Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-01-28 10:26pm

That would be infinitely badass. Human Allied Undead Heavy Armor Units! HAU^2! They'll fight for us so long as we supply them with all of the sins they can indulge themselves in, including massive amounts of tobacco and alcohol. Suddenly Phillip Morris' contribution to the war effort rivals that of Halliburton.

Speaking of HAlliburton, I can imagine a bunch of shitheads from companies similar to them and then Blackwater's goons also trying to make huge profits out of all this even in the face of eternal damnation.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-01-28 11:26pm

bilateralrope wrote:Are these demons vulnerable to holy water ?

And do we have a delivery system that is good enough to make using holy water instead of modern weaponry worthwhile ?
I don't think we really need to, unless they develop an immunity to bullets. We've got a weapons system that works fine.
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Post by brianeyci » 2008-01-29 12:45am

In WWI with the first recon planes they dropped bricks. I'd expect the harpies to find huge rocks or trees and drop them. Since it's hell, they could even air drop demons themselves.

Not that it will do them much good if they have local air superiority. Air power without bombs is just intelligence, and at worst they are as good as the humans, knowing where all their set pieces are. Probably far better; the harpies loitered above the formation rather than spread out to scout. They're probably used as a terror force, routing fearful medieval soldiers.

Hell seems pretty fucking stupid so far. Anybody with two brains could figure out the "leadership target" on the speech was a lie to boost morale; hell should be used to humans lying. I hope Hell gets its act together. If they get TV they should get other channels and see the capabilities of human soldiers soon, putting two and two together.

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Post by bilateralrope » 2008-01-29 01:09am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:Are these demons vulnerable to holy water ?

And do we have a delivery system that is good enough to make using holy water instead of modern weaponry worthwhile ?
I don't think we really need to, unless they develop an immunity to bullets. We've got a weapons system that works fine.
True. About the only use I can think of is releasing a mist to keep demons out of an area while not doing anything to anyone else.

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Post by darthbob88 » 2008-01-29 01:48am

bilateralrope wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
bilateralrope wrote:Are these demons vulnerable to holy water ?
And do we have a delivery system that is good enough to make using holy water instead of modern weaponry worthwhile ?
I don't think we really need to, unless they develop an immunity to bullets. We've got a weapons system that works fine.
True. About the only use I can think of is releasing a mist to keep demons out of an area while not doing anything to anyone else.
An area denial system, like a holy minefield? Seems reasonable enough to me.

Alternately, are these demons vulnerable to holy items aside from water, in the same way as demons in fiction? 'Cause then you might get
Priest wrote:"In the name of all that is truly holy I bless this crate of ammunition, that they might do additional damage to the enemies of Man, and that they might secure the freedom for humanity, forever and ever."
The only problem is, God is no longer an effective entity to bless things in the name of, so in whose name can you bless it?
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Post by phongn » 2008-01-29 03:43am

Well, "holy water" seems to work entirely on faith, which would seem antithetical to the theme of reason (Man) versus faith (Heaven/Hell).
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Post by Alferd Packer » 2008-01-29 09:24am

Perhaps chemical analysis of previously blessed holy water would reveal that the act of blessing (before the Message, that is) induced some sort of chemical reaction, which could then be reproduced without actually having to bless the water. Add the chemical to municipal water supplies, and anyone with a garden hose can melt a demon. Hell, you could install misters like you would metal detectors: normal people get slightly damp when they pass through, while demons masquerading as humans would start screaming in utter agony.
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Post by Deadpan29 » 2008-01-29 09:27am

phongn wrote:Well, "holy water" seems to work entirely on faith, which would seem antithetical to the theme of reason (Man) versus faith (Heaven/Hell).
Additionally, while we still don't know what "the message" was, it is clear that God is not on our side in this.

On the subject of the message: since heaven apparently goes for quality over quantity and their approach doesn't use souls up in the same way that hell's does, maybe they have reached sufficient capacity that they don't need any more souls and the message was to that effect. The pearly gates are now closed. Some offshoots of Christianity say that there is a fixed number of souls that will be saved, and everyone else goes to hell. Maybe they were right.

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Post by Stuart » 2008-01-29 09:41am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:I shudder to think what will happen if a harpie gets ahold of a helicopter. Can their claws rend the armor?
Well, that's more or less what happened; the harpies mobbed the Little Birds and literally tore them apart in mid-air. There were just too many of them for the Little Birds to defend against.
sidewinder wrote:Would Apaches have done better against the harpies, or at least lasted longer, thanks to their armor?
They'd have lasted longer due to their greater missile storage (16 Hellfire plus four Stingers) and their more effective cannon but they would still in deep trouble. Its the numbers thing, there were 81 harpies with that particular group and the Little Birds got seven of them. The Apache just isn't fast enough to get out of their way (in fact its slower than the AH-6J). First sign of a growing problem.
slacker wrote:This may sound dumb, but was that middle sequence posted already? It seemd rather familiar.
Yes, Surlethe wrote it and this part put his episode into its correct context and time sequence. Surlethe and Stravo have written other parts as well; like TBO, this is a communal effort in many ways (people will notice the ideas they bring up find their ways into the stories). By the way, odds for publishing look good.
bilateralrope wrote:Are these demons vulnerable to holy water ? And do we have a delivery system that is good enough to make using holy water instead of modern weaponry worthwhile ?
No. Anyway, "holy water" is sort of ruled out by the situation. After the betrayal of The Message (basically, Heaven is full, the doors are locked, tough luck humans, bye-bye) nobody's going to trust the Church again - those that still clung to the "accept the will of God" line just did as they were told, laid down and died. That's about 20 percent of the US population, much higher percentages in the Islamic world and correspondingly less in various other parts of the world. If you think about it (and we'll look at this as the story progresses) that population shift has consequences all of its own
Marksheppard wrote:Why do I get an image of these guys as our allies?
:D
brianeyci wrote:Hell seems pretty stupid so far. Anybody with two brains could figure out the "leadership target" on the speech was a lie to boost morale; hell should be used to humans lying. I hope Hell gets its act together. If they get TV they should get other channels and see the capabilities of human soldiers soon, putting two and two together.
They're not stupid, they're actually bright, The problem is that everything they see is filtered through their preconceptions so they see what they want to see not what is actually staring them in the face. That's not a sign of dumbness on their part, everybody without any exceptions does it. It's one of the underlying themes of my stories that people get themselves into trouble because they see what they want to see, not what is really there. One of my TBO stories "Crusade" is a tale specifically built around that; the whole story is about people making errors of judgement, failing to see obvious signs that their assessments and intelligence analyses are wrong, making strategic and tactical blunders, all because they were thinking along one set of lines and ignoring the evidence that they were wrong. On the first couple of pages of Crusade is strong evidence that the whole US analysis of what is happening is skewed yet its ignored by the people making the decisions.

Here, we have the Hellish forces doing more or less the same thing. Their mindset is that of the late bronze age/early iron age (when the mythology we're examining was written) and their interpreting what they see accordingly. They know humans live in cities, they assume those cities are what they call cities not what we call cities. They know humans have armies, they interpret those as the armies they're familiar with. They assume human society is what it was 3,000 years ago because that's what they expect to see.

As to Hell lying, there's a standard rule; the easiest people to con are con-men. That's why the Nigerian Scams work, honest people look at them and say, "there's something very wrong with this", dishonest con-merchants think that they can outsmart the conmen. The "information received" gambit works like a charm, its working right now in various places of the world. Nothing turns a command structure against itself faster. In WW2, British propaganda created an image that there was a vast spy ring operating across western Europe and the Germans went nuts as a result (qualifier - the rank and file of the German armed forces went nuts; the German counter-intelligence knew the truth but nobody believed them). The way they did it was to make a point of retrieving and/or capturing mail and other data and filing it. For example (real case, told to me by the uncle of an old friend, said uncle having worked on the program) the British captured mail from a sunken S-boat. One letter mentioned that the wife of an officer had been heartbroken by the loss of her little dog. A few months later, some prisoners were taken after another Channel scrap , one of them was the same officer. His interrogator went through the usual procedure and, as he was leaving tossed in a casual "by the way, sorry to hear about your wife's dog." Utter shock on the part of the captured officer - how did the British know that. Knowing wink from the interrogator.

So, hell knows humans lie, what they don't realize is how good we are at it or how we use it as a weapon in and of itself (say again, just as we are doing now in the various sandpits). Satan is the Prince of Lies, as such he assumes he can recognize them and doesn't realize he's being played. THere's an old saying in the intelligence business "look for something hard enough and you'll find it, even if it isn't there". Plant an idea in people's minds that somebody is sending information to the enemy or sabotaging things, get them looking for evidence and they'll find it even if it isn't there. Every minor problem, every accident, becomes the act of the enemy spies and saboteurs.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-01-29 11:06am

That's about 20 percent of the US population, much higher percentages in the Islamic world and correspondingly less in various other parts of the world. If you think about it (and we'll look at this as the story progresses) that population shift has consequences all of its own
Ooh... if 25-40% of the islamic world killed itself, and that's the part of the world where hell is trying to establish a beachead, resistance on the ground is going to be VERY thin. They might even capture abandoned human weaponry.
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Post by Hawkwings » 2008-01-29 11:30am

By the way, odds for publishing look good.
Please elaborate :D

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Post by Starglider » 2008-01-29 11:59am

Stuart wrote:They're not stupid, they're actually bright, The problem is that everything they see is filtered through their preconceptions so they see what they want to see not what is actually staring them in the face.
Just how far can that frame of reference stretch until it finally breaks? I don't get the impression that they have a pathalogical inability to recognise that this is a whole new ball game, it's just that thousands of years of inertia take a hell of a lot to overcome, on top of the iron-age presumption that no such effort is even necessary because things fundamentally don't change that much. To be fair, if humans lived for thousands of years (with very little disruptive novelty in that time) and had the low neural plasticity required to do so while staying basically the same person, we'd probably also have serious trouble coping with sudden change even given a relatively modern worldview.

But anyway, at some point the technological, logistical and command-control capabilities have to get so 'WTF' that the demons can no longer rationalise it - unless demon 'magic' is actually capable of duplicating just about everything humans can do and we just haven't seen it yet, for one reason or another.

For the purposes of an interesting story, I imagine we're going to see some combination of some groups of demons starting to get a clue (but risking the wrath of their superiors trying to act on it) and the sudden appearance of more powerful supernatural effects checking initial human counterattacks. With those enemy numbers I imagine there's going to be a nasty gap between stockpile and even personnel depletion and production and recruiting getting up to wartime levels.

This is an interesting dilema actually. Now that the location of the big portal is known, strategic bombers can orbit overhead and carpet bomb (at worst, nuke) any new forces as they appear. But that encourages hell to try opening another portal in a more vulnerable location, or switching to terror raids or supernatural disaster attacks. Letting hordes of demons come through is going to be infeasible in the medium term though due to depletion of stockpiles and personnel and material attrition. The humans need time to ramp up production and recruiting to wartime levels. I would not be surprised to see a debate in the situation room between advocates of the 'enrage them, lure a big army over and nuke it' strategy and the 'keep hell guessing, discourage them from sending a major force until we're ready for it' strategy.

Building strong defences (at minimum lots of emplaced heavy artillery with plenty of AAA) around the big portal would probably make sense (as a counterattack into hell is going to take a long time to prepare), but the humans don't yet realise that it's an important chokepoint or a viable bridgehead. It'll be interesting to see what theories they come up with of why the demons are keeping the portal open before they realise that it isn't by choice. As far as I can see the 'fire lots of nuclear cruise missiles through the portal' strategy is seriously hindered by the fact that humans in hell can be killed again and this death is apparently permenant; something the human commanders presumably don't know for sure, but hopefully suspect enough to nix the 'indiscriminately nuke everything in reach' plan (aside from the fact that the later also effectively commits hell to total war with earth - earth is of course committed to total war with hell but hell doesn't seem to have reciprocated yet and the longer they wait, the more preparation time earth has).

Another interesting question is the physical size of hell. Do they have any transport faster than cavalry and a small number of flying messengers? Can they open portals between two different parts of hell? Just how long does it take to marshall large forces in a single location, assuming they start in barracks spread across the whole inhabitable area?

I'm also not clear if hell is raiding any other 'material plane' planets. Are humans the only sapient species they know about, or are their huge numbers of aliens being tortured as well? If the answer to this is 'yes', there are a whole slew of follow-on questions.

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Post by That NOS Guy » 2008-01-29 02:04pm

Harpies sound troublesome, I wonder what would happen if a UAV (something like, ironically, a Harpy) was flown into their ranks with a large warhead and detonated.

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Post by Stuart » 2008-01-29 03:16pm

309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona

She was an old lady, put away in her retirement home like all too many aged family members who were just too much trouble to look after. Her age showed in so many ways, her wrinkled skin, shabby appearance, general neglect. Another few months, a year or so at most, and she would have been gone, forgotten. Only now times had changed and those who had written her off as a relic of the past now found they needed The Gray Lady again.

“What about this one?”

The AMRG clerk looked at the tail number and turned to the page in the ledger. “This one’s a good prospect Sir. She hasn’t been stripped or cannibalized yet and she was in good condition when she arrived. I’d mark this one down as a definite.”

“Do it, we’ll get a team down here to work on her. The draft notices are going out this morning.” For once in its life, the U.S. Government was beginning to move fast. The re-institution of the draft had been authorized late the previous night with the highest priority being to get the maintenance and technical support personnel who had left the services over the last few years back into uniform. In a strange way, it was almost like the job being done here, inspecting the veterans and getting them back into service. The B-52G in front of them looked like an early candidate for a return to the colors.

“How many does that make?” Colonel Degan was in charge of this particular effort, a few hundred yards away, another team was going through the short line of eleven B-1Bs parked in storage. That team wasn’t doing well at all, the Bones here were in a hell of a mess. It was very doubtful if any of them could be repaired. The B-52s, that was another matter. Still, there had been some pleasant surprises, tucked away in one corner of the airfield had been a B-52H along with four B-1Bs and one of the surviving B-1As, all in perfect condition. What the latter was doing there was something of a minor mystery but it had been rumored for years that more B-1As had been built than the official records showed.

“There are 43 B-52s in repairable status Sir. Of those, 20 require a medium level of remedial repairs, the remainder, well, they’re a real mess. Take months if not years to fix them up. Shortage of engines is the main problem, they’ve all been stripped of those. Mind you. We’re not short of spare parts.”

That was true enough, Degan thought. There were 45 more B-52s in the Boneyard but they’d been scrapped. The wreckage was still here though, the wings shorn from the fuselage, the tails chopped off. “I don’t suppose there’s any chance of fixing the wrecks?”

“No Sir,” the technical officer was quite firm on that point. “The wing spar’s been chopped and the forge to make new ones was scrapped decades ago. Those birds are gone, at best they’re spare parts for the rest.” Degan grimaced. Those planes were badly needed. The technical officer saw the expression and sympathized. “Good news though Sir, the tactical boys have been through the line of F-111s, there’s 169 of them here and they reckon we can salvage enough to equip a group, fifty or sixty if we’re lucky. And the transport guys did even better, Lockheed-Martin are coming down to refurbish all twenty of the C-5s we have here.” In some cases that would mean almost a new aircraft, it was an old joke, ‘repairing” an aircraft meant lifting up its registration number and sliding a new aircraft underneath.

“Any word from the Rhino drivers?” There were literally hundreds of surplus F-4 Phantoms here and several teams were working their way through them, trying to find how many could be brought back into service. Not many, was one guess but times were desperate and at least F-4 components were still in production. That was the second batch of draft notices going out, by tomorrow a lot of airline pilots were going to be trying on their old Air Force and Navy uniforms again.

The technical officer shook his head. Those teams had a lot of work to do and it would be days before they finished. He scratched his head, the Arizona sun was beating down hard and the aluminum foil lining his baseball cap was getting uncomfortably hot. Still it was better than having some baldrick invading his mind and turning his thoughts to jelly. “OK Sir, I think we’re done with the bombers. You want to have a look at the KC-135s? See if any of those are fixable?”

“Lead on.” Degan looked back at the B-52 behind them. Already, people were starting to go over her in detail, listing all the fixes needed. There were 84 B-52s in USAF service and another 9 in the Air Force Reserve, if they could bring that up to 120 with the aircraft salvaged from here, it would be a decisive step forward.

Oval Office, The White House, Washington D.C.

“Did it pass Dick?”

“It did indeed. 99 in favor, one against, you can guess who that was. Effective as of 1800 Washington Time, the United States of America has formally declared war on Hell. Unconditional declaration, first time we’ve had one of those for decades. We’ve issued a conditional ultimatum to Heaven as well. Unless they open the gates and surrender those who closed them for trial within 72 hours, a state of war will exist there as well. Civilian mobilization bill is through, reserves mobilization bill is through, first issue of war bonds will be released tomorrow.

“Next stage is to mobilize industry, we’re making plans for that now. We’ve got the leaders of our major defense contractors up all night, working out what they need and how we can ramp up production. At the moment we’re concentrating on getting ammunition supplies increased, we’re expecting to use up our stocks of Hellfire and AMRAAM missiles pretty fast at the rate we’re going, as for aircraft we’re hoping Davis-Monthan will bridge the gap until upped production rates start to fill the gap. Ships can wait for the time being, tanks and armored vehicles will be more important, at least in the short term.

“Mister President?” Condoleezza Rice was punctilious about using the President’s formal title when other people were around.

“Condi.” President Bush turned around, taking quick note of the Secretary Rice’s headgear. “Nice hat.”

Rice smiled in appreciation, she’d been on the telephone to Donna Karan to have her aluminum foil hat designed professionally. After she’d been appointed Secretary of State, one of the satirists had said that her appointment marked the first time in its history when the United States had a Secretary of State who looked good naked. She thought that was a little over the top but at least she’d always taken pride in her wardrobe.

“Good news Sir. The Indian Ambassador has just told us that the Indian Air Force are sending a combat wing to Iraq. A squadron of Su-30MKIs interceptors, two of Jaguar ground attack aircraft. Even better, the new Iranian Government is opening up its airfields to us. That gives us some badly needed depth. General Petraeus was worried about how close our airfields in Iraq are to the invasion. Word from the Israelis, they’re moving up from the east now, their F-15s will be available to give top cover when we need them.”

The President nodded, one of the problems in this situation was that the bulk of America’s F-15 fleet was grounded with structural problems. That left the country short of heavy fighters, privately he wondered if that was a coincidence or not. Just how long had the enemy been planning this assault?

Al Habariyah, Iraq

The clear yellow light was painful to the eyes of beings accustomed to the comforting red skies and dust clouds of Hell. Not that there wasn’t enough dust here but it was the choking clouds of silica, not the soft, warm touch of volcanic pumice. The accursed sand was getting into Hornaklishdarmar’s hooves, rubbing even his hardened skin raw. Glancing across at the eight demons in his contubernium, he could see they were having the same trouble. When they’d first entered this world, they’d held straight ranks, lined up in perfect parade order but that had been long abandoned. Now, the legion was straggling, spread out, its ranks tangled as the fitter or less feeling had moved ahead and the lesser spirits had lagged behind.

It wasn’t as if this area was actually worth the discomfort. On the long march from the portal, the legion had seen nothing of any value, just the empty desert and the accursed sand. At least now they were approaching some sort of civilization, a collection of huts, so poor that they didn’t even have doors, just some sort of blanket hung in the entrance. There were even one of the human’s weird four-wheeled chariots, a white thing with a boxy body at the side of the road, its front wheels crushed and broken. Obviously abandoned as the humans had run from the approaching legion.

“Lords! Have mercy on me! I beg you, forgive me for not submitting to you sooner. I was mislead by traitors who denied you. Forgive me and accept my obeisance.”

Up in front of him, Hornaklishdarmar could see the human run out from one of the buildings, an older human, portly and dressed in a flowing robe. He dropped to his knees in front of the legion. Hornaklishdarmar saw the commander of his Octurnia go towards the man, raising his trident to strike him down.

Hornaklishdarmar was on his knees, his head ringing from the terrible blast that had suddenly engulfed the human and the demon poised to kill him. The human had gone, only his head was left, rolling in the dust leaving a wet trail behind on the sand. The commander of the Octurnia had gone completely, just yellow smears on the ground behind where he had been. Several of his staff were down, screaming, ripped open by the blast. Hornaklishdarmar saw the other demons of the legion edging away from the scene and the hut from where the man had come. Suddenly, the sight alarmed the demon, there was something wrong.

Now, Hornaklishdarmar was on his back, and he could see the yellow fluids leaking from his body. His instinct had saved his life but he was still hurt. Where the truck had been was now just a crater, black, smoking, surrounded by the dead bodies of demons, tens of them, some smashed and pulped beyond recognition, others still demonic in form but dreadfully still. Yet others were worse that dreadful, writhing and threshing with the wounds ripped in them by shrapnel. He pressed his arm into the vicious rip in his skin, feeling the comfort the pressure caused, and looked at the scene again. It had been planned, he could see it now. The first man, the fat one, had caused the demons to crowd back against the truck, packed them around that second, huge explosion. It had all been planned, very skillfully planned.

Operation Iraqi Freedom Headquarters, Baghdad, Iraq

General Petraeus stood before the transmission screen and waited for it to light up with the link from Washington. His briefing would be going direct to the command center in the White House and to as many of the growing list of allies as could be provided with the equipment.

“Mister President Sir. My situation report.

“We have identified the enemy force as eight infantry divisions, three cavalry brigades and one airborne brigade. The enemy main body consists of four infantry divisions and is advancing towards Khan Al Baghdadi. It is preceded by one of the cavalry brigades supported by an airborne battalion. The cavalry brigade itself is split into three columns each containing three cavalry battalions supported by three airborne companies. At the moment, we are falling back in front of that force, we have no wish to engage it at this time.

“To the north is a flanking force consisting of two infantry divisions. They’re moving close to the Syrian border, again with a cavalry brigade in front supported by harpies. We’ve been harassing that screening force overnight, I’m sorry to report that the 160th Aviation Brigade took significant losses, at least a dozen AH-6 and MH-6 helicopters were lost to Harpies. We’ve learned from that, the Harpies make helicopter operations too dangerous, we’re going to have to eliminate them before we can send helicopter-based forces in again. However, their sacrifice was not in vain, we’re driving their reconnaissance elements in on the main body and we’ve severely hit their command and control structure. We believe we’ve eliminated a significant proportion of their battalion and brigade level command staff. A brigade of the First Armored Division is moving into position around Al Qaim. It’s a perfect kill zone, with their recon element driven in, their heading into it blind.

“To the south is another screening force, identical to the one in the North. We haven’t done much about that one yet but the British are moving up a mechanized battle group to handle it. We had word from al Qaeda a few minutes ago, they hit one of the infantry divisions with a combined suicide and truck bomb attack. They claim to have killed more than sixty baldricks including a part of the brigade command group. We can’t confirm the numbers but a Global Hawk has confirmed the attack.” Petraeus paused for a second. “Sir, I still can’t get used to feeling pleased about an IED incident.

“Overall, we’re about to start the main phase of our defense. We’re going to kick the northern and southern screening forces in and push them back on the main body. That will put them in a kill zone west of the Hawr Al Habbaniyah. As we compress them in that area, we’ll be hitting them with artillery and all the tactical air we can bring up. If we stop them, we can drive them back across the desert, all the way back to the Hellmouth. If we can’t stop them there, the only way forward is through two narrow necks of land, north of the Bahr al Milh and south of the Buhayrat Ath Tharfar. Those are also perfect killing grounds and give us a another chance at them.”

“They won’t get through?” President Bush sounded concerned. The heavily populated Tigris-Euphrates valley was in the direct path of the advancing baldricks.

“No Sir, we’ll stop them dead. After a while, all their added numbers means they’ll be piling more bodies into the kill zone. The days when an army could be swamped by sheer weight of numbers are gone. The way we’re mauling their command structure, once they’ve started advancing into the killing ground, they won’t be able to stop, the sheer pressure of the forces at the rear will drive them forward.”

“General.” Rice smiled an apology for the interruption. “Be advised, we’ve just heard from the Russians. They’re sending down forces from their southern military region. Armored divisions, battle experienced from Chechnya, they’re coming through Iran. They’ll be with you in a few days, you can count on them for reinforcements.”

“Thank you ma’am, that’s good to know. If you’re speaking to the Russians, could you ask them for their Smerch rocket launchers. We need all the salvo rocket artillery we can get here. Also, their Luna short-range ballistic missiles, we’ve got ATACMS here but we need something with a bit more reach.”

“I’ll do that. The Iranians are promising to send help as well. Any requests?”

“Fuel. That more than anything. We’re going to need all the fuel we can get. We can’t cope with these baldricks in a slugging match, we have to maneuver them to death. One thing my people here are asking. Why here? For the sort of enemy we’re fighting, this is perfect ground for us. No restrictions on maneuver, no civilians to get in the way, we can use every scrap of firepower we’ve got. So why here? Why not straight into New York or Washington? Come to think of it, why aren’t we seeing more hellmouths opening up anyway?”

Vice President Cheney leaned forward. “We have a theory on that, we think that for some reason the Middle East is where is easiest for them to open the portal, it may be the only place they can open a portal we don’t know. But we think that its no coincidence that all the reports of monsters, hells, battles between good and evil etc start in this area. We don’t know but that’s our guess. Anyway, don’t knock it, its better we fight them out there than back here.”

Petraeus laughed. “I’ve heard that before. Another question, a policy one. We’re likely to start taking prisoners soon. What do you want us to do with them.”

Rice’s voice was decisive. “Ship them to Gitmo.”

“I thought we were closing that place?”

“We were, but plans changed. Its under international management now. It’s being organized by the Italians, Bangladesh is providing the funding, the Germans the guards, the Russians the political speeches, the Belgians the entertainment, the Japanese the music and the British are providing the food.”

Petraeus visibly winced at the thought. “Ma’am, that’s inhuman. Please, whoever thought that arrangement up, buy them a beer for me.”

“Why, thank you General. I’ll enjoy it.
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Post by KlavoHunter » 2008-01-29 03:26pm

That NOS Guy wrote:Harpies sound troublesome, I wonder what would happen if a UAV (something like, ironically, a Harpy) was flown into their ranks with a large warhead and detonated.
Typically, we call unmanned, flying objects that explode "Missiles".
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

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Post by Starglider » 2008-01-29 03:57pm

Stuart wrote:The President nodded, one of the problems in this situation was that the bulk of America’s F-15 fleet was grounded with structural problems. That left the country short of heavy fighters, privately he wondered if that was a coincidence or not. Just how long had the enemy been planning this assault?
Hah. The human leadership seem to be dangerously cavalier in assuming some demon weaknesses, but clearly they have yet to fathom how utterly awful Hell's intelligence is. To be fair, if any human enemy had agents capable of appearing as anyone that could be inserted anywhere by magic portals (and of course the humans couldn't know that the succubus they killed was the first to visit), it would be a good assumption they had at least minimally decent intelligence.
Vice President Cheney leaned forward. “We have a theory on that, we think that for some reason the Middle East is where is easiest for them to open the portal, it may be the only place they can open a portal we don’t know.
I hope he means 'open a huge portal' because some of the heralds and that succubus clearly appeared in other parts of the world. In fact I'm not sure how he lept to that conclusion at all; Abrahamic mythology may just be the most accurate because that was the only part of the world that the demons appeared in that also kept decent written records. Plenty of ancient cultures have myths of vaguely similar supernatural threats, and plenty more may have died out or lost the information before being able to pass it on. IMHO Cheney is talking out of his posterior here, or at least whoever came up with the 'theory' was.

EDIT : Based on the chapter where the big portal was opened, it does seem possible that demons can teleport themselves to earth without a portal, but not get back. But if that's the case and is how the earlier demons arrived, how were the heralds planning to get back? Satan's reponse seemed to confirm that they weren't on a suicide mission.
“We were, but plans changed. Its under international management now. It’s being organized by the Italians, Bangladesh is providing the funding, the Germans the guards, the Russians the political speeches, the Belgians the entertainment, the Japanese the music and the British are providing the food.”
Nice.

EDIT2 : On the 'are there any other sapient species trapped in hell', this section;
It had been quite an unusual sight, never before had such a force been sent to a lower dimension
quite clearly implies that there are multiple lower dimensions with intelligent beings for hell to dominate. Whether these are parallel earths full of humans or truly alien worlds isn't clear, nor is whether the later have the same souls-tortured-for-their-energy fate as earth. That said I'm guessing that the precursors of the demons evolved from something (though I suspect the currently extant species are supernaturally bioengineered), that the other 'dimensions' have evoled species in them too, but that for some reason humanity is the first one to reach a level of technological development capable of resisting the demons. It's possible that we had an unusually long interim between visits for some reason. That would suggest that when the first strike teams begin to liberate sections of hell, they discover aliens being held along with humans, but in relatively low (per species) numbers and from small primitive civilisations that can't contribute much as military allies.

P.S.
We’ve issued a conditional ultimatum to Heaven as well. Unless they open the gates and surrender those who closed them for trial within 72 hours, a state of war will exist there as well.
How is this useful or sane? This is potentially opening up a second front for no obvious reason. It's already pretty clear that heaven is anything but an ally in this war, a decleration of war shouldn't be necessary just to discourage the remaining religious lunatics (who won't pay any attention anyway). The only thing I can think of is a desire to ensure that humanity does go all the way, and doesn't give storming heaven a miss due to exhaustion after conquering hell.
Last edited by Starglider on 2008-01-29 04:44pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by FA Xerrik » 2008-01-29 04:06pm

Suicide bombers? nice...

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Post by Stuart » 2008-01-29 04:28pm

Starglider wrote: In fact I'm not sure how he lept to that conclusion at all; Abrahamic mythology may just be the most accurate because that was the only part of the world that the demons appeared in that also kept decent written records. Plenty of ancient cultures have myths of vaguely similar supernatural threats, and plenty more may have died out or lost the information before being able to pass it in. IMHO Cheney is talking out of his posterior here, or at least whoever came up with the 'theory' was.
Yes, he is talking out of his butt. Given the state of his hemorrhoids, a very painful experience for him.
quite clearly implies that there are multiple lower dimensions with intelligent beings for hell to dominate. Whether these are parallel earths full of humans or truly alien worlds isn't clear, nor is whether the later have the same souls-tortured-for-their-energy fate as earth. That said I'm guessing that the precursors of the demons evolved from something (though I suspect the currently extant species are supernaturally bioengineered), that the other 'dimensions' have evoled species in them too, but that for some reason humanity is the first one to reach a level of technological development capable of resisting the demons. It's possible that we had an unusually long interim between visits for some reason. That would suggest that when the first strike teams begin to liberate sections of hell, they discover aliens being held along with humans, but in relatively low (per species) numbers and from small primitive civilisations that can't contribute much as military allies.
That's more or less what I have in mind. Basically, its the extremely rapid evolution of humans between 1800 and today that's caught hell completely by surprise.
The only thing I can think of is a desire to ensure that humanity does go all the way, and doesn't give storming heaven a miss due to exhaustion after conquering hell.
Its the Pearl Harbor syndrome. Humans have been betrayed, they want to hit back. Reasoning things out comes later. Remember nobody's perfect.
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Post by Gerald Tarrant » 2008-01-29 05:02pm

Stuart wrote:“We were, but plans changed. Its under international management now. It’s being organized by the Italians, Bangladesh is providing the funding, the Germans the guards, the Russians the political speeches, the Belgians the entertainment, the Japanese the music and the British are providing the food.”
A variant of the "How can you tell you're in European hell" joke. Awesome.
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Post by Sidewinder » 2008-01-29 05:25pm

To my knowledge, difficulties with maintenance were one reason the Australians were retiring their F-111s in favor of Hornets. Why return mothballed F-111s to service when the production line for F-15Es is still open?
Please do not make Americans fight giant monsters.

Those gun nuts do not understand the meaning of "overkill," and will simply use weapon after weapon of mass destruction (WMD) until the monster is dead, or until they run out of weapons.

They have more WMD than there are monsters for us to fight. (More insanity here.)

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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-01-29 06:02pm

“We were, but plans changed. Its under international management now. It’s being organized by the Italians, Bangladesh is providing the funding, the Germans the guards, the Russians the political speeches, the Belgians the entertainment, the Japanese the music and the British are providing the food.”
Outstanding! I don't know how many B's can be held in Gitmo, but you know, we aren't really using Alcatraz anymore. I don't imagine it would take too much to get it up to snuff.
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Post by phongn » 2008-01-29 06:03pm

Starglider wrote:EDIT : Based on the chapter where the big portal was opened, it does seem possible that demons can teleport themselves to earth without a portal, but not get back. But if that's the case and is how the earlier demons arrived, how were the heralds planning to get back? Satan's reponse seemed to confirm that they weren't on a suicide mission.
Well, if early Heralds also were able to take people (i.e. kill them), they might be able to amass enough energy to jump back when they were done. Perhaps easy enough for teleporting a few individuals - an army needs that giant, hard-to-close portal.
Sidewinder wrote:To my knowledge, difficulties with maintenance were one reason the Australians were retiring their F-111s in favor of Hornets. Why return mothballed F-111s to service when the production line for F-15Es is still open?
Probably because we need aircraft right now, and it'll take time for the F-15E line to complete their existing orders and ramp up production to new ones.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-01-29 06:07pm

Sidewinder wrote:To my knowledge, difficulties with maintenance were one reason the Australians were retiring their F-111s in favor of Hornets. Why return mothballed F-111s to service when the production line for F-15Es is still open?
It's not either/or, its "and" . Only, ramping up the F-15 production line takes time; the planned first stage of any mobilization is to go to Davis-Monthan and see what's available as a short-term fix. Even if they're only useful for second-line roles, they still can be a good stop-gap until something better can be delivered. So, if a few F-111s are airworthy or can be made so, they'll equip a group until enough F-15Es are available to replace them.

The Australians have a problem. their particualr F-111s are peculiar hybrids that are non-standard in many ways (they're a mix of the F-111A and the FB-111 with some standard F-111s thrown in). They may be buying F/A-18Es to replace then from 2010 onwards but the new government is threatening to cancel.
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Post by Lonestar » 2008-01-29 07:01pm

Frankly, I like immense shock on the part of the Forces of Hell about how humanity is reacting to this.

I eagerly await the first time one of the demons runs across a copy of "The Devil Went down to Georgia".
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Post by MKSheppard » 2008-01-29 07:06pm

Vice President Cheney leaned forward. “We have a theory on that, we think that for some reason the Middle East is where is easiest for them to open the portal, it may be the only place they can open a portal we don’t know. But we think that its no coincidence that all the reports of monsters, hells, battles between good and evil etc start in this area. We don’t know but that’s our guess. Anyway, don’t knock it, its better we fight them out there than back here.”
My opinion is that the ME is one of the "nexuses" of supernatural events where it's easier for the demons to punch a fair sized hole between dimensions through; without expending a lot of energy. Sort of like a paranormal LaGrangian Point. There are probably going to be others, but off the top of my head, the ME is going to be full of these places.
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