Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Typhonis 1
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Post by Typhonis 1 » 2008-03-12 08:23pm

I wonder how long it will take for the forces of Heaven to realise that messenger group is dead? If they have the same speed communications as the baldricks then it could be weeks or months.


Also as for shining armor. Could the heavenly forces be using silver or polished steel armor?
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-12 09:13pm

Typhonis 1 wrote:I wonder how long it will take for the forces of Heaven to realise that messenger group is dead? If they have the same speed communications as the baldricks then it could be weeks or months.

Also as for shining armor. Could the heavenly forces be using silver or polished steel armor?
It seems like they have a preference for bronze, and that something about iron really bothers them (perhaps its ferromagnetism?). I'm guessing their armour is highly polished bronze, and is mostly ornamental. It looks to me like they're so naturally tough that they never needed any armour before, certainly not against humans. And starting up an armour manufacturing program would take a really long time.

PS. It's also possible that there is simply no iron in Hell. We know nothing of its mineral resources.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-12 10:18pm

Minor question I hope has not already been answered somewhere: why does Satan tell Abigor that he commands 60 of Hell's 999 legions, but when Abigor is marshaling his forces in a subsequent chapter, we are informed that Hell has 6666 legions?
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Post by Darmalus » 2008-03-12 10:23pm

It was answered earlier, but 999 of those are the standing army. 6666 is everybody in the ready reserve.

Edit: It just occurred to me, but that means we just saw the well trained cannon fodder get utterly destroyed. What's going to happen when the demons who didn't make the cut for the standing army have to face total destruction at the hands of humanity? Pandemonium in the ranks before death by artillery bombardment, I expect.

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-12 10:31pm

Darmalus wrote:It was answered earlier, but 999 of those are the standing army. 6666 is everybody in the ready reserve.

Edit: It just occurred to me, but that means we just saw the well trained cannon fodder get utterly destroyed. What's going to happen when the demons who didn't make the cut for the standing army have to face total destruction at the hands of humanity? Pandemonium in the ranks before death by artillery bombardment, I expect.
Unless they have the resolve to keep attacking until the humans literally run out of ammunition. 50 million troops is a lot of bodies to throw at a problem, although one must wonder how long it would take to marshall Hell's entire forces, and whether they would really be willing to send so many or be so steely in their resolve.
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Post by NetKnight » 2008-03-12 10:53pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
Sea Skimmer wrote:...and at this point we don’t even know if they actually need oxygen to live.
Actually, we do, and the answer is yes. If they eat the meat of terrestrial animals (humans and cattle,) this means they have our biochemistry (or a biochemistry close enough to ours that eating us nourishes, instead of poisons, them.) And since they function vigorously at STP and the atmosphere of Hell is close enough to Earth's not to kill the first two living humans to cross a portal into Hell (i.e. oxygen-rich,) it means their biology similarly utilizes the same aerobic metabolism that ours does (aerobic respiration evolved in response to an oxygen-rich atmosphere, as oxygen is fantastically deadly poison to anything that hasn't evolved some mechanism to deal with it.)
DOH, you're right. Oxidative Phosphorylation requires oxygen and if they have mitochondria it's the only way to produce large amounts of cell energy, so of course they breath oxygen.
This implies that Hell has a major Oxygen source, most likley photosynthetic plants and algae. Given how wood was mentioned ealier, does this mean that Hell has forests and oceans?

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-12 11:20pm

NetKnight wrote:This implies that Hell has a major Oxygen source, most likley photosynthetic plants and algae. Given how wood was mentioned ealier, does this mean that Hell has forests and oceans?
It could be that the vast pools and brackish rivers of Hell are full of some sort of super-algae.
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Post by MKSheppard » 2008-03-12 11:20pm

Some Manhour costs for Stuart to use in determining small arms

M1 Garand (July 1939): 22.8 Man Hours
M1 Garand (July 1941): 12.2 Man Hours
M1 Garand (Unknown): 5.1 Man Hours

Sten Gun: 5 man hours (Unknown period)

PPSh-41 SMG: 7 Man Hours (unknown period)

SMLE (Enfield Factory): 72 Man Hours
SMLE (BSA Factory):48 Man Hours
SMLE (Pratt and Whitney/Colt Factory with mass production) - 28 Man Hours

MG-42 - 75 Man Hours
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Post by Jawawithagun » 2008-03-12 11:35pm

The Vortex Empire wrote:I wonder when nukes will first be used.
I don't. We did have exhausting discussions about the usability of nukes versus more conventional arms in this thread already.

We're already blasting them from Kingdom Come with effects far beyond their experience they wouldn't be able to appreciate the difference between high-yield conventional bombing and thermonuclear firecrackers.
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2008-03-13 12:03am

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote: Actually, we do, and the answer is yes. If they eat the meat of terrestrial animals (humans and cattle,) this means they have our biochemistry (or a biochemistry close enough to ours that eating us nourishes, instead of poisons, them.)
If they really function real close to how humans function in all details, then they couldn't live for tens of thousands of years either. Something funky IS going on, and really, not even nerve gas effectiveness is a sure thing, though we do know that they do rely on having a nervous system, as shown by the effectiveness of headshots.
Last edited by Sea Skimmer on 2008-03-13 12:06am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-13 12:05am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:Actually, we do, and the answer is yes. If they eat the meat of terrestrial animals (humans and cattle,) this means they have our biochemistry (or a biochemistry close enough to ours that eating us nourishes, instead of poisons, them.)
If they really function real close to how humans function in all details, then they couldn't live for tens of thousands of years either. Something funky IS going on. That’s why I say we don't know for sure, and neither at this point would the humans in the fic.
It's also worth pointing out that we humans are nourished by plants, which produce O2 rather than breathing it, and by fish, which have gills rather than lungs. The fact that something is biochemically compatible with us does not necessarily mean that it breathes the same way we do.

As for their elongated lifespan, I was working under the assumption that this is simply a function of being in Hell. The humans in Hell heal unnaturally fast, so there is obviously some principle at play there which keeps people healthy and alive for a very long time. I doubt it would apply if the demons tried to live on Earth for decades, which helps explain why they rarely visit and never visit for long (and thus were caught so flat-footed by our rapid development over the last 200 years).
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Post by Darth Ruinus » 2008-03-13 12:13am

So, it would be a pretty big slap in the face if Hell (after being conquered) is turned into a hostipal?

Seeing as how people heal fast there, it could probably be used for some of the more serious medical operations and such right? Maybe for rehabilitation or some such.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-03-13 02:24am

A more compelling case for demons being aerobic organisms is the fact that they are so energetic. Oxygen is a highly reactive element, which is why it does neat things like burning and exploding when it comes in contact with the right chemicals in the right conditions. For these creatures to be so energetic, they need to be employing some kind of highly energetic chemical reaction in order to fuel their biochemical processes: one which would rely on materials which are abundant in the environment. So it would be pretty hard to deny that they use oxygen and probably breathe it like we do, although some of the herald monsters mentioned in the first chapter seemed to be able to function on land and underwater: this still suggests they use oxygen, but it begs the question of how many of the baldrick types can do this.
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Post by Darth Raptor » 2008-03-13 02:56am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
GrandMasterTerwynn wrote: Actually, we do, and the answer is yes. If they eat the meat of terrestrial animals (humans and cattle,) this means they have our biochemistry (or a biochemistry close enough to ours that eating us nourishes, instead of poisons, them.)
If they really function real close to how humans function in all details, then they couldn't live for tens of thousands of years either. Something funky IS going on, and really, not even nerve gas effectiveness is a sure thing, though we do know that they do rely on having a nervous system, as shown by the effectiveness of headshots.
Senescence is NOT a function of aerobic metabolism. Failing to repair the damage wrought by it is. There's nothing in all of science that says a system can't be sustained indefinitely so long as you keep putting energy into it. With the right maintenance, you can keep an antique muscle car running forever. The same is true for its owner, he's just more difficult to repair. Difficult, but not impossible. It may simply be a case of demons constantly regrowing the tissues we only grow x number of times.

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Post by Typhonis 1 » 2008-03-13 05:57am

Or some other factor is at work,. Like the caps on their DNA strands don`t degrade like ours does. So one reason we could live so long in Hell is that something their is constanly reinforcing our DNA caps.
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Post by [R_H] » 2008-03-13 08:18am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote: 14+1. The magazines will be only 11% larger than those of the M-14 to handle 14 rounds of .458WM, and by introducing a slight curve in the banana style we can pretty much eliminate any height difference between the M-14's straight mag and this one. I did a few calculations on the ergonomics and it works out beautifully. Frankly we could probably do 15 rounds in the magazine, but I wanted to be conservative to give the gun basically the same handling, aiming, positioning characteristics, etc, from a shape standpoint, as the M-14. Don't want anyone used to firing one to have to adjust to a new posture or anything like that.
So 11 plus kg of magazines and ammunition. Is 196 rounds going to be enough, or will they carry more in stripper clips to reload the empty magazines? Attaching a light utility vehicle (M-Gator or even an M998 HMMWV )to each squad seems necessary with the amount of ammunition and heavier weapons needed. Will there an LMG/SAW? If yes, I propose the M1941 Johnson LMG rechambered for .458WM and converted to belt-feed if possible. I propose that the M1919A4 be rechambered for .458WM and returned to service as an MMG and sustained fire.

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Post by GrandMasterTerwynn » 2008-03-13 11:23am

Darth Wong wrote:
Sea Skimmer wrote:
GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:Actually, we do, and the answer is yes. If they eat the meat of terrestrial animals (humans and cattle,) this means they have our biochemistry (or a biochemistry close enough to ours that eating us nourishes, instead of poisons, them.)
If they really function real close to how humans function in all details, then they couldn't live for tens of thousands of years either. Something funky IS going on. That’s why I say we don't know for sure, and neither at this point would the humans in the fic.
It's also worth pointing out that we humans are nourished by plants, which produce O2 rather than breathing it, and by fish, which have gills rather than lungs. The fact that something is biochemically compatible with us does not necessarily mean that it breathes the same way we do.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's a little known fact that once a plant produces sugars through photosynthesis, it proceeds to metabolize them through oxygen respiration. It's just that photosynthesis produces more free oxygen than the plant's respiration uses up. And fish gills, of course, are specialized structures that extract dissolved oxygen from water. And there are lungfish, which can extract oxygen from both media.
As for their elongated lifespan, I was working under the assumption that this is simply a function of being in Hell. The humans in Hell heal unnaturally fast, so there is obviously some principle at play there which keeps people healthy and alive for a very long time. I doubt it would apply if the demons tried to live on Earth for decades, which helps explain why they rarely visit and never visit for long (and thus were caught so flat-footed by our rapid development over the last 200 years).
Could be the putative super-algae and/or associated microbial ecology in the mud that's also producing Hell's oxygen atmosphere. After all, humans in Hell spend all their time covered in the stuff, and the air is apparently so full of particulate matter that there are perpetual hazes and fogs and mists about the place, so the air is only marginally more sanitary than the water and mud, so the demons can gain full benefit too. Their bodies may be thoroughly and completely colonized. After all, malaria parasites live inside blood cells, and both mitochondria and chloroplasts started out as bacteria taking up residence in primitive protists at the dawn of life.

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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2008-03-13 02:14pm

Since demon biochemistry is being discussed. I find it interesting that they eat their dead, humans can't do that. Well, they can, but then then they start to develop all sorts of weird conditions, which increase in severity over time as the practice continues. Worse, these conditions can be passed on from the mother to the child in the womb, so a population that eats its dead would be very unhealthy and in danger of self-destructing eventually. The taboo against cannibalism is not just cultural, it is also biological. You see the same thing in cattle as well, it's speculated that mad cow disease occurs because of cow parts humans don't consume being fed to cows.

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Post by Sidewinder » 2008-03-13 02:42pm

Adrian Laguna wrote:Since demon biochemistry is being discussed. I find it interesting that they eat their dead, humans can't do that. Well, they can, but then then they start to develop all sorts of weird conditions, which increase in severity over time as the practice continues. Worse, these conditions can be passed on from the mother to the child in the womb, so a population that eats its dead would be very unhealthy and in danger of self-destructing eventually. The taboo against cannibalism is not just cultural, it is also biological. You see the same thing in cattle as well, it's speculated that mad cow disease occurs because of cow parts humans don't consume being fed to cows.
Besides prion-related diseases, e.g., Mad Cow Disease, what other "weird conditions" are you referring to?
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Post by Stuart » 2008-03-13 03:58pm

Somewhere In The Desert, Western Iraq, late afternoon

The sand collapsed underneath his clawed feet, sending him tumbling downwards into a ravine he had never seen. Memnon had been staggering through the desert, at first with purpose, trying to make his way back to the Hellmouth and deliver his message but all plan or intent had long since been burned out of his brain. The sun had seared him, brutally, without mercy, sending his body temperature soaring and fogging his brain with mists that owed as much to hallucination as the shimmering heat haze. The bitter cold of the nights had been worse, if anything, than the roasting heat of the sun. There were parts of hell where the souls of humans were roasted in coffins or blasted around on super-heated winds. Now Memnon knew the sufferings they endured

He’d also had a plan, to keep going until his wings regenerated and he could fly the rest of the way. That plan too had died, his wings were regenerating although slowly. They were growing back twisted, malformed, useless. Memnon guessed that the fragments of iron that he could feel in his back, the legacy of the fire-lance that had torn his original pair off, were interfering with the growth patterns and leaving him with these poor apologies for wings. Whatever the reason, he knew that he would never fly again. Never soar through the comforting skies of hell, looking down on the great city of Dis that surrounded the pit where human souls were forever condemned to suffer.

Nor were his mutated wings the only parts of his body causing him grief. His stomach was an empty pit, chewing at the very center of his being. His last meal of human flesh was long forgotten in his screaming need for raw meat, yet in this endless expanse of sand there was no sign of food. Nor was their water and his throat was closed tight, swollen with the thirst that was adding its measure of suffering to the madness that was slowly but surely taking him over.

He rolled down the sandbank, seeing the sky rotate above him, the hated yellow sun glaring down as it laughed at his suffering. His body stopped its role, impacting on a strange irregular mass that yielded on his impact. Memnon looked harder at where he had ended up, it was a gully through the sand, perhaps one carved by flood water and not yet erased by the wind. It was not the sand that had stopped his roll though, it was the bodies of dead demons, perhaps half a dozen of them, piled in the bottom of the crevice. Had they crawled here for shelter and died? Or had their wounds overcome them?

Memnon pushed at the bodies, feeling one firmer than the rest. That is what kicked his mind into action, here was meat. He ripped off a large chunk from the firmest corpse, the others were already far advanced in decay and sank his teeth into it. His throat was too swollen to swallow at first but a thin stream of fresh blood from the meat eased it enough. Then, the implication of that thought struck Memnon at the same time as there was a faint, racking groan from the body he was eating. The demon was still alive. It took only a second for Memnon to fix that, his claws lashed across its throat, killing it. It was, probably, a merciful act.

Memnon filled his stomach with fresh meat and the blood eased his thirst a little. It was then he heard a strange sound, a thumping from the sky that reminded him of clawed feet marching down the road from Dysprosium. There was a great bridge on that road, one over the River Styx, where a demon could stand and drink in the sufferings of the humans below. He would like to stand on that bridge again.

The thumping grew worse and to Memnon’s horror a human sky-chariot flew over a hill, obviously searching the ground. It was not one of the sleek ones, the ones that had mutilated and maimed him, it was an uglier, more ungainly monster that had a strange rotating structure over its head. As if its wings spun around instead of flapping. The sky-chariot slowed down abruptly and its nose started to swing backwards and forwards, searching the ground ahead of it. Memnon knew what it had spotted, the pile of bodies in the ravine and it was checking to see if they were dead. He paused, then froze. Perhaps if he played dead, it would go away. The shame of that thought made him want to weep but he remained motionless anyway.

There were a series of explosions, very fast, and streaks of fire from under the sky-chariot’s nose. They ended in the ravine and walked a long it in a series of small blasts. Memnon willed himself to remain still, if he got up and ran, the sky-chariot would kill him for certain. If he stayed still and silent, he might survive, and he did have the message to deliver. The blasts stopped well short of him, it had only been a very short burst. Memnon realized that it had been intended to scare any living creature in the mound into moving so that it could be killed. He congratulated himself on defeating the cunning plan, and again when the sky-chariot turned and flew away.

Soon the desert was silent again and Memnon could start moving. He left his ravine, it took much longer to climb up the sandy banks than it had taken to descend, and started off again, heading west towards the setting sun. He didn’t even have a clear idea of where he was any more, only that the portal home was somewhere to the west. He wanted home so badly he could taste it, anything to get away from this hideous planet and the humans with their deadly chariots.

Some time later, he had no idea whether it was minutes, hours or days for his whole world now concentrated on the effort needed to pick his feet up and lay them down again, to keep up his slow journey west, he saw a strip of black. A human thing that they laid across the desert so that their chariots could move faster. Memnon’s heart stirred for on it were familiar figures, infantry demons. Also heading west. From a rocky outcrop on top of a hill overlooking the blackstrip, he summoned up his energy and focused his far-seeing vision on them.

The sight of a defeated army was a pitiful one, it always was, always would be. Memnon had seen a defeated army before, in the skirmishes that constantly went on in Hell as the Great Dukes jockeyed for position there were defeated armies often enough. This was something else, something that went so far beyond pitiful that Memnon had no words to describe it. The infantry had thrown their tridents away and were staggering as they walked west. Some supported others, helping them along and that amazed Memnon for in Hellish armies the demons lived or died by their own strength. Even as he watched, he saw one fall to its knees and try to collapse in exhaustion but the two nearest helped it to its feet and half-carried it onwards. He had never seen anything like that before. Nor had he heard anything like it, a moaning, half-wailing sound of demons in dire distress.

Then he heard the same dull thudding noise only this time he knew what it was. The Sky-Chariot was coming back. He looked and saw it, black against the sky and with three more of its kind in company. They were heading in fast, obviously knowing precisely where to go and, as Memnon saw, what to do. Two fire-lances erupted from each of them, swinging out towards the column of misery he had been watching. The fire-lances streaked in, too fast to see properly and terminated in explosions, all eight equally spaced along the column on the blackstrip. He could hear the explosions from where he lay and heard the screams they caused.

The Sky-Chariots didn’t leave it there, they were closing on the column and Memnon saw them rake it with the same weapon he had experienced earlier, the same rapid series of explosions the same red streaks ending in smaller bursts on the ground. Only these ones were in the mass of living demons and he saw them flayed by the bursts, chopped down. Two of the sky-chariots flew parallel with the column, peppering it with the explosions, tearing at it. Some demons tried to escape by running sideways but the sky-chariots followed them and chased them down. Each attempted escape ended the same way, the demon vanishing in the dust of the blasts, to be seen torn and dead when it cleared. It didn’t take long for Memnon to understand that the sky-chariots were playing a game, competing between themselves to see who could kill the largest number of escapees.

What sort of people were these humans? Memnon was bewildered by what he was seeing, the army was defeated. Anybody could see that. What was to be gained by this slaughter? In Hell battles were fought until one side had lost then stopped. Sometimes a battle would never start, one commander would see he was clearly outmatched and stand no chance of winning so he would concede the issue. He had never seen this before, this relentless pursuit and destruction of a beaten enemy. The sight made him shift with rage, boiling anger at human cowardice seething within him. Even destroying the retreating foe, they stood off and killed from a distance, they never closed and fought their enemy honorably. He controlled himself, he had no desire to be a target of the sky chariot’s games.

Finally, when all on the blackstrip was still, the four sky chariots made a final pass over the scene of carnage and left. Memnon was about to leave his cover in the rocks that topped his hill when he saw dust on the horizon. He shrank back into his rocky shelter and watched. The cloud materialized and Memnon saw something that chilled his heart still further. A long column of Iron Chariots, some big, some smaller, with a sky-chariot flying on each side. He watched, appalled as they drove over the demon corpses stretched out on the blackstrip, grinding them into green and yellow smears on the black surface. Then, once clear of the remnants of the column Memnon had watched, they peeled off the blackstrip and spread out in a circle the long tubes pointing outwards.

He was fascinated by the sight. As far as he knew, nobody had ever watched the humans in their iron chariots when they weren’t killing. He saw humans climb out of the iron chariots, oddly the smaller ones seemed to have more humans than the big ones. They walked around, he could see them unloading things from the chariot and pass them around. Then more chariots arrived, great ones that dwarfed even the bigger iron chariot. Some had tents on the back, others great cylinders.

The tented ones started to unload boxes, the humans breaking them open and passing the contents to each other. Strange things, pointed cylinders that gleamed in the sun. They put the cylinders inside the iron chariots and seemed to be happy at the labor. Others were passing around other things from the boxes. But it was the great cylinders that confused Memnon. The chariots carrying them pulled alongside the iron chariots and somehow the humans connected the two with a long snake. Were the two chariots mating? Memnon shook his head in disbelief and continued to watch what happened beneath.

Alpha-One-One, Somewhere In The Desert, Western Iraq, before dusk

“That’s it Hooters, we’re out of gas. Or as near to it as makes no difference. Got a little in case we have to maneuver but we go no further.”

“We don’t have to Biker. This is where we’re supposed to wait for the supply trucks. We clear of the stink?”

That was a lesson the tankers had learned early. Dead baldricks rotted fast in the sun and the smell was dreadful. It was so bad back where the baldrick army had been broken under the hammer of artillery fire and the anvil of armor that there was serious question whether people would be able to live there again. The smell seemed to seep into the soil.

“We’re fine Hooters.” Baldy had stuck his head out and sniffed. “The fly-boys in the Apaches did a good job on this lot.”

“Hokay. Take five guys. Crab, Baldy, stay on overwatch while Biker and I stretch our legs.” She picked up the M4 carbine from its clips and heaved herself out of her commander’s hatch. It took a moment’s effort to scramble down the outside of her tank and then the sand felt good and solid under her feet.

“This sounds crazy Ell-tee, but you know, I’m kinda getting to like the desert. It seems grow on us dunnit?”

“It does Jim, it truly does. There’s a grandeur here, something elemental somehow.” They’d both noticed the crews of the other Abrams tanks and Bradley infantry combat vehicles also dismounting to stretch their legs and dropped the nicknames. “You ever seen a desert before?”

“Nope. I’m from Vermont. Just a rubber who spent the week in the city and the weekend in the hills. Then my Guard unit got called up and here I am.”

“Rubber?” Stevenson looked curiously at her driver. He didn’t look like a contraceptive.

“Rich Urban Biker. Where you come from El-tee?”

“New Jersey. Bayonne to be precise. Joined the Guard to work my way through college and found myself here in the sandpit instead. Then the Message came, your old Ell-tee laid down and died and I was the only spare officer available.”

“Can’t say I’m surprised, he always was a sanctimonious old bastard. When we at camp and he visited a local knocking shop, he’d get on his knees and pray for forgiveness first. Cracked the girls up it did.”

Stevenson whooped with laughter and hook her head. “Don’t it always go to show? Them that talks the talk don’t walk the walk. Right Jim, we better give the others a chance to stretch.

She’d timed it just right. By the time her crew had got their break, the big Oshkosh ships of the desert had arrived and were driving into the laager. Critically, all the fuel trucks were there, their load of fuel was desperately needed. She watched carefully as the hoses were unreeled and the fuel trucks started gassing up the Abrams and Bradleys. Other trucks were unloading boxes of ammunition.

“Hey Ell-tee. You need reloads?”

“Sure do.” She looked at the barrel of her tank. They’d stopped using a single ring for each baldrick kill, now they had a one-inch band for 10 and a quarter inch band for singles. Plus their single white band as well.

“Right, can give you ten Sabot, twenty HEAT, the rest canister.”

“I’d like more canister if you’ve got it. Not much use for sabot.”

“Sorry Ell-tee, we’re running low. We’re sharing out the HEAT and canister and making the numbers up with sabot. The brass tell us they’re flying 120 in direct from home and more’s coming from Europe but we’re still running low here where it counts.”

“Hokay.” Slightly resigned but there it was. Nobody said war had to be easy. Stevenson and her crew started breaking open the crates and bombing up their tank.

They were interrupted by the sound of a Blackhawk landing.

“Captain Stevenson?”

She turned around, slightly irritated. She assumed the mistaken rank was a comment on her dress, she was wearing a tank top and had left the top of her BDUs in the tank. The desert may be grand but it was still hot.

“Its Lieutenant, Err Sorry Sir, I’ll get my blouse right now.” She did a double take. Colonel Sean MacFarland was standing in front of her.

“Well, when you do, you can get to pin these on it.” He handed her a small box, containing double silver bars. “Congratulations. You’ve done a fine job out here.”

“Sir, thank you Sir.” Stevenson looked at the bars in her hand.

“You’ll take over this combat group. You done good Stevenson, especially for somebody thrown in the deep end the way you were. The whole group will be staying here tonight, the way the pocket is shrinking around what’s left of the baldricks, there’s too much danger of friendly fire if we don’t take things carefully.”

“Big jump up Sir.” Stevenson was nervous, what amounted to a company command was a challenge to put it mildly.

“Same for everybody Stevenson. Army’s growing fast, we’re taking cadre out of units to help train new outfits as fast as we can. You stay alive, you’ll have a battalion in a few months. Well done Captain.”

MacFarland wandered off, apparently at random but to those under him, it always seemed that he would turn up an exactly the time needed to spot a problem developing. Around the laagered combat team, the dusk started to settle and the flashes of artillery fire grew more distinct.

Somewhere In The Desert, Western Iraq, night

Abigor huddled in the rocks, looking out across the desert. If his instincts were right, the hellmouth was very close. The last few days had been a horror, the human sky-chariots had hounded his force as it had disintegrated. They’d never let up, their curious rotating wings beating the air, the thumping of their weapons always so deadly. His Army had started retreating, what was left of it, then the retreat had become a rout. Still the humans hadn’t let up, they’d pursued him until the rout had become a panic stricken flight for the rear and the defeated army had become a helpless mob that had been slashed into ever-smaller pieces. Then, when he thought he had finally escaped, he’d seen more of the human iron chariots in front of them, blocking the retreat.

That was when he had understood at last. The humans didn’t fight their battles to make a point, they fought them to destroy their enemies. He’d noted something else. In Hell, armies fought their battles bottom-up. The foot infantry would get killed but rarely any of higher rank. Commanders had better things to do that kill each other. Anyway, how could one negotiate a deal with somebody one had just killed? But the humans fought their battles top-down. They started by killing the enemy commanders and then slaughtered the decapitated mass that was left. There was a corollary to that, they fought that way because they didn’t intend to negotiate with the losers.

How could they have understood humans so little?

Abigor shook himself, and cautiously looked around. The humans could see in the dark, shots could come out of nowhere. Still, it looked safe enough and there wasn’t far to go. The hellmouth was so close now, just a few more hours away.
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Kodiak
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Post by Kodiak » 2008-03-13 04:08pm

Excellent Chapter, Stuart. It seems as though the lessons learned were hard ones, but I wonder how or if they will be able to spread that knowledge to the rest of Hell before it's too late.
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Post by Fleet Admiral JD » 2008-03-13 05:25pm

I certainly hope Abigor is taken prisoner. That would be fantastically interesting to read.
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Post by DarthShady » 2008-03-13 05:26pm

Kodiak wrote:Excellent Chapter, Stuart. It seems as though the lessons learned were hard ones, but I wonder how or if they will be able to spread that knowledge to the rest of Hell before it's too late.
I doubt that anyone will make it back alive to tell the bosses what happened.

I love the way Abigor is finally realizing what he is up against and that he can't expect mercy from us. :twisted:

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Post by Scottish Ninja » 2008-03-13 05:28pm

Beautiful! Memnon's really becoming a sympathetic character now, as well. I hope to see plenty of him in future chapters.

Any word on the home front? Industry, drafts, etc.?
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2008-03-13 05:43pm

So the demons are learning yet more… but will anyone even believe them when the few survivors return? Somehow I think the next demon army is going to charge out one million strong and 81 ranks deep, to be slaughtered even faster. I mean, even with human armies, that’s a serious problem. It took two years for the British in the western desert to master combine armies tactics, but then another two years later other British units repeated all the same mistakes at in the fighting around Caen.
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