Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-04 10:49am

kdahm(the same one) wrote:The physics would be far easier to describe with an instantaneous transition. When getting discontinuities and apparent small time step events, the math gets much easier. This is not a criticism, just a thought.
Doesn't that require that the transitional dimension be of zero thickness? Surely, a very short delay can be explained by simply having the dimensions be small, but when you introduce anything of zero thickness, that seems to introduce conceptual problems.
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Post by gtg947h » 2008-04-04 12:13pm

Starglider wrote:Of course even if it is accurate most likely very little of this background info will actually be referenced in the narrative.
That's why it's so much more interesting to read stories like this... you get to see the background info. I was readingN-Space the other day; Mr. Niven made reference to all of the background stuff he and Pournelle did for The Mote in God's Eye. So much of that background never appeared directly in the final text; I really wish I could read through it all and see the "behind-the-scenes" stuff.

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Post by Surlethe » 2008-04-04 12:47pm

The way I'm visualizing it, all of the different 'dimensions' are embeddings of subspaces of R^4 (to include a time dimension) into R^7. For example, our 'dimension' wraps around an expanding hypersphere. No 'dimension' has a non-constant projection onto the e_7 axis; the 'energy' is proportional to the height along the e_7 axis. Moreover, for dimensions with the same energy level, the distance between them is governed solely by their distance apart along the e_6 axis. Heaven and hell both have the same seventh coordinate and are situated near to each other in the sixth axis, so it's quick and easy to make a transition between them. Earth and hell (and heaven) all are relatively close in the seventh and sixth coordinates, so it's possible to make gates between them without too much trouble. We can explain the ability to open anywhere in this dimension (or at least on Earth) by supposing one of two options: either the e_7 and e_6 distances are much, much larger than the other dimensions involved, or heaven and hell are pretty much the same in e_1, ..., e_5 as Earth.
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Post by ray245 » 2008-04-04 12:50pm

Just a question, how much do the demons and etc knows about place where there is zero abrahmic religion influence? Where places was never mentioned of in the bible for example.

Where people's race down there seems to have zero connection with the bible. After all, there was 3 branches humanity from Noah with different skin colours for example, yet non of the 3 branches of humanity seems to have any relation to the east asian race, like the chinese, japanese and etc.


Like Americas, china, japan and korea for example.

Will we see the reason why east asians are not even mentioned in the bible for example?

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Post by Starglider » 2008-04-04 12:59pm

Surlethe wrote:We can explain the ability to open anywhere in this dimension (or at least on Earth) by supposing one of two options: either the e_7 and e_6 distances are much, much larger than the other dimensions involved, or heaven and hell are pretty much the same in e_1, ..., e_5 as Earth.
The later option seems to imply that every point on earth has a single corresponding point in hell and heaven, which doesn't help with opening portals from anywhere to anywhere. The former option makes it unclear how a portal could allow an object to traverse such a vast distance in a very small time; you'd probably have to exceed the local speed of light, by a huge margin if Hell isn't somehow synchronized to the Earth's orbital motion. This is why instead of a flat 7d space (which may or may not include time, probably not), I came up with the notion of the spatial geometry between the 3d 'bubbles' of individual planes being chaotic, such that there is no direct correspondence between a point in hell and a point in our universe. A portal (or even strong enough signal) would locally flatten this geometry and create a 1:1 correlation over a small area of space in each plane. I have no idea how targetting (e.g. kitten targetting Dakwin's location using some personal effects) works on a physical level, unfortunately the answer to that will probably have to remain 'magic' (or quantum technobabble to that effect), at least for now.

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-04 01:13pm

If I were studying this phenomenon, I would put a loop of cable through the portal and leave it there while the portal closes. Monitoring of the electrical signal through that cable would help us determine what is happening, and what the risk is of using it when it is closing. Realistically, they probably would have done that before they sent humans through. At the very least, stick a tape measure through it and see if the measure the same amount sticking out on the other side that you put through.
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Post by Surlethe » 2008-04-04 01:21pm

Starglider wrote:This is why instead of a flat 7d space (which may or may not include time, probably not), I came up with the notion of the spatial geometry between the 3d 'bubbles' of individual planes being chaotic, such that there is no direct correspondence between a point in hell and a point in our universe. A portal (or even strong enough signal) would locally flatten this geometry and create a 1:1 correlation over a small area of space in each plane.
Does light need to behave the same way in the extra dimensions?
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-04 01:32pm

If mages can "flatten" the geometry of Hell to make portals, this would imply that the spacetime of Hell is extraordinarily malleable, and that its shape is not correlated to mass/energy as it is in our universe. Which, in turn, makes you wonder how gravity works in Hell.

Perhaps it's best not to inquire too deeply :)
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Post by kdahm(the same one) » 2008-04-04 01:45pm

Starglider wrote:
It's fairly certain that the different 'planes' are exist in a higher dimensional space (they would actually be hyperplanes if there were four spatial dimensions, but there appear to be at least seven in this cosmology). An instantaneous transition is problematic, because I can only think of two obvious explanations for it, neither good. The first is that the relevant higher dimensions are quantised and that the interplane transition respresents a minimal step in these dimensions. The major problem with this is that it leaves no room in intradimensional space for any kind of physical artefact that creates the portal effect. It would have to be some magic flaw in space itself, and the notion of microwaves alone rewriting spatial geometry in just the right way to create a flaw that flips physical objects one quanta across a higher dimension is rather implausible. Furthermore without the attractive force mechanism there is no obvious reason why objects placed in the portal mouth should make one trip through and then stop, rather than alternating back and forth indefinitely. The second explanation retains the meaningful distance, allowing a complex portal structure to exist, but requires that the matter be tunnelled instaneously across the gap. Aside from locally violating the speed of light, never a good thing for plausibility, there is no obvious reason why physical objects would tunnel across as a unified whole, as opposed to individual particles crossing over independently as they enter the portal. Finally while the attractive mechanism I specified is somewhat vague, it is at least somewhat descriptive, while there is no real explanation for a macroscale tunnelling effect other than 'magic'.

{deletia}
If we shove an end of a cable through, made by handwavium out of unobtanium and with a breaking strength of 1,000+ ksi and a modulus of elasticity of at least 100 ksi, what happens?
It will resist the attractive force of the central (hyper)toroid and not get sucked through the portal. You can't poke the cable directly into extradimensional space, for the same reason that you can't orient an arbitrary physical object at right angles to reality. Bending through 7space is ruled out by the local confinement mechanism that keeps 3D objects together in transition; no possible cable you could construct out of normal matter could maintain integrity in 7space anyway.
Darth Wong wrote:
Doesn't that require that the transitional dimension be of zero thickness? Surely, a very short delay can be explained by simply having the dimensions be small, but when you introduce anything of zero thickness, that seems to introduce conceptual problems.
Assume we have a 7-manifold of x,y,z,t,a,b,c, where the first four dimensions map onto our 3-manifold dimensions and time. In the instantaneous case, any object entering the portal transitions along a,b, or c and has no transition along t. In that case, there is thickness dimension to the portal, but it takes no time to cross

Where there is a transition along t, the math gets complicated. Assume an object (a spherical cow, if you prefer) with a thickness of T is approaching the portal, at what point does it actually enter and/or exit? Is there some section dT which can be decribed as approaching transition, inside the portal, or both? What is the effect as dT>>0

Assume we have an object of length L. The object cross section is << portal size. Is there a critical L at which the object does not transition? If we increase the length by dL, does this change, even if L is then much larger than the largest portal dimension. When does the leading edge emerge? Is this a factor controlled by the center of mass, in which case how would combinations of objects inserted react, especially to the borders of different materials. Is L inserted, then the inserted length exist in the 7-manifold until some critical dL is reached, at which point it exits. When someone walks through a portal, is there a step in between, or does he have a foot on the ground on both sides? What about a long cable with anchor a few feet away from the portal?

Now assume the object of length L enters the portale at V. Does |V|exit equal |V|entry, and does this still apply when V approaches c. Are your energetic limits affected by matter moving through, or would a collimated mircowave or X-ray beam be affected. Radio clearly still works, as the Predator/hellfire attack shows. Almost any energy loss would result in loss of signal.

As I said, these are thought questions, and do not need to be answered now.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-04-04 01:52pm

Two additional datapoints for you. We've already seen a Predator flying in and out of Hell and in the next part, some M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys drive through the portal to Hell.
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Post by Surlethe » 2008-04-04 01:55pm

Darth Wong wrote:If mages can "flatten" the geometry of Hell to make portals, this would imply that the spacetime of Hell is extraordinarily malleable, and that its shape is not correlated to mass/energy as it is in our universe. Which, in turn, makes you wonder how gravity works in Hell.
I have some ideas about the topology of hell, but I'm awaiting Stuart's confirmation. Basically, there's not enough matter concentrated in hell to significantly alter its basic shape; gravity is a consequence of that shape and not of the mass-energy present. How that correlates to the malleability of spacetime, I have no clue, to be honest.
Perhaps it's best not to inquire too deeply :)
That might not generate as many headaches, but it's no fun. ;)
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Post by DarthShady » 2008-04-04 04:12pm

Destructionator XIII wrote:A quick thought: Hell could eventually be used as a sort of teleport hub. Various places around the world open portals to a single place in Hell (or better yet, one place in hell opens portals to places in the world so they keep themselves open), and things are sent through them to their destination.

Imagine walking from New York to LA through Hell in 60 seconds!
Could we use this teleport system for travel to other worlds?

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-04 04:52pm

Stuart wrote:Two additional datapoints for you. We've already seen a Predator flying in and out of Hell and in the next part, some M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys drive through the portal to Hell.
Damn you, Stuart! Now we're all going to be waiting with bated breath for the next chapter with the tanks entering the gates of Hell! The waiting is killing us! Don't you see, man? It's KILLING us! Arrrgghhh ...
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-04-04 05:04pm

kdahm(the same one) wrote:Assume we have a 7-manifold of x,y,z,t,a,b,c, where the first four dimensions map onto our 3-manifold dimensions and time. In the instantaneous case, any object entering the portal transitions along a,b, or c and has no transition along t. In that case, there is thickness dimension to the portal, but it takes no time to cross
So according to this model, these extra dimensions are all "flat" with respect to time? No time passes at all in these extra dimensions? I wonder how one determines things like causality with respect to portals, then. Wouldn't it be easier to say that they are flattened but not quite flat with respect to t? Then you could pass through a considerable dimension of a without a significant passage of time, thus solving the problem without the clumsy "force sucks you in and shoots you out the other side" mechanism mentioned earlier. Any apparent applied forces could be explained as the orientation of the portal pointing somewhat downward in the gravity well of either destination.
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

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Post by Coriolis » 2008-04-04 05:54pm

Stuart wrote:In the next part, some M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys drive through the portal to Hell.
Hot damn. I'm drooling in anticipation over the next chapter. :o
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Post by The Vortex Empire » 2008-04-04 06:36pm

Darth Wong wrote:
Stuart wrote:Two additional datapoints for you. We've already seen a Predator flying in and out of Hell and in the next part, some M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys drive through the portal to Hell.
Damn you, Stuart! Now we're all going to be waiting with bated breath for the next chapter with the tanks entering the gates of Hell! The waiting is killing us! Don't you see, man? It's KILLING us! Arrrgghhh ...
Stuart, from now on, don't reveal anything about upcoming chapters until they are out! The suspense is going to kill us all! Or simply devote your life to Armageddon. Forget about jobs, other people, and everything else that isn't needed to write the story.

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Post by Stuart » 2008-04-04 07:57pm

Section Twelve, DIMO(N), Fort Bragg, North Carolina

“Let’s start with weapons. Jerry?”

“In Helljar-One, that’s the one simulating the normal Hell-place environment, it’s the older stuff that does best. Shouldn’t surprise us really, tolerances are greater so they can take the sand and grit better. The pumice in the air is the real problem. It mixes with moisture and oil to form a cement that really blocks the weapons up. Regular cleaning is essential and using Militec rather than lube oil is a good start. Good news is that grenades and fused weapons like rockets and shells work just fine. Bad news is that the M16 and M4 have very serious problems. The gas tube and bolt carriers jam up so fast it isn’t funny. We got the first of the new rifles, the M114 and M115, they both work better. All weapons have to be carefully cleaned and often though.

“Helljar-Two, ironically, is a lot easier on weapons that One. The mud and filth is bad of course but its something the troops know how to deal with. We’ve had the reports back from Tango-Bravo, and the first A-Team we sent in to help them out, and we’ve correlated them with the results from Helljar-Two. Very high degree of congruence I’m glad to say, that gives us a degree of confidence in our results. Based on our studies, we’ve pulled the M4A5s from Tango-Bravo and given them pre-production M114s instead. They’re happier now. The Special Forces group in with Tango-Bravo now also has M114s.”

“Excuse the interruption Jerry, but while we’re on the subject of the Special Forces people we’re sending in, any word on the medical side of this.” General Schatten looked at the woman who was supervising the medical side of the studies.

Doctor Sangina thumbed quickly through her notes. “The first group under Lieutenant Madeuce have suffered quite badly. They have pumice deposits in their lungs and those will have a severe impact on their future health unless we can find a way of treating them. This isn’t a new problem, its been known in the mining industry for centuries. It’s usually called silicosis although the specific form here is known as Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. There are some treatments under evaluation for the condition, including whole-lung lavage but, unless we get a breakthrough, I’m afraid the first group of patients are going to have to accept some severe health consequences 15 – 20 years down the line. The second group we sent in, and all after that, have breathing masks that filter out the dust. That should solve the problem.”

“Apparently, people in the Hell-Place heal a lot faster than they do here, any word on that?”

“It is true, that’s why the victims in Hell survive the way they do. It’s not a function of place though, it’s a function of being a creature of that place. Souls who have transitioned to hell via death or creatures that are native to hell have much-enhanced healing power and wound resistance compared to us. They retain those advantages when they come to our dimension. The catch is that humans from hell can’t survive here for long, they leak, ohh, I don’t know how to describe it, life energy I suppose. Baldricks can survive here as long as we don’t kill them, we think because they use their bio-electrical generating capability to replace the leaking energy, to trickle-charge themselves so to speak. Reborn Humans don’t have that capability so they die in our dimension. Now, if we go to the Hell dimension, we don’t get a boost in healing or damage resistance, we’re just the same there as we are here.”

“Thank you. Sorry, Jerry, I was very concerned about the people we’re sending in. Can you continue please?”

“No problem. Helljar-Three is the one with the burning desert. That’s the one we know least about, we’ve only got limited intelligence there. In some ways its much more hostile than Helljar Two, when the reports said burning desert and flaming rain, they weren’t joking. In other ways, its more benign. The air is much drier and the dust content is a lot, lot lower. As far as we can make out, our equipment functions much better there, its just that we don’t.

“Thank you Jerry. Greg, vehicles?”

“Main problem is dust and the pumice cement. We have heavy-duty air filters that can cope with it and we’re designing better ones. Like the weapons side of things, the secret is to clean and keep cleaning. A couple of things, diesels are less susceptible to choking on dust that gas turbines. We might want to think about a diesel-powered M1 for operations in Hell itself. That always has been an option but the gas turbine’s advantages have meant we haven’t gone there before. Now, we might want to rethink that. But, as long as we use the right filters and keep cleaning things, we can take our ground vehicles in right now. Oh yes, current NBC protection systems for the crews of the Abrams and Bradleys are quite adequate for the conditions. Strykers as well. The logistics vehicles may need an upgrade.”

“Which brings us to aircraft. Bill?”

“Bad news all around I’m afraid Sir. Same problems Jerry and Greg have been talking about. Dust chokes the engines quickly and cakes the airframes. Being sucked through a jet engine causes hellish erosion problems, mostly on the blades but its pretty gruesome in the rest of the engine as well. You can take a zero off the number of hours between overhauls at least, probably two. That’s not the worst of it, the dust scours the aircraft itself, abrading the wing and fuselage surfaces. Faster aircraft go, the worse that gets. We need new coatings for the aircraft that’ll help cut that down.

“We tried the prop-planes as well. Mixed news there, the erosion problem on the airframes isn’t so bad since the aircraft are much slower but the damage to the propellers is wicked. You should see an old P-47 we stuck in a wind-tunnel and blasted with a simulated hell atmosphere while we ran its engine. After an hour, the prop was ground to nothing. Aircraft with liquid-cooled engines were a problem, the cooling system got jammed up so the engines over-heated and seized up. Radial engines were bad as well at first but we’ve managed some work-arounds for them. Oil coolers are still a problem though.

"Sum of it all, we’ve got a lot of work to do before we can deploy air power into Hell. Priority problem should be airframe erosion, once we can lick that, the others will follow.”

Schatten looked around. “Good work guys. I’ll transmit the data through to the Army in Iraq.”

Combat Team Alpha. By the Hellmouth, Western Iraq

“Hokay, lot of men told me to go to hell in the past. The Big Cheese is the first one who really meant it.”

“We really going into Hell, Hooters?”

“Sure are Biker. It’s a thunder-run. Hold one.” Stevenson flipped her radio system so she was addressing all 14 vehicles in her command. “Right, this is what’s happening. We’re going in through the hellmouth, according to our source, the area inside is called the Martial Plain of Dysprosium. It’s a prairie-like area the baldricks use for parades and so on. We can swing in, cross it and hit two encampments that are about twenty miles inside. We’ll take them down and shoot up any resistance. Anybody who shoots at us gets greased. Try not to hit non-combatants but if they’re being used as shields or getting in the way, that’s too bad. Word from the top is, we don’t deliberately target any non-coms but they’d better learn to keep out of our way. No vehicles to be left behind, there’s an engineer unit out here, if one of us gets immobilized, we send for them and they tow us out. All clear? Good. Formation, my four tanks lead, line abreast, Bradleys behind, four more M1s at the rear. Right hand tanks watch right, left hand watch left, forward center pair ahead, aft center pair behind. Bradleys, watch the sky, the Harpies are our worst threat. See one, kill it. I’ll command from Alpha-One-One.”

That would upset the two Bradley crews that technically formed the HQ section but Stevenson felt much more at home in her Abrams.

Stevenson flipped her radio back to the in-vehicle circuit, “Biker, take us through.”

“Coming inside Captain?” The driver didn’t know whether the radio was still set to company-wide so he was careful.

“Sure. Orders are to seal down. Gonna limit our vision though, everybody watch out, if something blows as we go through, we’ll need to react fast.” Stevenson relaxed, leaning up against the cupola ring as she heard the gas turbine behind her spool up The back of her tank looked different after the week waiting outside the hellmouth. It had what looked like a low tent over it, one made of metal filter foil. It would allow air in, some, but it would also keep dust out and stop harpy-fire basting the engine. The top edge of the Abram’s performance had gone, reduced airflow to the turbine had seen to that, but the big tank was still fast and agile enough. She took a last look around at the blue sky and yellow sun of Earth, then dropped inside her tank and dogged the hatch down. As the Abrams lurched forward, she could feel the air pressure increase slightly as the tank’s NBC system established a positive pressure gradient.

Outside the black wall of the ellipse was approaching as the tank accelerated towards it. There’d been a lot of debate about whether to crash through at high speed or to ease through. Eventually, the decision had been left to her and she’d decided the high speed approach was best. Get through and in before anybody waiting in ambush could react. Besides, nobody had even a slight understanding of what the inside of the portal was like and being half-in, half-out could be a very bad place.

It didn’t seem to matter; the wall approached them but Stevenson wasn’t aware of actually going through it. One moment she was on Earth, almost instantly and without any other sign, everything had changed to the thick red light of hell. No shock, no jolt, nothing. Just the sudden switch in lighting conditions. Stevenson looked through her optronic system and saw the terrain ahead brightening as the system compensated for the light. A check on the navigation system was more worrying, the compass needle was spinning around uselessly while the GPN navigation system had gone dead. According to the inertial navigation system, she was still on Earth, about a klick from where she had started. She wished that were true.

“All Alpha vehicles. I’m defining the hellmouth as position zero, its direction is East. Adjust all inertial systems accordingly.” She punched the data in herself and watched the electronic compass settle down. Her tank’s nose was pointing dead ahead, bearing two-seven-oh so to get back to earth she would have to drive on oh-nine-oh. She looked behind on oh-nine-oh by the compass and to her relief, the hellmouth was still there.

She had the hand-drawn map in her hands and carefully orientated it with the hellmouth. Whoever had drawn it had nice handwriting she thought. It showed the plain she could see now and the two installations way over on what would be her arbitrarily-defined south. She looked again through the optronic surveillance system, she couldn’t see much ahead, there was a pile of burned out timber over one side, she guessed that would be the reviewing stand the Predator had blown up in the first days of the war. Or what was left of it. Another glance at the compass showed that the computer had settled it down to correspond with her arbitrary alignment.

“Hokay, Biker, take off, head course one-eight-oh. Try and hold 20 mph.” She flipped the radio back to company net. “All vehicles, one eight oh. Expect target in 20 miles. Contact time one hour.”

The ground was a lot smoother than she’d expected; compared with the rough jolting she got every time her tank crossed the Iraqi desert, it was a positive luxury. She looked behind her, the Bradleys were following in her wake with the second group of M1s behind them. A cloud of red dust was rising behind the vehicles, a V-shaped cloud from each that merged behind them to give a fair equivalent of a smoke screen. If it had been white and at sea, it would have reminded her of water skiers at a beach resort. Only, it wasn’t white it was red and this wasn’t a beach resort, it was Hell although compared with the beaches in her home of Bayonne, it would be hard to tell the difference. And they weren’t water skiers, they were the point of a very, very pissed-off human army.

“Boss, target up ahead.” Anything here that wasn’t a tank or a Mick-vee was hostile. This didn’t need that distinction, a line of nine baldricks, tridents on shoulders, marching across the plain. A guard patrol perhaps? Stevenson didn’t know and didn’t care. Her laser gave a quick flash that was instantly translated into range. “All Alpha-One vehicles, targets one-six-three degrees, range 1,200 meters. Engage HEAT.”

The baldricks realized what was about to hit them a split second before the tank guns crashed. They turned, aiming their tridents at the oncoming tanks. Two lightning flashes hit Alpha-one-one’s turret, causing the computer to blip and reset. No damage and the shells exploded in the baldrick line, throwing parts of them skywards. Those who weren’t dead were still writhing on the ground when the four M1s drove over them. Stevenson could feel the tank shift slightly as Biker used his tracks to grind them into the ground. Then they were gone, just leaving a green stain on the ground.

A TOW-2 missile shot overhead, turned in mid air and plowed into a small stone building that had been half-concealed in a dip in the ground. Probably a guardhouse, possibly for the patrol that had just been summarily blasted out of existence. One of the Bradleys hadn’t wanted to be left out of the first engagement of the first human Thunder Run through Hell.

“Target should be up ahead.” Stevenson transmitted the message long after the mangled remains of the patrol and the burning guardhouse had been left behind them.

“Not here, Captain.” Baldy’s voice was regretful.

“It has to be. Map shows it due south of the hellmouth. Unless it ain’t that accurate. Hokay, we’ll do it the hard way. Bravo units form here. Keep radio link open so we can get directional cuts on you. Charlie team, go east, twenty minutes at 20mph then come back. Use Bravo’s links for direction. Alpha, we’ll go west, same time, same speed, do the same.”

The formation split into three, the Bradleys forming a defensive laager while the two platoons of Abrams tanks set off in opposite directions. Stevenson’s luck was still holding, ten minutes after the split, she spotted the encampment that was her primary target. A small group of buildings surrounded by a stone wall. “All Alpha elements, target located. Home in on my radio.” She waited until she got the acknowledgements and then started to edge her tanks forward.

Fublaronishel’s Encampment, Martial Plain of Dysprosium, Hell

It wasn’t a great command but for an ambitious young demon, an independent command like this was good. If he did well, his overlord would see and reward him. If he did not, the command was small enough so that any errors would be easily concealed. Fublaronishel had high hoped of this command, hopes that it would lead to better things and perhaps the award of a mate. Then his eyes narrowed, a cloud of dust? It couldn’t be the patrol he had sent out, they weren’t due back for two days. Then he saw what was approaching and his heart went cold.

“Iron Chariots! Iron Chariots are coming.” It was impossible, the Humans couldn’t have brought their Iron Chariots here. They had been terribly hurt by the nameless one whose disgrace was such that even thinking his previous name was punishable by death. They couldn’t be coming. Fublaronishel knew that they were, because he could see them. They still couldn’t be. “Turn out the guard. Every demon to the walls.”

His men were well-trained, they ran out of the barracks and scaled the walls, facing the dreaded Iron Chariots. The humans had stopped, many spear-throws from the walls, perhaps they were afraid to attack a fortification. Then the desert erupted into smoke and dust as the fire lances screamed out from the long tube that topped the Chariots. The walls shook with the impact, the stones shattering, fragments thrown across the encampment ground. It dawned on the stunned Fublaronishel that they had struck his wall before he had heard the sound of their launch. He staggered, looking at the walls, still standing although shaken to their core. Too many of his men were down, he was understrength to start with, he had only six of his nine nine-demon sections and one of those was out on patrol, a second was at an outpost less than a couple of miles away. That had left him with 36 and already a quarter of them were on the ground, dead or wounded it was hard to say. Then, another scream and the explosions struck his wall, tumbling it down into a pile of pulverized rubble. That was when he heard another sound, a whistling roar, something he had never heard before.

It was one of the great Iron Chariots, it reached the ruined wall and started to cross it, something no chariot Fublaronishel had ever seen could do. The roar increased and the Chariot pulled up over the rubble, its front pointing at the sky, then its nose suddenly crashed down and the chariot accelerated down the other side of the rubble pile. The strange box and tube seemed to rotate, the tube swinging around to point at him but he didn’t see the great blast as it launched a fire-lance. Instead, there was a dancing point of light and Fublaronishel felt the impacts knock him off his feet. He was weak, unable to rise, and helpless when the chariot crushed the life out of him with its treads.

Combat Team Alpha. Fublaronishel’s Encampment, Martial Plain of Dysprosium, Hell

“And the walls came tumbling down.” Stevenson’s voice was smugly self-satisfied. “Baldricks, meet depleted uranium.” Her platoon’s first salvo had been sabot, bolts of depleted uranium alloy that had smashed into the wall, the shock waves from the impacts leaving the stones riddled with stress fractures. The second salvo had been HEAT rounds, their explosions blasting the riven wall down, leaving it a gentle pile of rubble, the wall’s defenders mixed in with it. “Biker, take us through.”

She flipped her radio back to company net again. “All Alpha-Alpha vehicles, over the wall, destroy the encampment. One and three take the buildings on the left, two and four the right. One HEAT round into each.”

“Wait for us, we’re three minutes out.” She recognized the voice, the commander of Alpha-Bravo, pleading to be allowed to join the assault.

“Can’t let them regroup. Its pedal to the metal time boys.” Her tank was accelerating towards the ruins of the wall and the baldricks staggering round behind it, She lost sight of them as the bow rose, the gas turbine screaming out power as it pushed the tank over the rubble. Then the bows dropped again and she saw the pitiful little encampment in front of her. A baldrick was trying to aim his trident at her tank but Baldy cut him down with the co-axial machine gun before he had the chance. Several more baldricks were over on the right, she ignored them, they were Alpha-Alpha-Two’s responsibility. A charge well and truly kept for even as her first HEAT round flattened the nearest left-hand hut, a canister round from Two turned the baldricks in the group into chopped fragments.

The encampment was burning, the building set a fire from the copper plasma jets formed by the HEAT rounds. Some of the baldricks had been taking cover inside, their screams as they burned could be heard even inside the tanks as they waddled down the single street between the buildings, their guns crashing as they demolished what was left of the encampment. They were wreathed in the smoke, only vaguely semi-visible, the screaming roar of their engines the only thing that the baldricks could hear before they emerged from the cloud that hid the monsters. It was the roar of the engines that broke the baldricks more than the gunfire or the screams of the victims as the tanks cut them down or ground them into slush with their tracks. The baldricks that were left ran from the burning encampment into the open ground where they hoped to make their escape. These baldricks knew nothing of how tanks fought infantry.

Behind her, Stevenson could hear the crackle of 25mm gunfire as the Bradleys caught up with her platoon and added their own quantum of destruction to the holocaust that was engulfing the outpost. Her tank had reached the end of the street and it crashed through the wooden gate that gave access to the highway in front of her. A dozen, perhaps a dozen and a half baldricks were running away, trying to escape across the open ground. It was pitiful, Stevenson felt slightly sorry for them as her four tanks formed into their line and the canister shells scythed them down. Baldricks could run faster than humans, a lot faster, but that didn’t save them. The ones who survived the canister were cut down by the machine guns and then crushed under the tracks. If any had survived, they would have learned an important lesson that day. Mechanized warfare is a bitch.

Over to her left, another black pyre of smoke was staining the red sky. “Charlie, is that you?”

“Sure is Captain. We cut the corner and hit the secondary. Its ashes, there were eighteen, perhaps twenty Baldricks here, all dead. No casualties.”

“Bravo, any casualties back there?”

“Not a one Cap. We’re fine and we got some of the baldricks you missed on the way through.”

“Hokay, guys, form on me. We’re heading home.”

An hour later, Stevenson was staring at her map again. “It’s got to be here. We came back on an exact reciprocal of the way we came in. It’s got to be here.”

“Could they have closed it Hooters?” Crab’s voice was worried.

“I’ll tell you something else, we didn’t see that guard house we flattened on the way in. We weren’t that long, we should have seen the wreckage at least.”

Stevenson pressed her lips together. “Right.” Radio to company command channel. “All right guys, same drill as before. We go two ways, Bravo stays here and keeps in contact. We’ll find that hellmouth.”

This time it was Charlie that lucked out, at the end of their cast. They spotted the burned-out display stand and that gave Alpha Team the reference it needed. Twenty minutes later her command reassembled and drove triumphantly out through the Hellgate

As they crossed the ridge, Colonel Macfarland was waiting for them, impatience conflicting with congratulation on his face.

“Sir, both targets wiped out, no casualties, more than 100 baldricks dead. And Sir, something’s really screwy with directions in there.”
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The Vortex Empire
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Post by The Vortex Empire » 2008-04-04 08:21pm

Okay, so we know Armor is effective in Hell. I almost feel sorry for the baldricks.

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DarthShady
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Post by DarthShady » 2008-04-04 08:23pm

The Vortex Empire wrote:Okay, so we know Armor is effective in Hell. I almost feel sorry for the baldricks.
You just wait until we make the aircraft work.

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The Vortex Empire
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Post by The Vortex Empire » 2008-04-04 08:24pm

DarthShady wrote:
The Vortex Empire wrote:Okay, so we know Armor is effective in Hell. I almost feel sorry for the baldricks.
You just wait until we make the aircraft work.
Then I would actually feel sorry for them. But only a little.

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fusion
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Post by fusion » 2008-04-04 09:29pm

Nice, I can't wait for the lava flows though...

Very addicting also...

DU for the win!
Baldricks, meet depleted uranium.
LOL :D

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Post by Hawkwings » 2008-04-04 10:34pm

They're really gonna need to figure out navigation in Hell if a full-scale invasion is launched.
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Post by Sidewinder » 2008-04-04 10:39pm

So navigational problems may prevent human armor from launching deep strikes, e.g., against Satan's palace. Maybe having an engineering vehicle lay a VERY LONG cable from one end of the Hellmouth as it follows the armor may work.

I wonder when the demons will realize the humans drove iron chariots through hell. (We already know how they'll respond when they find out about this.) When Asmodeus and Astaroth's legions march towards the Hellmouth and see the demolished fort?
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 The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-04 10:52pm

Doesn't Russia have a huge amount of titanium surplus? I'm sure there are several titanium allows would resist that kind of abrasion. They should try putting a Mig-25 through one of the Helljars--I suspect it would come out noticeably better (at low speed, granted). The Russians had to deal with operating off of very primitive airfields as well, after all.
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Post by bilateralrope » 2008-04-04 11:00pm

Sidewinder wrote:So navigational problems may prevent human armor from launching deep strikes, e.g., against Satan's palace. Maybe having an engineering vehicle lay a VERY LONG cable from one end of the Hellmouth as it follows the armor may work.
What about a powerful radio beacon ?

If it can jam the demons telepathy at the same time, even better.

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