Armageddon???? (Part Fifty Up)

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Post by dragon » 2008-05-06 04:47am

Very nice up date, but how long are you going to tease us with the promise of molten rock raining from the sky and the invariable response that follows?
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Post by Starglider » 2008-05-06 05:19am

dragon wrote:Very nice up date, but how long are you going to tease us with the promise of molten rock raining from the sky and the invariable response that follows?
Don't blame me. I wrote all that material a month or so in advance. Stuart just likes to interleave it with scenes of the humans gearing up and digging in. :)

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-05-06 08:33am

Adrian Laguna wrote:*tch* Caesar!? He's not that special, Caesar didn't lead charges straight into the teeth of the enemy, he never single-handedly (plus two shield bearers) took on the garrison of a fortress, and the only wounds he sustained were on the steps of the Senate. I want some Megas Alexandros!
Alexander's personal recklessness is a good reason not to make him a resistance leader. He may have been a great general, but nevertheless, it was sheer luck that he lived as long as he did. He could have easily died in one of his earlier battles. The man used himself as bait, for fuck's sake.
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Post by Chris OFarrell » 2008-05-06 09:04am

If anything, Caesar's ability to think politically and strategically makes him an ideal person to be high up in the resistance, at least of a group of 'old' guys.
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Post by ray245 » 2008-05-06 09:28am

Hmm...I wonder if anyone will use sun Tzu in this fic...

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Post by dragon » 2008-05-06 11:19am

Starglider wrote:
dragon wrote:Very nice up date, but how long are you going to tease us with the promise of molten rock raining from the sky and the invariable response that follows?
Don't blame me. I wrote all that material a month or so in advance. Stuart just likes to interleave it with scenes of the humans gearing up and digging in. :)
Ahh so basically it's all Stuarts' fault huh? :)
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Post by Starglider » 2008-05-06 11:31am

ray245 wrote:Hmm...I wonder if anyone will use sun Tzu in this fic...
This was discussed earlier. The answer is 'probably not' due to the very low proportion of humans that have been rescued so far and the sheer difficultly of locating anyone famous.
dragon wrote:Ahh so basically it's all Stuarts' fault huh?
Well actually I'm grateful because it takes me so long to get new material into an acceptable shape. :)

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-05-06 11:33am

Starglider wrote:
ray245 wrote:Hmm...I wonder if anyone will use sun Tzu in this fic...
This was discussed earlier. The answer is 'probably not' due to the very low proportion of humans that have been rescued so far and the sheer difficultly of locating anyone famous.
Indeed, and Caesar might have been given special treatment, if Satan took enough note of him to inflict special punishment upon his betrayers, as per Dante's original writings. He might have been put into an area where it was easier to escape. He might even have been released.
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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

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

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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-05-06 11:41am

Darth Wong wrote:
Edward Yee wrote:By the way, "Hallam"? I got the FM part, but...
http://www.hallamfm.co.uk/
Thanks for the reference.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-05-06 11:50am

Outer Ring, Seventh Circle of Hell
Aeanas continued working with the file; he was nearly through. He'd been worrying it back and forth for some time now, and at last, the left prong of the trident was free. It clattered to the dirt floor of the cave where the right prong lay, leaving only the center on the weapon. Aeanas stood and hefted the weapon. It was heavy, like the doru to which he was accustomed, and the balance seemed correct on it now. It would make a passable weapon.

The warrior called Ori watched him silently. Like Aeanas, he didn't speak very much, and for this he enjoyed the man's company. He was grateful and loyal to McElroy and the others, but they prattled on like children! Perhaps Aeanas didn't want to like his new companions. Sure, they were soldiers, and they found some common ground in that, but everything about them was alien and heterodox. As a Spartan, he'd spent his entire life turning his body into a weapon; turning the doru, the xiphon, and the aspis into extensions of his body. Just by holding a weapon, his muscles knew how best to move it so that he might destroy his enemies. There was nothing else to his life but killing his enemies.

But these soldiers from the future--no, from the present--were different. They knew how to read. They spoke of music and art, and of other forms of entertainment that he could not understand. For their purported superiority to other soldiers(after all, they managed to escape where he hadn't), the fact remained: their martial prowess was not their only consideration! In that way, Aeanas thought them similar to the citizen-soldiers of the other Greek cities. Though, he mused, there was courage in that kind of man. He recalled those Thespians, those brave men who refused to abandon the Spartans at Thermopylae. The night before they all died, Aeanas recalled sharing a meal with a Thespian named Polyphanes, who was by trade an architect. And the morning before the final battle, he and Polyphanes traded cloaks, and was proud to have died with that man's cloak upon his shoulders.

But everything about these soldiers was different. Much of what they said was barely comprehensible, anyway. Whatever magic allowed him to understand their speech was somehow flawed, and much of their slang was indecipherable for him. But perhaps most oddly, these alleged soldiers didn't know how to fight with a sword or spear! Well, most of them didn't. Ori was a warrior to Aeanas' liking; he was skilled in many forms of unarmed and armed combat. He had received one of his native blades from the living world, and he practiced frequently. But more than that, he was an outsider, too. He trained for war and only war, so he did not care for art, or music. Like Aeanas, he couldn't even read. Ori stepped closer to Aeanas and held out his hand. Aeanas passed him the weapon. Ori tried a few maneuvers with it, then passed it back to Aeanas with a grunt.

"Graceless," he muttered. "The weapon should bend around your body."

"Why?" Aeanas asked. "A bent spear is useless to the phalanx."

"What is that?"

"It is how we fight...how we fought," he corrected, casting a glance of disdain at the modern humans nearby. "Heavy armor, large shields. Shoulder to shoulder, four ranks deep." He mimicked the pose of a man in the first row. "Make a wall of shields and spearpoints, and break your enemy upon them. Never let a gap open up in your line."

"A phalanx," Ori said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "How many men wide?"

"As wide as possible. Prevents flanking." They were silent for a moment. "And how did you fight?"

"Many ways. Sometimes I would ride and shoot my bow, or charge with a spear. Others I would simply fight with my katana."

Aeanas held his hand out, and Ori stiffened for a moment. Then, silently, he passed him the weapon. Drawing it out from its sheath, Aeanas commented, "A longer sword. And single edged. Must be made of iron, yes?" Ori grunted in the affirmative.

"So the balance would favor..." he sliced through the air, "...a two-handed grasp. You do not use a shield?"

"Not with the katana. I can parry and counterstrike to great effect with it."

Aeanas nodded, passing back the katana. "I hope to see you slay a demon with it soon."

They were silent for a moment. "And you are proficient in unarmed combat?" Ori asked.

Aeanas shrugged. "For my part, yes. I wrestle. I wrestled."

"I too, grappled. We must spar some time. To test our styles against the other."

Aeanas smiled at this. "It would be a privilege. I am sure you will be more engaging than the others. I threw McElroy as through he were a woman!"

Ori suppressed a laugh. "Yes, they are soft creatures, made so by their infernal weapons. Why need they fight honorably when they can strike you down from a great distance? They're so weak that they may count women as soldiers!"

"Hey, baby dick!" snapped Private Cassidy, skin newly grown, stepping in close to them. "You got a problem with me?"

Ori frowned. Aeanas thought that, wherever this Japan was, their men did not suffer the barbed tongues of their women. But they were a long way from Japan, so...

Ori grunted, "I was discussing with Aeanas the weaknesses of modern men, and how they compensate for this weakness through weapons requiring such little strength and courage that even women can wield them."

"Man, shut the hell up," Cassidy snarled, crossing her arms over her ample breasts. Aeanas thought them unappealing things, the breasts of a peasant woman with a litter of babes to feed. "If it weren't for those weapons, you'd still be cooking in that river!" For a moment, Aeanas thought that Ori would strike her, but the moment passed quickly.

"Alright, can it, you guys," McElroy said, stepping in. "Ori, take your sword and go with DeVanzo and Walsch down to the river. Walsch, you got the rifle." He turned to Aeanas. "Come on, hoss. You, Cassidy, and I are gonna go check out that cluster of villages on the other side of the northern ridge. You can bring your new spear if you want, but I dunno if these things are worth a damn against baldricks." He hefted his own trident, adding, "Better than nothing, though."

From the cover of the forest's edge, they watched the sloping grade down to the river. And waited. For Tom Walsch, it was still strange to think that millions of people were writhing in agony beneath that river at this very moment. And why were they pulling out only military? Odds were extremely low that they'd get no civilians at all. Perhaps there were only military in this molten river, civilians went to other torments. Then again, the civilian mindset was different. Persons of weak will might simply resign themselves to their torment and sink to the bottom after a few years of failed escapes. In utter misery, they would only move as reflex to the burning, sightless, deaf, pain the only sensation they knew. Military people of all types would fight, though. Futility didn't matter; that's why military history was littered with otherwise pointless last stands. It might take longer for a soldier to break the way civilians did. After all, Walsch had only been in the river for a scant few weeks before he was pulled out, and he had the benefit of hoping that his persistence would pay off. And it did.

"There's one," DeVanzo whispered. Walsch scanned the shoreline before spotting the creature. It was an act he'd seen a dozen times. It flopped like a fish for a while, and then, as it became able to breathe and see, it started crawling further up the bank. They would continue until a baldrick sentry happened along, which could mean they'd be anywhere from ten to fifty meters from the river.

This particular one made it about twenty-five before Ori grunted, "Demon. Left."

Walsch chambered a round and waited. He loved this rifle; it was simple, deadly, and accurate. Though he'd always been an excellent marksman, this thing made it almost too easy. And he had a whole box of ammo to hold them over until the next official resupply.

The baldrick was a typical sentry, sporting a trident and simple bronze armor. He bellowed, as was the wont of these sentries, and charged. The crawling creature, now looking a bit more like a human, stood up and began hobbling away.

"Alright, that's good enough for me," Walsch muttered. He lined up the shot and fired. The round took the baldrick in the throat, blowing out just about everything between his massive deltoids. Pouring blood out all over the packed, burnt earth, he stumbled, staggered, then crashed right at the feet of its target, who watched in befuddlement.

"Chump," Walsch grinned. DeVanzo clapped him on the shoulder. "Hey Ori, why don't you go finish it off, and bring the new recruit back up here, OK?"

Ori frowned, but drew his katana nonetheless and began crossing the open ground to reach his feebly-moving target. It was only seventy-five meters, but he covered it quickly and hacked the demon's head off without delay. As he did this, DeVanzo and Walsch took up a new position, fifteen meters to the north.

"Shit," DeVanzo said suddenly. "Shit shit shit, another baldrick!"

Walsch swung his rifle around. A baldrick within miles of another sentry was unheard of. The patrols were frequent enough to catch the escapees, and that was all that mattered. That's why they were able to pull this off with a single rifle and a spotter or two. They must be pairing the patrols. They're reacting to what we're doing. This baldrick was not like his now-dead partner. He did not bellow or scream. He stalked forward at an inhuman rate, raising his trident high. Ori didn't see it coming, and the rescued human was still half blind. So Tom Walsch chambered a round, took aim, and fired. The shot was hurried, but it was lucky. It winged off the baldrick's elbow, no doubt shattering bone and shredding muscle. He dropped his trident with a roar of anger and pain and stopped, looking for the source of this new attack.

"OK, Ori, time to go," DeVanzo hissed quietly. Walsch took aim and shot at the baldrick, who was now scanning the treeline. He must've spotted them, because he was in motion just before the shot rang out. Instead of catching him in the chest, he moved just enough to one side that he took the round in the upper arm--the one that had already been shot. He hit the ground hard but got back up quickly.

But Walsch was quicker. He chambered a round, aimed, fired--and nothing happened.

"Shit, misfire." Walsch groaned and worked the action of the rifle. It refused to budge. "Jammed up."

Now the baldrick had definitely spotted them, and he roared a monstrous battle cry. But before he could take a step, Ori was there, blade at the ready, bellowing his own challenge to the massive beast.

"What is he doing?" Walsch cried out, while working to clear his weapon.

"He's starting to believe," DeVanzo stated with awe. "He's The One."

"Now is not the time for Matrix jokes!" Walsch said.

The baldrick only had one good arm, but that meant he retained eighty percent of his deadly ends. He swiped at Ori, but he dodged with blinding quickness and countered with a slice. The baldrick had the sense to offer his mangled flesh, but he hadn't counted on the blade being of iron. The wound seared as the blade bit deep, and the baldrick reared back in shock, kicking at the offending creature with one foot.

Ori was already in position to meet the incoming appendage, and he held his blade firm. It passed between two toes, cutting the webbing there and carving deep into his foot. When Ori twisted the blade and wrenched it free, the baldrick couldn't help but scream. Now limping, he swiped again with his hand, catching nothing and receiving a flurry of slashes from that wretched iron blade. Ori was without pity or quarter, nor was he stylish. He opened up as many wounds as he could, as quickly as he could, until the demon was attempting to hobble away in retreat.

But there would be no retreat. Ori feigned a lateral slash, and when the baldrick made to block it, he swooped in slow and stabbed up between the plates of his armor, entering at the armpit and piercing to the heart. Ori received three horrendous lacerations across his back for it, but it didn't matter anymore. The baldrick fell to his knees, limp and defenseless. Screaming with the strength of a half a millennium of remembered agony, Ori cleaved the baldrick's head from his shoulders in two savage blows.
The entire fight had taken less than twenty seconds.

DeVanzo and Walsch looked at each other. "Mission accomplished," Walsch whispered. "Now let's get outta Dodge." The leaped from the forest, DeVanzo running to gather up the wounded Ori, and Walsch to fetch the latest rescuee. Overhead, there was a berserk scream, one that neither Ori nor Aeneas could recognize. The Americans did and they looked up with elation at the F-111s making their slow, lazy turn overhead.

Secure Facility, Camp Hell-Alpha, Martial Plain of Dysprosium.

“Got them.” The intelligence officer had the 10x12 inch prints in his hand. More were still coming over but these were the critical ones, the pictures of the Hell-pit itself. The F-111s had landed a few minutes before and the digitally-recorded pictures had been sent over by fiber-optic cable. Another sign of just how much things were changing; Hell now had computer access, or rather the human army fighting there did.

General Petraeus looked at the prints. “It’s a caldera, no doubt about it. A supervolcano caldera. Like the one that’s supposed to be under Yellowstone. Must be bigger though.”

“Yeah, size ain’t a problem for this thing. Explains the foul atmosphere of this place. That thing must be pumping the contaminants upwards. Take a look at these enlargements Sir. Shows what’s going on down there.”

Petraeus looked at the enlargements and then sharply at the third person in the room, the hulking figure of Abigor. “We knew it was bad in there, not this bad. Looks like Dante was spot-on in his description of the place though. More or less.” He paused for a second trying to regain his balance. Then, he addressed Abigor. “How could you, how could anybody do this?”

“We must.” Abigor’s voice was unapologetic. “Our survival depends on it. You kill lower animals to eat, to provide yourselves with food. This is no different, to us you are, were, lower animals to be exploited. So we exploited you to fill our needs.”

Petraeus reflected that Abigor was going to have to be very careful how he spoke in future. Otherwise he wasn’t going to survive much longer. There was an old Western custom involving a tree and a rope that was likely to be reborn. “This isn’t farming for food. This is just inflicting suffering for the sheer joy of it.”

“We do not eat your kind just for food although your kidlings are great delicacies.”

Yup thought Petraeus, he was going to have to be much more careful. “Then why?”

“Because we need the energy. When you humans live, you build up energy in your bodies. When you die, that energy boosts you up from your level to ours. But the energy barrier that separates us from the next level up is much stronger than the one that separates your level from ours. We need much more energy to cross it, energy we generate by prolonging the second deaths of your kind.”

“How do you know this?” Petraeus was genuinely curious, for the first time he was getting a real insight into the mind of Humanity’s greatest enemy.

“Because Satan told us so. Yahweh harvests energy as well for the same reason only he gathers his by making his subjects worship him. He gets the power from devotion.”

“Like the Ori.” The Intelligence officer was an avid Stargate fan.

Petraeus wasn’t but he still got the reference. “And that makes the baldricks like the Goa’uld I suppose. Abigor, you didn’t answer my question. How do you know this?”

“Because it is so. It has always been so. We must harvest energy to cross the barrier to the afterlife. Satan has us do so by the torments of the pit, Yahweh by demanding unending worship.”

“But that doesn’t make any kind of sense. How can two such totally different approaches yield the results you demand? It just doesn’t make sense.” The frustration was creeping through into Petraeus’s voice.

“As I said, it is what Yahweh and Satan both said. Why should they lie? They are Gods, they demand faith,”

“And I’m a General, I demand firepower. And we’ve seen what happens when your faith meets my firepower. The truth is Abigor, you don’t know any of this. You’ve got no proof for any of it. You’ve been sold a bill of goods, just like we were for so many thousands of years. You’ve been fooled, just like we were.”

Abigor stared at the pictures taken by the RF-111C, thoughts churning in his mind. He’d never thought this through before, those to whom he owed allegiance had demanded he accept their words and he had. But now he owed allegiance to humans and humans demanded proof. Those were their eternal replies when somebody claimed something. ‘Prove it.’ “How do you know?’ ‘What’s your proof?’ “If you can’t prove it, then it isn’t so.’ And the answer he could give to all those was ‘I can’t.’ For everything he believed was unproven. And that meant so many things.

Abigor spoke very slowly as the words formed in his mind, breaking the mental blocks of millennia. “No, I don’t know any of this. I just believed it. And if my belief was false.” His great clawed hand waved over the pictures. “Then all of this, all of it, was for nothing.
Last edited by Stuart on 2008-05-07 04:14pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-05-06 11:54am

Darth Wong wrote:Indeed, and Caesar might have been given special treatment, if Satan took enough note of him to inflict special punishment upon his betrayers, as per Dante's original writings. He might have been put into an area where it was easier to escape. He might even have been released.
Actually, there's a much more profound reason why Caesar isn't in torment. One that stems from a single line in HBO's "Rome" (excellent series by the way)
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Post by Enforcer Talen » 2008-05-06 12:04pm

Now, that makes it interesting. The game behind the myth? Cant wait to see where this goes.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-05-06 12:20pm

Yes! Another chapter! I've updated the clean-up version.
Stuart wrote:Actually, there's a much more profound reason why Caesar isn't in torment. One that stems from a single line in HBO's "Rome" (excellent series by the way)
Well, that certainly piques the curiosity! As for HBO's "Rome", I've seen bits of it. It does look very good, but I'm lousy at keeping up with serial shows.
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Post by Darmalus » 2008-05-06 12:27pm

Abigor spoke very slowly as the words formed in his mind, breaking the mental blocks of millennia. “No, I don’t know any of this. I just believed it. And if my belief was false.” His great clawed hand waved over the pictures. “Then all of this, all of it, was for nothing.
Its no fun having your whole mental world come crashing down. Whenever the humans get Hell Radio going, I can barely imagine the chaos as the demons experience their own version of The Message.

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Post by Raesene » 2008-05-06 01:14pm

Stuart wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Indeed, and Caesar might have been given special treatment, if Satan took enough note of him to inflict special punishment upon his betrayers, as per Dante's original writings. He might have been put into an area where it was easier to escape. He might even have been released.
Actually, there's a much more profound reason why Caesar isn't in torment. One that stems from a single line in HBO's "Rome" (excellent series by the way)
Which line ?

Nice chapter, but I was hoping for the end/salvation of Sheffield...

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Post by Stuart » 2008-05-06 01:15pm

Raesene wrote: Which line ?
Nice chapter, but I was hoping for the end/salvation of Sheffield...
:twisted:
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Post by tim31 » 2008-05-06 01:21pm

You TEASE.

Abigor's understanding grows yet...
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Post by Raesene » 2008-05-06 01:25pm

Stuart wrote:
Raesene wrote: Which line ?
Nice chapter, but I was hoping for the end/salvation of Sheffield...
:twisted:
I expected this response... :wink:

I half-expect the humans to have learned to intercept demonic communication and neutralize Belials homing beacon- if she can hear radio as a voice, 'we' might be able to pinpoint demons.

"In view of the circumstances, Britannia waives the rules."

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Post by Sidewinder » 2008-05-06 02:34pm

It's surprising that Abigor still thought of Satan and Yahweh as gods, when his experiences have REPEATEDLY shown that they're not omnipotent or omniscient. Or is the angels and demons' view of their "gods" comparable to the ancient Greeks and Vikings, i.e., that even gods have limitations and it's possible for a cunning human to take advantage of them?
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 Junghalli » 2008-05-06 02:37pm

Darmalus wrote:Its no fun having your whole mental world come crashing down.
Of course, the other side of the coin applies too. Just because Satan expects his lesser minions to take his word for it doesn't necessarily mean he's lying to them either. Abigor is jumping to conclusions.

The Hell Pit must serve some purpose, after all.

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Post by Darth Ruinus » 2008-05-06 02:53pm

Wait wait. Yahweh also harvests this energy? Then does this mean that Yahweh is expecting to die one day, and is hoping to get into Heaven?

Crazy. :shock:
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Post by Wyrm » 2008-05-06 03:28pm

Abigor spoke very slowly as the words formed in his mind, breaking the mental blocks of millennia. “No, I don’t know any of this. I just believed it. And if my belief was false.” His great clawed hand waved over the pictures. “Then all of this, all of it, was for nothing.
Abigor has taken a very big intellectual step.

*sniff* Our favorite little hellite is growin' up!
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Post by Starglider » 2008-05-06 03:44pm

Raesene

Demons are capable of interpreting radio waves as sound (certain FM bands at least), but it's pretty clear that demonic telepathy does not work the same way as human radio - it can't, since it works on humans, who aren't equipped to receive or transmit. The radio transmission works in concert with some kind of strange quantum 'entanglement' effect.

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Post by JN1 » 2008-05-06 05:04pm

Sidewinder wrote:It's surprising that Abigor still thought of Satan and Yahweh as gods, when his experiences have REPEATEDLY shown that they're not omnipotent or omniscient.
Reminds me a little of the main villains in Stargate SG:1, who set themselves up as gods but are not.

I was rather hoping to see what happens, does not happen to Sheffield as well. Will the council emergency centre appear at some stage with someone wondering if the attack warning is for real? :lol:

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Post by CypherLH » 2008-05-06 05:29pm

JN1 wrote:
Sidewinder wrote:It's surprising that Abigor still thought of Satan and Yahweh as gods, when his experiences have REPEATEDLY shown that they're not omnipotent or omniscient.
Reminds me a little of the main villains in Stargate SG:1, who set themselves up as gods but are not.

I was rather hoping to see what happens, does not happen to Sheffield as well. Will the council emergency centre appear at some stage with someone wondering if the attack warning is for real? :lol:
Am I the only one hoping that the Demons start striking back? As much as I like this story its getting rather one sided. I'm thinking that if Hell is big enough perhaps Belial's realm can hold out long enough to drown dozens of large earth cities in lava :) Dropping lava on the earth-side of the hellmouth in Iraq would do a nice job of interrupting the human lines of supply eh? :)

Another issue, is it just me or does hell seem too small? I mean to hold these billions of human souls wouldn't Hell need to be pretty damn huge? Yet the human army seems to have already conquered an entire region of Hell and human aircraft seem to already be surveying all of Hell. Perhaps Hell as a whole is much larger than the torture areas themselves? I.E. - the circles of hell and the pits are just a small percentage of the entire surface area of hell? This would explain where the Orcs, Naga, and other sentient hellish denizens are coming from.

I'm wondering if the Naga and some of the other species in hell may actually turn out to be more adaptable and thus a worse enemy to humanity than the Demons?

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