Ça Ira! (The Terran Revolts) a TGG story.

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Ça Ira! (The Terran Revolts) a TGG story.

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-11-30 05:38am

8 October 2687 VS-5 (Taloran Home Universe)
Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris.

Major Rikhami Nhajham held the area under and around the Arc de Triumphe with a single battalion of mechanized infantry and a company of hovertanks in support. Her command headquarters, located directly under the great Terran arch, were simply overwhelmed with the number of reports coming in, of the rioting around the universities and the violence which had spread with aggressive use of firebombs, improvised explosives, and rifles. And, now, smuggled UTHP military-grade anti-tank weaponry.

More worrying were the reports that the impoverished in the banlieus had joined in the riots. Finally, the news came which she had not wanted to hear:

"This is Company C, 1667th Light Brigade! We're pulling out of the La Défense axis; estimate at least five thousand all armed. We've lost eighty soldiers and our position is entirely indefensible.. They're firing against us from every direction..."

"Shall I order the reserve platoon forward along axis-défense, Sir?" Captain-Lieutenant Savimha asked from Major Nhajham's side.

"Not yet. We're holding the junction of twelve avenues; I soon expect that we will be pressed from more sides than we can imagine. We have but a single platoon guarding each axis and a single tank. We cannot afford to commit any reserves so soon. Let's wait and see. But..."

There was an explosion nearby, the ground shuddering a bit as they both glanced to see the remnants of the explosion of an anti-tank missile.

"Ah, but they seem to have a sniper upon us. Tell Lieutenant Erasami's armour to put down a fire-pattern on her sector, if you please, Captain-Lieutenant."

"Of course, Sir!" The subaltern answered, turning for the coms with his sword jangling against his hip.

Major Nhajham found the Master of the Band, and smiled faintly as she took the chance to doff her helmet with carelessness and brush a hand wryly through hair which only the day before yesterday had been clean from the fine Turkish baths of the French capitol. "If you'd form up your musicians and march 'round the perimeter? We're not in regular combat here, after all, and the danger is not much, but it will cheer the soldiers when they're so dearly outnumbered. My girls and my boys will be facing a hundred to one odds in a few minutes..."

"If you order it, Your Worship," the Warrant officer answered, using the form of address demanded of lower-ranked officers not of the nobility; the regimental and general-rank officers received 'Your Eminence' from the ranks and warrants.

"It's ordered," Major Nhajham answered, stepping on lightly to the Quartermaster, as she refastened her helmet, and ignored the light patter of bullets on the concrete of the Place from the snipers who had been creeping closer. "Hey! Break open the battalion's liqueur stores, hmm? Have your men put to bringing it 'round to the infantry. The French will be relieving it from their bellies right soon enough, after all."

Officer and Warrant shared a dark chuckle. "Aye, Your Worship, but it will make this lot of rogues and thieves fight twice as hard for it!"

Rikhami turned to see as the light guns of Lieutenant Erasami's platoon armour--four armoured personnel carriers--opened fire on a block adjacent to the Avenue de Wagram. The fat, sparking blue bolts shot through the air with the burning of ozone and smashed through a dozen or more of the fine old buildings with the power of chemical tank rounds, the thundering of their impacts coming oh-so-much closer than the distant explosions which had over the past hours turned the entire Parisian skyline red with fire and cloudy with smoke.

All that was left was smashed rubble and burning, shattered ruins. A feature of much of the city, at this rate.... She returned to her command post and watched the infrared feeds which showed, clearly enough, the efforts of the enemy to filter up closer, covering the three kilometres from their last position in the La Défense district. Anyway, it could be heard, soon enough, and their guest in the command post seemed to seize up on the words.

She asked him, in badly accented French: "What precisely are they singing which disturbs you so, Your Grace?" For the man in question was a Bourbon, who had just managed to reach the Place before they were cut off, the Duke of Orleans, and he knew well the bloody history of his family.

"Ça Ira, Major. We Will Win. The song of the revolutionaires who put to death the old King Louis..."

"In my grandmother's days," Rikhami agreed after a moment, frowning, for with her fine ears she could clearly discern the swelling of the sound. Then, in a glorious moment, the wood flutes and the drums of her little band cut through and overrode the sounds, with proud royalist defiance and a vaguely Turkish tint to the un-European sound.

"How shall you take them?"

"Let my precious children have a drink," the Major answered. "And then, Your Grace, we suit up. Hit them with the tank guns and with the mortars at the same time. I've already had them loaded with nerve gas."

"Dear merciful God, you.. You people don't mess around, do you?"

"Do you want to be guillotined like your ancestors, Your Grace?" Rikhami shrugged. "They're dead no matter how we kill them, and all of this talk of ideology just hurts my head. I was born a farm girl, not so high of noble blood like you, and got into the academy by merit, and I know two things; that my Sovereign Empress, Her Serene Majesty, was ordained by God to rule over the peoples of the universe in their nations and races, and that another force five thousand strong is coming up the Avenue Victor Hugo." She smiled and showed her teeth, and in a Taloran, it was a nasty expression.

"Sir! There seem to be increased enemy forces mustering down the Avenue Wagram despite our suppressive fire! But they're driven out and very good targets. Lieutenant Erasami requests permission to use her supporting mortar detachment."

"Not quite, subaltern," Rikhami answered without turning, observing the progress of everyone having had their chance in the lines to get a drink. She was going to patiently hold fire, even as some of her troops fell wounded or dead, until the revolutionaires had brought themselves almost to point-blank range. "Time to suit up, Your Grace." She started pulling on the last components of her NBC gear from the moment she'd spoken the words, and muttered to herself, before activating her suit voicebox, "Ahh, my precious children, my dear drunken rogues, do not fail me now.... This I pray."

Accessing the relevant data-points, the situation was brutally clear. Strong forces were descending upon them from three avenues, and skirmishers down the other nine. But all units were positive, and the wind direction... Really didn't matter at this point. Rebellions are always messy things.

She keyed the connection in to the mortar battery leader herself. "Cornet," and lo! but did she hate having such an inexperienced officer in charge of such an important task, "chemical loads. Sections three, five and six. Suppressing pattern on sectors Wagram, Victor Hugo, Défense. Engage."

With a characteristic heavy thump, the 130mm's opened up, their shells passing without explosions over the enemy, but instead releasing their silent and deadly cargo. "Tanks on engaged sectors may engage!"

Fat, sparking blue bolts tore through the air with supersonic booms as the guns of the massive hovertanks recoiled, resting comfortably upon the ground in their fixed defensive positions. The bolts had the power to level several city blocks at once if they weren't so focused that their impacts simply drove deep into the ground, causing obscure eruptions of steam and vapour, of magma from the surrounding rock, little places melted into glass by their power, easily smashing entirely buildings around them, setting a dozen on fire at a time, or powering through the remnants of those already torched and adding to the chaos.

Until this moment, the successful rebellious mob of Paris had not encountered Taloran armour, and now it was fortuitously emplaced to take advantage of Napoleon III's reconstruction of the city in the 1870s with so many grand and straight avenues creating clear fire-paths. Centuries later, the basic layout of the City of Light hadn't changed enough to hinder the action of the direct-fire guns of the tanks. Within a few minutes of firing, they had completed a major landscaping effort in the area of the Place Charles de Gaulle, to lend the aspect of the combat a bloody understatement.

The mob had long gone silent. Those among them with solid military training, rather than a few days of quick orders in the banlieus controlled by the rebels before they had tried to spread out, and thereby provoked the ire of the Taloran division garrisoning Paris, now forced their way forward, hoarded gas masks on for their not-infrequent confrontations with the UTHP security troops of the past. But though the average attacker had a gas mask, their protection in terms of the skin was rather less effective, and many were soon acutely struck down with the effects of the poison gas.

The light calliope guns of the APCs and the secondaries on the hovertanks added to the deadly cacophony, and here and there the infantry laying prone around their vehicles found a target to fire at with their rifles, or for a rocket with an HE or fragmentation warhead to be used against. The enemy had small arms only, even if of the best military type, and with it, courage and fervour in their beliefs in an independent French republic.

And taunting them, above Napoleon's Arc de Triumphe, egging them on into the murderous fire, flew not the Taloran flag, but the flag of those on whose behalf the Talorans declared their intent to fight: The white banner and the golden bees of the Bourbons.

The Duke of Orleans could not help but whisper, even as he crouched low to avoid the flying splinters of the counter-firing rockets of the enemy which penetrated right to the circle of their narrow ground, something of the sort of the savage spirit which had taken up all in the battalion, eight hundred solders oppressed by twelve thousand rebels. "And this for the Swiss Guard," he said, amazed with the almost archaic coolness by which the Talorans conducted themselves, simultaneously using gas in the midst of a major metropolis without care, at the same time that they held their ground and let the enemy bring the fight to them, making a distinction between those killed 'in sight of their guns' and the idea, reprehensible to them, of pulling out and threatening to destroy the city.

In the stories of old which spoke of an alien invasion of Earth, the universal expectation had been that they would do just that; nuke the cities, put billions to death without a care, or outright seek to exterminate humanity. The Talorans had come differently, protecting some humans on one hand and throwing out a hated government on the other. But then they had tried to impose one alien to the minds of all then alive, over the Earth; the Duke of Orleans himself was frankly terrified of the fact that his connection to the long-lost title had been found and confirmed and he had been, at once, elevated to a position of high honours and power in the new--very old--regime. But the understanding of what precisely that meant was only now apparent. The steel which made up the Taloran Empire was alien, and it was savage, in ways before hidden. But in a strange and very real sense, it was also chivalrous.

For now the enemy had closed within a few dozen meters in places, and the horrific sequential sonic booms of the 4.9mm hypervelocity railgun rounds of the light guns was clattering in continuous succession. The Talorans had chosen to fight it out in the middle of Paris, and the line of bodies of dead and wounded piling up at the casualty clearing station next to battalion headquarters showed the wages of it. But they would not destroy the city, even if they did it much hurt in the fight; they were determined to win it, and so they let the rebels come on, give their best shot, and then put it to them for all that they were worth.

"Send two tanks forward to reinforce Sector Défense," Rikhami ordered, monitoring robots feeding data about the situation on the front right to her eyes through the neural net, letting her see every crucial point as she needed. "Opening fire early at sector Wagram seems to have kept them back, and they're weaker there anyway. Still closing in at Victor Hugo."

"And we still have two tanks and a platoon in reserve..."

"Quite right, subaltern," Rikhami replied, glaring down at the projected map below her, as dust and some rubble from rocket hits to the precious Arc above rained down on them. "I hope they don't damage it to much," she added with a sigh, which belied her earlier devil-may-care attitude about the city. This was, after all, her part of the city; the act of possession conferred love upon it.

Flickering blue bolts through the night, the stench of ozone, screams and the exchange of chemical ammunition against railguns, the battle continued with the sheer firepower of the tanks killing even hundreds at a time but leaving the wiser and more trained to work their way painfully through the twisted rubble of blocks and blocks of Paris streets to get in close and pump fire into the progressively ruined buildings surrounding the avenues from which the Talorans held their line.

Snipers pinned down the platoons guarding the otherwise unengaged sectors, and to avoid the present zones of fire many of the enemy tried to drift into them, just to find the abrupt eruption of tanks guns there, smashing through more of old Paris, and annihilating any flanking columns of note. A little drunk and very desperate, the Talorans fought through the night in hope of relief under alien stars, while their comrades, servants of the Empress on afar all, fought off similar attacks in other nations still, where patriotism still had the power to overcome the languid remnants of the UTHP's fall.

And in the deserts of Arabia, unknowing to Rikhami's battalion and uncared for in their desperate fight, a mechanized infantry division under the provisional command of a young Countess named Frayuia Risim was now cut off and in danger of utter annihilation as the whole Arab world rose in revolt. But Rikhami fought on, coolly, unknowing of the magnitude of the revolts, and simply hoping that an armoured column from the airport, where a fresh brigade was being landed, could batter its way through to her before her forces ran out of ammunition, the one way by which the French might gain their position swiftly. The gas, at least, was on their side, hindering any kind of reinforcement, even as it left Rikhami to chew through her own tongue in distraction--for want of anything else in her mouth--as she managed through the night the defensive stand of her battalion at the Place Charles de Gaulle.

She didn't think much, unlike the man she'd saved from being ripped apart by the mob, as to why she was here. Even as an officer, at heart, she knew War was the game of the Empress. They'd fight and die, or they'd fight and not die, and it was the lord's will for it. She, like her precious children, were soldiers one and all, and for Talorans, soldiering and farming, one and all, were professions just the same. The disciplined bursts of their guns and the well-aimed, pounding shots of the tanks, every half-minute, were teaching the French that, slowly and surely, as the bodies by the hundred, gassed, vapourized, or shredded by hypervelocity rounds, fell amongst the rubble and were churned into it by the ceaseless fire. And the battalion held.
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Post by Vehrec » 2007-11-30 07:42am

Louis line has no right to that throne anyways even if the French hadn't torn it to shreds. The Revolution was both trial and test, and those who cannot rule should not. Robspiere might have been extreme, but he was more right than the royalists.
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Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2007-11-30 08:52am

Looks nice :). And you really like the French, don't you :P
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-12-17 06:58am

11 October 2687 VS-5 (Taloran Home Universe)
al-Halud Military Base, Occupied Caliphate,
Jordan Province.

Cigarette dangling from his lips, Major Francois Maliki strode along the ranks of one of his elderly batteries of twelve 170mm short howitzers that was pounding the enemy positions to the southwest around the port city of Aqaba. The fire of the guns was deafening, but he was quite used to that. Like most his fellow Arab Christians of the Levantine coast, and their heterogenous semi-Muslim allies, the Druze, Alawis, Imamis, and Ismailis, and others, constant warfare with their Muslim overlords had frequently been the norm, until the UTHP had given them the strength to lay Islam quescient. Then the UTHP had gone. The Levantine Republic had surrendered promptly and with less fuss than other areas, and now, since the Arabs had never liked the Talorans and were now revolting against them with every strength possible, Maliki founding himself fighting for the opposite side as before.

It was fairly normal in that regard, really. As was the fact that the three batteries of his artillery battalion all contained guns on the order of three hundred years old. The Near East really hadn't changed since the French had gut-punched it with nukes, which followed the Israelis having dealt Islam an even more crippling blow with two hundred devices. The Muslims had proved strong enough after that to still finish off the Israeli state, but the invasions of Europe that followed when the continent was still crippled from the aftermath of Peak Oil and the consequences of the rising ocean levels in the 2150s had simply culminated in the French nuclear bombardments, which had finished off what remained off Arab civilization among the Muslims.

The Christian and heterodox Islamic cities of the Levant, the Moroccans. Between them, the Arab world had again been reduced to nomadic, pastoral warriors, and scarcely little more. The Chinese and Americans during the grand old days of the Condominion had kept them in check, mostly to protect the Suez Canal, and Islamic civilization remained stagnant, perpetually stuck in the 16th century or worse. India was a great and prosperous nation, but it didn't have any Muslims these days; they had all been slaughtered in the great Indian Wars of Religion at the end of the 21st century, in which two out of every five people in India had been killed on top of the mass starvation from the Collapse, as the 21st century was simply known. The 22nd was called the Recovery.

And now we're doing it over again, fuck them. It didn't really matter who 'they' were. "Now where are those damn elves!?" And this he said out-loud, for they were running low on ammunition in the battalion, and they were suppressing a division-strength force from attacking what was supposed to by the flank of a Taloran mechanized infantry division that would be passing by him, after of which his battalion, the artillery support for a brigade of local troops fighting with the Talorans, would fall in behind them. Always rear-guard for the Askaris came the bitter thought.

"Oh, ahhhh, we're right here."

Major Maliki realized he was in a shadow and swung around, only to be confronted with a Taloran female a full foot taller than he was, 6'10" at least, and that not counting her ears. She had immensely long and very full bright green hair, though her eyes were shaded by a kepi which she must have gotten off a human, ill-fitted and extremely battered but with the white neck flap no doubt much appreciated. Her knee-high boots were complimented with a dreary, for a Taloran, khaki kilt and uniform blouse crossed by silver sash, but over them she wore an even worse black cape. Major Maliki had been around Talorans long enough to know that this one's fashion sense was outrageously bad. He liked that.

"Who the hell are you? I wasn't expecting visitors. Are you from the," he recalled the numerical designator, "8082nd Mechanized Infantry Division's command headquarters?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," the immensely tall woman answered, brushing her bangs out of the way of her face, where they constantly obscured her face. "I am the commander of the 8082nd, Jula's Regulars. Brigadier Frayuia Risim, Countess of Reitstuhl, at your service."

"Your Ladyship," Major Maliki saluted abruptly. "What in God's name are you doing here, though?"

"Aaah... Making sure that your guns are positioned to support my attack, Major. I've already been in touch with your commanding Brigadier and he's agreed to make a strong demonstration toward the enemy lines with his armoured cars and infantry. But I need your guns to support my own forces."

"There's thirty thousand Caliphal troops over in Aqaba, Your Ladyship, and they can fight defensively in their buildings... You've only got fourty thousand yourself, and eight thousand of us. What can we really do? I'll be straight with you, the Moors are hard fighters at first; they only collapse when you outlast them. And with those pursuit forces..." He was lured into saying to much by the speech of the Brigadier, which made her seem half asleep and vaguely incompetent.

"Well don't worry," Frayuia laughed gently and flicked her ears to the city. "I'm going to nuke it, of course. They don't have any effectual anti-artillery defences, as your battery so amply proves. I want you to shift your fire to the north of the city..." She proceeded to drag Maliki back to his command tents, where she pointed out the particular grid-square with a triumphal 'ah-haaah'.

"Then what happens next?" Maliki was thoroughly confused, and still doubting the woman's capability as a full division commander. Why is she commanding a division, anyway? But he didn't dare ask that question.

"They're mustering to attack your flank there, yes. So you start hitting them. Very discouraging to them, that, as it means they know you expect their attack. So the bulk of their troops are actually in position. My Fifteen Brigade is going to advance toward the city, and then we'll nuke it at the last moment--while their anti-arty is distracted by your firing on their infantry in the open, letting my guns put through the shells freely--and swing north to hit their flank. Once they're routed, your brigade pulls out and the Fifteen forms the rearguard."

The proposal caught Maliki flat-footed. Ignoring for a moment the exceptionally bloody-minded attitude involved in nuking Aqaba (which had, granted, already been nuked by the French several centuries before), the plan was masterful in its bloody-minded simplicity. There was a distinct feeling here that he had just had one pulled over him; he was dealing with a very subtle person. Direct, perhaps,and it was not precisely imaginative, but who needs imagination when one has the atom bomb?

"We can do that, yes," he assented. "Your Ladyship, when shall my guns shift fire?"

"Ahh, hmm. Well, I wouldn't be here if I didn't want it done soon," she answered, and gestured vaguely. "Three minutes. The Fifteen Brigade is already moving to attack, you see. I didn't trust your communications to get the message through, and I was right. As usual."

Major Maliki didn't have much time. He hastened to implement the orders without thinking further of those comments. Soon the artillery ceased fire, the guns were adjusted, and with scarcely any further warning, immediately had to commence firing again. In the meanwhile, Francois had just enough time to light another cigarette. He had a feeling he'd need it.

Frayuia came up behind him again, and he turned around, taking a slow drag from the cigarette and staring at her, silent and a tad surly for a moment. Then he shrugged. "Your Ladyship, when should my men be getting into their NBC gear?"

"Oh, fairly soon. Call it... Fourty of your minutes? And by the way, thanks for getting that done so quickly, Major."

"My batteries are good, no matter what you aliens think of 'em," he answered, returning to the cigarette to his mouth as he raised his binoculars to view the frequent flash of explosions as the low-quality anti-artillery lasers of the enemy let a good third of his shells burst onto their positions, the intensity of the resistance showing that they were, as the Taloran Brigadier had predicted, there in much larger numbers than he'd been told to expect. Nasib isn't that clever, though he probably knew anyway. Fucking jamming.

"I actually consider your unit of excellent proficiency. I'll need good conventional artillery later on in this operation."

"Oh? We're going into the Negev, right, fortify the Sinai, Gaza, hold there until your people send reinforcements? That's what everyone has been saying."

"Oh, no. Goodness, no. My other brigades are passing to your rear, not to your right flank. I'd have already smashed the Caphies if I was headed to the Sinai. And your unit is not going to the Sinai either, but accompanying me on a mission that you, as a Christian, will no doubt think a high honour."

"What would you know about Christians, Your Ladyship?"

"Ahhh, well, I know that your people chose to rejoin the Catholic church after the Crusades," Frayuia answered rather slyly.

Major Maliki took another drag and then spit. "Yes. Everyone has long memories here, and they," he gestured toward the enemy, "All remember those events like they were yesterday."

"My Great Grandmother was in our Army in the time of the your crusades."

"Your people might as well live forever without heaven or hell," he snapped back a bit, confessedly, envious of that aspect of humanity's conquerors.

"We die. You will no doubt get to see that up close and personal soon enough, Major."

Another drag. "Where are you taking us, Your Ladyship? Don't toy with me. I have a battalion to command."

"This charming little desert city called Medina. I am going there, I am going to smash all of their armies in my path, and when I get there, the headquarters of my garrison will be in the Grand Mosque of Muhammed. We'll wait for relief inside of Medina."

Francois Maliki dropped his cigarette. She IS insane! But even across the barrier of alienness, he had a dawning realization of the quiet force of personality and subtle determination at work in the woman with her shock of neon green hair. "Medina, eh? There's at least a million Caphy irregulars between here and Medina, and three hundred thousand regulars. Does Brigadier Nasib know about this?"

"Oh yes. We'll outmanoeuvre some, no-doubt, and smash others in the field. But they're really not even up to your snuff, as you know well, sitting here holding thirty thousand with reasonable confidence. Against the Jula's Regulars... Well, I suppose we'll both see that when the time comes, won't we?"

"Either that or end up in Hell."

"Well, the Arab desert is Hell, Major. So it can't get any worse." And with that, she left, as quietly as a ghost, to return to the scout car which had brought her to his position, so that when he turned back from barking to his orderlies to make preparations for donning NBC gear, she was gone. He stared into the desert heat for a moment, and then shrugged.

"It's going to be a hell of ride, one way or a goddamned 'nother," he muttered, lighting another cigarette and returning to his duties. He wanted to get in as many as he could before suiting up... Following the Talorans through the desert he wasn't likely to ever need to worry about ill-effects, rating his chances of surviving the next two weeks slim. But on the other hand... Not even the Israelis or the French dared attack the Holy Cities, what with Persia as a potential ally if they stayed their hands. The Talorans have come, and they're going to kick the pot right over, and see what comes up when it stops rolling. A damned audacious race, and I suppose, if I'm going to die, it would be nice to do it burning Medina. He took another drag and contacted his quartermaster to see how they were doing with the rate of expenditure on their remaining shells.
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-19 08:02pm

14 October 2687 VS-5 (Taloran Home Universe)
Place Charles de Gaul, Paris.

"Is Paris Burning?"

"Yes, Your Serene Grace, Paris is burning." Colonel Ilandhr answered to Ythelia, the Archduchess Ghwalik, fourth heir of Midela Colenta, after her elder sister the Archduchess Sipamert, and the two children of their eldest sister, the Great Queen Finajha II, Her Royal Highness the Archduchess Trivania of Uranol, and Her Serene Grace the Archduchess Tisara of Urami (who remained rather disgraced, and off somewhere on the frontier in the fleet). She also happened to be the command authority for the organization of Earth, and she was not liking what was happening.

"A pity, but it's what needed to be done," Ythelia answered. "Have you had any trouble in holding the Place Charles de Gaul with your armoured regiment?"

"No, Your Serene Grace," Ilandhr, a short and platinum-blonde Dalamarian male answered with negligent daring. He was exhausted, after the constant battles which had been required to break through where ultimately three whole battalions had been sent in successive efforts to reinforce Major Nhajham's position. In the end, they had simply stalemated the continuing attacks of the French rebels and a whole armoured regiment had ended up having to fight its way down the Avenue du Wagram to relieve the sundry remnant battalions there. Major Nhajham herself, whose stand had been so salutory in holding the position, had been seriously wounded two days prior, but had survived to be airvac'ed by the shuttles which occasionally landed, as anything less heavily shielded would be blasted out of the sky by the UTHP military-grade MANPADs the rebels had.

"Well, we've preserved the core of the city intact, and in our hands, which was the goal of the operation, Colonel. You hold a very crucial area in the city which we wanted to preserve, and, well, the buildings there have already been destroyed. Nothing to do about it now, of course. Now, tough, time for an offensive." The Archduchess Gwalik's shrug minimized the fact that most of the Parisian suburbs had been simply annihilated in the past six days of fighting, though the city's core was 90% intact. The population in the suburbs was worse; whenever it didn't threaten to drift back to the interior (where the lighter weapons being used meant they had actually taken more casualties against a weaker opposition) they had used poison gas, and the estimates were now very high. It had, at least, served to drive most of the civilians out of the banlieus.

"An offensive?" Colonel Ilandhr's ears twitched in consternation. "We will suffer very badly in trying to suppress the banlieus if we don't have extensive air support."

"Fortunately, we do. We were able to snag a Planetary Assault Ship division operating nearby to come here soonest. We're unfortunately going to be having to split the embarked corps between the United States and China," she had paused over the unfamiliar names, "which means we can't get any further support for you in terms of ground troops. We can, however, task the air wing of one to aide you. For what it is worth, Brigadier Risim is in a worse position, and will also only receive the aide of an air wing. The situation is so bad in the United States that one-fourth of the country is entirely out of our control; in China, we only hold the coastal regions. We need four full combat corps into each country to salvage the situations, and so that's where they're going. I know after General Erasimi was assassinated by that fanatic that you've been effectively operating independently, so I wanted to inform you personally that the Divisione Bourbon and the 1499th separate armoured brigade will come together under Brigadier Yulandha to launch the attack from outside of Paris on the banlieus while she is given, through fleet relays, overall coordinating authority with the regiments and brigade formations in Paris, being the ranking officer in the region. Is that understood?"

"Of course, Your Serene Grace, and thank you for explaining the situation to me," Colonel Ilandhr replied, realizing that the detailed explanation meant something else was coming next.

"This is going to be hard fighting. I know you blasted clear through the banlieus on your way in, taking casualties and moving as fast as you could. Here, I expect you to actually subdue the area you attack. Your orders are to advance down the axis La Défense and subdue the region La Défense systematically. Once it is subdued, Yulandha will be able to use the gap to begin rolling up the rest of the banlieus with extensive air support while the loyalists hold off any attempts at reinforcement. Due to the time of the so-called Lyon Government in mobilizing.. You need to create a secured and genuine breach in five days, Colonel. One week! There are, of course, no rules of engagement, though we shall refrain from using tactical nuclear weapons save in absolute desperation. Chemical support will be provided on request."

Colonel Ilandhr nodded and swallowed dryly, his ears flexed to show submission. "Of course, Your Serene Grace." Rebels! Why do they have to do this? So many innocents in the city they condemn by such indiscriminate resistance. At least those in the United States and China are fighting in the hills, decently. To destroy their own capitol city--these French are mad! But they've certainly given us the most difficult task yet.

"You've been fighting continuously without respite for four days. We'll try to airdrop more stimulants onto your forces with the next ammunition delivery in three standard hours. Begin your advance within an hour after that, understood?"

"Of course, Your Serene Grace." They certainly needed them..

"Alright then. From this moment forward your command instructions will be bounced to you from the 1499th Brigade Headquarters. I simply do not have the time to micromanage Paris, Colonel, though with General Erasimi's death I scarcely had the choice," even though I didn't do a good job could almost be seen on her face, and the Colonel had to hold back a twitch of his ears at the obvious frustration of a Princess of the Blood at these events.

"Prepare your composite brigade."

"As Your Serene Grace commands!" He saluted stiffly, and the image cut off. After the tremendous show they'd put up in the past sixty-four taloran hours, four days of battle, he no longer doubted that they could do it. It was just that the butcher's bill in his regiment was about to go up from a hundred soldiers to a.. Much higher level. Unless he could use the ground attack aircraft to not simply pulverize the concrete banlieus into rubble, but to slaughter anyone in the rubble. His green tongue lanced out over green lips thoughtfully. We'll see if thermobaric weapons are suitable here. Noting the air support assignments provided, he dialed in the wing commander of the Planetary Assault Ship Uralniskho even as he began giving his orders for the soldiers to be fed in preparation for offensive action.

And around him, through a square mile of city laid flat by the massive guns of the tanks, the smoke rose up, casting a pallid air in sharp tinted hues against the setting sun, silhouetted on the breeze by the flames of the city, while destroyed armoured vehicles, burning slowly nearby, flickered their souls to the wind. It was as picturesque as war might ever be, the ruins drifting in and out of sight through the flames and the ozone stench of the smog filled with god knew what, and strangely vivid after more than three days in a gas mask that clouded the view of the world beyond. The picturesque moments never lasted long, though; give them four hours, six as reckoned by the natives, and he would be given his bloody task which might, even with the air support of multiple combat wings, grind his regiment down to a stubble.

But if that is to be the fate of my dear soldiers, I am like as not to never see Brigadier Risim again, and more's the pity. But what will the loss of a whole division to those savage Arabs do to our reputation here? No time for that, now; it was for the Archduchess, and her punishment for her part in this as much as the butcher's bill was his, surely enough, for the civilians ground under heel in the banlieus. The price could be reckoned later; in war, the bill was always demanded in advance.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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