Armageddon???? Epilogue Up

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Post by K. A. Pital » 2008-09-14 04:32am

Ah, so you mean that his evil guilt is NOT massively shifting the balance of power in the US side? :? That's "guilt"?
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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-09-14 06:18am

It seems like why Stuart has such antipathy for McNamara, but... I think the problem is with the whole thing of "defense (even at the expense of the military) -- and thus not start foreign wars -- and let the Soviet economy be what defeats them" being eventually subverted, with the mention of what Kennedy wanted (the active interventionary Army) and what McNamara implemented. It's one thing to not massively swing things in favor of the U.S. (seeing as Stuart claims that the missile gap and economies were already going our way), it's another to fuck over the average serviceman (even if I wouldn't say that the M16 was one of them... in the long run) and in turn inflict negative consequences on the country with Vietnam.

Ironic then that the U.S. military in this story is the descendant of just that military. :lol:
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Post by JCady » 2008-09-14 11:10am

SPC Brungardt wrote:
Stas Bush wrote:That is just an author point or something. I find it hard to believe garroting some sort of defense program is a huge mortal sin Laughing I mean, in that case Admiral Amelko would burn in hell because he didn't allow aircraft carriers to be built in the USSR for almost 40 years.
How is that even a proper analogy?

Soviet Union builds a few carriers here and there, operates them when weather allows in their handful of ports. US Navy slightly annoyed but hardly challenged by the additional threat. Strategic balance of powers unchanged.

US Army gets funding for dozens of ABM sites, each complete with ~30 Spartan midcourse ABM's and 16 Spartan point-defense ABM's, to defend the actual ABM silo's and radar's -- literally thousands of missiles.[/size]
Strategic balance of power grossly in favor the the US.
You mean Spartan midcourse ABMs and Sprint point-defence ABMs.

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Post by Medic » 2008-09-14 03:08pm

Stas Bush wrote:Ah, so you mean that his evil guilt is NOT massively shifting the balance of power in the US side? :? That's "guilt"?
Securing our citizens from attack isn't a worthwhile goal? We're not even talking bombing brown people or taking their oil, we're talking a defensive shield.

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Post by anybody_mcc » 2008-09-14 04:17pm

SPC Brungardt wrote:
Stas Bush wrote:Ah, so you mean that his evil guilt is NOT massively shifting the balance of power in the US side? :? That's "guilt"?
Securing our citizens from attack isn't a worthwhile goal? We're not even talking bombing brown people or taking their oil, we're talking a defensive shield.
There is a difference between evil act and not pursuing worthwhile goal. You changed Stas' evil to talking about worthwhile goals.
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Post by K. A. Pital » 2008-09-14 11:20pm

Securing our citizens from attack isn't a worthwhile goal?
I was talking about guilt of evil acts. You suddenly started harping about said person not accomplishing something "worthwhile".

Moreover, are you saying that anything that shields the US from a possible strategic attack is good, whereas the opposite is evil? :?

I thought your moral compass would be broken, but to that extent - wonderful. The idea that you, through an arms race, would force the economy of another nation collapse - all according to your plan in the first place, with the other side having a huge inferiority gap with strategic arsenals - and glee over it's remains is also what I would classify as a seriously flawed view of things. Since you don't even fucking know what the economic collapse of the USSR looked like and what kind of grand suffering for the people it caused, you probably have no clue what you are talking about.

Imagine if China started a buildup while ditching dollar obligations to see the US financial crisis deepen and try cause a collapse of the US economy, to "secure itself from the US" (and I doubt anyone would argue the US is not a threat to nations both great and small). And you'd glee over it, exalt the architects of the plan as "good men" and if someone - by virtue of stupidity even, not malevolence - suddenly botched that plan, you would denounce him as a person guilty of evil, of treason and the like?

"Anyone who doesn't make America's militarily superior to everyone else is a guilty evil traitor"?
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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-09-14 11:55pm

I'd say that based on Stuart's retelling of events, the "interventionary" aspect (read: 'more' war) was the worst part for everyone in general.
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Post by FedRebel » 2008-09-15 12:27am

Stas Bush wrote: "Anyone who doesn't make America's militarily superior to everyone else is a guilty evil traitor"?
Technically we were at a state of war with your people, McNamara sabotaged/corrupted/handicapped/stupefied, whatever you want to call it the primary strategy for peacefully eliminating the perceived threat your nation posed. His actions were for his own ego and NOT for the good of his country in that present enviroment.

If we had maintained Ike's strategy the US would maintain an immense level of strategic supremacy over the USSR and would posses the necessary defense to shrug off any attack with only negligible damage, these would serve as a sort of insurance policy if somebody in the crumbling communist house of cards was thinking of doing something suicidal. And that house of cards will crumble much early that it did with McNamara's antics as it'd be unable to cope with Uncle Sam's Iron Gauntlet.
Moreover, are you saying that anything that shields the US from a possible strategic attack is good, whereas the opposite is evil? :?
In the context of the Cold War, yes

MAD is just what the acronym implies, it's insane. McNamara's 'sabotage' of ARADCOM basically was serving up 250 million Americans on a radioactive silver platter, and killing off what remained of the Valkyrie program (despite Congressional orders to procure the aircraft) was the garnish to that platter. McNamara's actions put the lives of millions of Americans at risk and increased the likely hood of a nuclear exchange, plus we now know that he lied to congress about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and that he prohibited the use of the B-58 in Vietnam (which paired with some F-105's would've been deadly effective), he bears a sizable level of responsibility for the the lives lost in the Vietnam war.
I thought your moral compass would be broken, but to that extent - wonderful. The idea that you, through an arms race, would force the economy of another nation collapse - all according to your plan in the first place, with the other side having a huge inferiority gap with strategic arsenals - and glee over it's remains is also what I would classify as a seriously flawed view of things. Since you don't even fucking know what the economic collapse of the USSR looked like and what kind of grand suffering for the people it caused, you probably have no clue what you are talking about.


The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union

Yes there were other factors that contributed to the collapse, the military aspect was what drove you over the edge, and it's the only thing that could've in a reasonably short time frame.
Imagine if China started a buildup while ditching dollar obligations to see the US financial crisis deepen and try cause a collapse of the US economy, to "secure itself from the US" (and I doubt anyone would argue the US is not a threat to nations both great and small). And you'd glee over it, exalt the architects of the plan as "good men" and if someone - by virtue of stupidity even, not malevolence - suddenly botched that plan, you would denounce him as a person guilty of evil, of treason and the like?
Bad example, the US and China are locked in a symbiotic relationship. If the PRC ditches the dollar, whatever economic hardships the US faces would pale in comparison to what China would suffer economically and trying to fund such military programs would just worsen the situation to the point that what happened to Russia would look like a picnic.

The PRC is better off leaching off the American giant and using it's obligations to the USD to build it's own economy up, and investing in anything militarily that could anger said giant is unwise (everyone knows what happens when you piss off the United States sufficiently enough)

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Post by K. A. Pital » 2008-09-15 12:47am

FedRebel wrote:Technically we were at a state of war with your people
"Technically"? Proxy conflicts, client state wars, sure. Directly? No, and you never were. There's no "technical" state of war except real combat activities.
FedRebel wrote:McNamara sabotaged/corrupted/handicapped/stupefied, whatever you want to call it the primary strategy for peacefully eliminating the perceived threat your nation posed
"Eliminating the perceived threat your nation posed"? You mean, having massive superiority in all strategic munitions and still trying to actively wreck the economy of our nation by forcing us to spend disproportionate amounts of money on the military? Even lying to your own people about our perceived threat ('missile gap' and other bullshit) so that you could take more from their pockets for the war machine? That's a moral good? And the opposite of that is a moral evil?
FedRebel wrote:...he bears a sizable level of responsibility for the the lives lost in the Vietnam war.
You mean only American lives are "lives"? And saving Americans by slaughtering more and more Vietnamese was a moral good?

How about me saying that the US and their Saigon friends bear responsibility of thousands of Vietnamese killed? And that their defeat was a moral good, so that US generals and soldiers are the ones who should burn in Hell really?
FedRebel wrote:Bad example
The example was to show a moral point, not to examine the feasibility of China ruining US economy, or it's desireability for China itself.

You seem to have the same "everything that's good for America is a moral good" idea. Well here's a thought, "I'd be happy if your nation fell apart and experienced a devastating economic crisis or even civil war just to eliminate the threat you pose to my nation" doesn't sound like a morally sound position.

And no, you were not in a state of war with the USSR, neither are you in a state of war with Russia. If your leaders lied to your people that we actually were in a state of war and exaggerated the real abilities of our economy and military to make the plan work, that is their responsibility.
FedRebel wrote:MAD is just what the acronym implies, it's insane.
Yeah, I forgot, the unilateral ability of America to massacre any nation with nuclear weapons while thoroughly defended by a shield - is a good and "worthwhile goal", while the opposite is "insane". I just wonder where the bizarro world of "eliminating threat to X" ends.

Another thought for you, the 250 million Americans "put at risk" were the price for not putting the other 6 billion humans at risk to become a target of American nuclear weapons in any conflict, any time while having no ability to retaliate.
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Post by ray245 » 2008-09-15 01:51am

Since the first book has been completed...I think we can start discussing on the book as a whole.

Personally, the key issues I have with this story is this book should have focused on less well known historical figures.

If more historical figures has been used, such as figures from central asia, india, china or africa is used it can make the story seems more epic, and the fact that hell population isn't made up of people from european descent. That hell includes the population of the entire world.

I hope that this story address the beliefs of people from other religions in hell...such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or tribal beliefs.


The second issue I have is the villains in this story. I know that Stuart wants to make Yahweh close to how Yahweh is written in the bible...however, I find that this make Yahweh in this story very two-dimensional.

In a way, he becomes a less interesting agonists in this story, and Yahweh seems to be a generic evil overlord of the month in tons of fantasy and science fiction stories.

Personally I feel that it might be better to portray Yahweh as how Christian portrays him, and not how the bible portray him. Firstly, the impact of such a portrayal will have a much larger impact, and address the issue of why are we going against a fellow that is portrayed to be a kind figure.

It will be better in my humble opinion to portray Yahweh as a misguided idealist fellow who wants to help people in the right way, but does it in the wrong manner.

Which is what this board is arguing on....that while tons of Christians has the good intention of helping people out ( such as their idea that they are ensuring other people do not suffer in hell) they are doing it in the wrong way.

The christians themselves tend to portray their god as a father figure. Perhaps what can be done to address the issue of such a father figure is to address Yahweh is in a role of a father.

That Yahweh himself is taking up the role of a father who punishes his child at times 'in the child's best interest', that a father should have a strong say over his child.

What Stuart can portray in this scenario is a growing up fic for humanity as a whole. The age of liberalism is an age for humanity when we step into our teenage years, where we first started to question our parent's teachers, and be able to think or realise that our parents can be wrong at times.

And it may be better to say how sad Yahweh to condemn humanity to hell, like how a parent feel when he or she is hitting or punishing his/her child. And Yahweh seems to think it is for the best.

And by the time Yahweh said that everyone will end up in hell, humanity has become an adult, being able to make decision for themselves. However, Yahweh is this scenario refused to acknowledge humanity as an adult (which is what some parents is doing).

What can be done in a better manner is to tell chrisitian why we have to go against a parental figure who thinks he has the best interest of us.

We can address the issue of why as humanity in this scenario outgrow god better if Yahweh is portrayed in this manner.

Which is why I think the portrayal of Yahweh in this scenario should be a misguided idealist, who wants the best of humanity (by following his own point of view) but is doing it in the wrong way.

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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-09-15 01:59am

I felt that Satan was a wasted chance. He was cool... too bad the cruise missile blew his head off. :lol:

But Jesus Christ, he survived a missile to the chest! Holy shit!


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Post by Stuart » 2008-09-15 08:58am

Singular Quartet wrote: Stuart, a recommendation: With every other person you named in the 9th circle, I figured out why they were there within 30 seconds of looking them up on Wikipedia, and they were/are traitors to the last. Most of them should probably be left in that pit, and maybe some of the people from Tarturus shold join them. McNamara, however, I had to wait for you to explain why the fuck he was supposed to be there. Like I said above, McNamara, in his own head, was not a traitor. With all of the others, they were people who said "I am going to betray X." McNamara, on the other hand, was "I am going to do my job. And I am right. ALWAYS." Not the same. NcNamara was a fucking idiot, and I suppose if you twist and torture the logic enough, he did betray his country, but its not the same.
I agree; but stuffing McNamara into the deepest circle of hell was an idea so delicious that I just couldn't resist it. I'll edit it out when the written version gets prepared, just look on it as a little self-indulgence.
Stas Bush wrote:I mean, in that case Admiral Amelko woudl burn in hell because he didn't allow aircraft carriers to be built in the USSR for almost 40 years.
Actually I could make a good case that Admiral Gorschkov should be down there; the resources he comandeered to build up the Soviet Fleet were largely wasted and probably shortened the end of the Cold War by a half-decade or so.
Darth Wong wrote:One question: how do the demons actually know which sins the dead humans committed in life? It's not as if they're omniscient; do they read the dead humans' minds? Is there some aura about a person?
They don't go by the actual acts committed but by the nature of teh person. In somebody has a dark and treacherous mind, down they go to the 9th circle. If somebody is a dithering nonentity, into the first circle. Now, a dithering nonentity may actually have done something quite horrible but the demons won't pick up on that. Instead its 'This one is a wuss, into the first circle with him". Equally somebody with a dark and treacherous mind may never have actually committed treason but gets trhown down there because he has that sort of character (yes, Satan was very sensitive about treason, most people who gain power by insurrection are). So, it is an aura thing rather than actual deeds.

Incidently, music for film scenes involving fighting between humans and demons. Rolling Stones, Painted Black
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Post by Edward Yee » 2008-09-15 09:13am

To see if we can resolve this conflict... Stuart, would you say that McNamara was basically leading the world down a rather horrid path in general through going with Kennedy on the whole "interventionary" bent?

Although, the "mentality" explanation I suppose could be an explanation, but I can't guarantee that it will hold up... although, story-wise I suppose it's a moot point by now... or is it not? :twisted:
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Post by Stuart » 2008-09-15 09:19am

ray245 wrote:Personally, the key issues I have with this story is this book should have focused on less well known historical figures. If more historical figures has been used, such as figures from central asia, india, china or africa is used it can make the story seems more epic, and the fact that hell population isn't made up of people from european descent. That hell includes the population of the entire world.
This sounds very good in theory, in practice it doesn't work too well. If we're going to pull historical characters in, they have to be ones that are well-known to the general public and that's a pretty low lowest common denominator. Using relatively insignificant characters means that the reader just scratches his head, asks 'who is he' and gets bored. However, in this story, I'm trying to use dead characters who are not famous at all. After all, how many 'famous' characters are there? 100,000? If that? There are 90 billion humans in hell. The chances of finding an important character are very slight. Instead of finding (for example) Sun Tzu, its more likely we'll find Hu Flu, rice farmer or Yu Rang, peddler. That's why I discouraged the use of historical characters (a huge number were written out). Only right at the end did I allow one single character in because that made a great end to the story (that's Mark Sheppard's contribution by the way and very grateful for it I was).
I know that Stuart wants to make Yahweh close to how Yahweh is written in the bible...however, I find that this make Yahweh in this story very two-dimensional. In a way, he becomes a less interesting agonists in this story, and Yahweh seems to be a generic evil overlord of the month in tons of fantasy and science fiction stories. Personally I feel that it might be better to portray Yahweh as how Christian portrays him, and not how the bible portray him. Firstly, the impact of such a portrayal will have a much larger impact, and address the issue of why are we going against a fellow that is portrayed to be a kind figure. It will be better in my humble opinion to portray Yahweh as a misguided idealist fellow who wants to help people in the right way, but does it in the wrong manner.
Sorry, I disagree here. The whole point of this story is to take Biblical myth and shake it until its ears bleed. In many ways, its an allegory rather than a straightforward adventure story; it can be read as the struggle of humanism (in its philosophical sense), of science, technology and the light of knowledge against fear, superstition, dogma and the darkness of ignorance. Hence the rapid fall of Hell at the end; at one level it's what happens when a regime that is based on fear finds itself confronted with something that generates even greater fear but on another level, its the story of how quickly ignorance and superstition crumble when somebody actually opens their eyes and says 'hey, that isn't true after all!'

So, we will stick with using Bible myth as a mainframe. This story is very specifically about what happens when Bible Myth meets modern humanity head-on. Soon, we'll be seeing what happens when humanity turns its eyes on Heaven - and heaven turns its eyes on the new humanity.
shroom man 777 wrote:I felt that Satan was a wasted chance. He was cool... too bad the cruise missile blew his head off
Satan couldn't survive his regime was too brittle, too vulnerable to decapitation. Humans wouldn't negotiate with him, killing him was their only real option. Oddly, Satan signed his death-warrant when he sent Abigor out to die; once humans had him, they had a tool to replace Satan.


Oh, by the way, to give everybody a really good laugh on a Monday morning; I was reading some comments on Armageddon on an Alternate-History site. This one was really prize.

"Its completely unrealistic, Satan wouldn't fight like that"

Exsqueeze me, with have M1 tanks shooting the crap out of Hell and he's worried about realism. I just cracked up laughing.
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Post by tim31 » 2008-09-15 09:38am

Can never please everyone; those sort of people complain about realism in counterstrike and COD, anyway.
Stuart wrote:Incidently, music for film scenes involving fighting between humans and demons. Rolling Stones, Painted Black
Ha, I just watched through FMJ again last week, I'm feeling that.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-09-15 09:44am

ray245's idea of making Yahweh into a mere "misguided idealist fellow" is retarded, just like most of ray245's ideas. We're talking about a guy who commits genocide when people disrespect him, for fuck's sake. He's far more like a thuggish crime-lord than an idealist.
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Post by Peptuck » 2008-09-15 09:49am

Stuart wrote: Oh, by the way, to give everybody a really good laugh on a Monday morning; I was reading some comments on Armageddon on an Alternate-History site. This one was really prize.

"Its completely unrealistic, Satan wouldn't fight like that"

Exsqueeze me, with have M1 tanks shooting the crap out of Hell and he's worried about realism. I just cracked up laughing.
Wow, there's someone out there who is an expert on the way hell wages war? :lol:

I need a link to this for laughs.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-09-15 09:51am

Stuart wrote:Oh, by the way, to give everybody a really good laugh on a Monday morning; I was reading some comments on Armageddon on an Alternate-History site. This one was really prize.

"Its completely unrealistic, Satan wouldn't fight like that"

Exsqueeze me, with have M1 tanks shooting the crap out of Hell and he's worried about realism. I just cracked up laughing.
He's probably one of those religious people who assumes that the mythical demons and angels of the Bible are so incomprehensibly powerful that they would just laugh at our weapons, which would have no effect on them because our weapons are merely physical, not supernatural. Never mind the fact that the angels and demons themselves use natural phenomena such as hail, wind, rain, and disease for their weapons in the Bible, and Yahweh feared the Tower of Babel.

When people like this say "realistic", what they actually mean is "in line with my personal expectations", however childish those expectations may be.
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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-09-15 10:29am

Stuart wrote:
shroom man 777 wrote:I felt that Satan was a wasted chance. He was cool... too bad the cruise missile blew his head off
Satan couldn't survive his regime was too brittle, too vulnerable to decapitation. Humans wouldn't negotiate with him, killing him was their only real option. Oddly, Satan signed his death-warrant when he sent Abigor out to die; once humans had him, they had a tool to replace Satan.
Yeah... I know he had to go, and I'm sure eventually Belial would have to go as well. In fact, I was surprised that Belial made it out alive, rather than ending up dead and bloodied and torn to pieces after Euryale's execution attempt, which was done really Mafia style (but with demons and lightning spears!).

It was a really great scene, the attempted axing of Belial. Really iconic and memorable, and reminiscent of some mob movie - like Scarface!

*sigh* I'll miss Satan ranting and raving and carrying on. He needed more scenes like Hitler in Downfall, or something. Screaming impotently on the verge of defeat, cussing his subordinates and shouting stuff like "cunts for eyes!"

But we can save that for Yaweh! :twisted:

Oh, by the way, to give everybody a really good laugh on a Monday morning; I was reading some comments on Armageddon on an Alternate-History site. This one was really prize.

"Its completely unrealistic, Satan wouldn't fight like that"

Exsqueeze me, with have M1 tanks shooting the crap out of Hell and he's worried about realism. I just cracked up laughing.
I find it humorous that the English-accented cold and calculating defense analyst-slash-Herman Kahn acolyte would go "Exsqueeze me!" like Derek Zoolander! :lol:
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ray245
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Post by ray245 » 2008-09-15 12:06pm

Darth Wong wrote:ray245's idea of making Yahweh into a mere "misguided idealist fellow" is retarded, just like most of ray245's ideas. We're talking about a guy who commits genocide when people disrespect him, for fuck's sake. He's far more like a thuggish crime-lord than an idealist.
Personally I have seen people who thinks that the god in this scenario isn't the god that chrisitans are respecting. Ok, you can say that Yahweh in the bible isn't that kind, but being to justify why should humanity attack heaven in this scenario even when Yahweh is a kind fellow certainly seems to make the story more relevant to the whole Atheism-religion debate that is occuring now.

I mean you guys have basically argued that religious fundie will pick and choose in regards to the bible to defend himself, and it becomes so hard to actually debate with them.

If you go and ask a chrisitan on a street, most of them will simply say 'oh he is a kind old guy who has our best interest in mind'. That's the perception that most christian have on Yahweh.

Which brings back the issue that alot of christian will dismiss the protrayal of Yahweh in this story as a different god, and not the christian god.

If I remember correctly, this is how one guy said about this story. 'Oh the story is fun, but I can accept such a story because this is not god as we know it.'

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Post by Kodiak » 2008-09-15 12:06pm

So, is it completely over, or is there an epilogue coming? I personally was hoping for something "3 months later" when the world has returned to a sense of normalcy (if you can consider a road from earth to hell and conversing with the souls of the damned "normal") and a set-up for the next book. Am I looking in vain?
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Post by Stuart » 2008-09-15 12:55pm

Heavengate, Hell

Belial looked at the great fortress that guarded the one single gate that led directly from Hell to Heaven. The guards were sloppy, ill-disciplined and this compared badly with the days under Satan’s rule. The humans hadn’t found out about this place yet and their machines were not surrounding it. To Belial, it looked as if the whole place was about to fall apart. That was an insult of course, Belial knew this place, knew how solidly it was built, in fact he knew it far better than anybody suspected. He knew there was a way in that by-passed the narrow twisting tunnel that the guards here used.

In the darkness, he slipped over the wall, making his way down the stairway towards the entrance. It was tiny, too small by far for him to use. But, once he had found it, he was able to orientate himself. He had to go one hundred blocks to the left, ten blocks up, then five back to the right. It was a measure of how cunningly this place had been built that going 95 blocks to the left and then five up would not take him to the same place. In any case, climbing at anywhere other than the right place was impossible.

“Sire, what are you doing here?” The demon guard had come on him unexpectedly. Belial cursed himself for being so distracted that he had allowed a traitor to some so close. Had Euryale sent him? Or the humans? It didn’t matter. Belial swung around and fired the modified human shotgun that had been made at Palelabor, watching the iron fragments blast the unfortunate demon into wherever came next.

Belial know the blast would attract attention and he had to work fast. His talons found the holes and he started pressing the keys inside, in the right order, hearing the panels drop inside as he did so. With the last one, the stone block was free to move. Belial pushed it, sending it pivoting backwards. He was getting feverish with hurry, he could hear the guards approaching but the second block was free to pivot. He was inside the secret tunnel and the blocks pivoted back in time to conceal him from the approaching guards.

The tunnel was still cramped for a demon as large as Belial but he scrambled down, feeling the undressed stone tearing at him. It was utterly dark, and the sudden end caused him a heavy blow to his head. Now, he had to find the correct sequence again and this time his life hung in the balance. Get this wrong and the stones would swing to close the tunnel completely, crushing him out of existence.

Finally, the slabs were free and Belial was able to drop into the Heavengate chamber. It was empty, the guards had gone. He took a deep breath and stepped through the gate, into the Heavengate Chamber the other side. The guards there had gone as well and there was but a single figure sitting on a convenient stone.

“Don’t shoot! I am the Grand Duke Belial, seeking refuge from the humans. Hell has fallen, the Humans rule everything.”

“And why should we take you in?” Michael’s voice was teasing, condescending.

“Because I know how to beat the humans.”

“So do we.” Michael stared at Belial. He’d been expecting the former Great Duke for some days and had been getting to the point where he assumed the demon wouldn’t make it.

“No, the humans have weapons that outclass anything we have. Remember in the Great Celestial War, we fought for eons without gaining an advantage? Yet the humans crushed us utterly in a few of their months. Heaven cannot stand any more that hell could. Not without the weapons I have built.”

Michael nodded. He would take Belial to Yahweh, perhaps the idea of a refugee in Heaven would amuse him. Or, at least, keep him out of the way while Michael got on with his own plans.

Bush Ranch, Crawford, Texas

“I am pleased to report that we now have six divisions fully formed and a second corps headquarters is now operational. We believe that the British Army will soon be able to contribute twelve full divisions to the First Army Group. With our allies in Canada contributing two divisions, Australia three divisions and New Zealanders putting in another full division, we’ll be up to 18 divisions, organized as three whole Corps. We’re expanding our marines to a whole division as well, bringing us up to 19 divisions. That’s nearly a whole Army and with the four American armies in the First Army Group, we believe we can hold our heads up high. Then of course, there’s all the troops we’re holding back for home defense, I’d say we have nearly two million people under arms at the moment. Proud moment for us all, I can tell you.

“May I ask who will be commanding the Commonwealth Army?”

“Yes indeed. We’ve appointed Sir Mike Jackson to take on the job, he’s the most experience senior officer we have who is still fit and healthy enough to take on such an arduous job. He’s used to serving with and under our allies, so I doubt we have much to worry about. I’m more worried about our equipment problems, we’ve still got units armed with SA-80 rifles but at least new aircraft are coming off the production lines to replace the museum pieces and the six Type 45 destroyers cancelled by the government have been reinstated.”

“Thank you for your time Admiral.” The television reporter turned to face camera and resumed “That was Admiral of the Fleet Lord West who kindly agreed to share his insights into the British contribution to the new Human Expeditionary Army. Back to you Greta.”

“Thank you Brian. Now, recapping our main news stories again, Hurricane Ike continues to batter the Houston area although it is now moving off to the North East. Meteorologists are puzzled at the way the storm seemed to pause over the Houston/Galveston region for several hour. However, President Abigor of Dis has offered work teams of demons to help with rescue and repair efforts. He said that the demon teams were a first effort to help heal the breech between humans and demons caused by Satan’s insane conduct.”

“I don’t think we need to see any more of that,” President Bush used the remote to flip the channel over to the CBS network. He was just in time to catch a fanfare of music.

“And now, CBS is proud to present the first in our new series of our late-evening current affairs debating programs hosted by Luga ‘You can’t lie to a succubus’ Sharmanaska.” The music swelled up and the familiar figure of Lugasharmanaska appeared at the back. She was wearing her usual black robe but in deference to CBS decency standards she had a red evening gown on under it. She took her seat beside the coffee table and her yellow eyes swept over the crows, the black vertical slit of her pupils contracting under the spotlights. The applause from the audience was enthusiastic if slightly restrained.

“My guest tonight is Michael Vick.” She paused as a string of hisses went around the theater. “As you all know, he was arrested and sent to prison for his part in a dog fighting ring. He has been released on temporary liberty for tonight’s show. Hello, Michael thank you for coming.”

“Why hello Luga. May I say….”

“No. We will ask the questions. Firstly, Michael, can you give us any good reason why we should not throw you into a ring full of rabid pit-bulls?

A thunderous burst of cheering echoed around the theater, the audience was beginning to warm to Lugasharmanaska and the show’s promoters relaxed. Selling this concept to the network bosses had been a hard deal to make. Still, Luga was turning out to be a hit. In many ways, they thought, it was a pity they couldn’t throw Michael Vick into a ring full of rabid pit-bulls, it would make excellent television. And their new chat-show host was just the person who could organize it.

Back in Crawford, Bush thumbed the remote control switch again. This time, he missed the program and hit an advertisement break instead. A picture of an office in New York with an urgent package while the manager berated a delivery organizer for not getting the package to Japan on time. Then, mid-tirade, he stopped as a black ellipse formed on his desk and a hand came out to tale the box. As it disappeared into the ellipse, the screen split to show a desk in Tokyo, with another ellipse forming there. The hand emerged with the package in it and deposited it’s cargo on in front of the recipient. The voice-over was a seductive contralto.

“Any where, any time, use the Yulupki Express Delivery Service. We go through hell to get your deliveries through on time.”

President Bush hastily changed the channel again. “Well, at least those naga things have found a non-destructive use for their talents.”

Ensconced in an arm chair, Condi Rice nodded. Then her attention was caught by another advertisement just starting. The voice-over was a dramatic baritone.

“Yes, you can take it with you! You’ve worked hard for your wealth, a life-time’s effort and sacrifice. Why should your children waste the products of your thrift and industry while you live here.” The scene cut to one of the refugee camps in the Phelan Plain. The huts were neat, clean and comfortable but small and there were a lot of them cramped together. That was inevitable of course, with Earth’s normal death toll and the humans being rescued from the pit, demand for housing far exceeded supply.

“Let your children stand on their own two feet, that’s what you did wasn’t it? Right, of course you did, now you can do it again. In partnership with the Government of the New Roman Republic, the Euryale Real Estate Company is proud to offer these beautiful plots of land along the banks of the Askaris River in the Elysium Fields.

“Yes, you too can live in the Elysium Fields, once the chosen homes of the gods and now the scene of an exciting new second-life community development. Chose one of three types of Villa. We have the Augustus, our top of the line atrium-style villa with four bedrooms and all modern conveniences. Then we have the Tiberius for the young-at-heart, slightly smaller but with great recreation and playtime facilities. And for those looking for a little more economy, we have the Nero, just perfect for the smaller family. All our villas have metal-lined walls and dust-filters so your living relatives can come and stay. If you want them to of course. And remember, property ownership brings citizenship in the New Roman Republic. So call us today on 1-800-EUR-YALE and get set up for the second life of your dreams.”

“Isn’t that the Euryale who was somehow involved with the attacks on Detroit and Sheffield.”

“It was, but she and Caesar got together and set this up. He got a huge land grant from her and that’s his New Rome.”

“Can he do that Condi?”

“Who, Caesar? Sure he can. He’s even been recognized as an independent state in hell, by the Italians of course. From the Army’s point of view, he’s set up a nice little well run state that’s keeping order and not causing trouble. He’s even building roads. Straight ones of course.”

George Bush shook his head. “Condi, I thought we’d won this war.”
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Kodiak
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Post by Kodiak » 2008-09-15 01:08pm

A sucubus talkshow host? I think that's probably the most ingenious use of her talents I could think of. Bravo Stuart, and well met. :lol:
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-09-15 01:09pm

Ah... television. Nothing clarifies the culture so well as its' commercials. So, is Abigor only the President of Dis and its outlying communities, but not Hell in general? What percentage of the demon population is under the authority of Dis?
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Post by Starglider » 2008-09-15 01:10pm

And done. Great stuff as ever, Luga finally found her true vocation, and Belial is now firmly in evil genius / Bond villain territory. :)

Thanks again to Stuart, Surlethe and everyone involved, it was a pleasure both to read and contribute and I'm eagerly anticipating the next story.

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