Armageddon???? - Part Eighty One Up

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Stuart
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Post by Stuart » 2008-06-05 01:04pm

Comercia Tower, Detroit, Michigan

It was a nondescript conference room in a nondescript office in downtown Detroit. Oh, certainly some lawyer's name was on the door, but this was just a quiet place for two sons of Michigan's most powerful political family. "You know we have to resolve the issue, Carl. You’d think she’d shut up when Barry got the nod." US Representative Sander Levin of Michigan's twelfth sighed. "We can't let those two keep sniping at each-other like a couple of fifth-graders, not when the world is going to hell."

"Hell's coming to the world is more like it, Sandy." Senator Carl Levin, Sander's younger brother, joked. "I know, its bad. But what do you want me to do? Anyway, I don't LIKE that woman. I'd rather have a baldrick on the ticket than her. At least then we know what we'd be getting."

Sander laughed, and blocked out words with his hand. "Beelzebub-Levin in 08, why settle for a lesser evil?" He shook his head. "No, I think the best we can do is to keep supporting Barry and ……" suddenly there was a rumble that turned into a steady vibration, and the lights in the room flickered.

The door burst open. "Sirs!" A secret-service agent stepped in, listening on his earpiece and with a weapon in-hand. "A portal has opened pretty close to us, north of here. Its looking like a replay of Sheffield, and we have orders to get you out of here." His voice made it clear it wasn't a request. After the incident with Bill Clinton, the Secret Service had mandated that all members of congress be protected with at least one agent at all times, to prevent demonic possession. "If you'll follow me to the street, we will evacuate you to the west, we have an airplane waiting but all of the metro-airspace has been locked down."

Both men nodded grimly, and they began following their agents; the meeting room was on the twenty-second floor and it was a long way down. Like every other stairwell in downtown, the way out was clogged with a mass of people, and it only took a few to panic and fall to turn the evacuation into a crush. The secret service tried to clear a path, shouting “Federal Agents!” and “We have a US Representative, let us through!” but with little effect on the crowd. Their hopes picked up when one of the elevator doors began to open, but it revealed a car packed to bursting with bodies.

“Citizens, please, we have a senator and a congressman here, we need to evacuate them.” The men and women in the elevator stared back with panicked eyes. Two of them spilled out into the hallway, but the rest shrank back. The agents looked at each other, considering whether to press the issue, but it was rendered moot as the building suddenly lost power. With set expressions they returned to trying to force a path for their charges through the crush.

Okthuura Yal-Gjaknaath, Tartaruan Range, borderlands of Hell

It was hopeless. No matter how she struggled her ripped wings couldn’t find enough purchase on the air. The magma level had already dropped noticeably, but the receding lava just exposed a steep, jagged rim of still-glowing rocks. To Euryale it looked like a rack of red hot knives ready to tear her apart. Already she seemed to be drowning in an ocean of merciless heat as she fell into the volcano’s throat, the rim drawing away even as the ground rushed closer. She knew it was hopeless, but instinct made her try to flare anyway, throwing away the last of her airspeed to prevent an instant crushing death on impact.

In what seemed like a miracle, as she hovered for that final two seconds the sharp glowing rocks were replaced by a shifting mass of gray-brown rubble. The gorgon landed heavily, splaying onto the still scorching-hot stones and gaining a fresh set of sprains and bruises, but to her utter surprise she was neither incinerated nor broken. Elation lasted for only a moment as Euryale realized that the lip had collapsed and she was crawling on a landslide. Desperately she tried to out-pace the sliding rocks, scrabbling for purchase as the rim continued to crumble into the throat. At last she was out, stumbling into the crater proper and panting despite the searing air.

She wasn’t out of danger yet though; the unstable portal was still churning the lava, which was spitting out globs of molten rock at random. She’d emerged near one of the shrines, a tattered mess of bent rods and half-melted wires, still sparking feebly with residual psychic energy. A half dozen naga lay collapsed in front of it, abandoned by their peers, who were slithering out the crater as fast as their coils could carry them. Euryale found most of the naga rather hard to tell apart, but one snakelike form was unmistakable; Yulupki had always had a taste for tacky jewelry and for the ritual she’d liberally festooned herself with beaten gold trinkets. Euryale had an overwhelming urge to leave her there. It would certainly make explaining the disaster easier. No, it didn’t make sense, too much was riding on Count Belial’s scheme and losing Yulupki would be too much of a blow, to their portal capability and to morale.

As she got closer she saw that the naga’s eyes were still open. “Baroness! Snap out of it! Come on, you can’t stay here!”

“It’s gone! My magic! I have no magic!” Yulupki wailed.

Euryale shook her head. She’d seen Megaaeraholrakni suffer exactly the same thing when she pushed herself too far. It was temporary of course. Demons could recover from nearly anything that didn’t kill them outright, save the touch of iron. “Snap out of it witch. You’re mewling like a kidling.”

The naga didn’t seem to have heard her. “I can’t hear it… I can’t feel it… I am nothing…”

Euryale rolled her eyes then slapped the baroness across the face. The naga hissed and bared her fangs, suddenly focused. “You’ll be fine… if you get out of here now. Come on. I can’t carry you.”

A thump followed by a sudden scream issued from nearby as a piece of lava narrowly missed another of the naga, spraying the creature with glowing fragments. Yulupki painfully began to slither up the slope towards the crater rim, while Euryale went to find a Great Beast to help her move the other wounded survivors.

Ford Field Stadium, Detroit, Michigan

Lieutenant Preston swept the binoculars across the smoke-shrouded asphalt, trying to verify the charge placement. The scene took him back to Kuwait, the same dirty haze backlit by towering flames. The plan was a desperation tactic to start with, worked out in haste at the marathon emergency civil defense meeting just two days ago. With only half his platoon available it would be a minor miracle if they pulled it off. Worse, breathing gear was in critically short supply, the best they could manage was taking gulps from medical oxygen bottles. Even up on top of the stadium’s parking deck, the noxious air was burning his throat and making his eyes water. His men down in the freeway cutting had it much, much worse.

The old-style surplus radio crackled to life. “Sir, I’m seeing lava flow under the Wilkins Street bridge, it’s gonna hit you in five to ten minutes. Over.”

“Got it Private. High tail it out of there. Have you got civvies on board?”

“Yes sir, Alan been picking up wounded, truck’s full of them.”

“Great. Get them clear. Out. Taguba, how are those charges coming?”

Sergeant Taguba’s voice came in ragged gasps. “Just doing the… last column now… Quarrie’s collapsed… put one of the bottles on him.”

Another, higher pitched voice cut in - Sergeant Sharoff’s squad had already finished the northern bridge and moved on to one of the ramps. “Sir, we ran out of satchels, we’ve been improvising with loose blocks but we’re still stringing detcord…”

Lieutenant Preston cut him off. “Sergeants, we’re out of time. Prepare to set timers, three minutes, on my mark.”

There was a long silence – on the radio at least. The city was anything but silent, with the wailing sirens, honking horns, roaring flames, human screams, drawn-out thumps of collapsing buildings and the omnipresent deep rumble of the falling lava. Number four platoon, bravo company was the best approximation of a combat engineering unit the Third Volunteers could manage, but faced with an attack on this scale they most they could hope for was buying a little more time.

“Ready. My boys are pulling back.” Another pause. “Sharoff, in position.”

“Mark!”

“Timer set.” Pounding footsteps came over the voice as Taguba wasted no time pulling back.

“Timer ru… sir…” Sergeant Sharoff’s voice cut off.

”Well done, now haul ass! Samuels, stop the traffic now, any means necessary.”

“Yes sir.”

Preston could just make out diesel starting up as his men moved commandeered trucks to block the freeway overpass. The civvies would hate them for it, but better that than let them get blown up or dunked in lava. His knuckles went white as his grip on the binoculars tightened. The smoke completely obscured the ramps now, but there was a streak of movement… yes, yes! it was Taguba’s truck barrelling down the freeway, his men piled into the bed. But where the hell was Sharoff?

“Sharoff? Report! Sharoff? Lee?” Preston tried to force back the growing sense of horror as the second pickup failed to appear. He dropped the binoculars and jumped back into the SUV, addressing his driver. “Take us out to the edge of the lot. As soon as the charges blow, we go down after our men, understand?”

Private Russell was only nineteen, a trainee machinist when he wasn’t drilling with the regiment. Preston guessed that the kid had spent a lot of his time fooling around with cars before the Message, judging by the work he’d done getting the ex-museum pieces back into working order. Russell’s hands were trembling on the wheel as he steered the Cherokee down the parking ramp, and he gulped before responding with a shaky “Sir yes sir.”

“Steady now. The rubble will hold back the lava, we’ll be in and out before the smoke gets us. If the gas has knocked them out, we’re their only hope…”

A deafening, stuttering series of cracks and booms drowned out the Lieutenant’s words. The smoke swirled and for a moment cleared to reveal the two freeway bridges collapsing in a tumble of concrete rumble. A second later one of the connector ramps came down, breaking into spinning chunks as its support columns cracked unevenly. The charge placement was supposed to tip the decks on end as they fell, and from here it looked like they’d not done too bad job. Splashes of color showed where cars had been on the bridges when they fell. Preston hoped they were abandoned, but if not… well, they were warned, and thousands of lives were at stake here.

Private Russell had the accelerator on the floor before the rubble had stopped falling and the SUV surged forward, smashing through a low metal barrier, crossing an on-ramp and charging down the grassy slope towards the freeway proper. Visibility dropped to mere feet as they entered the now settling dust cloud. Suddenly the vehicle swerved left, braking hard and throwing Lieutenant Preston against the dash. Two shapes emerged out of the gloom, bent low and moving slowly, passing a bright red bottle back and forth between them. Preston shoved the door open, admitting a wash of heat and smoke to the cabin, and pulled the men into the back of the SUV.

“Did the others make it?”

Corporal Lee had a horribly pained look in his eyes. “No… don’t think so.” His voice was a croak. ”Sharoff insisted on wiring more detcord! I think the gas got them, they weren’t moving. Sorry sir, no choice, had to leave them.”

A cracking, rumbling, groan proclaimed the arrival of the lava, punctuated by the distorted screams of tortured rebar. The makeshift barrier shifted but held for now, checking the stream’s headlong rush towards downtown and the river. Preston nodded to Private Russell. “Go!” he shouted, then in a quieter voice “we did what we could. Now lets see where else we’re needed.” He reached for the radio again.

Congress Street, Downtown Detroit

At last, they had reached the lobby. Sander was breathing heavily, at sixty-seven he was hardly a young man. He paused to catch his breath, but what he saw outside snatched it away again. The sky was turning pitch black, and ash was falling like snow. Into the streets they went, but traffic had long since ground to a halt as cars had stalled from the ash or been abandoned by their drivers. Coughing and stumbling, they made their way slowly through the deepening black. It was hard to keep a sense of direction; were they heading towards the river?

After what seemed like an eternity, a piercing scream cut through the darkness. They rounded a corner, only to see a city street backlit by a lava flow. A side-channel of the main flow, it wasn't going at a breakneck speed, but it was steadily making its way down Randolph street. Carl grimaced, knowing the park had to be in flames by now. But worse than that, if the lava reached the entrance of the tunnel to Windsor, a critical evacuation route would be cut. "We've got to do something!" He yelled through the din.

"Our job is to get you to safety, sir!" The agent grabbed his shoulder, but the Senator from Michigan refused to be moved. Lights flashed ahead, dimly in the smoke. A hulking yellow form resolved into a back hoe; it was an abandoned highway repair site.

"There!" He spied a dump truck with a bed full of gravel and ran to it. "We can put a bit..” Carl’s voice trailed off into a hacking cough. ”…A bit of a barrier up, we can dam the lava." The agents looked at each other, then at Sander, who nodded. They weren't likely to make it out of the city alive, but the longer they could keep the streets clear, the better chance other people would have. "I'll do it, sir. I was in the Army Corps." The agent climbed into the cab and fired up the engine.

Coach Insignia Restaurant, Renaissance Center, Downtown Detroit

Gloria had wept for a while, but the sorrow had receded for now. Perhaps it was the unreality of the situation, like a disaster movie. Possibly though it was what she’d been watching below, because she’d never expected to see this much heroism in the face of hellfire and damnation itself. She had a fine view from the deserted restaurant and she’d seen people dragging others out from burning buildings, others digging through rubble of collapsed ones even as the lava closed in on them and private cars actually driving back in to the city to pick up more survivors. She’d seen a news helicopter buzzing around lifting children off rooftops and another big helicopter dropping packages to the survivors – after watching for a few minutes she was pretty sure they were gas masks of some sort.

Then there were the barricades, springing up everywhere as people tried to hold back the burning tide for just a few more minutes. It had started with the freeway collapse, that had gone down and sent up a big cloud of dust right before the lava got to it, so it had to be deliberate. She wasn’t sure if that had been a good idea, the stadium had gone up in flames and then the molten rock had pooled and started heading west along the I75, cutting off escape to the north as it went. Then again she’d probably be in hell already if they hadn’t damned the flow, along with thousands of others caught in downtown.

One particularly bold group had tried to block the road just in front of her skyscraper, piling up rubble and cars and trucks and all manner of junk right under the people mover track. The lava had already reached the barricade, which was burning and melting and shifting dangerously, yet they still kept reinforcing it. Another rumble, another boom… another building was collapsing, just a hundred yards north of the barricade. The lava was closing in, seeming to come at the tower from every surrounding street. Weren’t they going to run? Didn’t they realize that this was the end? Gloria closed her eyes, wondering if a New Detroit would ever rise from the plains of Hell.

Brush Street, Downtown Detroit

Agent Drexler finally found the control that tilted the bed of the truck, and slowly drew a line of gravel three feet high across the street. Other people stopped, and seeing what they were doing, began to manhandle benches, tires, and any still-working cars into the line. After only a few minutes they had a barrier five feet high. The lava began to pool behind it, but as the rocks glowed, they fused into a solid berm. The lava swirled slowly.

Sander clapped his brother on the shoulder, and they both smiled. Before either had a chance to say anything, a loud -CRACK- echoed above the din. On their right, a building bucked wildly, shedding a rain of cladding, and they both saw the lava pouring into the basement windows and storm drains. With all the heat, the foundations were giving way. The crack repeated again, into a deafening roar as the building came down. The two brothers looked each other in the eyes, knowing they wouldn't see each-other for a long time, bracing themselves for what was in store, as hundreds of tons of steel and masonry came down on them.

Neither flinched.

Free Hell, Swamps by the River Styx, Sixth Rings of Hell

In the distance, the Russian artillery rumbled, sounding for all the world like far-off thunder. Jade Kim could only imagine what it was like in the firing zone, or the hell on the receiving end of the steel rain. Once, she'd been near a single large howitzer firing; the sound had knocked the breath out of her and deafened her even through the headphones. And knowing the Russians, they'd lined up their artillery wheel-to-wheel for fifty miles. She wouldn't want to be in that big baldrick army assaulting the Russian positions right now.

Kim brought her mind back to Free Hell. Initial estimates put the number of people imprisoned in Free Hell at a bit over one hundred thousand. The sheer number still surprised Kim on a gut level when she thought about it, so she constantly had to remind herself that there were ninety billion people in the Pit alone, and the surveying flights had shown that Free Hell controlled little more than a mere millionth of the surface area of the Pit. Spread out before her was a rudimentary map of Free Hell. She was in between appointments in her command tent, contemplating the area they controlled. Marked were the major rock outcroppings, particularly dry and wet places, the courses of streams and rivers, baldrick roads, and known human and baldrick positions. She had also penciled in the locations of canals-in-progress and the small, growing city that housed all of the freed humans.

Nearly one-third of Free Hell's border lay along the Styx. Along the other two-thirds, Tarrant had placed extensive minefields and regularly spaced small fortifications, generally taking advantage of particularly wet areas and clusters of boulders thrusting up through the mud. These had repulsed several weak baldrick assaults in the last few days; they'd taken no casualties, while the baldricks had gone down heavily.

But there wasn't enough information about the main baldrick forces. The noted baldrick strongholds were vague, and there were all too many question marks. She wasn't sure how many reinforcements had arrived, or even just how many baldricks had been under Asmodeus' command in the first place. This lack of knowledge was disturbing.

Kim frowned. There were several token emplacements along the shore of the Styx, one monitoring the destroyed bridge and the others spaced evenly across the banks. The defenses there were too thin; Tarrant was relying too much on the Styx as a natural barrier. She made a note to speak to him about that later.

McInery stuck his head in the tent. “Ell-tee?”

“Yeah, Mac?”

“Rahab is here with three men to see you.”

Ah, yes. Rahab and Julius Caesar. “Who are they?”

“One identifies himself as Julius Caesar and says the other two are his bodyguards.”

“Please show them in.” She made sure that her pistol was loose in its holster, just in case, and she'd have Mac here as well if things went sour. She had no intention of that happening, however.

The tent flap opened, and Rahab stepped through. She was followed by Caesar, a short man with thin, black hair and a wide mouth. After Caesar were two men. One was large and very muscular, with a forward-thrust head and short hair; the other was shorter, with curly blond hair and jutting eyebrows. Both were wearing scabbards, but no swords. Mac was on top of his game.

Rahab spoke first. “May I introduce Gaius Julius Caesar. With him are Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, his bodyguards.”

Kim nodded. “Thank you, Rahab.” She rose and extended her hand. “I am Lieutenant (deceased) Jade Kim, commander of the People's Front for the Liberation of Hell and administrator of Free Hell.” Caesar passed her hand and clasped her wrist. After an instant, she grabbed his wrist. His grip was firm, and he squeezed for an instant before releasing.

“Please, take a seat.” Kim gestured to the chair in front of her desk and three others along the wall.

Licking her lips, Rahab said, “If you don't mind, I'll be going.”

“Suit yourself,” said Kim. Caesar, meanwhile, sat at the chair before her 'desk'.

Kim looked inquiringly at Pullo and Vorenus. Vorenus shook his head and spoke for both of them. “If you don't mind, ma'am, we'll be standing.” Kim nodded. In the back of the tent, Mac stood unobtrusively.

“So, Mr Caesar, how can I help you?”

Caesar smiled. “Please, call me Gaius. I'm here to offer you my help.”

Kim raised an eyebrow. Caesar continued, “I know that you're surprised at the possibility I can help you. I've taken your man Dawkins into my protection. In conversing with him, I've learned much about what has happened since I arrived here in Hell, especially in the last few centuries. You have weapons that are far beyond anything I, or any Roman, could have dreamed of.”

Kim nodded her assent. “This is true.”

Caesar leaned forward. “But,” he continued, “in establishing yourself here in Hell, you do lack one thing.”

“And what is that, Gaius?”

“Manpower.” Caesar smiled. “Every year, since I arrived, I have freed men. They have gone on to free men, who have gone on to free men. I have created a network to shuttle these people to safety in areas the demons do not regularly patrol. There are small groups hiding out in the interiors of each ring, ready to act at my command.”

“And what good are they to me,” Kim asked, “if they don't know how to use my weapons?”

“They can be trained. So this is what I propose, Lieutenant Kim. If you equip and train my army, it will be ready to rise up against the demons all at once, throughout Hell, at your command.”

“How many men do you have?”

“At this point, my people number over two and a half millions.” Kim nodded, carefully concealing her surprise.

“Thank you, Gaius. We will be in contact. Can I put you and your men up here for the night?”

“We would be pleased to accept your offer, Lt. Kim.”

“Mac, would you find a place for them to stay over the night?” asked Kim. McInery nodded. “Thank you.”

As Caesar and his two bodyguards exited the tent, Kim turned back to the map, her mind churning. After a moment, it began to settle. First things first – now to talk to Tarrant about the Styx line of defenses.

Bank of the River Styx, Fifth Ring of Hell

Xisorixus had been a nobody. During the last few millennia, however, he'd risen to his own fiefdom at a breakneck pace. Through a combination of military prowess, conniving wit, and sheer raw courage mixed with an outrageous level of bluff, he now commanded a large, prime piece of territory in the Sixth ring. With the death of Asmodeus and so many lords under him, Xisorixus was the senior demon in the legions remaining near the human-infested territory.

Although he was busy consolidating his control over the lands of those minor lords who had died – his holdings had tripled since Asmodeus had been killed – Xisorixus was also consolidating his command and beginning to lay plans for the feat that would cement his place in Hell's hierarchy for all eternity. Xisorixus was going to utterly destroy the humans who had freed themselves.

Through the past few days, he had been feinting at the humans, testing their defenses. They were thorough on the sides of the human-occupied territories facing away from the Styx; Xisorixus harbored few illusions about the ability of his forces to storm through the magical defenses and emerge in enough strength to wipe out the humans on the other side.

But his eyes and ears had been busy gathering information. The overwhelming human defensive magic was indiscriminate, he'd learned; one of his spies had watched human mages preparing the spells, and one of the spells had accidentally exploded, leaving the human a bloody mess, screaming and writhing in pain on the ground. This had given rise to the beginnings of an idea: if he could somehow get across the Styx and gain the upper hand against the humans, he could drive them back and trap them against their own magic.

To make the situation even better, Xisorixus had learned that only a few humans watched the Styx. His demons were now able to show themselves in full daylight without earning the slightest magery in retaliation, save in a few places. Once, he'd tried restarting construction on the demolished bridge, but the humans had unleashed their magic on him and he'd lost nearly two hundred good demons.

He emerged from his tent into the bustle of Dis itself. This was the one place he could be assured that no humans would spy on him, so he'd asked permission to bring his legions here. Satan had absent-mindedly agreed – rather, one of the lower bureaucrats in the government had agreed – so his five remaining augmented legions had requisitioned, and were occupying, these few blocks of city. He'd attached to each legion a fifth-legion of flies, from the sizeable air force he had accumulated in his rise to power.

Today was the day he was going to test his plan. In the courtyard of his headquarters, by his tethered wyvern, were ten curious wooden bundles. Standing by them were three wyverns, to which the bundles would be attached for transmission. His air guard snapped to attention as he exited, and fell into escort around him. They would follow him through the air and to the testing grounds, at a wide, shallow part of the Styx between the human area and the waterfalls. There, a cohort of his troops awaited him. Xisorixus smiled. The floating bridges would almost certainly work, and from there it would only be a few days before he joined the battle.
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Peptuck
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Post by Peptuck » 2008-06-05 01:26pm

Uh-oh. I get the feeling either Xixorisus or the Free Hell troops are in for a nasty surprise.
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Post by KlavoHunter » 2008-06-05 01:41pm

Darth Wong wrote:Why would they need 50mm cannons? 20mm should be more than adequate for a general-purpose baldrick-killing machine, and with the smaller shells, you can bring more ammo.
25mm Bushmaster has been shown to take multiple rounds to kill a Baldrick, and it looks like you need even more stopping power to bring down an Angel. (Or should we call them Percys? :P ) After all, whatshisface took a boatload of 25mm and a blast of canister from an Abrams at damn-near point-blank before going down.


As for Caesar's legions... 2 and a half million men! Get rifles in their hands and train them, and all Hell will tremble!

Certainly between a combination of soldiers who've died in the 20th century and are familiar with rifles of bolt-action style or later; and NCOs from throughout history, Caesar could probably raise himself one hell of an army, pardon the pun. ;)
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

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Post by Raj Ahten » 2008-06-05 01:51pm

KlavoHunter wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Why would they need 50mm cannons? 20mm should be more than adequate for a general-purpose baldrick-killing machine, and with the smaller shells, you can bring more ammo.
25mm Bushmaster has been shown to take multiple rounds to kill a Baldrick, and it looks like you need even more stopping power to bring down an Angel. (Or should we call them Percys? :P ) After all, whatshisface took a boatload of 25mm and a blast of canister from an Abrams at damn-near point-blank before going down.


As for Caesar's legions... 2 and a half million men! Get rifles in their hands and train them, and all Hell will tremble!

Certainly between a combination of soldiers who've died in the 20th century and are familiar with rifles of bolt-action style or later; and NCOs from throughout history, Caesar could probably raise himself one hell of an army, pardon the pun. ;)
Well I'd be worried Ceaser uses the men for his own purposes after the liberation. Installing himself as dictator perhaps?

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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-06-05 01:51pm

How quickly can he mobilize them, though? They've got to be compartmentalized and broken up into small groups, and he's operating with couriers and word-of-mouth communication.

BTW, it was nice to see my contribution in the story. I always liked the Levin family, they seemed like well-meaning folks.
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Post by GrandMasterTerwynn » 2008-06-05 02:08pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:How quickly can he mobilize them, though? They've got to be compartmentalized and broken up into small groups, and he's operating with couriers and word-of-mouth communication.
He can also use instantaneous mind-entanglement, but only in line-of-sight. And he's got significant air support. And the commander of the human defenses seems to not be expecting a near-modern amphibious assault. Ergo, the humans of Free Hell may just be in for a very rude shock.

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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-06-05 02:14pm

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:How quickly can he mobilize them, though? They've got to be compartmentalized and broken up into small groups, and he's operating with couriers and word-of-mouth communication.
He can also use instantaneous mind-entanglement, but only in line-of-sight. And he's got significant air support. And the commander of the human defenses seems to not be expecting a near-modern amphibious assault. Ergo, the humans of Free Hell may just be in for a very rude shock.
I was talking about Caesar mobilizing his 2.5 million troops.

Edit: Oh, and we need to get Hav to start doing drawings of roman troops with assault weapons.
Last edited by CaptainChewbacca on 2008-06-05 02:15pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Peptuck » 2008-06-05 02:14pm

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:How quickly can he mobilize them, though? They've got to be compartmentalized and broken up into small groups, and he's operating with couriers and word-of-mouth communication.
He can also use instantaneous mind-entanglement, but only in line-of-sight. And he's got significant air support. And the commander of the human defenses seems to not be expecting a near-modern amphibious assault. Ergo, the humans of Free Hell may just be in for a very rude shock.
I think Chewie was talking about Ceasar's army, not the Baldrick whose name I can't spell at the moment.
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Post by Surlethe » 2008-06-05 02:17pm

Raj Ahten wrote:Well I'd be worried Ceaser uses the men for his own purposes after the liberation. Installing himself as dictator perhaps?
Caesar? Ambitious? ;) Here's a little bit of a spoiler: Think of how Caesar, coming from his ancient Roman cultural background, views this exchange. You, I, and Kim all see it as a business deal: we're trading weapons and training for forces. The ancient Romans, on the other hand, saw it rather differently ... .
Chewbacca wrote:How quickly can he mobilize them, though? They've got to be compartmentalized and broken up into small groups, and he's operating with couriers and word-of-mouth communication.
That is a significant question. Given the communications, the sheer size of the force also precludes quick mobilization.
GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:He can also use instantaneous mind-entanglement, but only in line-of-sight. And he's got significant air support. And the commander of the human defenses seems to not be expecting a near-modern amphibious assault. Ergo, the humans of Free Hell may just be in for a very rude shock.
He's talking about Caesar's forces. But in thinking about demonic opposition to human forces, it is good to remember that while demons are culturally ensconced in their ways, they are not stupid. They will make do with what they have in surprising ways.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-06-05 02:21pm

Frankly, Free Hell was always in a rather precarious position. While they had modern weapons, the demonic forces could have overrun them at any time by simply throwing huge numbers at them. The reason this never happened was that they were not sufficiently high-priority. Satan was worried about other threats: the human incursion at the hellmouth, the possibility of a second front opening up with Heaven, etc. Meanwhile, Free Hell is only one minor area, of little strategic importance other than its symbolic importance: a factor which pales in comparison to the full-blown invasion occurring at the Phlegethon.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-06-05 02:24pm

Surlethe wrote:
Raj Ahten wrote:Well I'd be worried Ceaser uses the men for his own purposes after the liberation. Installing himself as dictator perhaps?
Caesar? Ambitious? ;) Here's a little bit of a spoiler: Think of how Caesar, coming from his ancient Roman cultural background, views this exchange. You, I, and Kim all see it as a business deal: we're trading weapons and training for forces. The ancient Romans, on the other hand, saw it rather differently ... .
Considering Caesar currently commands an army which outnumbers all the humans currently fighting at Phlegthon, I'd say he's got reason to. Make no mistake, he'll spin the victory as partly his doing.
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Post by Guardsman Bass » 2008-06-05 02:25pm

Good, and interesting. Assuming the human forces don't simply nuke Dis or something like that, then this fighting is starting to exercise an almost selective pressure on the leadership in Hell, so you start seeing people like Xisorixus rising to the occasion (assuming he succeeds in dealing a body blow to Free Hell), who otherwise would have been little more than nobodies in Hell's hierarchy.
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2008-06-05 03:03pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Surlethe wrote:
Raj Ahten wrote:Well I'd be worried Ceaser uses the men for his own purposes after the liberation. Installing himself as dictator perhaps?
Caesar? Ambitious? ;) Here's a little bit of a spoiler: Think of how Caesar, coming from his ancient Roman cultural background, views this exchange. You, I, and Kim all see it as a business deal: we're trading weapons and training for forces. The ancient Romans, on the other hand, saw it rather differently ... .
Considering Caesar currently commands an army which outnumbers all the humans currently fighting at Phlegthon, I'd say he's got reason to. Make no mistake, he'll spin the victory as partly his doing.
Spin a victory as his doing? yes, but its Caesar, nothing that man will do is without calculation or purpose to one end, his own. I wonder if Kim has the wit to ask him how well those wounds in his back have healed up.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-06-05 03:14pm

Darth Wong wrote:Frankly, Free Hell was always in a rather precarious position. While they had modern weapons, the demonic forces could have overrun them at any time by simply throwing huge numbers at them. The reason this never happened was that they were not sufficiently high-priority. Satan was worried about other threats: the human incursion at the hellmouth, the possibility of a second front opening up with Heaven, etc. Meanwhile, Free Hell is only one minor area, of little strategic importance other than its symbolic importance: a factor which pales in comparison to the full-blown invasion occurring at the Phlegethon.
Free Hell is probably at the most vulnerable point of its existance right now.

'Tis always so when a guerilla movement leaves Phase One of its strategy (I tend to be a classical Maoist in such things and view with disdain the foci theori proposed by Carlos Marighella) and enters Phase Two. The movement presents, for the first time, a static and easily-located target that the regular forces can pound upon while at the same time being too small and weak to put up a major defense. However, as is the way in guerilla warfare, this very weakness can be put to advantage. If the regular security forces can be induced to attacka nd then are crushingly defeated, the morale blow is truly dreadful and what was an isolated insurgency can spread like wildfire.

So, the shift represented by the establishment of a liberated area is a gamble; it may represent an opportuinity for crushing victory or total defeat with little inbetween. So, the timing of the move is critical. One of the most critical points is, can the liberated area call upon outside support? If it can, then the attack on it can be turned into a bloodbath and the regular forces critically defeated. If it cannot (or is led to believe that it can and is then left in the lurch which is essentially what has happened to the Mehdi Army in Iraq) the its obliterations is waiting.

So, now comes the critical point for Free Hell, can it get the outside support it needs to survive and thus deliver a body-blow to demonic rule in Hell? Come back for the next part of

The Salvation War: Armageddon
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Post by Fleet Admiral JD » 2008-06-05 03:26pm

I haven't commented in awhile because I still can't say anything but this is quite possibly the most intriguing fiction I have ever read. Seriously, Stuart & Co., you guys rock.
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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2008-06-05 03:26pm

I eagerly anticipate the absolutely BRUTAL CQB that will come when the demons storm PLF territory. Goddamn it, why did Oni and Spartan have to be taken away? If they were still with Kim's guys, when the baldricks come, we could see Oni show those dishonorable immortal human gaijin what-for! AND we could see Spartan impale a demon. With a pipe.

Let off some steam.

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Post by Setzer » 2008-06-05 03:29pm

I think that would be a bit too close to 300. Besides, Stuart doesn't seem the sort for Samurai or Spartan wanking.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-06-05 03:30pm

Stuart wrote: So, now comes the critical point for Free Hell, can it get the outside support it needs to survive and thus deliver a body-blow to demonic rule in Hell? Come back for the next part of

The Salvation War: Armageddon
Nice 8) , but I'd flip it for 'Armageddon: The Salvation War'. How far is Free Hell from the 'front'? Could they call for air strikes against enemy troops or strongholds?
Yes, and as they hack through the hordes, they can exchange one-liners to each other and count their kills!
And when they get through they can toss a dwarf at Helm's Deep. :P
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Post by Brain_Caster » 2008-06-05 03:42pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote: Considering Caesar currently commands an army which outnumbers all the humans currently fighting at Phlegthon, I'd say he's got reason to. Make no mistake, he'll spin the victory as partly his doing.
Does he? He claims to do, but how do we know he isn't inflating his numbers or simply lying through his teeth? Also considering the apparently rather unorganised, ineffective and decentralized nature of the human resistance I'd be more than just surprised if all of those 2,5 million people, assuming they exist, are personally loyal to Caesar. Hell, I'd be surprised if more than half of them have even heard of him.

It's likely he is just one of countless smaller leaders and vastly overstating his own importance. Also the one thing he has two offer, manpower, is effectively worthless in a place where all you have to do to get new recruits is to dig them out of mud. Frankly, I think giving him so much as a single bullet would be a grave error, especially considering his personal history (which is, after all, history). Hell has enough baldrick warlords already, no reason to add a human one.
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Post by Surlethe » 2008-06-05 03:43pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:How far is Free Hell from the 'front'?
Not too far. Remember that the F4s flew over.
Could they call for air strikes against enemy troops or strongholds?
Good question. Is there any air power not currently tied up in the Phlegethon battle? :D
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2008-06-05 03:55pm

Brain_Caster wrote:snip .
Yes, we know his History and because of that it would be most unwise not to take him seriously given the sheer size of Hell. It would also be wise to consider what other charismatic persons are out there with largish bodies at their command. If Caesar can do it, why not others? Alexander, perhaps or Napoleon, Khan, who know, maybe Churchill?
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2008-06-05 03:56pm

Surlethe wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:How far is Free Hell from the 'front'?
Not too far. Remember that the F4s flew over.

snip
*slaps Surlethe* Aussie F111's.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-06-05 03:58pm

Surlethe wrote: Not too far. Remember that the F4s flew over.
Australian F-111s. They're Pigs, F-4s are Rhinos
Good question. Is there any air power not currently tied up in the Phlegethon battle?
Huge amount, practically all the dedicated ground attack aircraft (A-10s and Su-25s etc etc etc) There are simply too many harpies around to risk the mud-movers over the Phlegethon battlefield. Then there are the theater-strategic aircraft that are only marginally used (F-111s, Tornados, F-15Es, Su-24s) and the strategic birds that are waiting to clobber Dis and Tartarus.

Not to mention the helicopters, recon birds and heavy transports.
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Post by Surlethe » 2008-06-05 04:03pm

Whoops, F-111s. My bad.
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2008-06-05 04:07pm

Surlethe wrote:Whoops, F-111s. My bad.
No dessert for you young man.
Either way 'Free Hell' is in an unenviable situation.
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