open to so the CIC crew could still get his attention. Very faintly he heard a “SwichSwich” sound and a thrumming behind that.

“What is that-steam engine underwater driving a screw-a dwarf “Nautilus”?
“Don`t think so Sir, we got their baseline during the last exercise and the visit to Barak Varr. Let me show you-one second.” Bauer watched as the screen in front of him split vertically and a second set of lines appeared below the first one. The wideness of the colored bands was quite different with some of them entirely missing from the new one.
“The shorties never build two of them the same way-you think it might be variation?”
“Sorry Sir, I don`t think so. There are two frequencies we never heard of them-and the dawi only submerge when they attack-they run on the steam pressure left in the boilers once they dive. They are only good for a few miles.”
“Hmm-right you are. Ok, we should have a look before waking everybody up. Let`s do a TMA. Helm, new course 170 for 5 miles, speed 7 knots.”
“Couse 170, speed 7 knots, aye sir.”
Maneuvering into a course that should be perpendicular to the targets course Bauer hoped to establish a base line that would give a range by triangulation. From that range and bearing speed and course could be calculated-the Target Motion Analysis or TMA.

The Submarine had barely settled on its new course when a different call reached the XO.
“Bridge, this is the skipper, what is up?”
“We have a bogie Sir and are running some TMA. I did not think it prudent to wake you up.”
“Ok, keep going. I´ll be along soon.”
“Yes sir.”
When Rakewitz came to the CIC he took an empty workstation and configured it for him by pulling his key card through a slot. “So, what is up 1 O?”
“Currently we are tracking a bogey, probably a steam driven submarine. Bogey 1 has a course of 278 degree at a speed of roughly 5 knots, distance about 10 miles at 241 degree.”
“So what do you thing it is?”
“Only two factions have steam subs Sir, the shorties and the rats. Sonar is pretty sure it is not the dawi, wrong signature-that leaves the rats.”
“Interesting, we never met one of these. Nav-check out where our bogie is headed to. How is Battery status?”
“100% Captain”
“Got to love that AIP drive.”
“Oh yes.”

Both officers were referring to the Sterling engine/gensets that were working off stainless steels blocks heated by magical runes and produced 1600 KW of power together. While they could not drive the submarine to its top speed it was enough for a cruise speed of 8 knots and the hotel load so that the batteries were usually topped off when needed. Quite a nice change of pace from the 206 submarines in which both had learned their trade.
“Captain, this is nav. If Bogey 1 keeps current course and speed he will reach the Minsener Oog within 52 hours. From there he can enter the harbors of Bremerhaven or Wilhelmshaven.”
“1 O, I take the ship”
“Ship is yours Sir.”
“I want a closer look before we contact Command. Helm, new course 241 degree, turns for 12 knots.”
“Course 241, 12 knots aye.”
“1 O, bring the crew to General Quarters.
The minutes went by without much talk besides the necessary exchanges. Any word was spoken quietly-U40`s crew was hand-picked and too well-disciplined to underestimate any opponent in this world or any other.
The next 30 minutes went by without anything interesting but a refinement of the Bogeys datum by sonar.

“Captain, MAGINT here.” Now this was a station that nobody on Earth would recognize. Magical Intelligence was concerned with detection and identification of magical events. Using several magic detectors the console and specialization for the crew-members was very much “work in progress”.
“Captain here.”
“Captain, we are getting a reading at 240 degree. We cannot make out much at present. Ask permission to raise the mast for 5 minutes.”
The magical sensors were mast mounted and could be raised and lowered like a periscope. Inside the steel hull that had been equipped by runes of warding their detection range was limited. The could be raised under water, but that brought its own set of limitations, including increased flow noise.
“MAGEINT, you get 5 minutes in 3. Helm, slow down to 7 knots, inform MAGEINT when ready.”
A few minutes later a mast made of hardwood crowned by a magical detector was pushed upwards by a meter. The console in front of the MAGEINT operator immediately lit up with additional info.
“Sir, I have a very strong signal now. No discernable Wind of Magic-pure Chaos energy. No discernible spells, a very low level of used magic, lots of potential. I have to speculate, but I think we are talking about a great lot of Warpstone there.”
“Acknowledged MAGEINT, pull back your mast. Helm, take us up to periscope depth”

Using the time Helm needed to bring the submarine up without making too many hull noise he composed a short sitrep in the terse navy speak and transmitted it once the antenna had cleared the surface. Sending in short-wave he gave a datum for anybody with a receiver to locate which made him cringe. On the other hand there were only very few factions in this world that had such capabilities and all were supposedly friendly.
While the message was send he took the opportunity to take a look around in the visual. Of course that no longer meant that he had to crouch behind some periscope but he mast mounted multispectrum camera relayed its pictures via fiber-optic cable and he could view at a monitor and record what he had seen. Take that Perisher course....
The records of the High Elven beach life were probably still being played back at some tablets throughout the submarine.

Taking the submarine back to 50 meters U40 continued tracking the bogie, coming up again an hour later.
Rakewitz read what he was given in navalese and barely managed not to swear aloud, it would not do morale any good.
“1 O, we are directed to investigate the intruder more closely and if he does not change course we are to convince him otherwise without using lethal force. We are only to fire of fired upon.”
Friedel Bauer stepped close enough to communicate with his Captain without being overheard.
“And how do the high and mighty Lord of Bullshit Castle suggest we do that? A shot across the bow won`t work I`d wager.”
“The high and mighty Lords omitted to say, which is probably a good thing when you have a career to save and a bad thing if you are us. Lets have a look who is about first.”
Speaking up again: “Helm, course 240 degree, turns for 12 knots till we are to one mile.”
“Course 240, 12 knots aye.”

It took 25 more minutes for the submarine to close with its target-not a very long time by the way of submariner thinking, they are a patient bunch.
“Captain, target is now at 800 meters.”
“Very well, Helm, slow down to 8 knots and take us around them. Silent running folks. Sonar-I want a nice profile.”
During the next hour U40 made two complete circles around the Bogie and learned a lot about it-the sound signature of its drive, the turns needed by the screw for a given speed, the fact that they could not hold course very well....
It was after the second round that things changed.

“Captain, sonar here. We have increased noise levels from the Bogie, sounds like pumps-target is changing depth sir.”
“What do you think 1 O”
“Too long under water Sir, he will want to get his bearings and a change of air”
“Sounds about right. Ok lets see.”
“Sir, Sonar here. Bogie 1 has leveled off. We are having increased flow and pump noises.”
“Hole in one 1O, very nice. Helm, course 160, depth 50-I want some pictures for facebook”
Both Rakewitz and Bauer were glued to their screens when the 220 sub dived under the Skaven submarine and used the light of the surface to make a visual scan.
“Nicely done crew, thanks. Helm, new course 280, bring us in front of them.”

While U40 was distancing itself from the Skaven submarine the officers studied the video and stills.
“Hm, single archimedean screw-efficiency must suck.”
“Yes, but rudder is past the screw and they have bow planes-not so bad.”
“Yes, and riveted construction-and the plates could fit better. I`d hate to take that baby past 20 meters.”
“According to MAGEINT you do not want to enter this monstrosity at all, even when it is in harbor-it radiates like all hell.”
“Worse than an old November-soundwise too. No matter-see these two beauties left and right-our friend has fish.”
“It gets better and better. I can`t believe that this is a dawi sub-they would not build so crude and they do not use this level of magic.”
“Think it`s the rats?”
“Who else”
“Fuck this.”

“Captain, helm here. We are 1500 meters from Bogie one as ordered Sir.”
“Very well. New course 100 degree, slow to 3 knots. Sonar, warm up the active set and the sting, report when ready.”
“Sir, Sonar ready.”
“They lets wake these guys up. 1O-one ping only please.”
“Da Kapitan-err.. Yes Sir.”
In the front of the submarine rarely used parts of the sonar charged huge capacitors and when they discharged a sound wave raced through the sea that was so powerful that the water close to the transducers boiled briefly. Even at this distance the crew of the Skaven submarine must have been shaken up. Rakewitz hoped that this would make the bgie change course as it should be obbvious to them that they hd been detected. Submariners could not be THAT different, couldn`t they?

“Sonar-Captain here. Any change?”
“No Sir.”
“Give them 30 seconds and then lets redo.”
Again the sea was shaken and there was no result. Rakewitz was thinking about using the stinger-an addition to the active sonar that projected an even stronger sound at a 2 degree angle and that was quite efficient at driving off any sea monsters when sonar cut in.

“New sounds from target-small fast screw-Torp in the water, repeat torp in the water.”
“Helm, new course 090, all ahead. Launch noisemaker. Tops-spool up no 2, flood the tube and open the outer doors.”
The crew grabbed any handhold when the submarine banked like an airplane and accelerated smoothly. The rapid change of course and the trashing of the twin props left a massive knuckle of turbulence in the water that was punctured by several canisters that emitted gaseous bubbles into the sea. It was very unlikely they would have any effect but it was still SOP-and submariners believe in SOP.
“Captain, Sonar here-Torp has bearing change-we have opening bearing”
“Helm-slow us down to 12 knots. Weapons, I need a solution to target-now.”
“Yes Sir. Solution set.”
“Match bearings and shoot”

There was no great “whoosh” when the Seahake torp left the tube-the German submarine used oversized swimout tubes that allowed the torpedo to swim out at its own power instead of using a lot of compressed air. Making a radical course change soon after the weapon had left the tube at the behest of the weapons officer who steered the torp via a fiber-optic cable that was streamed behind the “fish” the Seahake accelerated past 50 knots and switched on its own active sonar very quickly as the distance was so short.

“Torp had acquired target Sir.”
“Cut the wire and shut the outer door. Reload with Seahake”
“Yes Sir. Impact in rumbling sound went directly though the submarine with no need for any sonar.”
“Better them than us. 1O, I need position, we need to contact command.”
“Yes Sir.”
“Captain, Sonar here. We have a very strange noise from the Bogie-a crackling.”
“Is he breaking up?”
“Too high frequent Sir. It is more like sizzling bacon.”
“What the fuck?”
2 Kilometers from Rakewitz`s submarine the warpstone crystal was giving off its energy rapidly, but not in an explosion. Lots of steam bubbles were produced that collapsed after the briefest of time under the water pressure, making the cracking sound.
The MAGEINT sensors told part of the story and made sure that Rakewitz was never questioned about the need for the sinking.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-03 04:18am

Meierei Trittau (Dairy processing Trittau), North Germany, a couple of days later

Silke Petersen was bent over her microscope and bored. She was checking the milk that was collected and processed for germs and she was doing so for nearly 25 years now. The most exciting this job got was when the germ count went from 290000 to 310000 per deciliter and she had to tell her bosses about it-who promptly mixed the milk with less “active” one.
In all her boredom she did her job diligently-as boring as it was these days barely a hundred years ago bad milk had killed children in wholesale amounts. And even if she had been unable to conceive herself she loved children

So after keying her notes on the last batch into the computer she took the next Petri dish from the incubator. She knew right from the start that this was not a good batch-the spots that had started to appear were too big and numerous.
The view though the microscope stopped the boredom immediately-not only were the germs too many to count, they had shapes she had never seen in her life. What capped things off were that they were faintly emitting a green light.
Her company would have a hard time mixing this one up-a lot of milk was going to get spilled, quite literally. In fact the Meierei had to dispose of upwards of 15,000 liters. Silke Petersen had a lot of interesting discussions with officials from the Robert Koch institute in the coming weeks and one of the newly discovered bacteria was named after her. She would have preferred roses, but you take what you get.
And saving the lives of several hundred people at least also counted for something.

As the scientist at the Robert Koch institute wanted to make sure they redid all tests and published a few weeks later. The bacteria they had found were artificial, modified by warpstone magic. It had been tailored to kill pre-pubescent children.
If it would have been published a few weeks earlier it would have caused quite a stir-by the time it actually was hitting the media it did not make any difference at all.

Furaustrandir, Norsca, next day

Paul Müller watched the shoreline that was marred by construction. A bucket excavator was lifting loam out at a speed that a thousand workers could not have matched while closer to the water a pile driver was putting in huge poles. The vibrations from this ramming reached the soles of his feet. The shipyard was coming along nicely.
The treaty between Germany and the 5 Skraeling tribes had washed serious cash into the Norscan`s pockets as well as improved access to German technology. Paul had taken some advice from naval experts ad had then made a proposal to the Thing-the closest thing the Skraelings had to a parliament. They had been skeptical when he had shown the delegates the numbers and the business model which had been well calculated-such things were not for them yet.
Carrying cargo in bulk by sea was rapidly becoming a German specialty. A single container ship could carry more cargo than the Breton merchant marine in one year. The Germans were now building Barge Carriers so that the small harbors around the Warhammer world were less of a problem. Still this left the smaller cargos and the smaller powers as customers. Here somebody could make a decent living if he knew how to use a good ship. He then showed them the photos and told them of the voyages possible-that got them interested. In the end he arranged for a trip to Travemünde and showed them-that got them more than just interested-how they craved this project by all of their barbarian seafarer hearts.

The yard in front of the former Paratrooper was optimized for ships of composite construction. While this was not completely as original it allowed the Norscans to participate in construction right away, that was important. With raiding practically gone and other clans having a better connection to Germany because of their location something needed to be done soon to avoid unrest.
The Norscans would work together with German ship fitters to build ships that this world had never seen. This yard would make “Windjammer”. Ships build to make trips around the world in a year on no fuel and with minimal crew. The Norscans could not wait to see them finished and in a year or so, if the prefabricated parts from Germany would arrive in time, they would sail the first one.
The former Paratrooper turned back had hiked to the office he kept close to the harbor. He needed to discuss the changes needed to the construction plans necessitated by the deck full of 12-pounders.

This is the ship Müller showed in Travemünde:

50 kilometers from the Bay of Drusilla, Naggaroth, same time

Bruglier Henbane had brought his convoy back from the front lines and was exhausted but satisfied. The new wagons and tactics had reduced losses to a minimum. The Asur had been unable to find a counter so far. The best they had achieved was hitting two wagons with flasks of burning oil. As this was not exactly unforeseen the wood had been treated both by chemicals and by magic to fend that off. They had to repair one of the wagons extensively but shooting the flask carriers had killed lots of their comrades with less efforts and satisfying effects, so that was a wash.

And here was something new again. He had seen the construction of course but during his last trip things were coming together quickly. It seemed to silly and a waste of good iron. Two sets of wooden rails topped by a steel strip had been fixed to an unending row of sleepers. He had talked to some true Elves that were connected to this and had watched the crew of slaves, Chaos Dwarves and a few strangely clad humans lay it down. They claimed that on such a “railway” horses or cold ones could tow several times what they could on a normal road. Bruglier had of course been skeptical, even when said worthies claimed that they had seen this in Naggaroth, in what was supposedly a German enclave.
Now Bruglier saw a team of horses pull several carriages that were connected to each other with ease into the end point of the railway, called the station. Here he was supposed to get his new haul.
Looking upwards he saw a white line that slowly extended itself across the sky, something like a small arrow sped in front of it. What the fuck was that?

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, next day

The cabinet meeting was a busy one of course and so the daily Intelligence Report was partly ignored by some of the ministers who had portfolios where the report had few impact. Writing SMS on their smartphones or checking their e-mails they were ceasing to do so the longer the report went and the more they heard.
Peer Steinbrück, the finance minister started to listen in when the report came to an incident in the Sea of Claws.

“U40 detected and tracked a submarine of unknown origin which had a course for Bremerhaven. In accordance with their orders they tried to get this submarine to change course by using their active sonar. On the second try they were fired upon and sunk the submarine by torpedo. This caused a violent outbreak of raw magical energy, very likely from warpstone. This was so energetic that the sea boiled around the wreck in a remarkable volume for two days. Even now that the outbreak is over we have declared this area “off limits” and will check carefully before we allow ships into this again.
On top of that there seems to be an attempt of food poisoning in Trittau based on warpstone magic which again would indicate the Skaven.”
“Oh Lord, not another war, not really.” The finance minister was not even aware that he had spoken aloud but the looks of those around the table made it clear that he was not alone. It was Thomas de Maziere, the defense minister, who spoke up.

“Nobody wants another war, me least of all me. And yet the incident in the Sea of Claws makes me think. So much energy makes it likely it was caused by the fizzle of a warpstone bomb-it makes no sense to put so much power just for driving a small sub. If this is right then the Skaven tried to smuggle a weapon of Mass Destruction into one of our harbors. We can hardly overlook that.”
“We do not know for sure it was the Skaven, we do not know for sure they tried to use a Warpstone Bomb, but we know we want to go to war-again? Have we forgotten that us humans probably caused the Battle for Altdorf with all the deaths?”
“And what do you suggest-wait till the bombs go of for real or a bad food poisoning starts killing people?”
“Didn`t you promise you could see the bombs coming? And how would another war keep them from trying acts of terror?”
“We will detect warpstone bombs-yes. But what would you do: wait for it?”
“Try to negotiate with them of course, see if something can be arranged.”
Foreign minister Steinmeier had to go after this, even when Steinbrück was of his own party.

“I prefer negotiations of course-but how? Even the bleeding North Koreans had embassies where you could contact the Dear Serial Killer, but the Skaven do not.”
“And if we try the same then for the Beastmen-drop wireless sets in Skavenblight and wait for a few days?”
“That sounds doable actually. Can you make it happen Thomas?”
“Yes, give it 3 days or so.”
“Then do it. The chance to avoid another war can stand that much effort.”
Angela Merkel usually waited till she knew where the wind was blowing before entering the fray, this was just her style.

Skavenblight, three days later

The Council of Thirteen had never been one for gravitas and logical serene debate, but the scene today was exceptional for its emotions. Voices that were already shrill and loud would not break glass if present, hands that twitched with violent impulses normally actually drew weapons half way out of sheaths before putting them back with trembling limbs.
There was just one thing that could make the 12 Lords of Decay behave like this, a force they knew very well from their own expert use-fear.

“How could you not see this, see this-do you want to kill us all Kritislik”
The Seerlord was about to speak words of power before reigning himself in.
“How could forsee this, this? Till yesterday we all thought that Skavenblight is safe, safe. And then the speaking boxes fall from the sky sky-nobody has ever seen magic like this this.”
“No magic bumbler, no. Just engine-devious engine.” Lord Morskittar, Lord of clan Skryre spoke from experience. ”Similar to farsquealer this is, is. Does not use warpstone but other thinking, thinking.”
“So how the Germans know about Skavenblight. It must be treason, treason”
“Who would do such a thing thing? Maybe they find us with their flying machines machines?”
“No matter, this is bad bad. What do we do do”

Lord Morskittar went at it. “No matter what we do or the German farsquealer say we do not use it here, here. Now they may suspect where we are, then they know. Use outside, use in swamp.”
“Do we have anything to say to the Germans?”
“Yes, that we want peace of course.”
The squealing that followed then made any thinking-let alone the exchange of thoughts-impossible.
“Why would you offer peace besides your yellow liver?” Lord Paskrit, leader of the warrior clans was the most disdainful.
“Can your Clanrats protect us from the fire falling from the sky? Can your Stormvermin stop the Iron Chariots. We need to learn more before we continue-otherwise we all die die.”

The squealing, the insults and backstabbing continued but at the end of a day a delegation of lower ranking Skaven from all clans was send into the swamp to use the German talking boxes and ask for peace. At the same time far squealers and messengers were send out to reign in the saboteurs, assassins and Plague Monks that were into missions into Germany. They were successful in most cases and did not think the few they could not reach in time would pose any problem.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-07 02:56pm

ICE 3 “Köln”, close to Hannover, Lower Saxony, evening two days later

Ronald Bark tried to work on his Laptop and found it rather hard to do. The train he was in offered enough power sockets and a decent WLAN. Given that he had to write up a report for the meeting with a customer he just had the latter would not have been necessary, but it was nice for checking the mails later.
Also the seat was of decent size and the small table in front of him made the job doable. And yet the noise level in the train was such that he found it difficult to concentrate. And it was not the noise level of the train that was the problem. For the umpteen times he cursed his boss who did not want to spring the money for 1st class travel. He could understand that when air trips were concerned, the trips were too short to make the additional expense worth it. But these days everybody took the bleeding train-and that meant it was hard to get any work done.
Accepting that for the moment he would not accomplish anything the broker leaned back and gazed down the length of the aisle. The wagon had more than 60 seats, most taken and it was one of 11 similar ones. The display at the head of this wagon showed a steady 290 km/h for speed. The imperial steam railways might be nice-but this was the real thing. The passengers were a mixed bunch-some business travelers like him, some elderly who probably were visiting someone-and of course the school classes back from an excursion to somewhere and loud like a jet taking off.
Oh well…

Grizdwell was furious-he had traversed this Horned-Rat-forsaken country as fast as anybody could, maybe faster. He had found a good place to employ the device given to him by the Warlock engineer-the best-and then his blasted lighter failed to work.
Turning the wheel again and again green sparks were generated-but the wick refused to catch fire. Even when he went very close to the fuse the sparks were not enough. Grizdwell squealed in frustration and his attempts at making the lighter work became more and more frantic and less likely to work. Steadying himself he straightened and at the same time froze in terror.

Where seemingly seconds before nothing but emptiness was now 3 lights roared at him with terrible speed. He never felt the lighter drop from his paw, never saw it brake open on the rail and flare in greenish flame and the sparks given off by the fuse. The detonation collapsed the tunnel roof above him and buried him under a huge pile of concrete and overburden. He was just the first dead of many.

The train entered the tunnel at nearly 300 kilometers an hour-and then there was no more tunnel, just a mass of junk in the way. The railroad engineer was just the first human to die, immediately followed by hundreds of passengers. The first cars were subjugated to such forces that they compressed the passengers inside into something no longer recognizably human. Actually CSI and genetic analysis had to be employed just to find the number of dead in the first 3 wagons as nobody could be sure which of the parts that could be extracted from the mess belonged to whom. There were 124 dead in these carriages, a fact published 2 weeks after the attack.
In the cars behind the first ones, the cars that remained in a shape that allowed them to be identified as part of a train by a layperson, the passengers were propelled forward within the carriages with such force that they could have dropped from a hundred meters. And yet each wagon that was deformed out of shape and every human ground to paste absorbed energy. This slowed the last cars at a rate that was nearly survivable.

Dozens of phone calls from nearby Hemmingen alerted the authorities that a terrible disaster was afoot, the disaster management center did not even consult the District Administrator before they alarmed every ambulance, medic, Landwehr, fire brigade and engineer unit in a hundred kilometer circle. The first ones would arrive only minutes after the attack and could only gaze at the terrible scene in front of them. 4 hours later nearly 2000 helpers tried their very best to save what could be from the chaos in front of them.
Eric Schulze was alerted up by the siren before he could sit down for a solitary dinner. Wondering if some youngsters had incinerated a dumpster or a crashed car needed to be opened he hastened to the firehouse where he met most other members of the volunteer fire brigade. He changed clothing with the routine of having done it for more than 20 years. He did not seem to hurry, he was just ready in under a minute.

When he was done the Fire Boss called them and they aligned themselves into a long line abreast.
“Ok-we have a mission, a real one. Seems that the ICE had a bad crash on the rail at kilometer 15.5-we are going there to assist with rescuing the passengers. Get to the engines men.”
The muttering among the volunteers never stopped. There was a precedent for this-a similar train had a nasty accident 12 years ago not so far from where they were and they had talked to the fire brigades which were there. From what they had heard it had been sheer undiluted hell. They could only hope that this crash was less serious-maybe the train had just rammed a flock of sheep, which had happened before too.
When their small convoy arrived there were already other helpers about and a mixture of policemen and Firemen directed them. Eric could see the boss talk to somebody from his window and then the engines were driving forward to the site itself. When the trucks cleared the earthen dam that surrounded the railway the volunteers got their first view of the accident.

Nobody spoke-they had heard of this hell before, now they saw it. It was every bit as bad as it had been described to them, but seeing was a differnt animal. The entrance into the tunnel was jammed by an unidentifiable mass of metal followed by totally deformed railroad cars that were ripped open like a tin box crushed by a truck. Only the last cars were closed, yet bend and twisted. The closer they came the better they could see the colorful bundles of cloth strewn on the ground close to the cars that were ripped open. When they were closed enough they ceased to be bundles of cloth and became something far worse.
Erik and the others from his troop were tasked with opening up the front end of the next-to-last carriage. Eric helped to carry the heavy motorized angle grinder to the railroad car. While he helped to set things up he realized that the last window was intact. The deformations to the car meant that nobody from that car could get out until he and his unit had cut a hole. When he got closer to the window a hand punched it from the inside. He was taken aback at first but quickly stepped closer. In the gloom he could only see the arm and the hand-the tiny bloody hand that punched at the window time after time.

“Meier-over here” His Platoon leader came over and watched the same thing than him. “Scheiße-we cannot get in here.”
“Window is super-hard, not enough space behind it. We punch the window enough to shatter it, we hit the passengers with fragments.”
“What about emergency windows?”
“Not these two-and where the next one that would have been is too deformed to get anybody in or out. Can you watch here please.”
“Yes, will do.”
Schulze quickly realized that it was no us to try to shout to the passengers trapped in the compartment, the windows were too thick and the clamor raised by the power tools too loud. He could just watch the punches become less often and weaker. Putting his hand on the windowpane a palm was placed on the other side, but not for long.
He wanted to hurry his comrades again and again but quickly saw how useless it was. The designers of the ICE had placed a lot of the load-bearing on the stressed skin of the train, having made the walls from high-alloy steel of surprising thickness. Their angle grinder was designed to cut cars apart within minutes but this was a different task. Erik got his hopes up when the angle grinder ceased to work, yet when he looked he just saw the crew hastily changing the grinding wheel that they had burned out in their haste.
It took another eternity of 30 minutes until there was a hole of sufficient size. He had volunteered to go in first, anything to get him from that observation post. When he had wormed his way in he was greeted by a sight he could not identify, not at first. Things reached the nightmare stadium when his brain finally ceased to refuse reality. By the time he was out again to give something like a report the railroad team bearing the specialized tools for opening these trains finally arrived. He was too shocked to beat them to pulp like a small part of his brain insisted would be the right thing to do.

It was in the early hours of the morning that Angela Merkel was led through the disaster site. She was a politician so long that she herself could no longer say how much of that was real concern and how much public relations. By now she wished she had come later-a lot later. She had seen pictures and videos of such things before, of much worse disasters in fact. No picture could beat reality. The Fire Brigadier who showed her around had ceased to explain things to her some minutes ago when he realized that the German chancellor was not really listening.

Merkel was not really focusing on anything, there was just so much to take in at a time. What caught her attention was a fireman who wormed his way out of one carriage and carried a blue bundle of something in his arms. Walking down a row of cloth bundles he placed the small bundle besides a bigger one that had a matching blue color. It was then that she saw his face-red rimmed eyes that stared into the long distance. The skin was covered by grime and soot except for two channels where tears had cleaned the accumulated dirt. It was then that she realized what the man was doing-he matched the parts of corpses that were torn from the wreck. It was obvious that the fireman had given far more than there was in him and he did not stop doing it.
Her feet carried her over without conscious thought and she managed to read the nametag before addressing him. “Fireman Schulze-you have done all you can for sure-take a break. Nobody will think you a quitter if you do.”
“Sorry, cannot do that Mam.”
“Why the hell not?”
“I am afraid of having nothing to do”

Sadexo Plant, Potsdam, next night

Plazegnat was a Skaven Plague Monk, and by his own thinking and the opinion of his superiors and especially wretched one. He had been one of the Monks from Couronne that had been tasked with bringing Nurgle`s blessings to this Germany that dared to defy the will of the Horned Rat and Nurgle both.
At first he had been overwhelmed when he had seen the German cities: So many humans in one place, such opportunities to give the gifts. And then there had been the letdown. The Germans had no wells from which everybody got the water. They kept the foods in storage rooms frozen by magic or packed so intricately that he could not put his additions to them without being detected.

He had become quite desperate when the smell had drawn him in. The delicious small had come from a huge building at the outskirts and it was deserted of the many people working in there now. He managed to push his emaciated body through a window that was opened a bit and wandered through halls filled with the strange gleaming machines used by the humans and the smell of rotting meat.
Yet, he could find no foodstuff in the open so he started looking into adjunct rooms. The first ones were disappointments-more deep cold, more intricate packaging till he found a room which was only cold but not freezing. Several vats were filled with a yellow sweet substance which was probably meant to go into another food-perfect. One vial of Plazegnat`s best gifts went into each and he stirred the vats with a spoon that was there before cleaning things off again. He was very happy with himself and tried to distance himself as much as possible while the night lasted.
He went as far as the Highway 1 where his dark fur made it impossible for an early shift worker on the way to his job to see him in time. The car threw the Plague Monk nearly 10 meters through the air before dropping him lifelessly on the ground. The police was still securing the site when the vanilla sauce was portioned into smaller containers and sent to various schools and kindergartens around Brandenburg to be served with strawberries as part of a school lunch.

Charite`, Berlin, two days later

Every available room in the Charite` and man of the corridors were occupied by hospital beds with children inside. So many people made for a high noise level doctors and nurses were shouting orders to get heard, parents tried to find their children, tried to soothe them or asked for more help by the overworked medical personal. Conspicuously absent were the sounds that so many children would normally make when present-they were far too weak to make noise. They all had high fever, constipation, pains in their arms and legs, headache and a rash of red pustules on their chests. All of them had drip feeds in their arms, some already the slim tubes of additional oxygen in their noses.
Ralf Winkler pushed his way through such a corridor and tried not to be taken too much with it. He had work to do, and if he got too depressed to do it people would die-well more people than otherwise. He went by a bed that held a waxen-faced girl in the arms of a crying mother and tried to move even faster not to be taken in. He barely herd the “Make it stop mommy” before the double doors of the corridor closed behind him. He never saw the attendant who captured this on video with his mobile phone.

Five minutes later the erstwhile medic pushed himself into a meeting that was going full throttle. Currently the floor was held by Dr. Meier from the Robert Koch institute, a doctor he knew from Middenheim.
“What we face here is a variant of typhus fever, one we have never seen before. There is nearly no incubation time and the vector seems to be contaminated food which is also not standard. Currently we can treat it with tetracycline, but the necessary doses are so high that we get dangerous secondary effects. On top of that we are getting indications that the fever can be transmitted from one human to another. We need to get on top of this and soon-there is already a lot of stress on the medical system. That`s it from me for the moment, anybody else?”
Ralf made it a point not to speak up openly-the “witch doctors” were still not accepted by everyone-but headed off the doctor before he could leave the room.

“Hello Doctor Meier, how are you?”
“Who-ah Ralf Winkler, I remember you from Middenheim. What can I do for you?”
“Depends-I have a gift for you.” The medic held up two well-sealed test tubes. “I`ve seen the small fragger work, we isolated some of them in here. And in this one we have taken the pains to kill him well. Could be the start of a vaccine.”
“You don`t expect me to take you at face value, don`t you?”
“I would be disappointed if you do doctor-but you can spend a little effort checking it out on the quick. Have fun with it.”
“Thanks-I think.”
“Think of us when you publish-I think.”

Zeppelin NZ close to Guben, same night

The airship was in many the ways rather close to the original NZ Zeppelin-in size, materials and numbers of engines. That the engines were 300 hp diesel instead of 200 hp Lycoming gas engines, that a “Rune of Flying” increased payload considerably-but apart from that things had stayed. What had changed was payload.
Multispectral cameras, MM-wave radar and magical sensors allowed the airship to detect nearly anything in its range while staying aloft more than 24 hours. Patrolling the border between Germany and the Empire the crew did not expect anything to go wrong too badly and actually a number of “green” crewmembers were gaining experience in an area where failures would count for less.
Currently the “new fish” were glued to their sensors while the more experienced members were enjoying some coffee and bread rolls and watch their understudies work themselves through the menus offered to them.

“Sergeant Bruns, I have a reading at 82 degree-some magic energy.”
“What wind Bernhard?”
“Let me have a look. Hm-you are right. Captain, this is sensors, we have a strong magical signal at 82-now 81 degree, looks like 26 kilometer distance. I recommend a closer look.”
“Sensors, Captain here-if you are sure we`ll risk a peak. Comms, raise the Empire, we go a bit into their sandbox to play. Pilot, course 81 degree, height 750 meters.”
Originally the Thielert Diesel engines had been put on the airships as the Lycommings were no longer available, they used too much fuel and more power was better. An unforeseen advantage was that the engines were originally made to power Mercedes sedans and therefore much quieter. For the surveillance airships a special “quiet mode” had been included where the engine and props were optimized for sound, not efficiency. Under normal circumstances they were virtually soundless when in 500 meters height.
When the airship circled the datum of the magical emanations they found a wheeled carriage for something very heavy and a lot of furred creatures around it.
“Well, well, I do not think this is Avon calling. Comms, contact Reiksbund central, we need some help here and keep station till they answer.”

Below the airship an enraged Warlock Engineer argued with the newcomer, a messenger who had just found the small group. “I bring this bomb all this way here, despite bad bad tunnel and nasty spiders in them. And now you tell me that I am to turn around and push that bomb back all the way. And you do not even bring news to me in tunnel-no you do this in the only open stretch in miles miles. Who do you think I am, am? A human slave just fit to be ordered to run in circles? Does this amuse you? Do you think I am funny, funny?”
“I can just relay the orders from the council council. You need to get back to tunnel and Skavenbight quick quick.”

The two of them were still arguing when an extremely bright light shone in them from an attitude and a strange noise emerged from the source of this light. The Warlock engineer drew his warpstone pistol commendably quick and managed to place the shot within 2 meters of the Hind Helicopter.
The return salvo shredded him, the messenger and most of his entourage within seconds while the rest ran as quickly as their furry legs could carry them. Two of them were captured. Nobody needed to lean on them, when they were told that they would not be killed or send back they never ceased to talk about their treck to a city called Frankfurt.

Unter den Linden 50, Berlin same night

Snekatch had been hiding in the tree for two days now. He had watched the humans in the building next to the tree during this time, seen them enter the rooms and leave. He could not make any sense from what they were doing. Most of the time they were looking into glowing rectangles and did something with their hands before them. At other times they were talking and talking, but there was nobody in the room to listen, instead they held small boxes against their ears.
He had been told that this house held important leaders of Germany, but from the looks he was not sure of he did not watch a madhouse. He did not know that not too few Germans would agree with him as the house he watched contained many offices for the members of parliament.

The Skaven assassin had nevertheless identified at least one human who seemed important. While he was not the biggest or oldest many different humans seemed to defer to him and if he was not wrong he was often asked for advice. This evening he had stayed in his room far longer than his helpers and had watched the glowing rectangle for longer than usual. Instead of working in front of the glowing thing he did something below the table that Snekatch could not see.
When the human finally went up, picked up a coat and left the assassin knew his time had come. The human had always taken the same exit, had always walked to the same tunnel close by and took about 5 minutes from his office to the exit.
Gliding down the tree like a 3-dimensional shadow the Skaven managed to crawl under s series of cars to get closer to his target. And then disaster struck when Snekatch arrived at the last car. Is target had been faster than usual and was already crossing the street. Nearly issuing a frustrated squeal the assassin trusted the pools of shadow between the lights and sprinted forward. He barely heard the shouting behind him and saw his target turn towards him but that was too late. His dagger easily found the humans heart and he was already back to the shadows when he was hit by what had to be hammer blows and darkness descended about him.
He neither knew nor would have cared that he had just killed the up-and –coming member of the Social Democrats, Sebastian Edarthy.

Hemmingen, next evening

Erik Schulze had learned that he could not do a lot of things any more.
He could not talk to his coworkers, his ex-wife or his parents about what he had seen. They would look at him with no understanding at best and pity at worst. His Ex had expressly asked him not to talk to his children. He could talk to his comrades at the fire brigade but that made them even more morose.
He could no longer sleep. When he tried he woke up after 5 minutes with the picture of the bloody hand against the windowpane glued to the insides of his eyelids.
He could not really work-he had no concentration at all, his hands shook and several noises at the plant brought him back to the place he had been. His coworkers took up the slack without complaining but that just made it worse.
He could no longer watch children in the street without thinking of the small bodies he had puzzled back together at the accidents site.
He could no longer imagine a future for himself and was lost in a world without any bright spot.

Sitting in his lonely apartment at his empty kitchen table he did not move for more than an hour before the thought hit him. The thought of beautiful terrible clarity that showed him the way out.
Taking a sheet of paper he started to write, his hands finally free of the shakes.

Swamp close to Skavenblight, two days later

Lord Paskit currently the duty to watch the talking box that the Council of Thirteen had used to contact the Germans-if it indeed were the Germans.
He was not happy that the Council had decided to talk to the Germans at all-the Skaven had always tried to remain hidden until ready. He was even less happy about this talk about “peace” as if these Germans were not one more worthless race of humans to be eradicated from the surface when the glorious day came.
The talks had been a spurious thing of no trust from either side. So far neither the parties had neither agreed to a time and place of meeting, nor any agenda. Except for both sides exchanging that they wanted “peace” nothing had been accomplished. The Council had agreed to leave two Council members close to a talking box at all times so that somebody competent was available.
Sneetch, the Seerlord, was attending some private function when the box came alive again.

“Am I speaking to a member of the Council of Thirteen”
“Yes human, you are. And you are?”
“I am Steinmeier, the Foreign Secretary of Germany”
“So Steinmeier, what do you want?”
“I want to know whether you are responsible for the attacks in Germany during the last days. You profess you want peace and you kill the unarmed, the old and our children. So-is that your works.”
“Ah-so now you fear and respect the Skaven-good. You have to learn your place, then maybe we stop demonstrating our strength. You are right to fear us.”

“Steinmeier-do you have anything to say?”
“Paskit, you moron, moron-you have damned us all. I have seen the fire from the sky-and because you want to talk big big.”

Bundeskanzleramt Berlin, next noon

Angela Merkel needed to freshen up, take a snack and get her head cleared a little before joining the fray again. She had been in nonstop meetings since the early morning, ever since it was crystal clear that the Skaven were behind the latest attacks.
That something needed to be done was more than obvious-not only did the government had a duty to protect the Germans. If she was seen doing nothing she would not be head of government for long, the bleeding video from the hopital alone would see to that. The question was what was to be done. A lot of options were on the table, from bombardments to arming Dwarves that fought Skaven anyway to full-scale warfare. She did not really see what would work best and wanted to test the waters further before she decided on anything. This had been her style since she was a politician and for her it worked marvelously.

Before she was getting back into the meeting room she stopped by her personal assistant, Beate Baumann. “Anything new?”
“Not really except for one thing. You asked me to write a letter of thanks to a fireman, one Erik Schulze.”
“Yes, what of it?”
“Sorry, but he committed suicide last night. Shall I write a letter of condolence instead?”
“Yes, please do that.”
The German chancellor`s face was set in stone when she went into the room. The options on the table had just been reduced to one and testing the waters were no longer on the menue.

In Memoriam: In 2002 an ICE train had a similar accident close to Eschede in North Germany. 101 people died. 2000 helpers, many of them volunteers worked on this disaster during the next days.
14 committed suicide during the next two years.
Rest in peace.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-07 02:57pm

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin same evening

Angela Merkel was running on a mixture of adrenaline, sweets, coffee and hatred. So far the campaigns that Germany had to wage under her leadership had been distant things, necessary to establish her country in this world or to support the most important ally.
Now things had hit at home and she had seen the face of the enemy in their strikes. She was not given to flamboyant speeches or patriotic furor but found a capacity for hate in her that she found disturbing. The only good news was that there was a clear and obvious target to her hate and containing the threat offered by the Skaven would make this world a better place.

Her intercom lit up for the umpteen time today and she heard her assistant. “I have Emperor Karl-Franz on line one for you Angela.”
Ups, that late already? She had nearly forgotten about the call that had been scheduled before.
“Thanks, I`ll take him”
“Hello Angela, Karl Franz here.”
“Hello Emperor. What can I do for you?”
“Angela, please let me express my deepest condolences for the loss of your people. The Skaven`s strikes are without honor, without sense and just done to strike terror in the hearts of your nation.”
“Thank you Karl-Franz. Yes, the strikes hurt, but the terror they wanted to achieve failed to materialize, quite to the contrary The rats will burn.”
“I am glad to hear it. Angela, we cannot offer the same armed might that your Bundeswehr has or the munificence that you helped us with during our plight, but what we have is yours. Please accept our troops and the aide of our mages. I know that very few units in my armed forces would make the grade in your army, but kindly find a role for them, it is a a matter of pride for my people also.”
“Thanks greatly Karl-Franz and we will use whatever help we get to the fullest.”
“Give the Skaven hell then.”
“They do not know hell yet, but they will.”

Reiksbund headquarters, Altdorf, 2 days later

Hans-Werner Fritz, the only 4-Star General the Reiksbund had was not sure what to make of Aurelius request for a meeting. He had placed the asur as a buffoon that had been disposed of by his superiors to a place of few importance to the High Elves.
And yet ever since their first meeting where Aurelius had made a fool out of himself the elf seemed to have come a long way and had made good connections to nearly all embassies to the Reiksbund. During the few functions where Fritz had met Aurelius again he had been far from the haughty Asur and had shown signs of learning.

So, while he was busy as a one-armed wall-paper hanger he still made time. The usual pleasantries had already been observed when Aurelius came to the point of his visit.

“General, as much as I enjoy your company, there is a reason why I seek your time. I gather it that the Skaven have perpetuated serious strikes against your country, using diseases as well as sabotage and killed many civilians?”
“Yes, you have heard right about that.”
“I further take it that Germany will not leave this alone but will strike back?”
“Yes, you may.”
“In that case I will offer you a bit of intelligence that you are currently not aware of. The Skaven capital, Skavenblight, is located in Tilea, close to the town of Tobaro. I can point that on a map if you provide one.”
“Thank you for this Ambassador, please do that, I will provide a detailed one. Very interesting-what made you divulge this information now if I am allowed to ask.”
“So far you humans have chosen to ignore the infestation in your midst, for whatever reason. Given the multitude of threats you faced that was actually not the worst decision. Now that you take up the fight it is the best for all that you win-and this might help.”
“Makes sense Ambassador, thanks again. I`ll ask my aide-de-camp to show you the maps. “I am truly sorry, but...”
“But you are busy as no tomorrow. General, I appreciate that you took the time at all. I would also appreciate if you would be a little discrete about this info and its origin. Because of the time involved I could not clear this up with the Phoenix King beforehand.”
“We will keep this classified then, no problem.”
“Thank you. I will get to your aide then and leave you to your job.”
“Goodbye Ambassador.”
The General watched the Asur leave. Would the wonders on this world never cease? The Germans knew where Skavenblight was but had not made that public. Yet the info by the Ambassador was still useful in and by itself-it is good to know who your friends are...

Bundeskanzleramt Berlin, a little later

And one more call. That`s what it was these days, one more call, one more mail, one more meeting, one more interview or one more signature. And she had fought so long and hard to reach this point. Shaking her head Angela Merkel pushed the button for her hands-off phone and the voice of the Dwarven ambassador filled the room.
“Madam Chancellor, we have a connection to Thorgim Grudgebearer, High King of all Dwarves. I have to excuse the quality of the connection, a part of this is shortwave radio.”
“I understand Ambassador, I am sure we will have an understanding after all.”
The new voice that could be heard was deep and sounded as if stones were ground against each other.

“Well met Chancellor Merkel. I have heard that the Thagoraki have done your people a great harm.”
“You have heard right High King.”
“This deed had no honor at all, as could be expected from the ratman. What are you going to do about it?”
“We will make sure that it will not happen again.”
“What does that mean?”
“That means that we will send an army to Skavenblight. That means we will blast and burn this place till we have their “Council of Thirteen” in our hands and they surrender unconditionally-and if we cannot so that we will leave a crater where Skavenblight was. A crater that will glow in the dark.”

Sleep deprivation can have remarkably similar results to alcohol-a couple of days ago the German chancellor would have given a more diplomatic, more meaningless answer.
“Good, very good lass. That sounds like you see things clearer now. So no mucking about with the Thagoraki will ye?”
“Not on my watch.”
“You in the market for allies?”
“I am told Skavenblight is very much underground. Yes, we would welcome anybody you could send and would outfit them as best as we can.”
“Do you know that I keep The Book of Grudges?”
“Yes, so I have heard”
“The part of the Tagoraki is the longest and with the worst Grudges lass. We were a vast Empire once and now we are few. Yes, there are the Greenskins, the Dandelion-Eaters and our own stupidity. The rats are the worst. So you are really looking for allies?”
“Yes, High King.”

“Then lass, I give you an oath. I, Thorgrimm Grudgebearer, High King of the Dwarves will not rest, will neither touch a woman nor drink Bugmann`s Beer till the Skaven submit or Skavenblight is destroyed. To this I pledge all dwarfs that pay fealty to me and that you, Angela Merkel, want.”
“Uff-I mean I am overwhelmed High King. I value this highly and we will plan how to make it happen.”
“That`s my lass.”

Palazzo Grande, Tobaro, Tilea, noontime next day

Lorenzo de Berluscani, Price of Tobaro, watched Reinhard Schäfers with well hidden interest and curiosity. The normally professionally urbane diplomat had acquired a quiet intensity that was fascinating at best and frightening at worst.
“Please convey my sincerest condolences to your Chancellor for the losses of your people. The poisoning of children especially is horrifying and we condemn all these deeds expressly. And yet you tell me there is urgent need for consultation. May I inquire what you want to talk about?”

“We want to go after the Skaven for real. To do so the Army needs a secure harbor, better two. You are the closest harbor to Skavenblight. So in order to secure such a harbor we offer an alliance, either with a bilateral one with Germany itself or preferably within the Reiksbund.”
“You do not know what you are talking about Ambassador, not in the closest. I can show you the remains of the last Skaven incursion into Tobaro, even if it is hundreds of years in the past. What I cannot show you are the remains of the armies swallowed by the Blighted Marches. Too many have tried and they all vanished without a trace. And the revenge of the rats is deadly-you can ask any survivor of Miragliano about if you can find any. Why should I shackle my realm to such a mad enterprise?

“Highness I can understand your reservations. Tilea has its own mode of warfare, with mercenary armies, seasons for warfare and changing alliances. We know this mode of warfare well and have used it as well in our past. But there are other ways to wage war. If your precious times allows, let Major Wörner, our military attaché show you another mode of warfare. It is called total warfare and we are good at it.
I am aware that words are cheap and deeds mark the value of a man as well as of a nation. As much as we need an ally and a safe harbor we need safe approaches. The Navy will see to the Pirate Island of Sarasota and the Siren Island soon. If you`d care to appoint a military attaché of your own he might see what we can do and how we do it.”

“That might be a commendable course of action. When would you need such a nomination?”
“Next week, we are just outfitting a fleet for this part of the operations.”
“You are certainly moving fast.”
“Thank you your highness. My Prince, there is another issue that you should include in your calculations. We need a safe harbor, and that means that we will equip the forces of the ruler that cooperates with us with modern arms and will provide training. Also we will upgrade the harbor facilities of the realm in question considerably and the soldiers we send on this venture will have to spend their spare time somewhere. I am told much revenue can come from such undertakings and it would raise the status of a state that were to gallantly stand by Germany`s side…”
“Please tell me more Herr Schäfers.”

Blohm & Voss Shipyards, Hamburg, next morning

The Blohm&Voss shipyards have a long and distinguished history, having built some of the most famous ships to enter the seas. During the last decades on earth the yard had started to specialize in offshore supply vessels, luxury yachts and warships, having developed the famous MEKO ships.
As with all other western shipyards the time for building huge amounts of simple ships was over as the yard could not compete with state-sponsored yards from Korea and China.
Times had changed. The yard built some of the 126 class Frigates, the new escort Frigate, it built all kinds of ships for offshore drilling and parts of the drill rigs themselves. Also new freight ships were needed. While Germany had taken the 400-something merchant navy with her with the Weltensprung many of these ships were less than useful under the new circumstances. Draft had to be lower, cranes for loading had to be included and barge carriers were at a premium. So new freighters were built as quickly as they could be with modern shipbuilding methods.
Blohm&Voss had once employed 40000 people. They were still far from that lofty height, but they were getting there again. One reason for that was that the yard had always been open for new techniques and new fields of business. One of these fields was mobility across the beaches. Either to reach harbors that hid behind narrow channels and sandbanks or to go upriver in streams that were navigable for a rowboat if it was not too long Blohm&Voss had started to build new crafts to master this.

Currently there were two very different models available. One was a hovercraft with the capability to carry 2 standard 20” Container. Not as fast or flashy as the old channel ferries they were able to put the load up the beach after traversing even the most treacherous approaches with ease.
The other was based on one of the better pieces of kit built by the former Soviet Union. An amphibious tracked transport called the PTS had provided inspiration for an ugly duckling that could transport nearly 15 tons practically anywhere.
The workshop Claus Mertens supervised held several of them in various states of completion. Now everything had changed with a new visitor.
“Good afternoon Herr Mertens, I am Major Welf. As you may have heard mobilisation has been announced and I am here to claim these vehicles for the Army-and any other you can build during the next year or so.”

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-11 01:15pm

Peenemünde Nord, same time

Nathan Alpers was half-sitting, half lying in an acceleration seat trying to reach button after button and pulling various levers distributed around and in front of him.
The controls he could reach and the ease of operations were carefully noted and videotaped.
“Looks like we got it better this time Lieutenant Alpers.”
“Yes, very much so, I am much less restricted this time. And it chafes less than before.”
“Only less?”
“Well there is still something left at the elbows and at the left knee.”
“Ok, noted.”
One of the tasks that the Germans faced was making good space suits. There were several former Soviet and US suits in various museums in Germany and lots of data from the participation in the ISS and Spacelab programs. Still it was a daunting task as such a suit had to be so many things at the same time-provide cooling, provide insulation, provide air, remove CO2, be next to inflammable, not weight too much, not restrict movement, especially when exposed to vacuum…Currently Nathan helped checking one of the prototypes.
Nathan was just out of the new suit and had changed back into uniform when his pager went off. Checking that he had been summoned to his Boss he started to count his sins, of which he knew none-but that did not stop him from being nervous. Candidates were still washed from the Program for various reasons….
Deputy Administrator Merz was looking like he had not slept for days-which was probably true. The German space Program had started with very limited objectives as a service to launch satellites. The discovery of several more or less intact Old One orbital installations made it a much higher priority but neglected to change the organization markedly. The fact that there was also a limited budget with which DLR had to make do did not help either. Practically everybody had an inhuman workload as a result of that.
On the other hand the space program had a lean, “Skunk-worky” feeling about it. There were ups and downs for that of course, but it did get things done, in many ways faster than if more people would be available and bureaucracy had a chance to settle down.

“Good morning Lieutenant Alpers, thanks for coming so quickly.”
“Good morning Deputy Administrator. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I`ve got the good news for you and the bad news. Bad news is: Germany currently needs experienced Storch pilots more than astronauts in training. For the duration of the emergency you go back to the army-sorry about that. The good news is that we will keep your slot open, if you survive in one piece. Don`t look at me like that-I mean it. It is not just that you are good, but we would look like assholes when we send you off to a war and get another bloke in. And do not tell me that manned space programs do not run on public relations. So get out, help kill some Skaven for me and come back young man.”
“Yes Sir.”
When Nathan made his way he was not sure what to feel. On the one hand the time he spent in Peenemünde was the best in his life. On the other hand a Skaven kidnapping close to his home had been the incident that had made him join in the first place.
In the end he had no choice and could just hope that Merz would make good on his promise. The thought that he would probably have a couple of days between assignments and could spend some time with Ermine in Berlin made him smile.

Seeadler, Nordhafen, Wilhelmshaven, same time

Captain Werner watched the coming and going of trucks alongside the quay with some amusement. It looked like total chaos but worked to a surprising degree. Seeadler was currently being restocked for a combat mission into the Tilean Sea, together with the old team from Hag Graef-Sachsen, Hamburg and the other Frigates were being outfitted while the converted cruise ship “Papenburg” was taking on troops again.
There were of course some new ships in the task force, in this case the Barge Carrier “Seesen” and a modified RoRo ship, the “Ark Germania” that had been under construction at Wismar during the Weltensprung and that had been completed for the navy after being intensely modified. This time she carried a lot of heavy building machinery-next trip she`d carry something with more teeth.

Piazza di Cosimo, Miragliano, same time

Rüdiger König admired the huge bronze statue that dominated the Piazza. Cast to the design and under the supervision of Leonardo di Miragliano himself it rose to a height of nearly 15 meters and depicted Prince Cosimo on a horse.
Both from a technical and an artistic point of view it was an impressive sight-and that went for the whole city-until recently. The city`s famous leaning towers were a statement to architectural creativity and beauty-except for the burn marks on many.
The many grand palazzos spoke of a long history of noble and trade houses-except for the ruins and the scorch marks. The piazzas were well placed, clean even today and would allow for a busy social life-weren`t the people so absent.

The Skaven had marked Miragliano for destruction for this year and had worked mightily on that. A plague of the Red Smallpox had struck the city hard. While Germany had supplied a vaccine Miragliano did not have the same extensive Order of Shallya for the medical needs, relying on private healers much more than Middenheim. So the Germans had to fly in medical personal to administer the vaccine and some local priest had denounced the vaccination. In the end nearly a third of the population had either died or was permanently disfigured.
Later the Skaven had attempted to take the city by force. The Prince´s army and the mercenaries might have been more numerous than the Ratman had counted on, the few German weapons put in a part or the food shipment that arrived in time. The German ambassador had also passed the warning that a Skaven army was approaching along when aerial recon indicated that the Ratman were on the move. It had kept Prince Lorenzo and his army within the city when otherwise he wanted to be on campaign. It had made König a very popular man with the Miraglianese government. Whatever it was besides the sheer determination of the citizens-the City had not fallen.
Still Skaven saboteurs had managed to set fire to houses that had spread far. They had poisoned wells and had by that further spread diseases and the threat of the Skaven had kept most trade away. And yet the City was still there and from the way the citizens removed rubble and rebuild König was pretty sure that it would be standing for a long time.

While the embassy car made its way through the crowds the ambassador reflected on the meeting with Price Lorenzo. It had been quite a contrast to his experiences in Afghanistan or other countries he had been stationed in before.
Instead of “why did you not help more before” and “The West/NATO/Germany has caused all of this”, even when any connection to the disaster de jour was tenuous at best and an affront to logic and decency at worst. Instead the offer of help at all had been looked at with distrust at first-nobody did such things without payoff. The help that Miragliano had received from Germany was still seen as solid proof that the newcomers were more than a little “touched” but effective.
Now that Germany was looking for allies in the campaign against the Skaven had replaced the finny looks with ones of calculation-and relaxation. That was something one could understand, that was something one wanted as well, wanted it so badly that they could taste it.
Miragliano would ally itself to the German cause. It would not be the harbor of choice as Tabaro was much closer to Skavenbight, but it would do very well for an airport served by a harbor. And if Germany wanted to spare some new weapons there would be an army to make use of them.
All in Rüdiger König liked to be in Miragliano.

Martensen Family Home, Papenburg, next evening

Dinner had been served-German style with Bread, sausages and cold cuts. Lunch had been the warm meal of the day. When the last slice of bread went down Wilhelm Martensen looked at his wife who nodded. Like with his Landwehr company-no sense in delaying then.

“Kids, before you go of to more fun, we need to talk, sorry. We all have been very much looking forward to the holiday in “Club Estelia” but I do not think this will happen this year. The chorus of groans and protests around the table showed that this was about as popular as announcing NBC training at the Landwehr.
“There are a couple of good reasons for doing so. First off with the fracas with the Skaven it is as likely as not that I am called up?”
“But Daddy did you not tell us they can not send you outside of Germany if you do not agree?”
“You are right Jens, but a lot of barracks and depots need guarding. It is possible that they use us to free more regulars for the housecleaning.”
“Aw shucks”
“Yes. And then there is the simple fact that Tilea is too close to Estelia for comfort for the moment. That thing might escalate and then we are up shit creek with no paddle.”
The kids looked more glum at him than before-a matter of acceptance set in obviously.
We will wait and see how things are next year, if things are better than then we go for sure.”
“Ah, that`s too bad. What will we do then?”
“I have called a friend at Fehmarn, looks like we can have a place at the Camping ground there. If the weather holds it will also be nice.”
The looks on then Kids faces told him easily that they were disappointed-could not be helped. But maybe a little sweetener.

“We will use some of the money we save to upgrade the security in the house-and that includes a decent shotgun. And as you are old enough I`d say I take you for the Landwehr shooting grounds for some instruction. What do you say?”
The bright eyes of the boys he had expected, but Emily? Well, all the better then.
He was congratulating himself on a crisis well handled when a shot from outside was heard-and the long agonized scream of a girl.

“Herta, call the police. Kids, get upstairs and stay there, no arguments.”
Wilhelm Martensen knew that what he did was not all that clever-but he was never one to leave children. Getting his G3 from the safe and loading it was second nature, when he went out he kept low and tried to get a grip on things.
Soon it was obvious that whatever danger was there had already passed.
One of his neighbors stood in his driveway with a gun in his hand with a blank face, mumbling something while Doreen, the daughter of their next door neighbors were hugging the bloody body of Bert, their Husky.
Going to the shooter he gently pried the gun from the trembling hands and put it on safe.
“I was so sure to see a giant rat.”
“Bert is no bleeding rat you moron..”
Doreen screaming went up and down the road. Oh fuck.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-11 01:18pm

Neustadt, Naggaroth, early morning, 2 days later

Jasla had made it to the toilet in time-barely. She had certainly not overeaten yesterday evening and the food had definitely not been poisoned. Her regurgitations had a far more sinister cause-Malekith had left her a “gift” at their last meeting.
If the Witch King were to discover this she would be very lucky to die quickly. For about the millionth time she started to think about “doing something” about the fetus in her and for the millionth time she found her mind separated from her body. The voice she heard was neither male nor female but all beautiful allure, enticing promise and deadly threat.
“Now now my child, I told you that this is not an option. And I told you that I would provide for you my child. Your lack of faith is disappointing. Be that as it may, if you look at the main street in 30 minutes you will see it arriving.”
He gained control of her body back. She had known this would happen from experience but like probing a missing tooth by tongue she found it nearly impossible not to. Yet now she had something to look at.

She managed to clothe herself in time and was barely out on her veranda to watch several horse-drawn carriages passing down the road towards the city hall. The back benches of the open wagons were occupied by short squat figures with high hats, long curly beards and ugly faces. The Dawi`zarr, the Chaos Dwarves of Zarr-Nagrund had arrived at Neustadt. She had heard about that before, but how the hell could they be part of the solution?
Much later that day she was taking part at a dinner given in Manfred Hartig`s house. The food was simple-mostly a big barbeque. While simple it was actually quite clever of the chemist, as he had to serve a food that fit 3 very different races of predators, so going back to the smallest common denominator worked sufficiently.
Using her small sharp teeth to pry the meat of a chicken wing she passed some morsels to her slave who kneeled at her side. Which made her head about the same height as Drazurgan, the mage that had accompanied the dwarf`s group. From what Jasla heard they had successfully concluded negotiations for a shipment of modern explosives that they had bought from Neustadt with the approval of Malekith of course.

“So you say there is no magic involved with this “railroad”? I mean, I could detect none, but seeing mere horses pull such a load so fast was incredible.”
“I am not an expert Drazurgan, but I am told the lower friction between wheels and ground and the better bearings in the wheels make the difference. Also the railroads are laid with a careful eye towards inclines. No magic needed, just technology.”
The little face one could see between oily hairs, beard, at and a huge nose wrinkled with amusement. “You are the best “not-an-expert” I have met in my life. And in Neustadt I have met more than usual. How come you know so much?”
“First off I am with these Germans for quite some time now-that rubs off. And a lot of them like to explain things to me if I ask nicely.”
“Interesting. We were not shown much here, but what we could see was intriguing. I should not say so, but we really would like to know more about what they are doing here. From what I can see they have wrought large changes with not so much time and resources at hand.”
“Yes, they did that, I was here to watch it. Quite fascinating actually.”
“Too bad that you are not an engineer”
“Oh, as the Germans say-you do not have to know a thing, you have to know whom to ask-and how to ask…”
“Such a person would be most valuable to know.”
“Wouldn`t it?”

Mitting, close to Papenburg, one week later

Jan Petersen could not look at the meadows at the edge of Mitting without indulging in memories-many of them. That drainage trench over there had been used by Lt. Fredriksen of 31st Landwehr fame and the 1st Platoon to stop the Spitzohren incursion.
That Farmhouse was the place where he learned all he ever needed to know about the Druchii when he saw the remains of their victims and the field behind it had been the place where the Landwehr had made their mad charge to save the paratroopers butts.
And now he was here again, in armor with a G36 loaded with real ammo in his hands. The only thing that was lacking was an enemy and he suspected none would be found. These days so many reports of Skaven sightings came in that the Police was running in circles and his SEK was providing armed reinforcements for any sighting that was not totally spurious.
The farmers call had been easy to dismiss and the police had called in the SEK for the follow-up. Jan Petersen walked to the group of two policemen, a local farmer and what looked like a hunter.

“Good morning Gentlemen. I hear that you have sighted a Skaven?”
“Good morning Commissar. Yes, I have seen one of the bleeding rats. It came from my barn and ran in that direction.”
“Sure it was not a big dog?”
“Dogs don`t run on two legs where I come from”
“Commissar, if I may? Have a look at this?” The elderly hunter pointed at a muddy patch of ground,. When Petersen had a closer look he found two imprints that indeed looked like a rats footprint-if a rat were up to 1,80 meters size.
“Ok, that looks like the real thing. Oldenburg tells me they have sent new specialists for these cases, we should wait for them.”

Everybody had to wait for nearly an hour till they heard a helicopter. The Bundeswehr heli set off a rather incongruous group. A man in Kaiserlich-Deutscher Landwehr uniform accompanied two pasty-faced stocky men who wore a combination of imperial clothing and German-issue boots. The two managed a clutch of 5 brutal looking dogs which strained at their lashes after the flight. The two also showed considerable relief from having survived the aerial transport.
“Good morning Gentlemen, I am Lieutenant Harkstrom at your service. I gather you are Commissioner Petersen?”
“Good morning Lietuenant Harkstrom, yes I am Petersen.”
“May I then introduce you to Gottlieb and Herm of the Altdorf Sewer Guard? Their dog teams are very good at tracking Skaven.”
“Very good. Welcome you two.”
“Goodday Ser. You said you have some tracks?”
“Yes, over here.”
The dogs had not even reached the spot when they got agitated and strained their lashes. “Yer got some live ones for sure. Our beauties can track them.”
“Go for it”
Jan Petersen was pretty sure that he was in good enough shape-if you wanted to be MEK you had to be-and his men even more so. And yet the speed of the dogs which went through meadows, hedges and small copses of woods wore him out like no tomorrow. He was about to call for a halt when the dogs surrounded a small group of trees and barked without getting closer.

“They got one at least Ser.”
“Can they take it out?”
“Err-Commissioner Petersen?”
“Yes Lieutenant Harkström”
“At the moment these are the only dogs we have for all of Eastern Frisia-we should spare them.”
“And what would you have us do? Use men while dogs are too valuable?”
“CS-Gas worked very well in Altdorf-we used it a lot. They are far more vulnerable to it than a human.”
“We`ll try that, thanks for the tip.”
A quick glance at the trees and grass gave wind direction. Distributing his men around the copse the MEK man pulled the fuses from 2 CS grenades himself and threw them close to the trees. The prevailing wind pushed the white smoke right through them.
The sounds that could be heard from the copse were definitely not human-or fit to any animal Petersen knew. From the smoke emerged a skittish bundle of fur that thrust a dagger in all directions blindly while trying to run in a straight line. Now that Petersen knew how to handle. Stepping closer he kicked the knife away and punched his rifle butt downwards, catching the neck of the Skaven with enough force to stop all motion.

Making sure that the Ratman was not moving on his own violation but was still breathing the SEK man applied handcuffs while thinking hard on where and when to read him/her the rights-and if at all.

1st Kaiserlich-Deutsche Landwehr compound Altdorf, a few days later

Kargan Ironbeard was baffled-something that did not happen too often to a Thunderer of 113 years. His king had pledged his services to the great battle against the Skaven that seemed to be coming. This was good, the Book of Grudges noted so many Grudges against the Thagoraki that any battle against them was a good thing.
Going to battle at the behest of his king was nothing new to Kargan who had done so many times. But everything that had happened since then had been a new experience to the dvarven handgunner, which was a bit much.
At first there had been the flight from Karaz-a-Karak to Middenheim. Kargan had heard of such machines and had once seen Makaisson`s airship from afar-but that had been different. The German airship had been bigger than anything mobile he had ever seen by far. The flight had been a wonder-immensely fast, quiet and the view had been something to remember forever. He had been transported with 400 other dwarfs to Middenheim where they had endured a ride in a mechanical contraption that the Germans had called a truck-and then a long train trip to Altdorf.

He had heard about all the new things before, but seeing them was an animal of a different name. A trip that should have taken several months of hardship at least had taken less than a week and if he was not mistaken he had gained a little weight from lack of movement and good food. Together with his comrades he had inspected as many of the new devices as possible and had asked countless questions. He believed that he had heard a lot of tall stories-who had heard of anything humans made with tolerances to 1/100th of an inch-and here humans claimed to make things ten times better than that. Alloys that were said to be better than Gromril, engines stronger, smaller and lighter than dwarf steam engines...the list was endless. They would have been far easier to dismiss if one would not have been sitting in a wagon traveling more than a hundred kilometers per hour and watching lights that needed no fire.
All of that had eased the shock when the humans announced that they would be issued new equipment. A week before this would have been greeted with disdain and incredulity at best and as an insult at worst. “Thunderers” were the dwarfs that used handguns. They modified them to their personal preferences or even produced them themselves outright and were sure they had the best handguns in the world. In the daze of seeing so many new things nobody had the energy to issue a challenge and everybody decided to have a look.

Presently they were standing at ease in two lines and listened to their instructor, a no-nonsense dwarven Sergeant called Thorgim Steinier. The Dwarf had a very short beard and hair-normally the evidence of somebody quite young. The burn scars the Sergeant had on his face spoke of a different reason.
“Listen up Thunderers, here is where you learn about your new tools of trade. As you will be part of the Cave Raiders the Germans decided to give you advanced weapons, here are the most important of them.”
The rifle he lifted up looked rather strange to Kargan. There was no wooden furniture-instead the butt was a seamless green material and the stock was perforated painted metal. It had a pistol grip with an enlarged trigger guard and a metal box sticking out under the rifle in front of that. All in the rifle looked slender and delicate.
“This here is the standard rifle we will be issued. It is called the G3, weights 4 kilogram and shoots 7,62 mm ammo from a 20-round magazine.”
“7,62 mm-my Bess has 20 mm, what kind of weapon is that-for shooting mice?” Some know-it-all saved Ironbeard the trouble to ask.
“Actually this rifle has roughly a third more energy than your Bess, just it puts it into a smaller round which means it goes faster-and a lot farther. Effective range for this one is 500 meters. As the round will pretty reliably disintegrate upon hitting you will not be dissatisfied with the results either.”
Taking up the rifle the Dwarf pushed a couple of buttons which made targets appear along the firing range. Shouldering the rifle he squeezed off 10 shots in rapid succession, the hits made the targets swivel back. Putting the rifle back on its bench he addressed the silent dwarfs again.

“Think your Bess could do that? Thought so. So for killing an Tagoraki or 10 the G3 is just fine, but if you want to deal with larger groups this comes in-this thingy here is called the MG3. It fires the same round than the G3-1200 times a minute. Let me show you.”
Thorgrim took the machine gun like many humans lifted a rifle and dropped into a prone position. Kargan thought it was quite undignified when the rifle made an ungodly racket and he saw rounds from the belt at its side disappear through it. The wooden targets at the other side of the range splintered and dropped instead of turning back. Getting back on his feet Thorgrim put the rifle back on the bench. “From what the humans tell me this is a weapon that changed the battlefield on their old world forever. From what I have seen I believe them.

And now for the last one-a shotgun. This one is called HK SG 15 and is supposedly the clone of a shotgun produced by another state in the world the Germans left behind. On the open battlefield the G3 is much better because of its longer range. Inside the tunnels and caves things are different. The shotgun has less problems with ricochets and even more power than the G3-about one third more in fact. There are many different munitions available, from a solid slug, several sizes of lead shots to specials. This one is an explosive round. If you fire it at something and it does not drop-RUN. And then we have this nasty piece of work.”
Turning from his students the instructor charged the shotgun and squeezed the trigger. Instead of a mighty boom a sharp hiss caught the attention-and the 5 meters of flame that were ejected from the barrel and stayed for 2 eternal seconds.
“This is called the Dragon`s Breath and I can promise you it makes the Rats run like nothing else. Do you upstanding Gentlemen think you can spare the attention to learn about these human “toys”?
Kargan Ironbeard roared his approval like all the others. Yet in his heart of hearts he was less than sure. Not that he did not want to learn about these weapons-he wanted one very much, had set his heart on one of the shotguns in fact. Not that these rifles were no good-quite the opposite. But they were not dwarven rifles. And if the best of anything made from metal was no longer made by dwarfs-where was their place in this world?

A couple hours of instruction and first drills later the Thunderers were policing up the range when two beings approached their instructor.A tall lanky human carrying a sword and a G3 rifle was accompanied by a very young dwarf. Both the smooth skin and the very short beard spoke of few years, maybe 40 but certainly no older. Despite the age he was heavily muscled even for a Dawi and moved like he had not a care in the world. The dwarf wore an armor of human manufacture and a huge axe that was surely magical-how did the youngster get such a weapon?
The human approached Thorgrim “Good evening Sergeant Steinier. Oberst Grube told me I could use the range past 6 PM.”
“Certainly Herr Jäger, we are just closing shop. Since when do you use an assault rifle if I may ask.”
“Oh I learned that even human pistols are not so useful in combat than one would like so I try something heavier. And somebody has to take care of this oafs back, might as well be me.”
“Manling, I will..”
Kargan Ironbeard did not hear the rest of the Dawi`s words for the roar in his ears. The last days had presented him with enough new things and concepts to last him a lifetime-and here was the next one. The young-looking, armor-wearing Dawi was none other than Gotrek, Deamonslayer and the first Slayer to fulfill his oath-and live. What was this world coming to?

200 meters AGL, Pirate Island of Saratosa, 2 weeks later

This was a perfect day for a holiday-a bright sky with nearly no clouds, a beautiful island with long beaches and picturesque hills with sparse vegetation-Mike Koslowski had taken the B-52 Bomber “Gray Lady” down into the weeds to bomb it all.
“Captain, MWO here-we are being probed by at least 5 powerful magic users-and there is at least one attempt at attacking us. I can keep this off for the moment but I suggest not to loiter around”
“MWO, Captain here-acknowledged.”
Colonel Mike Kozlowski saw the column of purple smoke himself so that the corrections of the bombardier came as no surprise. “Left 5-ok, keep at it. Bomb bay coming open-Bomb bays open-bombs away.”
A long row of canisters tumbled from the cavernous bomb bay. When they hit the ground their thin metal skins were ripped open and their liquid contents were spread into a kilometer long carpet that covered the ground while it caught flame. Nothing under it could live.
The bomber close the bay doors while climbing back up to attitude while a few green tracers ineffectively chased after it.
The 30 tons of Napalm B burned at 1200 degree for the next 10 minutes and killed 3 Skaven, 243 hares and countless snails and mice.

The heat wave could easily been felt in a kilometers distance like staring into a furnace point-blank. Joakim Vos did not feel any of this as he was totally encased in body armor. He did feel like a fool though. When Fräulein Meikle`s group had started to experiment with power armor they had made some really ridiculous monsters before common sense provided by some professional set in. Among the “Frankensuits” had been a couple of 750 kg monsters that could partially withstand 12,7mm ammo and carry armament that would not be out of place in an IFV. That it was nearly impossible to put anywhere where it was necessary as it fitted neither infrastructure nor common transports, that were no targets worthy of such a suit that could not also be fought by tracked vehicles that could go anywhere as he in this armor-who cared. It was cool. It was quite fortunate that several people like him had reigned the enthusiasm of the Technici in. And for all these pains he had been put in a suit that made him nearly 2,60 meters height. To top that off somebody had fixed the 1st Landwehr`s flag to the power module in his back like the Japanese back banners of old. All he was missing was a red nose and he could give a clown all right.
There was only one excuse for this miserable exercise-it impressed the locals to no end. And that job, if no other, his squad fulfilled in their current configuration to the max.

Currently they were the background to Ambassador Schäfers delegation that faced the assembly of Captains.
The Assembly of Captains and the Pirate King (or currently Queen) they elected were the ruling body of Sartosa, the Pirate Island that dominated the approaches to the western Harbors of Tilea.
This assembly a mixed bunch-humans, Druchii and a small group of Skaven-the latter kept a distance from the rest. The only thing in common that these worthy`s had was that they were well armed. Apart from that there were so many styles of clothing-often on the same individual-armament and bearing that they did not seem to belong to the same group. Still all of them extruded the charisma that individuals bear that have climbed to the top in a long and bloody struggle-and staying on top was a struggle too.
The other thing the Captains had in common was shock. They had just seen hell and they had not liked it any. They knew that large changes to their lives were in the future and all choices in front of them were shades of bad. The first to find her voice was the current Pirate Queen, Guilia de Allexandro. Were she 20 years younger, she could have starred in an US TV show about beach lifeguards-well maybe if one removed several dangerous-looking weapons, a nasty scar that went through half her face and an attitude that would have frightened Elisabeth Bathory.

“So, Reinhard Schäfer, this is what happens to us if we do not meekly leave our kingdom and become beggars elsewhere.”
“I do not know about beggars Mylady, but this Island will be without you and your crews in a month, one way or another. We need safe havens in Tilea and safe transit routes through the Tilean sea, you are a threat to them both. We cannot tolerate such, so we need to remove you. Either you go by your own violation or ….” A sparse gesture gestured towards the kilometer-long conflagration that died down slowly.”
“And what are we to do in your esteemed opinion?”
“Oh, I do not care much as long as you leave these parts of the Tilean Seas. Do not change your hunting grounds to the Sea of Claws though, you might not like the experience. If you want to do something else besides pirating I hear that several Tilean princes are currently hiring mercenaries. If I remember correctly this is what you used to do before.”
“What gives you the right to command us like this, German?”
“The fact that you tend to go board ships, take slaves, burn villages and steal cargo. Pirata communis hostia omnium.”
“What was that?”
“The pirate is everybody`s enemy. In my world it was a standard, now it is coming to a sea near you. I suggest you and your associates consult on a course of action before we talk further.”

“No talk talk.” Joakim Vos proved that even these suits could move quite quickly if needed when he stepped forward and pushed the German ambassador behind him with his left arm. The projectile from the Warpstone pistol impacted barely above the Sergeants groin-and besides leaving a greenish smear did not do anything more. By that time Joakim already had his rifle up and his helmets superimposed a dot above the chest of Morkat, the Skaven Captain.
Two very different voices called for ceasefire at the same time one “Nobody was harmed, don’t shoot” and another “There was a truce you furry bag of shyte.” followed by another shot that missed the scurrying Ratman.
From here it became a chaotic scene where the Captains tried to form a common defense and scores of Skaven emerged from so far hidden tunnel entrances.
Joakim`s squad managed to form a line between the German diplomats and most potential dangers. “Neugebauer-have an eye on the Captains. The rest of us-go for the rats.”

Joakim had to fight from a clowns suit that could not take cover, could not go to all placed because of its ground pressure and he was conspicuous as hell. He could not change magazines on his rifle as the armored gloves on this abomination were too clumsy.
And yet-he did not need any cover as his armor was proof against anything the Skaven could drag out of their hiding places. His size and flag meant that he was sot at often-and no shots fired at his charges.
And the ammo belt that came from his backpack did not really need reloading.
The Skaven ran into the fire of 6 machine guns-and it did impress the locals to no end.
When the last Skaven had either found a convenient tunnel for retreat or shuffled off the mortal coil the Landwehr sergeant saw Gulia amble over to the German ambassador who waved him off when he wanted to interfere.
“You said something about hiring mercenaries-can you give me any pointers Herr Schäfers?

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-15 01:28pm

River Reik, close to Nuln, some days later

The crew of the Barge “U12” were not members of any armed force and yet they were about to attack the enemy at the behest of their government-and with relish. Two crewmembers had children that had been caught by the Skaven bacteria. Both lived but for one of them it had been touch-and-go for a while. There were soldiers on board, the Landwehr had sent a detachment that guarded the workers, but these soldiers were just a side show.
Currently they were attaching another drill rod to the drill that had been digging into the Reik`s river bed. 50 meters below them 3 wheels tipped with industrial diamonds were grinding against each other with great force, converting loam, gravel and solid stone with ease into a mash that was pumped out via the drill shaft.
When a jolt went through the barge and the drill made some strange noises everybody went rigid for a moment, when nothing more happened everybody relaxed again. Getting the drill back up was a bit of a grind as it had wedged itself fast when it had penetrated the hollow below, but in the end brute force and experience combined retrieved the expensive equipment. That was a good thing as besides the Skaven tunnel under the Reik they had just flooded for many kilometers there were several more detected. This barge had two more on their to-do list.

Cave Mouth, Sartosa, next day

A small fleet of landing craft were approaching the cave mouth set into the clip in front of them. It loomed menacingly above them and the deep dark beyond the opening could hide all manners of threats. As this was said to be the entrance into the Skaven Pirates lair it was actually sure to hide some nasty surprises. The boots themselves had been built so they would fit the rescue boat davits of “Papenburg”, a former cruise ship that now served as troop transport. Therefore they were not very big and now seemed utterly insignificant when they approached the Skaven Pirates lair. Like a flock of mice tiptoeing into a church the first 5 boats entered the subterranean harbor while their troops-bearing colleagues waited outside. The picture lied-the first boats were armed with a combo of 27 mm autocannons, 40 mm grenade launchers and machine guns. Size-wise they might be mice, but they were mice with teeth.

To no one’s surprise the Skaven had not evaced the Island and so they had to be dug out. An added benefit was that the Bundeswehr could amass experience in fighting the Skaven in their own realm, a dire necessity for things to come.
Michael Klüger, the boatswain commanding LB-2 was an old hand who had taken part in the Hag Graef raid. He was not amused as he could not ascertain what lay behind that gaping opening-at least not as well as he would like to.
“Bosun, I see something on the Low-light-looks like some kind of cannon boat bearing 091 heading towards us.”
“Guns-open fire. Cammo-inform “Papenburg” that we are engaging the enemy.”

The gun on the prow changed bearing slightly before it spat several short salvos. The 27mm Autocannon did not have such an impressive caliber but such a high rate of fire that even the half-second bursts sent several kilograms of steel and explosives downrange. The Low Light TV did not give so many details, but the bright sparks of the hits showed up. Whatever happened on that boat after the first salvos remained hidden, but that it was no longer under its own power or steerage was clear. A small fire had broken out but was not tended to.
Klüger gave things a couple of minutes but then saw no other way than to continue forward. Keeping his boat to the left side of the cliff he tried to get the best possible angel of view into the parts of the harbor he could not see yet. His biggest advantages above the Skaven warships were range and speed-and he was entering a cave where both did not count. When his boat finally rounded the entrance his reservations promptly proved correct. Two more Skaven gunboats started to move in his direction and the starter flames that illuminated their muzzles with green flames made it obvious that the boats were not sporting some muzzle loaded cannon but warpstone enhanced flame throwers.

He was about to order his guns to open fire when the sound drowned out all others-and most thinking. It was the sound of a bell-and at the same time it was not. It was received by the ears-and by the mind in ways that had nothing to do with pressure waves and eardrums.
It was deep, loud and dissonant and came from an enormous green-glowing bell that was suspended above the deck of a big, floating ramshackle monstrosity. It was even bigger than the usual Screaming Bells so favored by the Skaven and struck again and again by a Rat Ogre. It kept most Germans from acting sensibly and seemed to fire up the Ratmen. The boatswain saw that he could not scream sense into his crew and pushed his way forward despite the mush in the head. By his reckoning it was no worse than the state he had after a good shore leave.
Pushing the drooling gunner aside he put himself behind the console of the autocannon and used the joystick to swivel his gun about. Pressing the trigger shook the whole boat and made a series of bright sparks and explosions on the bell. To the Boatswains horror it did not break completely but the next strike sounded even more dissonant than before which seemed to make the bell`s impact less.
Gaining more of his wits back the Klüger thumbed the joystick a bit down and pressed the trigger again. The Rat Ogre was ripped apart when the salvo hit and the next one collapsed the bells supports sufficiently to remove it from the battle.
Turning to the rest of the battle the boatswain found that one of the rat`s flamethrowers had fired the first salvo at the closest gunboat. While the prow was hidden under flames no further damage had been done. The nearest rat boat had bigger problems as there was no crew visible on deck anymore and several small fires had broken out all over the decks.

Fires-on a flamethrower equipped boat. The though battled its way through Klüger`s brain that was still addled from the effects of the Screaming Bell. When it finally registered he pushed his way back into the small as fast as he could. At the same time the fires that were raging on the first boat heated up the fuel tank for the warpstone flame thrower. Parts of the fuel had already vaporized and the pressure inside the tank rose to ever-increasing levels.
Klüger already had the microphone in hand when the tanks soldered lines finally burst and the fuel was distributed in a cloud of fine droplets that caught fire immediately. The detonation distributed flaming, clinging oil in a wide circle. It caught the two other Skaven Doombringers as well as the German LB-3 that had been too close. By that time the crew had been busy in dousing the fire that the earlier flamethrower attack had caused, now the detonation had mercifully killed most, leaving one sailor as a screaming torch crawling on the burning deck.
By this time anything afloat in the cave that was not German was under heavy fire. The autocannon rounds had a nasty tendency to light up anything that was not made from stone and metal so anything floating in the basin owned by the Skaven was aflame.
The quay that had been crawling with Clanrats and Skaven slaves received enough machine gun fire and 40 mm grenades to kill everything there twice over. The scene was lit by the Skaven lamps, the German floodlights and the flickering flames-the effects would go well with a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Klüger had sent another boat to aid the survivors of the burnt gunboat while he directed the fire of his own against the Quay and the gate that led inside the Skaven warren.

The troop-carriers made their way through the wreckage and the spots of flaming oil that floated on the waters and delivered the soldiers to the harbor facilities. There were three attempts of the Skaven to storm the open spaces again-they all ended in blood when the gunboats got into things.
Klüger watched as the soldiers drove a drone into the black opening at the end of the quay. A greenish explosion emerged from the tunnel seconds after the tracked vehicle had vanished inside. What were the poor footsloggers getting into?

In another tunnel Joakim Vos no longer felt like a fool-he had his “working” power armor back. That was a good thing as the Skaven tunnels were mostly too small to permit the passage of the armor he had used so few days ago. That did not mean he was well as entering the tunnels was a daunting prospect. The entrances to the warren on the island had been well defended until a couple of Tiger helicopters had fired HOT missiles against them. Joakim had used a couple of Thermobaric warheads of his RG (Rocket Grenade) already and they had proven to be excellent weapons to clear caves of the Skaven. Even the armored ones could not withstand the overpressure.

Currently he was making his way down a corridor with Jens Neugebauer that had shown no signs of movement when a drone was sent. Having the point he was walking very slowly down the long tunnel, looking for and tripwires or switches. He had been nearly hit by a piece of ceiling when he had realized too late that the flagstone under his feet had moved downwards. This crawling forward being 100% concentrated and under the impression of omnipresent danger was extremely exhausting-he would change back into his squad when he reached the end of this corridor. In the meantime he tried his best to see everything before it killed him. Unfortunately this was not easy as the walls and the floor were highly irregular-some hewn stone, something that resembled poor concrete, a lot of dirt. There was no lighting except that he brought himself and that of his partner.

The warning hit his earphones at about the same time as the spear his helmet. Deflected by the tough plastics into his shoulder guard the weapon that had been thrust through a hole in the ceiling failed to penetrate. Catching the shaft with his left hand the soldier thrust the weapon upwards a couple of times, using all of his armor-enhanced strength. He felt some resistance on the second and third stroke and blood started to seep through the hole occupied mostly by the spear. At the same time the drone that was parked at the end of the tunnel started to fire it`s submachine gun. This had “long day” written all over it.

Close to the Spring of River Isonzo, Irrana Mountains, afternoon two days later

Heinz Albers watched the gigantic airship hoover above his position. That was not his job, but it was hard to do anything else when a 270 meters long airship blotted out the sun and currently placed the last of 4 “AGM” modules it had carried directly in a foundation he had helped blasting out of the riverside.
The mountainside dominated by the near-Zeppelin was the northern Border of the Blighted Marches, the land around Skavenblight. The river alongside the camp was one of the main feeds of the Blighted March. From up here the Bundeswehr could watch and if necessary shoot anything moving for a long distance, even if this was not the main purpose of them being here.
The “Hugo Eckener” was the sister ship of the “Enterprise” and was taking up water from the nearby river to make up for the weight she was losing from the equipment and supplies she currently offloaded. As this was a short trip for the airship she was able to deliver nearly 200 tons to the mountain base in one go which was a good thing-this was the only way the base could be resupplied besides helicopters. The blaster-cum Landwehr Captain did not worry overmuch about that.

The 4 AGM modules had the same 155 mm cannon as a “Panzerhaubitze 2000” and from their elevated position could fire up to 50 kilometers into the Skaven`s domain. Several “Skyshield” 35 mm guns would take care of any aerial threat and dozens of bunkers watched any possible approach to the plateau on which Albers stood. The Landwehr Captain had watched far lesser defenses take out massive chunks of a Beastman warherd before. Given the better preparations and the difficult approach he was not unduly worried about being here.
The next two flights would bring his equipment-and then it was time to do something about that damned river.

Coliseum di Marco, Tabaro, midnight of the next day

The old ruins were more than a thousand years old and had been the site of gladiatorial games in a time long past. The games had been as elaborate as the coliseum itself-there had been cells, cages, tunnels, ramps and even lifts aplenty under the arena.
These days the Coliseum was no longer used and the beautiful travertine stones removed to clad lesser buildings. Only the base sandstone were left to the elements and so far nobody had cared to remove the ruins as this would have been a BIG job. The old tunnels were now a dark labyrinth that in places was connected to the sewers-and other, even less well known subterranean passageways.
The gutter runner was quiet and circumspect even for a specialist of a race that valued such attributes. Finally he had found a way into the old ruins that was not closed. That the humans occasionally found the entrances into their city and bricked them over was nothing new. That they used a grey, hard and brittle material that resembled the Skaven`s cement to glue the debris normally found in such construction was new but the humans did not find everything.

The opening was two-thirds down a tunnel that had connected an aqueduct with the arena floor so that the masses could be entertained with sea battles. The smooth sides of the tunnel showed no threats, yet the Skaven checked the walls and the floor of the passageway minutely for any hidden traps. Even the simplistic humans sometimes left some but here it seemed that the tunnel was still unknown to them. Having encountered nothing untoward the Skaven slithered back a way and gestured to the runners that had watched his progress. Hesitatingly at first yet with ever greater speed hundreds of Skaven emerged from the hole and filled the tunnel. The column moved towards the exit into the old service tunnels that would finally lead into Tabaro proper.
There the Gutter Runners would do their level best to put as big a part of the town to the torch as possible, all the while some plague monks would look after the wells. The Skaven did not know what had made their leaders to give them their marching orders, nor did they care. They would not have changed anything if they would have known that Paskit tried to remove possible allies to a German assault.

The last of their number had left the nether caves and entered the tunnel now and everybody was huddled into a tight group waiting for the go when their world ended. As series of slightly curved matt-black boxes at the ceiling of the tunnel exploded simultaneously. In front of the explosives were ball bearings suspended in resin. The hard steel balls were forced into the passage`s confines at terrible speed hitting mostly soft flesh and brittle bones. Those steel balls that did not find something organic to ledge into ricocheted from the stone walls to regain the chance at doing damage. Within a single second the tunnel filled with eager Skaven was transformed into an abattoir.
Roughly 150 meters away Sergio de Beluscani, nephew to the Prince and commander of the prince`s standing forces watched a monitor that depicted the carnage in monochrome green and stomach-turning detail. His mouth showed something that could have been a grin if it had contained any humor.
“I like your style Oberleutnant Erhard, I really do.”

Excerpts from Wikipedia/Warhammer Germany edition

Consumption of Petroleum per day:
2010: 425609 m³
2014: 345812 m³
Main Suppliers:
2010: Russia, Norway, UK
2014: Sylvania, Araby, Sea of Claws

Joakim Vos`s RG (Rocket Grenade)

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-15 01:29pm

Camp “Köln”, Close to Tabora, several days later

Major Henrik Gerber mused that the equipment in the briefing tent would not have excited Rommel-or Moltke the Elder in fact. Besides the folding chairs the room was dominated by several large maps printed on paper that hung from wooden racks. There were no big screens or projectors in evidence, no obvious computers or more advanced communications-there were kept elsewhere.
He was one of the few moderately rested officers in the room, the voyage to Tilea had not agreed with everybody in the “Tilea Corps”, the imperial contribution to the campaign against Skavenblight. The “Corps” did not even have the size of a decent division, the designation was chosen as it was an amalgam of several imperial units.

The biggest contributors were “Wolf`s Dragoons” , the Cave Raiders and the 1st “Kaiserlich-deutsche Landwehr” as these two units had more than a little idea how modern armies worked. Surprisingly several Reiksguard units had also contributed. The Reiksguard city detachment had sent several companies, an Oberleutnant Emser was sitting not so far from Joakim. He seemed quite young for the job-until you saw his eyes. Henrik was pretty sure that this fellow would have some interesting stories to swap.
The burly Sergeant-at-arms whom General Wolf kept about did not shout-somebody who was used to make himself heard on a battlefield and by boneheaded recruits did not need such-but Henrik could have sworn the tent walls moved slightly outwards when a “ten-shun” brought everybody to up. General Wolf climbed to the podium and asked everybody to sit again.

“Gentleman, due to the haste by which this combat group was assembled this is the first time we all meet. We all would have preferred this to be otherwise but the enemy has disagreed with our plans. I will give all of you an overview of the situation and the broad outlay of our plans so we can sing from the same page as it were.
Seven weeks ago a series of terror attacks by the Skaven killed hundreds of civilians, including many children in Germany. On top of that the German armed forces stopped two attacks on cities with warpstone bombs that would easily have destroyed both with hundreds of thousands of casualties. As of 1st Bake Day, Harvest Month 2522 Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked the Empire for assistance according to the Reiksbund treaty and our Emperor has granted this assistance immediately. We are the vanguard of this assistance.

Our situation is as follows:
This is the Tilean Sea, this is the Blighted March-and this is Skavenblight, the ultimate goal of this campaign. Currently we are setting up a number of bases: Camp “Köln”, which by the way is named for the train that was destroyed, is situated at the outskirts of Tabaro.
There is a second base close to the city of Miragliano, they will receive a large air base among other things. And then we have Sartosa, there we will build up a Reiksbund Naval and Air base that has the advantage of not being in the realm of any Tilean Price. To the North we have a couple of small bases at the base of the Irrana Mountains.

This campaign will broadly be dived into three phases. The first one, in which we are in presently will see the marshalling of the necessary forces, the gathering of intelligence and most importantly the building of an infrastructure –damnfangled new word that-that can supply the subsequent phases.
The second phase will encompass the capture of the parts of the Blighted March around Skavenblight and the aboveground city. During this time we will extend roads to the Ratman`s city.
The third phase will be to conquer the Skaven undercity and for a unconditional surrender by the rats.

Many of you will ask themselves why the Germans do not use one of their superweapons and simply make Skavenblight go away-or convert it into a glowing crater. Actually I asked the same question and the answer is that we cannot afford to do that that. In the words of Professor Trevayne of Humbold University: “The problem with eliminating the Skaven leadership is who can you negotiate with afterwards. The "Skaven nation" disintegrates and splinters into hundreds of fragment, who all hate the Germans.” We need to surrender by the Council of Thirteen-and then we need to sit on the Rats till they clear up their act or till they no longer present a threat.
Mark my words fellow officers: This will be a long and bloody campaign and not all of us will see the end of it. But it needs to be done and badly. The bleeding Rats are a threat to all of us, not just the Germans and we cannot sit by and let them kill children, women and the elderly. We will teach the Skaven the error of their ways and if they do not learn then there will be less Skaven to worry about. None of us have forgotten what they did to Altdorf a few months ago-let us show them how the shoe feels on their foot.
The Germans have pulled our collective asses out of the fire more than once. They have given us modern weapons and communications. Now let us show them what we can do with them, shall we?”

Close to Dragon`s Gate, a couple of days later, at dawn

Standing to at dawn was what every good and successful army and many that were not so did. An assault at dawn was one of the oldest tricks in the book, it allowed to move in the attackers under protection of the night and attack when the first light allowed coordination.
All of this did not make getting up in the dark after too few hours of sleep any easier and many of the Asur who were subject to this hardship took to herbal teas that helped to open the eyes or even stronger remedies. Korhal Ethelrad, Lord of the Dragon Gate hat no need for such, he was powered by a more powerful motivator. Hate about his fate, hate about the gross stupidity of his superiors, hate about the senseless losses. Hate that conquered all, hate that would move mountains keep him awake at such an ungodly hour. He was standing on top of the battlements of the Dragon Gate and watched the many lines of hastily erected trenches and bunkers below him, the source of this hate.

His fine elven eyes allowed him to discern too many details even in the low light available. They saw the many signs of ramshackle construction in the defenses before him, the mud, the unhewn stones, the uneven lines. His elven sight did not spare him the bloodstains that spoke of the many losses already suffered in earlier assaults or the stretcher parties that waited for the inevitable results of this misguided application of foreign idiocy. The mud stains on many fine white elven robes, the quickly mended gashes in them left by the wooden barricades and the less-than-optimal protection against Druchii. The misguided cousins had launched countless assaults against these defenses and so far they had held up. Sometimes they managed to storm the first line of defense or even reach the second, but the arrows of the bowelfs and the valiant counterattacks of the reserves had always
been enough to throw them back.
And yet all that bravery and sacrifice would not have been necessary if Prince Thyrion had not insistent no building these ugly, nearly useless, artless and un-elven excuses for defenses. The Dragon Gate was everything this abomination was not-elegant, clean, sanitary and offered so much better cover. Who needed so much defense in depth when your first line would not be broken. And the Dragon`s gate offered “Krump..Krump Krump BANG”

In front of Korhals disbelieving eyes the front line of fortifications simply vanished in a series of powerful explosions that tore them upwards in great columns of dirt, stones, smoke and body parts. Likewise several of the next line forts crumbled under the explosive onslaught, giving a clear way into the inner bunkers.
The black clad Druchii that stormed from several trenches into the lines came as no surprise. Korhal managed to keep a straight face, managed to keep his voice calm and his orders clear. Quite an accomplishment for somebody who`s world view had just been explosively dismantled. These explosions would probably have collapsed the walls he was standing on and he had few doubts that whoever had caused them could make bigger ones if the need arose.

It took Korhal all of his reserves, including a freshly arrived unit of Sword Masters to stem the tide. He took a regiment of his retainers personally into the trenches, partly as it was necessary and partly to wash his mind of the guilt he felt. Pushing into the confused melee that had ensued from the attack. Two factors worked in his favor-the Druchii seemed to be as surprised as him at their initial success at demolition and therefore seemed to attack more timidly then otherwise. Even more important was the fact that the defense lines were intentionally weak to the back sides, allowing his forces to storm open spaces instead of well-made fortifications. The many small lanes and trenches that led backwards had splintered the enemy into a lot of small groups, many of them leaderless. The second and subsequent lines might have a breach in their middle, yet that did not mean that the attackers could simply fan out and roll up the lines. Low-slung and ugly they might have been, but the bunkers so artlessly erected stood the attack by simple infantry easily. The trenches that gave acceptable protection for the Archers in them were more or less open from the back side.

Korhal marshalled his spearelfs in front of the 3rd line and shouted the bowelfs in these to shoot the Druchii as fast as they could. The Asurian longbow is a powerful weapon and the elves that were using them no slouches. They delivered 5 terrible salvos in a little more than 20 seconds, leaving their targets wounded and bleeding. Into this confusion Korhals orderly attack of went like a granite block dropped on glass. This proved to be the blueprint for clearing the misguided cousins out of the High Elven positions and 60 bloody minutes later things were as before.
When all was done Korhal would have to meditate on this for a long time. Prince Thyrion had been right about the danger posed by these “modern explosives”, something needed to be done for sure. But did that mean that warfare needed to degrade to an undignified wrestling match in the mud?

500 meters AGL, Blighted Marches 2 weeks later

The Blighted Marches are usually fog-shrouded and obscured to human sight. A series of thunderstorms followed by several days of windy gusts had removed this shroud for a while and the Army had been quick to pick up on this chance.
Nathan Alpers was not feeling too comfortable with the current flight for two reasons. First off he had been issued a new “Storch” as his old one was now in the clutches of the DLR. The new one was nice-the new engine nearly had the same horsepower than his old one after the tune-up it had received from Airman Horst, but much more quiet and without the soot and vibrations. The Rune of Flying was supposedly even better than the one in the original and the plane had a payload and range to match. Actually he had been able to self-deploy to the new Airfield under construction at Miragliano.
The second reason for his uneasiness was easy to spot. He was doing photo recon and that entailed flying in a long straight path in clear sight of the enemy. It was estimated that 500 meters was high enough to keep him from ground fire but Nathan was pretty sure that the REMF that came up with the estimate would be less comfortable about that if he wore with him in the cockpit. And flying in long straight lines was definitely now how he liked to do things, but if the goal of his mission were very precise photos this was how things had to be done.

To calm himself he touched his belt and the pocket on his right tight which held the three mementos he valued most in his life. On his belt was the knotted sash that Ermine had given him as a give-away present when he had left her in Berlin. When he received it he had needed a second to recognize it for what it was-a token for her as she would have given her favorite knight in a tournament. It had gotten well together with the letter she had given him at the same time. Written in a blocky, hard to read scrip it was an invitation to castle Wolfenfels to “discuss matters of common interest” and written by the Baron himself. And last not least there was the letter from DLR where they stated again that he would be welcome to resume his training when he was back from the current emergency. Ah, promises, promises.
As the cameras and other sensors were working without input by the young pilot he was able to watch the ground below. The scene below was depressing, unending marches were either given to fetid-looking swamps or covered with fields bearing black plants that he could not identify. Countless Skaven ran back and forth and vehicles belching black smoke drove carts towards tunnels where they disappeared. The traffic on some roads was dense enough to remind Nathan of a busy road in Berlin. How many of the bleeding rats were there?

Even the longest flight ends at some point and Nathan was very happy about this one. There had been some green tracers that had chased him and at some point he was pretty sure some Skaven pointed something that looked like a Gatling at him only to have it disappear in a cloud of green smoke.
“Miragliano airport, this is Storch 006, request permission to land and runway”
“Storch 006, assume holding pattern at 300, will take a couple of minutes”
“MiraglianoAirport, Storch 006, what`s the holdup?”
“Atorch 006, Rhino flight is coming in, they haven`t all landed yet.”
“They really did it?”
“Yes, you are not flying the only museum piece around any more”
“Hey, I am much older than my plane, they are not”
“Details details.”

From his holding pattern Nathan managed to spot the last planes of Rhino flight coming in. The shapes of the planes he spotted were not exactly beautiful. The vertical stabilizers were at an odd angle, the delta wings had an odd dogtooth and were “bend” from that point and generally the plane looked like it was more aerodynamic going backwards than forwards. All of that said they looked utterly menacing. Germany needed to station planes in Tilea on top of its other commitments. As the Luftwaffe was running out of airframes the depots had to give up their best.
Rhino flight was composed of 12 F-4F Phantom fighter-bombers, formerly of JG71 Richthofen and now Rhino flight. Older than its pilots by many years, ugly as sin and twice as mean the old planes were in for one more campaign.

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-17 04:07pm

Camp “Hohenstauffen” Neu-Preussen, roughly the same time

Sleenek was getting mad. A few days ago he had been an accomplished gutter runner on a mission to Germany. The country had been strange in many ways but the mission something he was trained for-do not get seen, see and hear everything and sabotage what you can.
And then everything had gone wrong. He had been hunted by humans and hounds till he was too exhausted to run. Then the blasted Germans had attacked him with some poison that made it impossible to breathe, impossible to see and nearly impossible to think for the pain. He had fully expected to be killed-or tortured and killed. None of this had happened but instead the Germans had put him into a world that was as strange to him as the back side of the moon.
The place he was in now was all about open spaces-he was restricted to a cell most of the day, but that had a big, if barred window. Two times a day he was allowed-actually forced into-an open space in the middle of the place. He was used to the safe tunnels of the warren or the woods full of hiding places. Open spaces were to be crossed in the cover of the night-just that here was no darkness but all-encompassing light-either sunlight or the strange German artificial ones. No place to hide, no place to feel safe.
There was always enough food-there was no ever-present hunger and no need to fight for it. Even worse-the few Skaven in the camp were not allowed to determine their status the old fashioned way. The few who tried found that the Germans used cold water-spray from jets, batons that stung like 10 bees at the same time and paralyzed limbs for while or the poison that went to eyes and nose.

So-no fight for status, no group structure, no leaders and no pressure to defend the new found status all the time. Also the Germans kept the Skaven mostly separate-there was no soothing smell of many Skaven around him. And the baths-the thrice-damned baths. The Germans had forced him into a cell and showered him with foul-smelling water. He was sure to die, especially when he saw the lice and ticks in his fur die-but he did not. And after he had rolled in the mud of the place a couple of times the guards had repeated the process. It was enough to make a grown Skaven cry.

When the door to his cell opened he asked himself what else the Germans might do to him and barely managed to control his panic gland. The Germans led him to another nondescript white room where he was greeted by a human in a white coat. The guards chained Sleenek to a sturdy chair in front of the desk the human used. Between the Gutter Runner and the German was a glowing rectangle that somehow showed pictures.
The German talked to Sleenek who of course did not understand a single word. All of a sudden the glowing rectangle in front of him showed a red triangle and “Dreieck” (Triangle) sounded from somewhere. It was repeated for about the 20th time when he just as he was bored imitated the sound “dreieck”. This was when the human smiled-his teeth were far too puny to be a threat, so it had to be a smile, right. A small drawer in front of Sleenek opened and the smell that came from it made the Skaven salivate involuntarily. He grabbed at the morsel inside before he could even worry about it being poisoned. Cheese, really good cheese. It was not that he was terribly hungry, the Germans gave enough food. But it was so bland while this cheese smelled so fine and promised to have some taste in it. He wolfed down the food and was not disappointed by the it when a red square appeared on the screen. “Viereck”

Road to Tunnel 233, Blighted Marches, next days

“One Rat Oger, two Rat Oger,ups”, better put on some more distance. Gleepk knew from long experience that when driving in a long column you had to check the distance to the vehicle in front of you regularly. Otherwise it was far too easy to for a Skaven driver get ever closer to the next corn hauler and if that one used his brakes it was too easy to crash into the trailer in front of him. So it paid off to watch the hauler in front of him pass some landmark and then count to at least three “Rat Ogres” before one passed the same landmark.
His cart was behaving itself well today-Clan Skryre`s workers had soldered the leaky boiler tight again. There was no more steam escaping than usual and all the rattles and clacking sounds he heard were the usual ones. This might be one of the rare good days when he could make the tour without a single break-down. This would be good-for whatever reasons there had been orders to bring in as much Black Corn as possible, even from fields that were not really ready for harvest. Strange that, but asking questions was one of the things that Gleepk had learned long ago were unhealthy.

The low cloud cover and the rattle made by the many carts masked the approach of the monster. It was unlike anything the Skaven had ever seen and it appeared for such a short time that the driver was at first unsure if he had really seen it. Only when he saw the other drivers gesticulate and shout did he realize it had not been a fidget of his own imaginations. The huge flying monster with the unmoving wings, with the 2 windmills and the droning sound had been real. The smell in his nose confirmed that the monster really had ejected clouds of something under each wing and a fine mist settled on everything. He feared being poisoned and at first had the feeling that breathing became harder, yet nothing more happened, it must have been his panic.

He was already back in his small hole-in-the-wall when he realized something was wrong. It took him a while to realize what that was. The creepy-crawlies that inhabited his fur since he could think were all dead. He did not sleep at all that night fearing that the monster had used a slow-acting poison, but even the next days his health did not wane. He was underground when the Monster appeared the next time and the day later he just heard it and smelled the mist again but even then nothing happened. Nothing until he could see until he stopped at a loading point for corn and switched off his cart. That was when he heard the change the monsters had brought. He heard nothing but the sounds made by the Skaven, their machines and slaves. The normally omnipresent drone and chirps made by the insects that inhabited the Blighted Marches in untold numbers were silent. And no matter how hard Gleepk looked he could not find a single living bug anywhere. It frightened him to no end. He was justified in that but for the entirely wrong reason.

Camp Köln, close to Tobaro, 14th Koenigsday, Harvest Month

General Wolf pondered often how much his life had changed ever since he Germans came. He had volunteered for command of one of the new units when most of his peers were thinking this madness and the decision had served him well. From commanding the 1st Kaiserlich-Deutsche Landwehr he had gone to command the “Tilean Corps”. From being one of the lesser known officers of the imperial armed forces he had gone to become a star. From being a Oberst (Colonel) and knowing exactly that was to be the highest rank he would ever achieve he had gone to become a General and even that might not be the end of it. He and his family had access to the best medical treatment Germany could give and had gained a lot of traction in imperial politics.

Of course when one was given such a bounty other things were taken away-or the gifts came with curses, that was the way of the world. His beautiful old uniform in resplendent colors and his shining armor had been replaced by a drab utilitarian BDU in a color the German might call “Field Grey” and he would call “dirt”. He was no longer leading glorious charges against an enemy he could see but like a merchant he was filling in forms and gave orders to people he would not see or meet for days on end. “Paperwork” was something he was sure that should be written with four letters-what a concept. The ancients had it wrong, the punishment by the gods was not pushing a stone uphill and having it tumble down time after time, the punishment came in flavors like “Form 113” “Meeting” and “Progress report”.
But some good things stayed the same, one of them being councils of war. They were the sign of either very insecure commanders-or very confident ones. As he was not discussing orders but the situation he was pretty sure which one was his kind.
Currently his officers were listening to the report given by Sergeant Joakim Vos who had been the only Imperial in the room to take part in the assault on the Skaven pirate`s lair on Sartoga.

“So, to sum it up-the biggest problems the damn rats give us are the surprises, the poison wind and the warpstone. The can appear everywhere at any time as they have hidden tunnels and entrances in places where you`d least expect it. The other problem is Warpstone-it used by them in everything-it lights their rooms, it provides power to everything, the little shits wear warpstone amulets and it is inside their weapons. That stuff is dangerous, needs to be removed from any space you want to occupy more than an hour or so and it is even more important than usual not to get hit.”
“Are there any proposals how to solve that yet from the 31st Brigade?”
“There are two things they think about the surprises. One is more drones and heavier ones, they few we had worked admirably. The new “Schwert” (sword) drone works just fine, can traverse more difficult passages due to the tracks and has far more firepower. The second thing is that everybody should have a decent sidearm. In case you need something right now it is more handy than the rifle and it is also easier to use in very tight tunnels. Lots of paratroopers seem to like my 10 mm HK but I have heard that the Dwarves that were with us wanted something heavier. I am not sure I would recommend that to a human.

Then there is the poison wind-simply put your protective mask has to be very close-very very close. This stuff kills and quickly. When in doubt-wear it-and isn`t that fun, especially in enclosed places. The masks also help with the warpstone, but the removal should be put to follow-on forces with complete protective suits. The other opportunity is a modified “Schwert”, they tried one with an manipulator and a shovel, it seemed to work just fine.”
“That Schwert sounds like a nifty solution.”
“Yes General, but one with a high price tag. One of them costs more than the armor I was wearing.”
“Uff, that is too much, I got into hot water already when I purchased them.”
“At least that was for a good cause, the suits worked marvelously. No serious injury to any of us and we got the job done. There is a list of things we want improved, but nothing major.”
“I like to hear that. Thanks for your report. Now I want to hear your ideas about what we are going to change according to what we had just heard and how best to integrate the shorties that we get to fight alongside.”

During the next hour Wolf heard a lot of useful ideas, the better of them were noted for further work, some not so good ones and one completely harebrained one. It had come as a joke-at least he hoped it was a joke-from Major Gerber.
“This is so wrong it starts being right again Major. Can you imagine what it would do to the troops morale? And our superiors would have a cow if I propose that.”
“Being in the one-man condoms will not raise the morale either, it will help with the surprise problem as well and is that guy not supposedly out ally?”
In the end the General authorized sending the request. Gerber was probably the most surprised when they got a positive answer.

Reiksbund Headquarters, Altdorf, 19th Sigmarstag, Harvest month

Hans-Werner Fritz was still as busy as one could get without using seriously illegal drugs. He still found time for the Asurian Ambassador. Germany and the Reiksbund did not have too many friends in this world and if one did not find the time for one`s friends their numbers dwindled. Also Aurelius seemed to have his head screwed on the right way these days, so when he urgently asked for a meeting he got one.
“So what can I do for you Ambassador?”
“I have grave news from Ulthuan General. It seems that the warnings Prince Thyrion received about modern explosives were well-founded. Last week the first lines of defenses in front of the Dragon Gate were demolished by what had to be explosives of a kind that only you Germans make.”
“Sure it was not Black Powder or something magical?”
“The stink of sulfur was absent or so I am told, as was the usual soot. As for magic-us High Elves are among the masters of using it. We should have at least been able to trace it after it was employed and there was none. This is just one more piece in an intriguing puzzle where neither me nor anybody else sees the whole picture yet. The Druchii all of a sudden have explosive bolts to the Reaper Bolt throwers..”
“Uh, sorry for the interruption-they have that? I have not heard that before?”
“Well, we certainly reported it. Then there are crossbow bolts that seem to be made by industrial process and we have reports of the Druchii building something that looks like a railroad in Naggarythe.”

“I can see why you are worried. I can assure you that no part of the German government is working with the Dark Elves and no German company does so that we know of. In preparation to this meeting I have contacted the MAD and BND about anything they know and came up zilch. I will ask my staff to look into this but I would not expect anything too soon.”
“General, you would not be the first soldier in history mislead by his intelligence services.”
“Yes, I have heard about that. But what can I do, especially when Asur is not officially allied to the Reiksbund or Germany? I can certainly not send troops?”
“Asur does not expect you to. But from my reading states on earth used to exchange military observers, even when they were not allied. Sometimes especially when not allied.”
“Now that is an idea. What did you have in mind?”

Jasla`s House, Neustadt, Naggaroth, same night

Jasla had watched the young German and his doings unobtrusively for a while now and found him a possible target for the Cult and her other needs. He was working for and with Thorsten Breitkop and known as one of the more competent German “eggheads”. What he had done with the slave girl she had provided and the cane confirmed it nicely-he definitely was suitable to follow the Prince of Pleasure, which by extension meant her.
She saw what she had seen before with humans-after their climax their drive often left them, they became depressed and not rarely appalled at what they had wrought on their subjects. Given the state of the formerly appealing derriere and tights of the slave the young engineer had something to be appealed about when weak human norms were applied.
When she made her way towards the man who had his hands in his face she was the walking picture of sensuality which got the attention of Uwe Herbst even in his current state just fine.

“You know what your problem is young man?”
“What-err no Mistress, I guess I do now? What have I done here?”
“What you wanted Uwe, exactly what you wanted.”
“Yes, but certainly not what she wanted.” His weakly pointed at the girl that was still fixed to the bench she had occupied unwillingly for the last two hours.
“She does not count, she is weak and she was destined for this. Your passion does honor you in front of the Prince. No, this is not your problem?”
“What is it then?”
“You believe you are still on your old world and still in your old country. You believe that if you have that much fun somebody will come and take your toys away and spank YOU for being naughty. You know what, initiate?”
“No Mistress”
“You are not on Earth anymore and you are not in Germany. You will not go back and nobody will take this from you if you do not do it yourself. So, either put yourself in a cage and deny yourself or BE yourself. Do what you always wanted to do, here is the place and now is the time. Nobody will think less of you, quite to the contrary. We both know why you are here, now show me you are a man and worthy of my time and Slaanesh`s attention. Subjugate her-make her scream, force your will on her. She cannot tell you not to, cannot you to behave nicely. They only thing between your happiness and you is yourself.
So-what is it going to be, are you going to watch your navel in the chair or are you having some serious fun?”
“Fun Mistress fun. Thank you greatly”
Jasla could have sworn that she saw a small light in the engineer´s eyes when he got up and went back to the fettered slave. Instead of a cane he picked a flensing knife this time.
Yes, this one would do nicely in the days to come.

Frankfurt Airport
Aircraft movements:
2011: 484282
2014: 9812
Air Freight:
2011: 2,13 Million tons
2014: 0,09 Million tons
Landing strips:
2011: 3x4000 meter, 1x2800 meter (Landing only)
2014 2x4000 meter, 4 Airship Towers 125 meter, 1 Airship Tower 75 meters

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-17 04:09pm

A wander route in Germany, 14th Bakersday Harvestmoon 2522

Sherek was giddy with exitement. His 3 Skaven commando had found a single German in this strange forest. A wanderer making a pause it seemed. And a perfect target for the wrath of Skavenkind. The attack came with full surprise. Grek, nearly as tall as the German, but easily 3 times as massive as the rather meager humie, was already on him. His first slash had taken nearly half of the humie´s face, leaving a bloody mess of wounds. Revenge for all what the humans had done to the servants of the Horned Rat was Grek´s motive and so he had leisurely begun to strangle the life out of the German. Grek could do that with one claw, with his other arm he was holding down the left arm of the humie, who was trying and failing to get his gun raised. The human´s pistol would be a wonderful souvenir later. Since Grek was in full control of the situation, Itriiz, their other companion and he were just looking out that no one would surprise them.
For several minutes Sherek could hear the futile struggle of the human behind him. Once Grek had wince-squeaked, so the German had gotten in a lucky move, but now the silence of death settled over the small clearing with it´s bench. The Skaven was already contemplating what he would give Grek in exchange for the human´s pistol, Grek prefered to use his warpstone enhanced claws, so had no use for the priced gun, when Itriiz squeak went through his core.

Sherek turned to see his fellow Skaven lying on the ground, crumpled in an unnatural way and felt more than saw the danger. He was already beginning to backtrack, when the roar of the pistol reached his ears and pain blossomed in his shoulder. Sherek fell and rolled over. The wound was not lethal, but the shock had hit him. He saw the human coming closer. The humie was deathly pale, not all too sure on his feet, his neck purple with marks, his side bloodsmeared, the blue eyes far too bright, but... his face had healed! And where by the the Warpstone gong, was Grek?

Sherek felt his blood turn to ice in primal fear when he saw the pile of bones behind the German. Skaven bones! The human had to be a sorcerer, but he did not look like one of those the humans called the purple ones. But there was another kind of sorcerer who could kill like that.
Sherek tried to crawl away from the slowly advancing German, his danger sense ringing like crazy. His instincts told him why no killing shot had come.
Then Sherek heard the German´s deep voice, the tone croaking from the strangling attempt of Grek.
"Vermin!... Once in your life, you will be...useful."

Sherek felt the human´s hand touching him and he reacted immediately. He did not hit the arm right, too far away from his functioning claws, but he ripped a new wound. The human grimaced, but then a pain-laced voice spoke up.

"It will not help you, but you will help me. There is still enough life in you for that." Then the weakness began to take hold of Sherek. The wounds of the human began to heal before his eyes, the strangle marks fading, flesh knitting itself.
Sherek could only lie there and felt the final darkness coming closer with each second. In the eyes of the human he saw a whirlpool of emotions. Pain, regret, dislike, concentration, the eyes shining bright blue, alight with magic, a thunderstorm of purple and darkness flittering through the irises, while Sherek´s pelt changed to a snowwhite colour, the vermin in it dying with him.
When the darkness closed in on him, Sherek heard the human once again.

"When your soul goes to the Chaos hell it belongs to, give them some greetings from humankind. We will arrange for more company for you there..."

Several hours later, same day

Night had fallen, but Günter Koch was lying wide awake in his bed. He was deeply shocked about what had happened earlier and what he had done.
He was on a nice, quiet walk, philosophing about the magic he had learned in the last weeks. He had made a pause on a bench, when the attack came. A true double surprise. Günter´s home region was quite a distance away from the next know Skaven tunnels or outposts.
He had been able to draw his Altmayr SPX, but the damned rat was too fast. One of the strong arms had kept his left arm pinned to the ground, his pistol useless. The Skaven´s attack had ripped open wounds along his side, but the worst was his face. Most of one side was gone or hanging on by a few shreds of flesh and the mist before one eye was indication that his eye nerve had been wounded. The wound shock alone had nearly made him unconscious, but Günter still saw enough. The eyes of the Skaven shone with sadistic delight, while it began to strangle the life out of him.
In this fight to the death, Günter lay dying, but his brain still rifled in near-panic through his magic knowledge, when it stumbled over some things he had read in one of the special books he got lately and it was like he could hear, well it was mainly oxygen deprivation, the voice of one seer who talked with him early on in his new career.
With the clarity that came from knowing that it was now living or dying, Günter opened himself up and called on the Winds of Magic. He felt the otherness he now channeled through himself, compared to the winds he channeled before. The energies of Jade, Undeath and Shysh flowed through him, stabilizing his dying body for a few precious moments, while he pulled at the life of the Skaven, his would-be murderer. The necromantic power sucked in the lifeforce, replenishing Günter´s flickering one.
Wounds began to heal, his consciousness returned fully, for some moments the lack of oxygen was no hindrance. Günter now took in the lifeforce with all his might and for the first time he saw the fear springing up in the eyes of the Skaven. It was the rat now who wanted to get away, but Günter clinged to him, fighting for his life, taking away the rat´s.
Before his restoring eyesight the Skaven aged rapidly, while his nearly fatal wounds healed. Suddenly and to Günter´s shock, the Skaven went to ashes, leaving only a skeleton. Shocked, still dizzy form the events of the last minutes, the remaining wounds managable, but nearly having lost control of the magic, Günter in desparation fired off a bolt of Shysh at one of the remaining Skaven. Bleeding off energies to retain control. Luck was with him. The surprised rat died instantly, while he finally dispelled and savely bled off the Winds he had called.
Running on autopilot, joy at being still alive, will to stay alive and wanting to kill the threat for his nation, he shakily got up and fired his pistol at the last rat. Hitting where Günter wanted it, the Skaven could not escape. Then Günter once again used magic, taking in the Skaven lifeforce, healing himself, while disposing a threat for his compatriots.
To Günter´s surprise, the rat was healthly enough that he felt even a tiny bit younger than he did before the attack. After calling the police and some talks with the officers, he finally was back home. Where it hit him fully, how close to death he came and how he survived. He still wanted to deny to himself how easy it had been for him to form and control the necromantic power he had called forth. It simply couldn´t be his special wind, it couldn´t be! Before Günter fell into a rather restless sleep, he decided to carefully talk with Hartmann and Roland about the fight. He needed to know what was going on.
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Old June 30th, 2014, 05:02 AM
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Close to the Spring of River Isonzo, Irrana Mountains, 19. Markttag, Erntezeit

Heinz Albers grabbed the hammer pendant that rested under his shirt for a second “This better go right, not too many second chances here”. He knew very well that this was not going to help any as Sigmar helps those who help themselves, but it soothed the mind.
Pressing the first button activated the klaxon which filled the mountainside with its warning. Waiting for 30 seconds the blaster turned the key in front of him and then pressed another button. A series of explosions walked down the cliff in front of the German in a highly controlled manner. The explosions were not very impressive when taken singly and the sound was more like a surf on steroids than an almighty bang.
It took a heart-stopping second during which nothing happened and then the mountainside started to slide downwards with ever-increasing speed. While the explosions were not so spectacular the splash by which the thousands of tons splashed into the Isonzo River was. A second set of explosions were nearly drowned out by the impact.

The river found its old path blocked by the gravel that had been thrown in its way. Yet the second set of explosions had opened another path that had been cleared by heavy earthmoving equipment during the last week. The river would flow into another valley now and would meet its old riverbed more than 20 kilometers downrange. The part of the Blighted Marches that contained Skavenblight just received 80% less water from the mountains while the outflow remained the same.
The area would be called Blighted for a long time, the huge numbers of undead saw to that. But whether they would be called Marches was a different question.
This gave the term “shaping the Battlefield” a new wrinkle.

Road to tunnel 223, Blighted Marches, 20. Bezahltag

Gleepk had not heard such a noise before in his life. It was like an unskaven shriek or the extremely loud tearing of cloth. It drowned out the clatter of his cart and the others around him easily and already a number of small collisions. When the scream had nearly subsides a series of detonations could be heard in the general path the unseen source of the sound had taken. Traffic along the road was slow to resume as a couple of drivers were taking the collisions as an affront laid into each other or at least tried to stare their opponent down. Still the traffic resumed before the guards could take action-just to slow down again a little later when Gleepk tried to make it into the tunnel.
The detonations had devastated the entrance and its surroundings. Deep craters, fallen masonry, sooty fires and unmoving bodies told a sad story. Gleepk was far enough back that he had to walk forward to see what had happened. He got one look at the guards who were taking a dim view at the audience and sprinted back to his cart, trying to decide which of the tunnel entrances best to take. He was nearly back at his cart when he heard the scream again. Instinct told him to hide low in anything that gave him cover so he jumped into the drainage ditch that ran besides the road. All around him small black objects rained from the sky, one directly in front of him. He vented his panic gland when a firecracker-like series of explosions ran up and down the road from where he was.

The small cylinder in front of him did-nothing. Gleepk crawled ever so carefully backwards, never taking his eyes from the small canister that was unlike anything that he had seen before but that he was sure spelled death and destruction on the unwary. He shrieked when his tail touched something solid but wet. When he turned he found he had crawled into the body of another driver. Jumping back on the road the devastation nearly overwhelmed him as he went from the individual horror of his slain colleague to the wholesale slaughter on the road. Every cart and trailer that he could see was damaged to some extent, the slaves and drivers either dead or wishing they were. He was about to run from the scene when the small canister that had dropped so close to him in the ditch exploded, then he fainted.

Harbor, Tobaro, 22. Koenigstag, Harvest Month

It was a most beautiful autumn day with nary a cloud in the sky. The city of Tobaro with its many palazzi and statues made a picturesque backdrop against the waterfront that held a virtual forest of masts and wooden hulls, well at least a small part of the harbor did. Currently the other part of the harbor had an important visitor.
Lorenzo de Berluscani was out of his depth, done, overwhelmed-whatever you wanted to call it. When Ambassador Schäfers had promised him that an alliance to Germany would among other things mean upgrades to his harbor he had not expected ..this.
Hermann Gall was the harbormaster for “his” part of the Harbor and currently tried to explain the changes to him. The most obvious ones were the “floating piers” that the Germans had towed all the way from their country. Bigger than any ship he had seen before they were anchored to mighty pillars rammed into the harbor`s ground and formed the basis to which the ships were moored to. The ships brought their own cranes-if they needed them at all.
An unending column of what the Germans called “Trucks” we taking one big box after another and drove them inland.

“No my Prince, even we cannot build so quickly. The floating piers are standard, we use them in several harbors already and just used all of them that were on order. The ramp over there was originally meant for Erengard, but we need it more urgently now.”
“Ah, that explains the speed. And now I also see why you do not need our warehouses-your “Containers” are a warehouse by their own, you can just park them in the open.”
“Yes, currently we use them like this, but in the long run we will erect some prefabricated storage, this is a waste of good containers. But they make loading and offloading so much easier as we just move the containers and not each crate by itself.”
“I see-I think. How much faster?”
“Well, let me put it like this: One 20 Foot Container takes 20 tons of load, 3 of them hold roughly as much cargo as one of you Galleons. From what I have seen you need roughly a week to unload and load again, right.”
“Yes, about that.”
“Well, the “Dresden” over there can take 6000 standard containers, but currently has just 5000. She came in with the last tide. We expect to offload and reload her with what empty containers we already have for the next tide.”
“So you expect to offload 100000 tons of material and reload-in 12 hours?”
“Yes, but that is per ship. We are also taking care of the “Hamburg Express” too, so actually we do a little more than double that.”
“I think I need to sit down for a minute. And a drink would be nice.”
“Joachim, a coffee for the Prince-make it a special one.”

Propped on a folding seat that had been offered and getting a slug of deeply black coffee from a shiny flask he drank down the hot drink liberally spiked with some heavy duty alcohol. While he was getting his senses back he watched another ship that had moored to its quay strangely-bow first instead of alongside. The bow of that ship had opened up like the mouth of some sea monster and huge vehicles were making their way up a steel ramp provided for that purpose. He used the binoculars that had been presented to him the Germans to have a closer look at the vehicles that left the ship.
He had been briefed about these tanks-armored vehicles that were able to traverse nearly any terrain, withstand practically all attacks and could kill anything that moved on land-and destroy most objects that did not move. He wanted some, but the Germans were not willing, citing the need for trained personnel. Well, he certainly would not give them out either.
The tanks turned to the left when they were out of the ship and exposed their coat of arms to his view. It was simple enough-a white horse on a red background. “I have not seen that sign before, can you tell me what they are?”
“Oh a new formation, they swallowed up a lot of individual units to make this task force. But the main body that provides the backbone for this is the 7th Panzer Division.”

Tunnel, Close to Miragliano, 22. Festtag, Harvest Month

The tunnel was tight, not too even, some of it looked ready to cave in and parts were illuminated in a sickly flickering green light, so all was normal for a tunnel build by the Skaven. What was not normal was that the air was close to being unbreathable-the Rats usually took better care for that.
The low oxygen content was due to hundreds of stormrats packed tightly into the subterranean passageway waiting for the go. And it would be good thing if that “go” would come soon. Not only was breathable air getting scarce, but the adrenaline-packed Stormrats were aggressive to a fault and being so close to each other did nothing to improve their temper. If nothing happened soon either the Skaven warriors would drop or start the fight early and internally.

A few hundred meters from the tunnel a couple of gutter runners and a plague monk tried to make their way through the rolls of wire that the Germans had erected all around the huge field they used for their flying machines. It had looked so easy when they had a look at it during daylight from cover-the strands so thin, the wire rolls just breast high-this was no great wall of stones. When they had crawled up to the wire at night the problems had started immediately. The thin-looking wire was harder than their blades and refused to be cut. It was sharp, sharper than the knives the gutter runners had brought themselves and they had to patch up several members of their team so far lest they bleed out. Trying to pull it away had caused an alarm and the party had to retreat hastily.
Now they did the best they could and lobed the globes that the Plague Monk had on him over the wire to fall around the low bunkers that were some meters behind the wire. Some missed, most hit around their targets and 2 broke when the Gutter Runners tried to throw them. Nearly half of them made it back.
When the survivors slinked into the small tunnel that had allowed them to get so close to German lines they saw a wave of black with yellowish white highlights flow towards the thrice-damned wire. The assault of Clan Mors came was going in.

The hulking paratrooper stood up carefully-he had banged his head against the low ceiling a number of times already. “Jochen, if I spend any more time looking at the mice cinema will give me headaches.”
“Ye gods, spare me that fate. I will get to it immediately oh fair Princess”
“Thanks asshole”
Uwe Meins made his way to the back of the small emplacement where the two kept a thermos bottle of hot coffee. The sergeant was happy enough despite the boredom of the watch and the late hour. Having taken part in the Hag Graef Raid and the Battle for Middenheim he had seen his share of combat already and could appreciate not being attacked.
Filling a stainless steel cup the Sergeant silently cursed the move to a new basing some years ago. A number of his fellow warrants had helped moving the furniture from the rental van when his daughter had placed her plastic coronet on his forehead. Of course somebody had his mobile ready for a shot and the nickname “Princess” had stuck with him ever since. While the sergeant was about 1,95 and weighted roughly 100 kilo he was easygoing enough that people who knew him could use the moniker without repercussions.

“You want a cup too, Jochen.”
“Yes Princess” Rattle “Scheiße” Cough cough
The Sergeant turned in time to see his fellow soldier slump from the firing slit with bloody foam on his lips. Long and hard training made him pull his protective mask from its box, lay the straps down and push it against his face. Pushing the straps behind the head and pulling on them when in the right place was followed by the attempt to draw in breath while holding a hand in front of the filter-no air came so the seal was good.
Careful not to get foam on his exposed hand he wiped the blood of Jochen`s mouth and put the mask on him too. Then he went behind the observation slit. What he saw took his breath away for a second. What seemed like thousands of Skaven were running towards his position. By now a few machine guns had opened fire and his Low Light TV whitened out when some mortar crew started lobbing illum rounds up. The white unforgiving light exposed even more Skaven, more rusty weapons that wanted to get him, more claws to rip his flesh.

The butt of the machine gun was against his shoulder in a flash and he started to fire at the wave of fur, blades and claws that frantically tried to traverse the wire in front of his position. The Skaven were hacking and clawing at the S-wire, trying to pull it away, to jump over it or to tear it apart-none of that worked. Several bunkers had the Skaven in their firing arcs and tracers tore into the rats who dropped like flies-and like with flies there were always two more for every one killed.
In the end it was Uwe and his fellow soldiers who provided the Skaven with a way to overcome the wire. The survivors started to throw the bodies of their fallen comrades on the wire, usually only to be killed and used in a similar fashion seconds thereafter. Still for all the deaths the Skaven managed to breach the wire in several places. Nor was the fight one sided. Uwe realized that when a green tracer missed him and his MG3 by a handbreadth and impacted at the bunkers rear wall.
The white flares revealed several figures behind large shields that pushed long barrels above them. As they were farther off and not moving much they had so far escaped notice. Two short bursts showed the Jezzail gunners how much their shields were worth against modern rifle fire-nothing.

Uwe reached the end of his belt and cursed the fact that his number two was out. Pushing a lever at the side of the gun he exposed the smoking hot barrel and used a cloth to protect his hand when he slid it out and a spare one in. Tearing open the cover next he inserted the new belt, not even realizing in his haste that he had still burned his fingers. The operation was not made easier by the fact that the “non-fog” glasses of his protective mask did actually fog over, that it was hard to get enough air and that the bleeding filter conspired with the glasses to block his field of view. The mask made him hear his own labored breathing a lot more than usual which also made him feel hurried and ill-at ease. Still he managed to get things done and looked for new targets-he did not have far to look. Aiming now became a luxury, as were short controlled bursts. The heavy tripod of the rifle kept the barrel where it belonged and the blocks that the sergeant had set himself allowed him to cover his field of fire without the need to really guide the shots. Which he still tried to do to the best of his ability. He had been at the sharp end before and one of the most important lessons he had learned was that bullets do not fly where you wish them to be but rather where you aim then.
Despite his fire and the tracers racing in from other bunkers the Skaven managed to close in. He kept doing his job till something ripped at the Muzzle of his machine gun, screamed from the burns and still managed to rip the gun half from its mounting. A glass ball was dropped into the bunker. The Sergeant kicked it as his training told him to put grenades into a hole in the middle of the emplacement, the grenade sump. All what he managed to do was to burst the glass further and distribute the aerosol better in the room. Luckily his boots were resistant enough and so far his mask was keeping out the poison.

Grabbing his G62 he turned towards the entrance of the bunker where claws were ripping at the sturdy wood he had helped put in there. Pulling the stock of his rifle a little further into his shoulder he fired of a couple of 3-round bursts directly in the door. The bullets emerged on the other side with far more energy needed to kill a Skaven or three. The flashes of light that strobed through the vision slit could have told Ulf an interesting tale of he had an attention to spare. A tale of Trucks that arrived and from which reinforcements jumped into the fray. Another tale of two Hind and a Tiger Helicopter that applied autocannons to the Skaven still outside the wire. A third one of the two age-old Luchs recon vehicles that drove directly into the Skaven inside the wire, their cannon and machine guns firing until glowing barrels indicated that continued firing was no longer an option.
Yet he could not partake in these tales as he used his ammo and his attention on the Skaven that desperately tried to gain the relative safety of the Bunker. When the reinforcements finally got around to his emplacement the Skaven no longer tried because too many bodies blocked the entrance.

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Re: An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-17 04:10pm

Tower of the Bell, Skavenblight, next noon

Any cargo whose handling is supervised by a Lord of Decay must be important to the Skaven indeed, involving two of them were unthinkable. And yet here were Lord Kritisnik and Lord Morskittar representing the Seer Council and Clan Skyre respectively. Consequently the loading they watched was about the arguably most precious thing the Skaven possessed-the Screaming Bell.
Lesser copies of it were brought to the battlefields to herald the doom of the Skaven`s enemies but this one was the original, forged by the Horned Rat itself. Its mounting in the tower that had housed it for many millennia had started the destruction of Tylos, the city on who`s ruins Skavenblight was built on. Any damage to this item would displease the Skaven god and such a fate would be cruel to imagine. Both Lords would have loved to scream abuse and instructions at their underlings but that would have tarred them with guilt if anything went wrong. Better to remain inscrutable and mysterious.
Currently the Bell was winched down the final meters onto a sturdy platform with many many axles and wheels. Teams of Rat Ogres and their tamers stood nearby to move the Bell into a waiting tunnel mouth, but before that could happen the Bell had to be matched to the blocks and arcane rituals performed.

Airport Mirgliano, same time

Captain Simone Rausch was the only women in the room, something she was just too used to. The first women in the German airforce to qualify for the F-4 Phantom she would likely be the last to fly one. Rhino flight was the Luftwaffe`s way to get some more work out of the old airframes-and old pilots. No new pilots were trained for the old Lady and so the briefing room was filled with older men and a woman which usually would fly different planes, usually something in the livery of the Lufthansa. It actually made for a more mature briefing than what she was used to.
Lieutenant-Colonel Theissen climbed to the podium and behind him the first power-point slide of many appeared on the screen. The slide made for an indrawn breath of the audience. It showed a very detailed picture of a sprawling structure build around a huge tower in the middle of a half-derelict city.

“Morning Crew. As you have already seen today is the day we tell the rats that we really don`t like them. This is the temple of the Horned Rat and from today it will the rubble of the Rat.”
Nearly two hours later Rausch walked around the huge plane with her WSO Peter Fahs and checked on the huge warplane. As the range was quite short and no self-defense weapons were needed the Phantoms had been loaded with 18 MK 82 500 pound bombs. Simone found that several had gotten “Hemmingen” or “Köln” written on them and two had pictures of children affixed. She approved heartily, one of her nieces had gotten below 25 kilogram before the new vaccine against the Skaven pathogen had been issued.

Skavenblight, same time

Lord Kritisnik was beside himself with rage. The great cart that was to haul the Screaming Bell to safety had made 20 meters before one of the wheels had broken a less-than-stable piece of pavement. The Bell, the precious bell had swayed in its mountings-and had not fallen. Yet the Bell was exposed on the great plaza and if the last days had thought any lesson to the Skaven then it was that nothing under the open sky was safe from the hated Germans.
He watched the tamers whipped the Rat Ogres into a frenzy and lumpy muscles moved under sickly skin and yet the cart refused to move. He had to do something he abhorred, taking direct actin himself. Striding towards the cart the Albino rats that guarded it made a gap for him quickly enough. Laying a hand against the sturdy wooden frame he reached into the powers of the mind. Mouthing words of power to put his mind into the right state he managed to lift up some of that immense weight. He found it hard to concentrate so close to such an enormous warpstone edifice but this needed to be done. Taking all the willpower it had taken to bring him to such a lofty position he cut out all the distractions and pushed against reality with all his might. Energies from another universe followed his wishes and persuaded countless molecules to move in one direction instead of everywhere. The cart, heavy as it was, gave a lurch swayed alarmingly and then accelerated to a jogging pace.

Kritisnik was gathering his senses when he found that the Bell was not going the way planned out before, but took to an inner courtyard. Scurrying into an undignified run he managed to close the gap to Lord Morskittar.
“Morskittar, you fool, fool-this is the wrong way way.”
“Your own Grey Seers tell us of flying machines coming coming. The main tunnel is too far off off, we need to use the old one.”
“That is too small you moron moron”
“Only after several hundred meters-and we can enlarge the rest in time. You want to take the chance chance?”
“No No”
The teams of Rat Ogres were pulling with all their might, the squeak of the many wheels, the groaning of the frame and the Bell`s swaying rose to epic proportions. It was quickly drowned out by the tearing cloth sound that the Skaven had already learned to fear. Both Lords of Decay looked up to see a dozen winged shapes fly over them at tremendous speed.

Rhino 04, 1000 meters AGL, 810 km/h, same place and time

Bombing using Iron Bombs (i.e. non-guided) with the Phantom was similar to a landing-but a lot faster. The non-existent Skaven air defenses allowed to overfly the target, then fly a round very similar to a landing approach and release the bombs on the final approach.
Reading the notes that she had taped to her board Simone Rausch turned a wheel at her joystick with a thumb and watched a red circle appear in the HUD and move downwards with her adjustments. Turning left with her flight she flew for a minute or so before doing the next 90 degree turn and another one.

“IP coming up-IP in 5,4,3,2,1 now now now”
Peter Fahs was relaying the most important data to his pilot so she could concentrate on formation and aiming. Very soon after entering the final leg of the bombing run Captain Rausch entered a 30-degree descent to improve the aim.
“Attitude 3000 feet, 450 knots, 2500, 460, 2000..”
The vast edifice of the temple and the imposing tower filled the HUD with speed and when the WSO claimed 1000 she released her load before pulling a right curve upwards at nearly 4 G. Below and behind her the 18 bombs she had just released deployed brakes to make sure she and the complete flight was gone before the fragments went flying.
Impacting crumbling masonry and impeccable marble at nearly 500 kilometers per hour the 230 kilogram bombs penetrated the temple for several meters before igniting together with the loads released by 11 other Phantoms.
The shockwaves from that many bombs detonating more or less simultaneously raced through air and stone until they met each other, cancelling themselves in a few places and multiplying their power greatly in others. The curve that Rhino flight took was long enough that the pilots could see the great tower gathering speed while it dropped to the ground, disappearing in a cloud of smoke that emerged from the demolished lesser buildings.

Skavenblight, same time

Darkness-Lord Kritisnik was surrounded by utter darkness. Around him were alarming croaks and groans of settling stones and loam but not the crashing of a cave-in. Hardly daring to breathe for a minute he found himself still standing, still living and with a rush of survival against the odds nearly taking his head.
Finally he was able to concentrate enough to cast a spell of light and flickering greenish light illuminated the old small tunnel. It was probably one of the tunnels dug by the dwarves when they still inhabited the undercity and barely big enough to house the bell-but it had protected them.
The triumphant squeals of the Skaven nearly collapsed the tunnel-the Horned Rat was with them for sure. While the exit of the tunnel was closed by thousands of tons of rubble there was a passageway into the subterranean part of Skavenblight and in time it would be enlarged to the point where the Bell could be brought into the inner sanctum.

Blighted March, close to Tobaro 25 Sigmarstag, Harvest Month

Major Henrik Gerber stood up in his “Tank”-a M113 with a “Puma” turret on top-and watched the landscape in front of him. It showed nothing of interest. There was a lot of wet-looking grass, some stagnant pools, some shrubs and scattered trees. What he could not see were any Skaven or their war machines. They were there, aerial recon had found them via infrared, but they had obviously learned to hide. Time to flush them out.
The engine of his tank made it impossible to hear their approach, but the instant poplar shapes made from soil, vegetation and unidentifiable parts announced that the artillery was on the job. Working on a box 2 kilometers wide by several hundred meters deep what seemed like hundreds of shells impacted within few minutes.
The last shells were still exploding when the “command” wireless set went on. “Beater actual from Hill actual-go go go”
The major switched channels and pushed the appropriate button. “All Beater elements-we go on my mark: Now now now.”
Releasing the button he switched to intercom when the driver already engaged. All 4 tanks that the first Landwehr owned together with those of Wolf Dragoons went forward in a line abreast, followed by line upon line of infantry. It was time to get going.
The artillery had finally shifted targets from the line the imperials were approaching and in several places furry figures could be seen that tried to scurry deeper into the march. Henrik engaged a couple with his machine gun and none of them seemed to go very far.

Neither his tank nor the infantry found anything like organized resistance-here and there a Skaven or a small group of them emerged from their hiding places when they got too close just to be mowed down by gunfire. So far so good. And yet Gerber was reminded of his last visit to the dentist where the doc had promised him it would not hurt and had foregone the lidocaine. All while the doctor drilled and drilled the Landwehr Major had waited for the pain to start. And here he waited for the Skaven to show themselves.
As when his dentist had indeed caught a “sweet spot” and the pain was not as bad as the expectation the final emergence of the Rats provided a sort of perverse relief. A green lightning broke from an innocent-looking hill missing Escort 2 by a mere meter and several larger groups of Skaven emerged from the ground behind the Landwehr lines.
All Escort tanks hit their smoke screen ejectors, hiding them from the Skaven warp cannon. Switching to infrared the gunners used their 30 mm cannon on that hill. At first nothing was visible and Gerber thought about using one of the costly “Spike” missiles when an explosion lifted the hilltop.
Behind him the Skaven found that emerging behind the Landwehr did not give them the advantage that they had thought it would bring. Several platoons were in “overwatch”-staying in place with their weapons ready to cover their advancing comrades. Where the Skaven were not covered by another group they came under a lot of fire rapidly. And the cover provided by marching Landwehr evaporated when these units dropped down to fire from a prone position.

The only case where the Rats were able to do telling damage was where they emerged from hiding scant meters from the advancing troops-here they could engage in hand to hand combat. The bayonets on the Landwehr`s rifles were nasty and brutal, but the open order of the humans did not lent itself well to hand-to hand fighting. Here two or three Skaven could attack a single Landwehrman and take him down. Yet when the Skaven were successful they denuded themselves of their cover with predictable results.
The advance to the Landwehr goal went like this for the next two hours-no glorious charge, no mowing down of the enemy in close formation-just a steady advance punctuated by brief bursts of violence. Behind the formation sappers demolished any tunnels they could find.

Ulthuan Embassy, Altdorf, 26. Brunntag, Harvest Month

“Ah, 1st. Lieutenant yes, you picked the right fork for the fish, but please just with thumb and middle finger till you really use it-yes, that is better. And please try to take a little longer to move the fish from the terrine to your mouth, otherwise one might think you are unrestrained.”
Aurelius Ethelorne watched Aeolus explanations with well hidden amusement. Since a few days a KSK troop had been quartered inside the Ulthuan embassy and did their level best to learn the basic ins-and-outs of Asurian manners. He had been surprised when the KSK came to him with the request that he should teach the wood-be military attachés yet came to appraise it as an example of German thoroughness. Instead he had to learn that the better “special forces” in the world left behind by the soldiers in front of him did that in order to do their jobs better.
Another thing to learn for the High Elves and one that might be even more difficult to get into the elven heads than new technology.

Blighted March, same time

What had started when he embarked the Zeppelin had not changed in any way for Kargan Ironbeard. Nothing was what he expected. The training in Altdorf-quite different from what he knew. The shotgun he received-nothing he had used before was like it. The dreaded trip to Tilea by ship was, thankfully much nicer than he had anticipated. And lo and behold, his first combat assignment was also not how he had imagined things.
Instead of going down into some tunnels and killing rats he and his Thunderers were guarding Germans who were digging. If thing were to get even more strange he probably would have to acquire an elven mistress. Instead he watched the Germans erect a metal tower and then use what had to be the world`s biggest drill on the marshy ground. He did not have any idea what this was supposed to achieve but by now was willing to admit that the Germans might be strange but if they were loco then in interesting and useful ways.

Currently he was off watch and spent his time with a couple of his comrades in a small depression that allowed them to light a pipe and grumble about the new times. He was taken by surprise when everybody stopped talking for a second and turned a German had gone into the same depression. He took out a pipe by his own and one of the small German lighters. The latter refused to function under a lot of grumbling.
Ambling over to the Thunderers he addressed Kargan. “Morning Sir. Might I bother you for a light”
“Don`t Sir me manling, I work for a living. But yes, I can help there.”
Getting out the lighter he had built himself many years ago the dwarf pulled the flint back and on the second try enough sparks hit the slowmatch to produce a flame.
“Impressive lighter that one.”
“Thanks manling. I put the lock of my first rifle into it.”
“Good way to memorize it.”
Soon thereafter vanilla-smelling smoke mixed with the others in the hollow. “A favor for a favor manling-can you tell me what you are doing there?”
“Ah, did nobody tell you? Well no matter. We are digging cores into the ground to establish the layers of soils below us. That will allow us to evaluate the results when we make the echo scan.”
“The what?”
“We make a series of explosions and listen for their echo. From the echo we can build a picture of the caves and tunnels under this blasted swamp. That should be useful when the balloon goes up for real.”
“That it should indeed manling. Another question-what is that thing over there doing, this plane?”
“That would be a second favor I think, but call me Dieter not manling and we will be even.”
“Kargan Ironbeard ,man..Dieter-well bargained.”
“Dieter Thomae at your service. That thing is a transport plane and currently sprays the March with DDT-it kills all insects but leaves us alone.”
“What good is that going to do?”
“The airborne vermin here is able to give you many illnesses-that was one of the best defenses the Skaven had. Now we take it from them.”
“Ah-you might need that. Us dwarves rarely get such diseases but it is good planning.”

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An ISOT in Grimdark/Warhammer Fantasy

Postby Mechman » 2015-11-21 10:29am

100 meters AGL, Blighted Marches 30. Koenigstag Harvest Month.

Boring, boring boring and…boring. Even since the early morning Nathan Alpers were flying a grid pattern along the Marches carrying a ground-penetrating radar that scanned the soil below. This had been on the agenda since his flight arrived in Miragliano, yet ever since the first offensives into the Marches these flight had received a new priority. Seems like the rats were popping out of tunnels wherever and whenever they pleased which gave the ground-pounders problems. His Storch was able to fly low and slow enough to give the radar a good look which his superiors liked. That this meant flying low, slow and in predictable lines meant that he hated it guts, not only for its boredom value but as this allowed the Skaven to shoot at him with something like a hope for success.

The problem was that salty clay of the marches was very hard to read by this radar so he had no choice but to play flying bait. And of course that had occurred to the other pilots at the base as well, it had been nearly inevitable.
The small bowl of milk that he had found under the prop of his plane two days ago with the hand-written cart whishing a speedy growing-up of the “little one” had been good for some laughs. The bull’s-eye-decal on his side with the “shoot me if you dare” logo this morning less so. Usually he would have risen to that but it was hard to fault Rhino Flight whom he suspected to be the pranksters. When he had called in yesterday that he was shot at a pair of Phantoms had shown up before long and had plastered the Skaven with a nasty combo of high explosives and Napalm.
Ah well, he would survive it.

Camp Hohenstaufen, same time

Sleenek was perplexed-he did not understand what was happening. He was sitting in front of food-and did not eat. It was not bad, even by his own admittedly low standards, just bland. So when food was presented to him, why did he not eat more?
It took him a while to figure it out: He had eaten enough. The food he got during the sessions with the glowing rectangle –“monitor”, he had learned a new word for that rectangle yesterday, was much better and he had done so well that he was actually full. That no other Skaven was trying to take the food away from him helped as well. Having enough to eat and having nobody to fight for it-what a strange world he had been thrown into. Yet he started to like it.

He found it somewhat hard to get up after so much food and made his way to the courtyard where all Skaven were assembled after the midday meal. This strange world asked him to clean and tidy his surroundings and all Skaven were pushed into contributing. He had been slow to understand at first, but Qieekquek, a Plague Monk understood Reikspiel well enough and had let the Germans know it that he could relay their captors orders. During the first days nobody wanted to help the Germans in any way, but the combination of boredom and even more terribly bland food saw to it that nearly everybody got into the program. Sleenek grabbed one of the brooms provided for the exercise and waited for his assignment.

“You there Sleenek, you sweep there there.”
“Yes yes.”
The work was less boring than sitting around and doing exactly nothing but not by much. Which of course led Sleenek to chat with the Skaven working on the pavement next to him whenever they came close. They were just talking about their respective Germans when Sleenek was hit by a broom across his lower back.
“Stupid slacker, all talk talk, no see, no work”
Quieekqueck punctuated his words with repeated strokes across his back. Sleenek had dropped himself into the submissive position as he surely could not fight a Plague Monk and certainly not one relaying the orders from the Germans. His view-when he did not squeeze his eyes shut for the pain-showed a colorful piece of paper that the wind had blown on his patch and that was the reason for his beating. His field of view was too small to show him the German guards who ran towards the Skaven, but the Plague Monk appeared when he had taken enough hits from the German magical weapons that sparked.

He was brought into the same room where his captors had poked and prodded him before and it did not surprise him when he was pricked by needles again. Yet this time the pain faded after a while and some spots on his back actually went numb. He did not see much but something tucked and nipped at his back and by the time the Germans were done he was covered in bandages along his back.
He was put on a soft pallet and even more food was provided. What in the name of the Horned Rat was going on. He started to feel lightheaded when “his” German entered the room he was in.

“Poor fragger-why did you not run or fight?”
“Because he is a Plague Monk and a boss-fight back means to die die.”
“Now look who speaks Reiksspiel-surprise surprise.”
Fuck-stupid mistake. But hard to get back now, so better carry on.
“Yes yes German I speak your language. You showed me the words enough times times. And I knew some words before.”
“Clever guy-good for you. Can I do anything for you now that I can ask?”
“Answer me this human: Why did you pull Quieekqueck of my back?”
“Because he hit you-that is not allowed.”
“But he is Boss?”
“So? Even a boss has to follow the rules”
“But he can tell me what to do.”
“Yes, if he is Boss. But he still has to follow the same rules as all others.”
“Because he is Skaven Skaven”
“Because he is. If my boss would hit me he would be fired and might go to jail”
“You are joking joking”
“No, I am not”
Sleeneck did not sleep much that night; he had too much to think about.

Blighted Marches, 32. Angertag, Harvest Month

Henrik Gerber was tired. As far as his experience told him that was the standard mode when on a campaign, but this one was worse. Before he had been in the 90% boredom, 10%terror-mode and had gotten used to that as far as one could. But usually one was either in some sort of combat or reasonably safe. The Marches were different-the Skaven could pop up at any damn moment and until suppressed were dangerous. That meant to be on alert any waking moment and it got old pretty damn fast.
And while the 1st Landwehr was making good advances along one of the roads that led to Skavenblight eventually it felt like cutting through pudding. The knife went through, the knife went deep-and then the pudding closed as if nothing ever had happened. That his unit was driving down the road and killing all the Skaven that opposed them did not mean that the supply trucks that followed would not be attacked, quite the opposite. Anything of value to the Reiksbund had to be guarded at all times or it would be destroyed in short order-and that meant that there was no real rest as long as one was inside the Marches.
The landscape did not help either. Most of it was hidden by mists that rarely allowed the sun to shine through it was dominated by dark, dripping vegetation and muddy ground. All sounds were strangely muted and all colors slightly off.
Couldn´t the bleeding rats agree to some set-piece battle and be done with it? The Landwehr Major snorted at the notion the enemy might agree to his plans and climbed the turret of his tank again. Rest was over, time to kick Skaven ass.

400 Meters AGL, Blighted March, same time

“Storch 06 for Wacht actual-approaching coordinates now. Ground visibility is zero, repeat zero”
“Wacht actual to Storch 06-drop your token then and get out of there.”
Nathan overflew the area where INS and RDF told him to go and dropped an engraved stone out of his window. Pushing the throttle far forward he cleared datum fast-he had seen this before. Nearly 50 kilometers from the pilot a Celestial Mage bend over his stone-looking quite similar, including the matching break across the side. Acting on the law of similarity he cast his spell on “his” stone whereas the effects took place somewhere else.
The German pilot watched the mists that covered the landscape like a funeral cloth suddenly develop ripples and small vortex here and there until things settled into a stead strong wind that cleared the sight in minutes. As radar and infrared had already hinted at the rats were using a major tunnel opening to assemble a large armed force on the ground. Several war machines were in evidence from Screaming Bells to Warpstone Cannon. Given that the 1st Landwehr was not far off it was likely that the Rats wanted to stop them.
No matter-to Nathan they were ugly moving targets and needed to be taken care of. Switching on a camera under his plane and keeping it focused on the mass under him he contacted base.
“Storch 06 to Wacht actual, I have upwards of 3000 Skaven at coordinates with more emerging from a large underground exit. There are several war machines including cannon.”
“Wacht actual to Storch 06, acknowledged, keep station and stand by to paint the hole and the cannon. Video is received fine.”
“Storch 06, will do.”

Changing attitude and speed in irregular intervals was second nature and proved to be a wise precaution when green fireballs and tracer went in his general direction. He chuckled evilly when a warpcannon shot went really awry and burned a gap through the Skaven masses. He still had a uneasy feeling about the weapon-while it could probably not hit you when everything for the Skaven went right but it could tear you from the sky when things went wrong.
“Rhino 02 for Storch 06, I hear you have some customers for us”
“Storch 06 to Rhino 02-there is enough for everybody, come and get them.”
“First two bird have Laserhead, ETA 1 minutes-please paint the tunnel entrance.”
“Storch 06, acknowledge 2 Laser birds for tunnel entrance.”
Nathan brought his plane a little close to the tunnel entrance and turned the laser that was mounted in parallel to his camera on. Unless he made some really radical maneuvers the laser spot would be held there by electronics.
“Storch 06 for Rhino 02-music is on”
“Rhino 02 for Storch 06 then let`s dance”

Nathan saw the low-flying shapes of the Phantoms just for the shortest period of time when they tore over the battlefield. Both dropped their bombload when they were in the “basket”-the section of space which allowed the bombs seekers to acquire the laser spot provided by Nathan and which allowed them to fly into the target from their attitude and speed.
The bombs guided well and all exploded inside the tunnels mouth, collapsing it completely and cutting off the Skaven`s retreat. Nathan grinned when he saw tracers and fireballs chasing after the first plane and trailing it considerably as the low fast approach surprised the rats. The laughter struck in his mouth when one of the warpcannon`s beams missed the leading Phantom by a large margin, just to hit the trailing plane through the middle.
“Rhino 2, Mayday Mayday Mayday. We have been hit and both engines are on fire. Ejecting.”

Simone Rausch could not remember ejecting. One second she was flying a doomed ship and tried to coax some more attitude and distance from the battlefield from it before it exploded under her and the next she hung under the parachute that had deployed automatically.
Scanning the ground under her she found a lot of small islands in the middle of fetid-looking lakes. The islands were covered mostly by shrubs and sickly looking trees while the green-blackish water really did not invite a landing. Pulling the risers of her chute she tried her best to use the steady wind to make sure she would land on one of the lager islands. She barely had time to look for her WSO who dangled under his chute not so far away.
The impact came as a surprise, which was good, and she managed to roll with the impact all right. Releasing her chute she got up to her wobbly legs and made for the next shrubbery-best to get out of sight in Indian Country. When she was reasonably sure that there were no Skaven nearby she used her emergency radio.

“Wacht Actual, this is Rhino 02, please come in”
“Rhino 02, Wacht actual-good to hear you made it. We are triangulating your position and are vectoring in some help. What is your status.”
“Wacht actual, that is good to hear. I am not injured and have not sighted any rats so far. Have you heard of Lieutenant Fahs”
“Rhino 2 wait one – yes we have. He is mostly unhurt but managed to land in a tree. Can you hoof it westwards for 500 meters and aid him?”
“Wacht actual-will do”
Holding her pistol in both hands the pilot made her way through the island. While she did not see anything threatening the unfamiliar sounds of the wildlife and the echoes of far-off fighting made her tense. An occasional muted growl announced that the spotter in the Storch had arrived-nice to have but that was hardly going to get them away from this blasted swamp.
She had to search around a bit when she found the clearing in the low shrubs that held a single tree-and her WSO.
“Hi Simone, nice of you to turn up. I need a spot of help here.”
The WSO had caught a very straight, very twig less tree that offered nothing below his position to climb down.
“Hm, I think you should hang in for a second, we need some professional help here.”
“OK, I enjoy the scenery while it lasts.”
That was when they heard the first squeals.

The Netherlands,Earth, same time?

Old Man Vos (nobody called him that to his face-usually) maneuvered himself into the living room for his evening dose of TV and a cool one, trying not to spill anything. He knew better than to ask his wife to remove the stains and knew how hard they were to get rid of.
When he had finally plonked himself into the cozy chair he aimed the remote control for the TV which drew his view automatically to some mementos on the shelf besides the home cinema. One was a picture of his missing son. Not dead, not missing, presumed dead but missing, together with a whole bleeding country. Why did he have to be in Germany when the whole country went AWOL? The other was a pic of the Robin van Persie, Captain of the Flying Dutchmen, the Netherlands National Soccer team take the cup for the recent 2014 Soccer World Championship. They had beaten the acclaimed Brazilians 6-2-who could imagine any team do better?

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