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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:57am
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The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
That is a massive underestimate. 1st Guards Tank Army concentrated 650 guns per kilometre on a 4.6 kilometer front for the preparatory bombardment on 24 April for the forcing of the Teltow Canal in the Battle of Berlin.


That figure almost certainly includes weapons mounted on armored vehicles, mine doesn’t, only towed guns, mortars, howitzers and rocket launchers of 76.2mm or greater caliber. AFV guns would raise the percentage by a very good margin, but nothing the Soviets had at the time was intended for use as indirect fire artillery.



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:57am
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Adrian Laguna wrote:
Quote:
Persons of weak will might simply resign themselves to their torment and sink to the bottom after a few years of failed escapes.

Man, getting those guys out would be a real pain in the ass once Hell is conquered. If they can be removed at all, I would imagine those who sink to the bottom actually die eventually.


Once Hell is under control we have time for some large engineering works. Dam the magma source and channel it away from the lava river, and dig large ditches to siphon off as much lava as possible It'll take a while, but it should be doable. Maybe put the baldricks to work doing the earth moving until heavier equipment can be brought in. Call it a start to their "penance".

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 Post subject: Just had a thought... PostPosted: 2008-05-07 05:45am
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...yeh, I know don't laugh.

Just how old is Tom Sullivan in the previous chapter? Every fit individual between 19 and 55 should be in uniform, not walking through the Lake District. I suspect that those between 16 and 19, or in Reserved Ocupations, would be 'encouraged' to be in the Home Guard.
That does also beg the question as to how old those in the Youth Hostel were?

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 Post subject: Re: Just had a thought... PostPosted: 2008-05-07 05:53am
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JN1 wrote:
...yeh, I know don't laugh.

Just how old is Tom Sullivan in the previous chapter? Every fit individual between 19 and 55 should be in uniform, not walking through the Lake District. I suspect that those between 16 and 19, or in Reserved Ocupations, would be 'encouraged' to be in the Home Guard.
That does also beg the question as to how old those in the Youth Hostel were?


I suspect that the situation is such that they're simply overwhelmed in terms of training requirements by the sheer numbers that they're simply calling everyone in waves as they're able to handle training them.



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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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 05:56am
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I suspect that's the case, Your Grace. Using the experience of the last time we expanded our armed forces I suspect that lots of Call-Up papers would be sent out, but they would have a date on them telling the prospective National Servicemen when and where to report. Some of the dates would be a couple of months in the future, or even longer.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 07:41am
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Gerald Tarrant wrote:
Once Hell is under control we have time for some large engineering works. Dam the magma source and channel it away from the lava river, and dig large ditches to siphon off as much lava as possible It'll take a while, but it should be doable. Maybe put the baldricks to work doing the earth moving until heavier equipment can be brought in. Call it a start to their "penance".


You know Gerald, I was thinking about this problem last night and we came up with exactly the same set of solutions.



Nations do not survive by setting examples for others
Nations survive by making examples of others

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 08:01am
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Chris OFarrell wrote:
I never really understood why the Russians DID fight the battle that way though, going for a stand up, drop down, slug it out match, rather then just absorbing the attack, cutting the spearheads off (I mean those Tigers ain't exactly logistically friendly) and just laughing as the Germans turned 2700 tanks into ten thousand or so poorly trained light infantry. Still, Kursk wasn't a Soviet offensive so much as a well prepared defense, so the analogy is probably far more valid for receiving the Demon army.


The problem the Russians faced at Kursk was that there was a German offensive coming and the Russian Army didn't have the tactical skills needed to fight a mobile battle. What they did have was an Army that, inspired by the heroism of Stalingrad, would hold its ground with almost supernaturally grim determination. They also were aware that faced with a massive prepared defense, the exchange rate runs stringly in favor of the defense. Therefore, if the Russians could trap the German Army into a slugging match, they would be playing the German weakness against the Russian strength and the armored reserve of the Germans would be ground down and destroyed. That's more or less what happened. Now, here, remember we're seeing things from both sides, we know what hell has and what it can do (more or less :) ). On the ground, Humans don't know what is coming next, they know a huge offensive is about to take place but they've got no idea whether now they are in Hell itself, whether the game rules will be different (and they are). So the Russians are taking no chances and going back to their tried-and-true solution, dig in, hold on, mass the artillery and attrite the enemy.

Picking up the one-sided comment, of course the battles are one-sided. We have what amounts to a Bronze Age Army up against a multi-division mechanized force; Hell is pitting spears against artillery, cavalry against tanks. They're hopelessly outclassed. What they are doing now is struggling to find a way they can fight - viewed objectively, their sheer bravery is breathtaking. They know more or less what will happen when they go into action next time yet they're going in anyway. To put this into perspective, imagine what would have happened if Abigor's Army had gone up against a Roman Army; just as one sided only the humans wouldn;t be on teh winning end of it.

Also picking up the coment about errors and mistakes. One of the working presumptions is that the professionals on both sides are competent and intelligent people who know their trade and do it reasonably well. I'm studiously trying to avoid the"gee what an idiot" meme - even Satan for all his temper tantrums and homicidal rages is actually sharp and on-the-ball - note how he ordered Asmodeus to double the force proposed for the pacification of Asmodeus's sector of Hell - and note how Asmodeus, faced with an unimaginable (for him) situation came up with a workable and functioning answer. The problem at the human end is that the unbalance in force capability is so great that human screw-ups (which happen all the time) don't really have any great impact. You see, what the humans are doing is really very basic stuff; one might call it "basic tactics 101". They're pulling nothing very complex or stylish; even a Lieutenant coming out of his first basic course has the technical knowledge to pull off these manoevers. Undoubtedly some of them are screwing up, but the mistakes they make are of relatively little consequence. If all else fails they can simply blast their way out of a situation.



Nations do not survive by setting examples for others
Nations survive by making examples of others

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 08:02am
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New chapter!

I don't know whether to scream in agony for the once again delayed Belial attack, or to scream in pleasure at the exquisite mind-blowing revelations!

Great fight scene, great personal character and political development!

With regards to the samurai, aren't samurai expected to pick up an art or some other cultural activity?



Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 08:51am
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Stuart wrote:

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!"

snip.


*snort* US soldiers maybe, although there are some even in the US forces who are exceedingly dangerous at the close and messy. NZ forces are good at it, esp the infantry guys, I can vouch for that personally, I know their training regime.



Via money Europe could become political in five years" "... the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal"

Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 09:19am
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PainRack wrote:
With regards to the samurai, aren't samurai expected to pick up an art or some other cultural activity?


Not during the Ashikaga shogunate. A Samurai being a cultured gentleman didn't occur until after Tokugawa Ieyasu and the his successor shoguns instituted broad cultural reform of the samurai in the 17th century, turning them into scholars and bureaucrats. Before then, Samurai were by and large thugs and warlords. That's why I chose a Samurai from the earlier feudal Japan; a Samurai from the 18th or especially the 19th century might not even know how to use a katana. By then, they were simply carried around because they had to. Fukuzawa Yukichi famously wrote that he sold one of his swords to a wealthy merchant, and simply carried around a steak knife.



"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation." -Herbert Spencer

"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." - Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans, III vi.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 09:20am
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Stuart Mackey wrote:
US soldiers maybe, although there are some even in the US forces who are exceedingly dangerous at the close and messy. NZ forces are good at it, esp the infantry guys, I can vouch for that personally, I know their training regime.


What this actually highlights is a cultural difference, not an actual factual commentary. Aeneas is unconsciously referring to what he regards as the "correct" way to fight which today we would call Graeco-Roman wrestling. It's not the eye-gouging, ball-breaking stuff exemplified by (for example) Krav Marga. He's in for a nasty shock when he sees how human soldiers fight hand to hand when the chips are down. Remember in each section, we're tending to see things through the eyes of a participant so by comparing what they perceive as against what we know, we can see how their preconceptions affect their judgement calls (a hobby-horse of mine).



Nations do not survive by setting examples for others
Nations survive by making examples of others

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 09:30am
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Stuart wrote:
Stuart Mackey wrote:
US soldiers maybe, although there are some even in the US forces who are exceedingly dangerous at the close and messy. NZ forces are good at it, esp the infantry guys, I can vouch for that personally, I know their training regime.


What this actually highlights is a cultural difference, not an actual factual commentary. Aeneas is unconsciously referring to what he regards as the "correct" way to fight which today we would call Graeco-Roman wrestling. It's not the eye-gouging, ball-breaking stuff exemplified by (for example) Krav Marga. He's in for a nasty shock when he sees how human soldiers fight hand to hand when the chips are down. Remember in each section, we're tending to see things through the eyes of a participant so by comparing what they perceive as against what we know, we can see how their preconceptions affect their judgement calls (a hobby-horse of mine).


Ahhh, I see. And yes, he will get a shock when he sees some of the modern armed forces stuff..I can assure our dear readers that your average martial artist has no fucking idea of its brutality.
Oh, NZ forces dont do Krav Marga, ours methods have a different ancestry and that programme is taught out of Dunedin.



Via money Europe could become political in five years" "... the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal"

Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet
--------------

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 09:30am
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Oh Stuart, since your online...more crack? getting shakes.



Via money Europe could become political in five years" "... the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal"

Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet
--------------

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 Post subject: Re: Just had a thought... PostPosted: 2008-05-07 09:50am
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JN1 wrote:
Just how old is Tom Sullivan in the previous chapter? Every fit individual between 19 and 55 should be in uniform, not walking through the Lake District. I suspect that those between 16 and 19, or in Reserved Ocupations, would be 'encouraged' to be in the Home Guard. That does also beg the question as to how old those in the Youth Hostel were?


I don't think the UK is quite that pervasively mobilised. For one thing, it doesn't look like massive hordes of light infantry are going to be that useful anyway. My guess would be that more people are going to get drafted to produce guns and tanks than drafted to serve on the front lines, and I don't think there will be a blanket ban on taking holidays (though as you saw, people will have to settle for a walk in the countryside and a stay in a shared bunks, rather than a jet flight to Spain and a luxury hotel).



Image
Image
Windhaven
~ Spirit of Flight ~

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

( Trailer : zeppelins, death rays, wormholes... )
( Opening cutscene / voice acting test )

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 10:00am
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I love that part about Abrigor, and I totally dig those two - the Samurai and the Spartan! They should have buddy-cop moments together! The Samurai and the Spartan - IN HELL!

Everyone Wuvs Abby!

And Luga!

^__^



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 10:31am
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One line from Rome... let me see...

"It's only hubris if I fail"

Perhaps it's when Caesar is talking with Antony, where he's mentioned the numerical advantage over Caesar's forces, and Caesar replies:

"And that is the advantage we must press home. We must win or die. Pompey's men have other options."



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 10:33am
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We so need to ship Abby and Luga. Have they even met each other yet?



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 11:17am
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Shroom Man 777 wrote:
We so need to ship Abby and Luga. Have they even met each other yet?


"Abby" and "Luga", oh god, why am I thinking that armageddon fanboys/girls are going to start writing "fanfictions". Image
Also I haven't posted in this thread before but I've been following this story like an addiction, great work Stuart and the other people submitting chapters, stop teasing us with the lava :p



“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” - Oscar Wilde.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 11:30am
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Sheffield Cathedral, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Lakheenahuknaasi flapped clumsily over the vast human metropolis, making her way to the place where she could sense the half-open portal pushing gently against the fabric of this plane. She was freezing, aching and frustrated. The city was supposed to be a great engine of industry, but she could see no great fires or forges, nor could she hear the ringing of hammers on anvils. Instead there was an endless jumble of tightly packed stone buildings, tiny ones with peaked roofs and much larger boxy ones. Ahead, surrounding the place where the portal was lodged great towers thrust into the sky. Impossibly, many of them seemed to be made out of glass. No; as she got closer, Lakheenahuknaasi sensed that they had skeletons of iron. She shuddered. Humans were far too fond of iron.

The gorgon sited the spot where the embryonic portal was floating and smiled faintly at the irony. Invisible to the naked eye in its current state, the inter-dimensional nexus was hovering perhaps a hundred yards above a large temple to Yahweh, the walls of which were awash with the light of human magic. Lakeenah blinked. What she had taken to be an outbuilding next to the temple revealed itself to be a giant metal snake. As she watched it whined loudly and began to hauled its segmented bulk away into the city. At this point she had ceased even trying to comprehend the purpose behind the bizarre human constructs.

In truth she was not sure where else to put the portal. The horrid snow had stopped, but the low clouds and mist had kept visibility down to a couple of miles. She had risked one quick, wide circle around the temple and spied a few structures that appeared to be large chimneys, but no smoke issued from them. Lakeenah settled on destroying as many of the huge towers as possible. They seemed more like palaces than castles; undoubtedly they were occupied by the city's elite, the overseers and the most skilled artisans. Even this was not straightforward. The terrain was quite hilly and if she placed the portal in the wrong spot the lava might flow around the towers without destroying them. She settled on a monolithic black tower that stood proudly above and a little apart from the rest. It was sited on a low hill and at the top of a slight groove, which she hoped would act as a channel leading straight to the rest of the towers.

Lakheenahuknaasi finished her approach and began a slow descending glide over the temple. Bracing herself for the pain, she prepared to reach out with her psychic power to grasp the nexus. The familiar stinging sensation washed over her wings and suddenly she had it. Pumping her wings with grim determination, she strained to drag the nexus away from the temple. Immediately she could feel her queen's powerful presence.

“I have it. I am moving the nexus... into position.” Lakheenahuknaasi exclaimed, with the mental equivalent of a gasp.

Euryale replied with a curt “Good. Do not fail me now.”

Lakheenahuknaasi sensed the portal swelling as the naga back in Hell poured energy into it. She had the target in sight, but it seemed agonizingly far away. The pent up psychic force was building to monstrous proportions and she had to switch from 'pulling' the nexus to 'pushing' against it to prevent it opening prematurely. At last she was almost over the tower.

“Ready!” she shouted into the ether, hoping Euryale sensed her over the human din and howling energy of the portal itself. She released the nexus, half-folded her wings and dropped away from the tower, racing to escape the literal piece of hell that was about to be unleashed.

MD-902 G-SYPS (South Yorkshire Police Air Support Unit)

Peter Taranaski swung the helicopter around in a lazy semi-circle, ready for another slow pass over Hillsborough. Police work didn't pay well, but it was a lot more interesting than playing air taxi to overpaid executives or spending all day creeping along power lines. Better yet, there was the regular thrill of accomplishing the mission, protecting the public and nabbing the bad guys. Back in the army air corps, it had mostly been an endless series of make-believe exercises. Even in weather like this, he was usually eager to take to the Explorer up, but when the scramble order came through he was expecting yet another false alarm. Now that command had confirmed baldrick activity in the peaks the tension in the cabin was palpable.

In the left seat Sergeant Oliver Webster was staring intently at his main monitor, which was showing a thermal image of the streets below. The younger man had quickly gained a reputation for competence and calmly directing ground units through crisis situations. In Pete's opinion though, the sergeant took life a bit too seriously; in particular, his jokes were usually met with a disapproving silence. That was one good thing about the war; the second observer position had been replaced by a couple of heavily armed squaddies, who did seem to appreciated his one-liners.

The RT crackled. “Sierra Yankee Nine Nine, new baldrick sighting reported, single flyer low over the town hall, over.”

Webster was quick to respond. “Acknowledged. We'll head over there now. We've covered Hillsborough twice now, nothing to report.” His voice continued over the intercom “Peter, I'd like an orbit of the ring road.”

“Confirmed.” Pete eased the cyclic forward and the aircraft began to pick up speed until it was holding 60 knots. ”I'll take it easy. No sense wasting fuel.”

He looked over at Sergeant Webster, who nodded. Other units were scouring the Peaks for baldrick invaders, they were tasked with rapid response should the demons slip through the net to populated area. That meant maximizing endurance, as they'd do no good if they were down for refueling when the baldricks went on a rampage.

“Sierra Yankee Nine Nine, make that multiple sightings, at least one baldrick over Pond's Forge, priority one, over.”

“Roger control, on our way.” Webster replied. Pete had already dipped the nose and the MD 902 leapt forward, speeding towards the city centre. He cut in on the RT “Have ATC got a blip this time? Over.”

There was a long silence. “Ah, negative Sierra Yankee. They've got some kind of interference though. Radar cover is compromised.”

Sergeant Webster had zoomed the IR camera and had a pulsating speck centered on his monitor. As the helicopter drew closer it took a form reminiscent of a giant long-legged bat. “Baldrick sighted! Single flyer at 600 feet AGL, heading west from cathedral, over.”

The reply was immediate and emphatic. “Say again Sierra Yankee, one baldrick flyer over central Sheffield? We've lost your telemetry.”

Pete had a visual on the baldrick and was maneuvering the helicopter into its rear quarter, staying well back. The Explorer was quieter than most helicopters, primarily due to its lack of a tail rotor, but he was still under no illusions that the baldrick couldn't hear them. He just didn't want to force a confrontation until they were ready.

“Affirmative, baldrick flyer proceeding west towards university at about 50 knots. It's a small one...” Webster's voice trailed off. He had switched back to visual and noticed that the demons wings were glowing with a ghostly blue-white light. Worse, the air beneath the creature was shimmering, as if by heat haze. What the devil was it up to?

“Ack... ledged... alert... intercept com... def..” The duty officer's voice distorted and dropped out. Sergeant Webster flipped channels but the error indicator on the radio panel wouldn't go out. It had to be whatever the demon was doing, if the radar was affected too. Time to make a judgment call.

“Peter, take us up over it for a shot.” He looked back over his shoulder. “Corporal, you're up. Take it down.”

The two riflemen were ready for the order and sprang immediately into action. Private Hughes slammed back the door, while Corporal Sinker heaved his AS50 anti-material rifle onto the pintle mount. The target was easy to make out despite the fog, with the bright glow emanating from its wings... but then the light suddenly went out and the bat-like shape veered off and dropped away. Sinker put his eye to the scope, hoping to line up a shot before the helo started changing position... and then recoiled from a sudden, overpowering rush of heat and light. An impossibly deep, deafeningly loud roar had a moment to pound his ears before the helicopter was sucked into the maelstrom.

The University of Sheffield, 11:26pm GMT

The Arts Tower was a Sheffield landmark, a striking twenty-one story monolith built in the early sixties and still the tallest university building in the British Isles. The midnight black disc of the portal swelled into existence almost directly above the tower, appearing for all the world like a flying saucer from a low-budget sci-fi movie. In the space of an eye-blink a glowing stream of magma had burst out from the disc’s lower surface and begun to plummet towards the building, while from the upper surface a fountain of liquid rock sprayed into the air. A full four seconds passed as the magma blossomed in mid-air; those few onlookers that survived would later report being transfixed by the deadly beauty of the scene. Then the crushing stream smashed into the tower’s west side, driving it into the ground and exploding the opposite side in a spray of fire and shrapnel.

The shockwave created by the magma hitting the ground smashed windows and ruptured eardrums out to over a kilometer. The gas entrained within the rock erupted from confinement, sending clouds of shoking vapor across the city. Half-powered by the gas, half powered by the sheer kinetic energy of the fall, liquid rock splashed out from the impact site, smashing into the lesser tower blocks surrounding the impact point, which immediately began to collapse. After another four seconds the canopy of glowing projectiles formed from the upper spray began to impact on the surrounding area with the force of thousand-pound bombs. The campus vanished into a huge cloud of dust, lit from within by the hellish light of the magma stream. Thousands of tonnes of rock continued to slam into the impact site every second, creating a roar that outclassed even a Saturn rocket launch. The relatively soft ground shook and slipped under the onslaught, leading to further collapses as buildings further out were hit by the deadly combination of tremors and projectiles.

MD 902 G-SYPS

Private Jamie Hughes was being battered by noise, light and g-forces beyond anything his worst nightmares had imagined. After the initial lurch the helicopter had spiralled out of control, shaking as shrapnel hit the fuselage. At first his only thought was to hang on and prepare for a likely fatal impact. Finally the aircraft began to stabilize and he could fight through the shock to assess on the situation in the cabin. Corporal Sinker was down, sprawled on the deck and unmoving. A massive pillar of fire and smoke filled the port windows. Jamie’s first thought was ‘nuclear bomb’, but surely they’d been too close to survive a nuke going off?

He was about to check his C.O.’s wounds when he spotted a flash of movement through the open door. As he struggled to focus the bronze glint resolved itself into the shape of the Baldrick flyer, flapping furiously to escape the destruction it had wrought. Oliver’s mind filled instantly with rage and a determination not to let that bastard get away. Leaning over the corporal’s body, he grabbed the AS50 and swung it up to firing position. The helo continued to shake and buck, making it almost impossible to keep the fleeing baldrick in the sights. Private Hughes knew he had only seconds to make the shot, so he let fly with five rounds rapid. The first one went wide, the second should’ve hit but had no visible effect, then the third one went wide again as the helo started to shudder. Somehow he managed to bring the rifle back on target and the last two rounds hit the creature, spraying blood visibly as he watched through the scope. That was all he saw before the floor dropped away from under him.

Meanwhile Peter Taranaski had been fighting hard to stabilize his bird, which had been thrown violently out of the flight envelope by the initial shockwave. The strong gusts and uneven thermals kept undoing his efforts – the controls didn’t seem quite right either, while all the time that pounding roar bored into his head. Glowing balls shot through the sky all around them and he flinched repeatedly at the near misses. Finally he managed to get the Explorer back into level flight, but they’d lost most of their altitude and airspeed.

“Sergeant? Sergeant!? Corporal!!?” There was no response over the intercom, so he tore his eyes away from the instruments and glanced over at the observer’s position. Sergeant Webster was slumped forward in his seat, seemingly unconscious, but what struck him cold was the sight through the window. Some kind of massive explosion had obliterated the university and fingers of glowing lava were streaming out from the base of the smoke column. They had to get out of here, now. Peter began to pull the bird up and away from the inferno, yanking the collective just as the helicopter entered a powerful updraft created by the lava flow. The swirling air quickly formed into a vortex ring, stalling the rotors as the helicopter literally lost its grip on the air. The Explorer rolled sideways and began to plummet towards the ground.

A moment’s hesitation would have been instantly fatal, but fortunately Peter had encountered this problem twice before, in a combat landing exercises. He shoved the cyclic forwards, trading his precious remaining altitude for speed in a desperate attempt to escape regain lift. He succeeded, but it was already too late to avoid his pressing appointment with the ground. The Explorer skimmed over a half-completed apartment block then ploughed into the corrugated metal roof of a small tow-bar factory.

‘PINDAR’, under the MoD Main Building, Whitehall, London.

The Prime Minister strode briskly through the underground corridor. He’d retired to Number 10 after the initial searches had turned up nothing, but in truth he’d only been napping. He wasn’t ready to believe that the demons had simply retreated after their slaughter, and it would seem that his instincts were correct.

“It’s Sheffield sir,” the aide next to him said, “some kind of massive incendiary attack. Reports of fires burning out of control and of buildings collapsing. No baldricks though.”

Gordon Brown didn’t bother asking her to elaborate, as the situation room was just ahead. He spotted Lord West across the room – the Secretary for Defence probably hadn’t left since the initial attack – along with several other cabinet members. The screens showed images of fire, brimstone and digital maps with conspicuous red outlines superimposed on them.

“How bad is it Admiral?”

“Prime Minister. In short, the Baldricks have hit Sheffield with a weapon of mass destruction, based on their portal capability. We’re looking at a total loss of the city centre, severe damage out to three miles and significant damage to the surrounding areas.”

The PM’s expression was grim. “Comparable to a sub-strategic nuclear yield?” The scenario seemed familiar somehow, but he couldn’t place the source of the déjà vu.

“Not exactly sir. We had one piece of luck, a police helicopter caught the deployment on video.” Lord West nodded to the comms officer, who touched a control. A pair of images appeared on a large screen, documenting G-SYPS’s initial encounter with the Baldrick.

“Right is natural color, left is the thermal image. They intercepted the demon over the cathedral, don’t know if that was significant.”

The PM was staring at the Baldrick. It looked like a grotesque cross between a woman and a bat, with bronze skin and no visible arms. There was something odd about its hair… and its wings had started to glow.

The image began to show streaks and speckles. Lord West continued to narrate. “Intercept control lost radar coverage over the city shortly before the intercept. Radio contact with the helicopter was lost about now.” The buildings began to recede and the angle shifted. “They’re maneuvering for a shot. A little too late, unfortunately…”

The baldrick suddenly closed its wings and fell away, leaving a tower block in the centre of the frame. The image flared; the visual camera quickly recovered to show a blossoming orange firework, while the thermal image stayed whited out. The room was silent as the cascade of magma obliterated the buildings below. Then the image spun crazily before blanking out.

“The helicopter went down?”

The voice came from behind him but it was one the PM had become tiresomely familiar with. Sure enough, Deputy Prime Minister David Cameron was standing behind him.

“Actually no, though it was a close thing.” As if on cue, the video switched to showing a panoramic aerial view of the destruction. “They recorded this before they had to return to base. We’ve established that the burst height was a little over eight hundred feet. Portal diameter is about fifty feet, and the damn thing hasn’t shown any sign of closing yet.”

Threads. That was it. An old BBC documentary, about Sheffield’s destruction during a nuclear war. Gordon pushed the trivia out of his mind, but not before thinking well, at least things aren’t that bad.

"Casualties?"

"We're guessing at the moment, but I'd be surprised if we take less than ten thousand fatalities. Still, it could've been much worse. That figure would be tripled if the attack had come at noon instead of midnight."

And that was our safest Labour seat the Prime Minister thought grimly.

“What’s our response so far?”

“We’ve got fighters up Sir. Tornados patrolling and some Hawks. They’re trainers but they’ve always had a war-emergency point defense role. They’re carrying a gun pod we’ve had in storage ever since the Phantoms were phased out.”

“Tornados? Hawks? What happened to the Typhoons? For all the money those things cost us….”

“They’re out in Iraq Sir. Anyway, the Home Guard is being mobilized and we’re moving in. With that portal still open, we’ll have to be damned careful. The explosion did one hell of a lot of damage and if there’s another, we could lose all our first responders. Casualties? Quite apart from the numbers issue, we’ve got the lot. Severe burns, blunt force trauma, gas poisoning, you name it. The baldricks didn’t hit us with a nuke but they might as well have done. First priority is to get the scene cordoned off…”

He was interrupted by the telephone ringing. One of the aides picked it up and spoke for a few seconds. “Sir, I have Dublin on the line. They’ve picked up the news, probably intercept of the transmissions we’ve been watching. The Dublin Fire Brigade is already on its way. A ferry is being held for them.”

“Word’s out then. Didn’t take long did it. Have we any more data to give out.”

“No Sir. We’ll be getting download from a Keyhole fairly shortly but that’s all we can expect. All our good stuff is out in Iraq or on its way there. We can get a Nimrod down but it’ll take time.”

“I thought BAE Systems had killed off our Nimrod fleet?”

“Not all of them sir. Just the ones they ‘upgraded’. The old ones are still flyable.” The phone rang again. “Its Norway, Sir. They got the news about the attack but no more than that. They say, whatever they’ve got and we want we can have.”

“Nice of them. Still no theories on why Sheffield was the target? Ground zero was the university, were they doing anything important?”

“Nothing credible Prime Minister. I checked the university… their materials department did some engineering work on the new HEAD shells, but that’s all.”

Another cold war memory bobbed unbidden into Brown’s mind; a novel in which the Russians had destroyed Birmingham with a single ICBM, then tried to sue for terms. Bad end to a good book… he couldn’t remember the title. No matter, it was a plausible scenario here. The attack might be a carefully judged attempt by Satan to demonstrate his power before opening negotiations. But it was also plausible that Sheffield was just unlucky, and that more strikes would follow as fast as the demons could manage.

“We have to know why and more importantly if, when and where the next strike will be. What about that demon general the Americans captured? If he’s supposed to be on our side why didn’t he bother to warn us about this?”

“You’ll have to ask the Americans that Sir, he’s in their hands.”

“We’ll do just that. Mr. Cameron, if you could call the White House and the Kremlin please, I’ll want a video conference ASAP.” Brown was more inclined to assign the twit to making tea, but alas one had to accommodate political realities.

(Hats off to Starglider who did this bit (all the Belial/Lava attack parts are his).



Nations do not survive by setting examples for others
Nations survive by making examples of others

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 11:39am
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Youngling
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So it wasn't some little popgun after all... excellent chapter as always.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 11:51am
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Damn, 3 miles? It did more damage than I was expecting. Will be interesting how the humans decide to defend against this, what can you do? Constant combat air patrols? Nice to see the demons get a big hit in though.



“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” - Oscar Wilde.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:00pm
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Jedi Knight

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I wonder if they have to close this portal to open the next one, or can they have a bunch open at once? If they can't hit multiple places at once, the next attempt may receive a much more vigorous response. Plus the radar disruption indicates we can likely create some sort of early warning system, not only for portals, but for the demon berserkers as well.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:09pm
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Illuminatus Primus wrote:
I think his point is "firing" something is definitively post-gunpowder terminology, and probably not the best modern English translation/transliteration of what they said.
If the arrows part of 300 was true, then plausibly Aeneas would know what was meant; just because archery (and cavalry?) may or may not have been in the Spartan TOE/OOB doesn't mean that they have to be unaware.

As for the katana bit, considering that it's but one of the readings of "blade" (another being to, or dao in Chinese), I figure that we Aeneas heard it as "blade" but that we get katana since in our stuff it specifies a kind thereof.



"Yee's proposal is exactly the sort of thing I would expect some Washington legal eagle to do. In fact, it could even be argued it would be unrealistic to not have a scene in the next book of, say, a Congressman Yee submit the Yee Act for consideration. :D" - bcoogler on this

"My crystal ball is filled with smoke, and my hovercraft is full of eels." - Bayonet

Stark: "You can't even GET to heaven. You don't even know where it is, or even if it still exists."
SirNitram: "So storm Hell." - From the legendary thread

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:12pm
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FUCKING DICK-STABBER!
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Disaster movie time! I hope we get extensive sympathetic POVs of the people in Ground Zero.

Next shall be Delta City, Dee-troit! :twisted:



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-05-07 12:43pm
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Drunken Kiwi Editor of the ASVS Press
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Crack craving satisfied for now. Nice chapter.



Via money Europe could become political in five years" "... the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal"

Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet
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