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Thread: The countdown begins to destroy us all . . . .

  1. #1
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    The countdown begins to destroy us all . . . .

    Prologue Part One - Guise of Disaster:

    Kevin Lighthearter groaned, pushing himself somewhat upright on his right hand. He saw around him the others, all trying vainly to rise. Prince Asona of the elven kingdom of Ethara, his arcane sword Antomore resting on the cobblestones, steam pouring from it. Lady Agente, half-sister of King Mitenov of Jinon and the last Oracle – one of the incredibly powerful sorceresses that had been extinct on Haven for thousands of years – reaching for the Ring of Iphre, perhaps hoping to unleash its incredible power. If she could figure out how to access it in the heat of battle, that is.

    Clementine, one of the young Greater Dragons and a stalwart ally of Lighthearter and his “Crusaders” lay gasping only thirty feet away, the massive dent in the stone wall she’d been thrown into evidence of her pain. Ishhrggen, the renegade Zelkonian snakeman who refused to fight for the slave trade, hissing as he pushed the large wooden beam off his chest from where he lay near Clementine. Assuming he did that, he’d still have the one across his four legs to contend with.

    But most terrifying to Lighthearter was Laiin. The twin sister of the King, the Lady Asmeelta – the most deadly assassin in the world – a powerful mage, a fellow student of the great wizard Keneven lay on the pavement, completely unconscious. Lighthearter was torn between fear and rage as he saw the woman he loved breathing steadily with a trickle of blood running down her face.

    Lighthearter himself was a Gyrean Ranger, one of the guardians of the wilds and the innocent peoples of the North. His and Laiin’s first meeting had been when she, blackmailed by the slaving Syndicate Lighthearter fought with her half-sister’s life – the very one who now tried to marshal her Oracular powers – tried to kill him. Of course, she had failed, and the Syndicate (who actually didn’t have Agente, as Lighthearter had rescued her from a group of slavers that took her from the Syndicate’s clutches by accident) responded by trying to murder her.

    She had survived and sought him out, and after a – misunderstanding where he knocked her unconscious and almost killed her, they had worked together to try and end the Syndicate. That had led to Fukouka, the Dark Lord, trying to kill them both at the holy mountain of the Moon God, Cennet. He almost succeeded. He would have, too, if not for Moonfire.

    Lighthearter once again thought of the emerald-bladed magic hand-and-a-half sword that the Progenitor, master god of Haven, had given him. It could cut through stone, kill arcane/divine beings, and would never chip. But that was just the start. Preserved inside the blade was the soul and mind of a warrior of a long-dead world and race. Allahnrah, champion of the world of Gasaia, had been the single greatest hero in the history of reality – from the memories Lighthearter had seen. Unfortunately, he had been forced to watch his world be destroyed and his species rendered extinct one battle at a time, with damn all he could do to stop it.

    He wasn’t just a mentor though. Allahnrah could – and had demonstrated in the past that he would – take over Lighthearter’s body if he saw the need. When he seized control Lighthearter would see himself do impossible things – like jump from thousands of feet in the air but land perfectly unharmed and ready to fight – because Allahnrah’s body had been able to. Allahnrah had simply explained that his mind made Lighthearter’s body that strong – like some sort of ultimate version of the Oracular maxim – “A strong mind perceives its own reality”.

    Lighthearter remembered the sword taking control of him in those desperate few minutes after Fukouka battered him into a pulp. Healing his broken arm even as the building burned around him, and then easily lifting the stone pillar off Laiin’s broken legs and effortlessly carrying her out of the flames before healing her.

    And that wasn’t even counting that Fukouka would have killed her directly later if Lighthearter hadn’t rammed the sword into his heart. Unfortunately, a man they’d counted out seemed to be a lot more important then they’d thought at the time.

    Lighthearter, Agente and Laiin had all had their run-ins with a woman named Esther, who they assumed was a servant of Fukouka for her constant references to her service to the Dark Lord. She had invaded all of their minds several times, trying to break them.

    And no one had wondered about the Syndicate henchman named Athers who had fought all of them individually to a standstill, always seemed to be there when Syndicate forces made a significant move, and hung around Esther. A lot.

    Lighthearter snarled as he looked up at Athers. The man was standing almost casually in the middle of the circle of devastated heroes, a cloak billowing behind him in the city wind, having just written I am darkness in fire on an apartment building. Esther stood next to him, a look of almost sickening adoration on her – admittedly beautiful – face. She suddenly jumped at Athers, her jet-black hair cascading behind her. She threw her arms about him.

    I knew you were far more then them!” She cried, trying to kiss him. “Wonderful!”

    Athers raised one hand – maybe one finger – and pushed her a good three feet back casually. “Later.” He said in that sickeningly superior-yet-normal explaining-things-to-a-child voice that no one equated with pure evil. He grinned, looking at the Crusaders. Or, to be more accurate, Lighthearter thought grimly, what’s left of us after he fought. He can’t be mortal!

    Lighthearter gripped the hilt of the sword and snarled. He shoved himself upright – barely making it in one push – and swung the blade back, not bothering to yell a war cry. Athers turned. Lighthearter swung downwards. Athers caught the blade on the back of his palm – earning a shocked expression from Lighthearter – and then slammed a fist into the ranger’s gut, sending him flying a good twenty feet before hitting the ground.

    Athers laughed, a red light appearing in his palm. “Pathetic. I expected a challenge from you people, you know.” He raised his fist, then paused. He grinned and pointed his hand at Laiin. Lighthearter felt time slow down as the colored orb exploded into crackling lightning and flame, then jumped – so slowly, it seemed, from Athers’ hand and towards Laiin.

    The next thing he knew, he was on his back between her and Laiin, and Moonfire was glowing a dull red. Everything in his body ached even more then it had, and he felt the fiery tendrils of Allahnrah’s control slipping away.

    Unfortunately, Moonfire spat the red orb at Esther an instant later. Even more unfortunately, Esther tried to catch it with another one.

    “Stop, you idiot!” Athers cried. Later Lighthearter would realize he spoke before Esther had even started casting. Regardless, he was too late.

    The explosion of light blinded Lighthearter, and he felt himself falling backwards, rolling in the air, while brilliant light came from all sides. As suddenly as it began it stopped, and he slammed onto his back. He groaned again, climbing upright –

    And he stopped dead.

    Ahead lay the skyline of a city he’d never seen before.

    “Wonderful.” He whispered.

    Just what we need. He heard Allahnrah’s voice.

    What is this place? He asked.

    How should I know? I barely know the places you’re around often!

    Lighthearter reflected that this was going to be a fun adventure.



    Athers stood silent. Esther shrank back further then she would if he had been screaming at her. The man’s cloak was on fire, too. Another result of my stupid decision! He’s not going to let me off easy this time! Esther cringed – inside and out – at that thought.

    But then “Athers”, master being of everything dark and twisted, the physical incarnation of sheer evil, smiled. He even laughed. Esther somehow realized that “Athers” was gone. Now his true self was speaking. Evil grabbed his cloak and extinguished it in a single squeeze of his fist.

    “Perhaps not such a disaster after all.” He said with that maniacal grin as he looked at the Reichstag ahead. He looked over his shoulder at his apprentice, who waiting in terror for him to punish her for her failure. He reached out his hand – and pulled her up beside him.

    “Now then, m’dear.” Evil said happily. “Let’s go wreck this world.”

    ____

    Hello all, I'm LH(as you can probably guess)! This is my latest venture into the world of HOI AARing, and I'd like to share a few pointers about this before we go any further.

    - Theme Song

    - All the characters you've seen so far are straight from my book. I'm going to be blunt here - I'm using this AAR to build their characters and fight my writer's block. Soon enough some will appear that aren't in the book though.

    - This is something of a crossover story - it has a lot of elements from The Last Prophecy(the book), but takes a lead from my old LMCP AAR in another character who'll appear and he's in turn based off of Merlin Athrawes in David Weber's Safehold books.

    - If you have any thoughts, please don't hesitate to voice them!

    I'll try to keep this one going, but I'll make no promises. I don't have a wonderful track record with AARs, but I'll shoot for at least this summer. Which at this rate will be about when I finish the first draft of TLP anyway

    Anyway, comment as you will! More will follow over the weekend explaining my start a bit!


    Prologue - Of Heroes and Villains

    Part One: Guise of Catastrophe(above)
    Part Two: More Then it Seems
    Part Three: Three Worlds Collide
    Part Four: In for the Long Haul


    Chapter One - Hammerfist

    Part One: Blitzkrieg
    Part Two: Paris Burning
    Part Three: The Last Oracle
    Part Four: June In France
    Part Five: The Strength To Carry On


    Chapter Two - Desert Rats

    Part One: Blood and Guts
    Part Two: The Problem with Dreams
    Part Three: The Russians are Coming!(Coming soon!)
    Part Four: Behold the Camelry(Coming soon!)
    Part Five: The Desert Fox(Coming soon!)
    Part Six: The Worst is Not Yet(Coming soon!)

    -L
    Last edited by Lighthearter; 10-05-2011 at 02:09.

  2. #2
    Alternative Affairs Specialist TekcoR's Avatar
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  3. #3
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Prologue Part Two - More Then It Seems:

    Kevin Lighthearter looked around him, studying the moon and stars overhead. He could trace the faint outlines of a few constellations, but only a few, and vaguely at that. A flash crossed his vision and he saw the sky from another world – and it was not the same as the one overhead.

    Even I have never seen this before. Allahnrah commented ominously.

    Wonderful. Now what? And where are the others? I find it hard to believe that I’m the only one transported . . . wherever I am.

    Could it be you simply can’t bear the thought of being alone here?

    Perhaps.
    Lighthearter admitted to the ancient warrior. That thought had occurred to me, you know.

    Well, in that case you have to search for the others.

    You’re a lot of help, you know that?

    You remind me a lot of myself, Lighthearter. Perhaps that is why I chose you.


    Lighthearter rolled his eyes. He looked back at the city, the strange domed building in the distance that reminded him of a cathedral.

    “It’s good to see you again, Kevin.”

    Lighthearter whirled, not daring to believe the voice he heard. An old man, leaning on an oaken staff, stood behind him. A long white beard cascaded down to his belt, though his head was beyond that entirely shaven. His wrinkled face smiled at the much taller Gyrean.

    Lighthearter crossed the few feet of distance in a matter of seconds and enveloped Keneven the Wizard, the Wind that kept the world of Haven balanced in a massive hug.

    “Good to see you too.” He said. Keneven laughed a bit.

    “Alright, calm down. I’m a bit fragile, young man!” Lighthearter’s old mentor and surrogate father didn’t sound at all impaired as he spoke. That was the main reason that Lighthearter didn’t believe all his talk about his fragility.

    “Where is this?” Lighthearter asked, pragmatism taking precedence over reunion.
    “A very far removed place from Haven.” Keneven said grimly. “I don’t think I can explain this well here. We need to travel somewhere.”

    “Where?” Lighthearter asked. I’m really starting to get tired of all this confusion. First Athers and now this!

    “Come.” Keneven said, gripping Lighthearter’s hand. A cloud of smoke began to rise around them, silver in the moonlight. Lighthearter’s eyes widened as he saw his and Keneven’s limbs begin to dissolve into said smoke, but he felt only a curious tingling sensation. That and Keneven seems calm, so I assume it’s fine.

    Suddenly Lighthearter felt like he was falling from miles in the air. He looked down and saw nothing but smoke. Indeed, he was smoke.

    Almost as soon as the sensation started it stopped, to be replaced with an abrupt sensation of being aboard a ship. Lighthearter shook his head, trying to regain his balance. He opened his eyes.

    Ahead of him was a massive iron superstructure, built on top of the largest ship that Lighthearter had ever head of. There was a mast that he could see in the sunset light, but no sails were set yet the ship was plowing along faster then he reckoned possible. Great columns of smoke rose from twin pillars that Lighthearter realized must be chimneys of some sort.

    “Follow me.” Keneven said quietly. Lighthearter stumbled as he did so, so caught up was he in watching the miraculous ship and how it functioned. Men dressed in uniforms were rushing about, officers shouting commands. Someone threw something over the side for reasons Lighthearter couldn’t fathom.

    Because he was so absorbed it took him a moment to realize some obvious things. The first was that there was no trace of the kind of arcane power it would surely require to operate something of this scale. That was staggering that there would be no mages aboard!

    Not so staggering. Allahnrah chimed in. The Silver Islanders operated iron vessels using steam from massive boilers. These craft were the main reason they remained independent of the Magistrate. They didn’t use magic - except to set our ships alight when they attacked. They were called “turtle ships.” However, none of them was anywhere near this large. The principles should be the same, however.

    Lighthearter wondered if Allahnrah had any more potentially life-changing arcane and scientific details he hadn’t bothered to introduce to Haven via Lighthearter.

    The second thing Lighthearter noticed was that he could understand the crew. He frowned. Their language seemed similar to that of the elves in Ethara. Undoubtedly he was grasping at straws, some futile hope that he was still on Haven, when he wondered if he had stumbled into an elven land across the seas.

    No, this is NOT Haven.

    The other thing was that Keneven and Lighthearter were invisible.

    It took him a while to put that together, but it explained a man with a sword and an old bald man with a long white beard leaning on a staff being able to walk through an obvious warship without being challenged even once.

    Keneven led him deep into the ship, seeming to talk to himself every now and then. Lighthearter was too busy recording details to notice what he was saying. Eventually Keneven stopped at a door and politely knocked. Lighthearter refocused on it. Then Keneven shocked him by simply stepping inside. Lighthearter shook his head in confusion and followed.

    Inside was a comfortable (for a ship, but still magnificent compared to even admiral’s quarters on a galleon) suite, with several chairs around a table bolted to the floor. A few lights gleamed already, and a porthole studied the outside ocean.

    However, what Lighthearter noticed was the man.

    He stood a little less then Lighthearter’s six foot three, and as he turned there was a gleam in his eye that seemed almost appraising, and most definitely cynically distrustful. He raised an eyebrow as the two entered the room.

    “Good evening, Keneven. And might I ask who you would happen to be aboard my ship?”

    “Depends.” Lighthearter said, narrowing his eyes. “Who are you.”

    Touche.” The other man said lightly. Lighthearter recognized a word of High Jinon. “However, this is my ship, so I believe I have the advantage.”

    “Please.” Keneven said. “We might be better served to wait for a moment before the introductions.”

    “Why?” Lighthearter asked. The other man just delivered a crooked smile.

    “As you wish, my friend.” He said with a little bow as he leaned against the wall.

    “At least tell me where I am!” Lighthearter finally snapped. “This place is so far removed from my home–”

    “My lord.”

    Lighthearter turned, as did the other man. A seaman was in the doorway, standing at attention.

    “Yes, Ensign?” The man in the room asked. Lighthearter noted the use of the title “lord” to refer to him.

    “Shall I–” The Ensign began.

    “Indeed.” The Lord said. “Do so at once. I need good conversation. Oh, and tell Valain that I require a pot of hot chocolate.”

    Lighthearter noticed that the Ensign still couldn’t appear to see him. But the Lord can. Keneven’s casting a spell on us and manipulating it. So obviously this Lord is the man he wants me to talk to – but why?

    “Yes, my lord.” The Ensign said, turning back and closing the door.

    “What was that about?” Lighthearter asked, looking at the Lord. He smiled thinly and said nothing.

    There’s something . . . off about him. Allahnrah spoke quietly in a corner of Lighthearter’s mind. He’s just . . . wrong.

    Is he evil?

    No . . . I don’t know. It’s just that he seems . . . out of place in the Field.

    Lighthearter was aware of the Energy Field, the thing that every living creature made an arcane imprint on. It certainly couldn’t be explainable that this Lord was an oddity in it.

    Nonetheless-

    He heard the door open again and close. He began to turn.

    Kevin!”

    Laiin flung herself onto Lighthearter, wrapping her arms around him in the tightest embrace she’d given him since he saved her life – twice running – at Mount Okholt last year. The kiss that followed as well had no equal since Okholt.

    After a what felt like hours at the time and seconds after the fact, the two pulled away as one. Lighthearter saw the Lord grinning crookedly and Keneven – Laiin’s mentor as well as his – smiling.

    “We appear to have something in common.” The Lord said. “I am Lord Kevin Haulsee of His Majesty’s Government. Welcome aboard the HMS Hood, milady, my good man.”

    “I see why you wanted to wait on the explanations.” Lighthearter said. Then he looked at Laiin. “But how did you get here?”

    “I don’t know.” She said. “One moment there was Athers, and the next I was underwater. I got to the surface, and saw the ship, and then someone threw me a ring that floated. They tossed out a rope then and pulled me aboard.”

    “Well.” Said Keneven. “I think it’s time for those explanations.”

    “Indeed.” Laiin and Lighthearter said it together.

    “I must confess,” Lord Haulsee said with the tone of a man making a great concession, “I am somewhat curious as to how you two wound up aboard my ship as well. Keneven hasn’t filled me in on all the details yet, and I’m worried about what this means for my plans.”

    “Simply?” Keneven shook his head. “The League is dead, Haulsee. You can’t afford to keep trying for it any more.” Haulsee seemed to wince in pain, and something like anger stirred in his eyes – but never any disbelief. “Now you have a much bigger problem.”

    “What?” Lighthearter was the one who asked.

    “Oh it’s simple.” Keneven sighed. “Athers and Esther are here too.”
    ___

    One of the main reasons I'm doing this is because my IRL first name is Kevin, just like Lighthearter and Haulsee's. The former hails from the early days of my writing, and I often fight to keep him from being a Mary Sue/Gary Stu/Marty Sue/Whatever again. Ergo, I'm highly uncomfortable with using his first name, and almost always refer to him as "Lighthearter". Oh, he named my account, not the other way around. So I'm pushing personal dialogue in this AAR to train myself to be more comfortable with it, because the character won't let me change his first name(The authors reading this will know what I mean while the non-writers will think I've lost my bloody marbles).

    Until Part Three . . . probably tomorrow or even tonight if I get in the mood . . . .

    -L

  4. #4
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Prologue Part Three - Three Worlds Collide:

    “Wonderful.” Lighthearter sat heavily. “Why couldn’t they have been left behind?”

    “Life is balance, I’m afraid.” Keneven said, sitting as well. “Whenever a good turn occurs, a bad one lurks.”

    “A good turn?” Laiin’s eyes widened. “We’re stuck here in the gods-know-where with Athers and you’re saying that it’s good?”

    “Be seated, please.” Lord Haulsee said, striding over to the chairs himself. When Laiin seemed to hover between acquiescing and try to hammer something out of the man, Lighthearter jumped in.

    “It’s alright – let’s see if we can’t get some answers now. Alright?”

    “As you wish.” Haulsee said. Laiin sat. “But you go first.” He concluded, looking meaningfully at Lighthearter.

    “Why should we?” Lighthearter asked. Laiin narrowed her eyes in agreement. “We know next to nothing about you, and you’ve obviously known Keneven for a while so you must know something about us.”

    “Indeed.” Haulsee sounded uncaring. “My point stands, however. I don’t give descriptions of my life to every vagabond who crash-lands on my flagship, you know.”

    “Enough!” Keneven said angrily. “While you bicker with each other, Athers and Esther only grow stronger! Even now they are cementing their foothold in Germany!”

    Goddammit what did you just say?!?!” Haulsee nearly vaulted out of his chair. “Germany?!?! After what you’ve told me of the bastard he’s right on bloody England’s goddamn doorstep?!?!”

    “Please calm down.” Keneven said soothingly.

    “I’ll do nothing of the bloody sort!” Haulsee snapped, a fire in his eyes. “But I’ll hear you out if that makes you happy.”

    “Obviously we’ve missed something.” Laiin said. “What have you told Lord Haulsee here about Athers?”

    “Some things even you don’t know.” Keneven said. “I’ll go last. My revelations are a bit hard to come to grips with. Haulsee, you first. No arguments.”

    Haulsee’s eyes flashed. He opened his mouth – and then smiled crookedly.

    “Yes, your majesty.” He said sarcastically. He turned to Laiin and Lighthearter. “Now let’s see . . . my name is Kevin Haulsee. One of the major Lords of the British Parliament, actually. I have no real ‘estates’ as you might call them, but I do have wealth and prestige. To be frank, I’m a puppetmaster. The King and the Prime Minister do whatever I tell them to.” Something in Lord Haulsee’s eyes hardened. “They’ve certainly had long enough to learn.”

    “The rest.” Keneven raised an eyebrow. Haulsee held the old man’s gaze for a moment, then sighed.

    “The rest?” He leaned back. “I’ll let Anna do the explaining for a bit.”

    “Anna?” Laiin asked, frowning. Haulsee’s smile was almost predatory. He reached into a pocket and placed a small black box on the table.

    “Anna, access log 3-15-2029-HX.” He said to thin air. “And personnel file for Commander Kevin Haulsee, USN.”

    “Yes, Commander.” The box replied in a female voice. “Accessing.”

    Lighthearter almost whipped out Moonfire. Laiin stared in fascination and Haulsee chuckled.

    “Accessed.” “Anna” said.

    “Begin playback.” Haulsee sighed after almost a whole minute of silence.

    “Yes, Commander. Personnel file, Commander Haulsee, Kevin. Assigned 5th Fleet January 9th, 2027. Captain of USS Indomitable, May-October 2027. Promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander December 2027. Transferred to USS Halsey June 2028.

    “Killed in action, September 4th, 2029, Sea of Japan.”

    Haulsee closed his eyes for just a moment before speaking again. “Playback the log. All of it. Authorization code Delenda Est.”

    “Playback initialized.” “Anna” said. A blue light suddenly shone from the box and a ten-inch tall human figure appeared on top of it. There was a moment where the waves settled together, but after that it was obvious that it was a woman.

    “Hello, Commander.” She said amiably. “I know you’re watching this, and I’m sorry that you don’t remember much of anything, but that’s necessary. I had the Navy list you as KIA in the Sea of Japan, so no worries. Your physical body, I’m sorry to say, is somewhere with the wreck of that carrier they put you on. Nothing I could do about that. Our friends covered your tracks well.

    “Now let me see – you probably need some refreshers to get your head – or at least your memory core – working again and accessing those memories you have. Alright you can probably guess that you’re in your PICA right now. Just in case you forgot-” she smiled “-a PICA is a Personality Integrated Cybernetic Avatar – a robot that you can download your personality and mind into. You downloaded yourself into this one right after your birthday and we took it to the base. We’ve given you some . . . nonstandard mods, and I’m sure the computer will help you figure them all out. They should help.

    “Anyway, I’m sure you remember your history. How the whole world went to shit around 2019? Well I’m again going to say that you’re my inspiration. It was . . . let’s see . . . 2026, I think. We’d just met, you the Navy commander back from the Philippines and me the scientist about to ship for Los Alamos. Just a dinner one night with a few of my friends when we started talking about the wars and all. I said that I wished that God could have kept watching humans as we developed from the Stone Age, and you looked at me really funny.

    “That was when you pointed out that the technology used in a PICA – still a new technology then – could probably have provided an immortal watchdog for humanity. Of course, you said it would necessitate time travel to do, but we all became enthused with your idea. Someone of high morals and honor to keep people straight as we developed as a species? The idea has a lot of appeal, as I said then. But none of us thought it would work.

    “Then, a year later, I remembered that conversation as I studied black holes. I was researching the effects of – oh, it’d take hours to sort this out, and I’m afraid I’ve only got a few more minutes. Suffice it to say, I managed to figure out a way to use a black hole to travel backwards in time. I contacted you and a few friends, and we all agreed that we should follow up on out idea instead of telling my superiors.

    “So you procured a PICA – I still don’t know how and don’t think I want to – and we got the government to sign off on sending an unmanned ship through a black hole. We even got them to make it large enough to support a rather large arsenal of gear, a massive AI system that should give you whatever you need, basically everything we could find. If my math is correct, you should land around the year 1772 – just in time to get set up before the American Revolutionary War.

    “Oh, and the staff named your AI after me. Just thought that it’d give you a little familiar voice and name in your crusade.

    “If you succeed, I’ll probably never meet you. I wish that wasn’t so but there’s nothing I can do to change it, and it’s for the betterment of mankind.” The woman shrugged. “I wish you luck though. For what it’s worth.”

    She disappeared with a little wave. Lighthearter looked at Laiin, feeling a sense of confusion and wonder.

    “Unfortunately,” Haulsee said, startling them both, “I was about one hundred and fifty years late. Landed in 1919. Since then I’ve been here in Britain, trying to build the place up and forge an alliance – The League – with Japan. If I could do that I could potentially forge a nation strong enough to help me make the future a better place.

    “But now I apparently can’t. There’s a world war brewing – even though my history logs were damaged in my crash-landing I can smell it. And Britain’s just not ready.”

    “Well, now you know.” Keneven said. “Now we have another problem. The other Crusaders have all landed in various parts of the world, and they’re starting to make waves. Agente and Clementine are in Germany right now, and with Athers over there they’re in serious danger. Asona and Ishhrggen are in the US – I’ll be going to find them and bring them to the estate that Haulsee does most assuredly possess for a more complete briefing.

    “Haulsee, you and Laiin need to get Agente and Clementine out of there. I don’t envision a huge amount of trouble, but be aware it might happen. Lighthearter, you’re coming with me to find the others. We meet back at the Estate.”

    Lighthearter looked at Laiin. He was still processing all that had occurred, but he was prepared to trust Keneven. Clearly, so was Laiin. They looked at the old man and the smiling Lord – no, PICA – across the table.

    “Let’s go then.” Laiin said.

    __

    I think that will conclude the non-game updates. I'll play a bit tonight and write Part Four of the Prologue to showcase the total start position I've got.

    -L

  5. #5
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Prologue Part Four: In For The Long Haul

    "Damn it!" The voice was angry, guilty, and seemed torn between grief and shock. “I should have seen this coming. Should have done something!”

    "It's not your fault.” Laiin said, leaning on the rail of the destroyer USS Mahan and looking at the beautiful Atlantic swells. And, of course, the convoy of merchantmen it was helping to escort. That was evidence enough on its own that something was dreadfully amiss.

    “And how did you draw that conclusion?” Lord Haulsee demanded from his quarters on the HMS Hood, cruising through the Denmark Strait on its return leg to Britain. “I’m the one monitoring and dispatching the SNARCs, I’ve been the one collecting the intelligence data – I should have seen it coming!”

    Lain sighed and looked at the Self-Navigating Autonomous Reconnaissance and Communications drone ahead of her. The image of Haulsee projected onto her contact lenses from the SNARC he was using as a camera showed him pacing aimlessly, a look of impotence on his face. Laiin knew that the Lord had no need for the com that she wore in her ear or the ring that she used as a microphone – whatever that meant – thanks to his built-in equipment. It had certainly taken them long enough to convince him to issue all of what they called “the Circle” with them.

    “I have to say I agree with Laiin, Haulsee.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said from the Oval Office, looking the camera dead in the center. “As I recall there were some very good reasons for not putting more SNARCs in Germany to watch Hitler and Athers. You’ve given the Allies capabilities I could only dream of back in ’38 as it is! Don’t berate yourself over failing to notice this one thing!”

    “I find myself in agreement with my sister as well.” Lady Agente III commented over her own com, idly causing a trio of suger cubes to rotate in a circle on her palm as she stared at the Eiffel Tower. “And not for the obvious reasons!”

    “Really? Why then?” Haulsee growled dangerously.

    “Well, let’s think here.” Agente sighed. “Who was it who could sense your SNARCs like she could see them thanks to her magic? Who was it who realized that since Athers was able to defeat her in a pitched arcane showdown he was far more powerful? Who was it who strongly advised keeping the SNARCs out of Germany altogether?

    Laiin reflected that Haulsee seemed to be grappling with more then the idea of missing the entire German thrust into the Low Countries.

    “Point taken, Mr. President, Milady.” He finally said, though still with that angry glower on his face. “I’ll focus on the now and not what I should have done.”

    “Which leavesss usss with interesssting quessstionsss.” Ishhrggen commented, rubbing his green-scaled reptilian chin in the warm Hawaiian sun. “Franssse issss losssst. There isss no denying that sssimple truth even ssshould we desssire to try. We can’t ssspare the kind of resssoursssesss that saving the country would require.”

    “Snake-man has a point.” Lighthearter said with a raised eyebrow. Laiin laughed at Ishhrggen sticking his forked tongue at the camera as she looked over to the cruiser Tuscaloosa ahead of Mahan, wondering what her suitor was thinking from aboard her. “We have the new divisions in the States and England, but none of them are ready for action. And whatever we can put in the field right now will be dwarfed by what the Germans can – and will – send at us. Ergo, our only option is to pull out of France.”

    “They’ll think we’re abandoning them.” Roosevelt warned.

    “Probably because we will be.” Haulsee said dryly.

    “I don’t see that we have a whole lot of choice.” Lighthearter shrugged. “Which is why I think we need to speed-track Auchinleck and Patton’s entries into the Circle.”

    “Patton?” Roosevelt asked incredulously. “Why on Earth . . . .”

    “He’s in the field.” Haulsee suddenly mused. “He’s right there and a highly aggressive man. Someone like him is liable to attack and damn the cost trying to blunt the enemy advance. Personally, I’d rather give him the full access to out network and let him use that in his offensive.”

    “Good point.” Agente said, leaning back in her chair and sipping from a glass of wine. “But who’s going to have time to tell him? It’s only been two weeks since the Germans invaded Holland and Belgium and they’re already broken into France. The AEF is already caught up in the fighting. I don’t think he’ll respect a random woman walking up and declaring that she speaks for a Circle led by the president and an obscure English Lord.”

    “Indeed.” Haulsee said sadly. “So I think he’ll have to wait until he’s in England itself, when I can talk to him myself. That leaves Auchinleck.”

    “I can handle him.” Winston Churchill shrugged as Haulsee turned away from the camera to look at him. “I won’t be able to until after the fight is over, of course, but once he’s back here I can convey everything and get him up to speed.”

    “Good, good.” Roosevelt said. “I’ll get Eisenhower on board. Maybe that will give us enough officers to keep Athers under control.”

    “Well.” Dudley Pound said from Haulsee’s other side. “We need to talk to a few admirals as well. Dunbar-Naismith and Halsey, at least. The Pacific is getting heated too, you know, and those two are out on the end of a long supply chain.”

    “A valid point.” Haulsee nodded. “I’ll make the time to see Dunbar-Naismith as soon as I can.”

    “Good.” Lighthearter said. “Now, Agente, you need to get out of France.”

    “Agreed!” Laiin added vehemently. “The Germans are no more then a month from Paris at this rate. You can’t afford to be caught in there.”

    “Valid.” Agente said rather calmly. “But I’m in no rush. I’ve got Clementine here to take me to England if they get that close. I’ll stick another few days before leaving.”

    “You’ll get yourself killed.” Haulsee said worriedly. “Or worse, captured. If Athers finds out that you people are here and aiding the Allies – or about my capabilities – well, all Hell is going to break loose!”

    “I’ll leave when I leave.” Agente said stubbornly.

    “Good luck to you.” Roosevelt sighed. “I can see you’re not going to be swayed. Just don’t be a hero.”

    “Indeed.” Lighthearter said, Laiin clearly seeing him pacing. “We can’t afford to take casualties from the Circle yet. We really can’t.”
    __


    That's the current game situation. Things are starting to get badass here. I'll play about another three or four months and then make the new chapter headings in the first post. From now on I'll be splitting updates - the top part will be narrative, the lower will be gameplay. This is where the fun begins!

    -L

  6. #6
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    Chapter One Part One: Blitzkrieg

    Beep, beep, beep. . . .

    Agente shook herself slightly as she rolled awake. She had been having a wonderful dream. The same one she’d had every night. She couldn’t remember it once she awoke, but she knew it was the most beautiful and incredible dream that she’d ever had.

    Outside the sounds of fighting continued. Agente was spending her last night in Paris. Tomorrow morning she would make for England. In all probability, she had delayed too long as it was. The German forces were on the outskirts of the city when she had gone to sleep, and Field Marshal Ironside’s men were barely holding them. She regretted that she couldn’t do anything to help them, but in the end she had to leave.

    Beep, beep, beep . . . .


    Agente heard the distant thunder of the artillery, as she had for several days. Was it just her or did it sound . . . closer?

    A massive explosion sounded on the street right outside. All the windows blew in, spraying glass everywhere. If Agente hadn’t reacted almost instantly then she would have been cut to ribbons. As it was she created a shield of force in the air in front of her and the glass shattered and fell on contact. Agente staggered back a step as another blast rocked the building.

    Beep, beep, beep . . . .

    With a start she remembered her com’s distinctive tone had been going for some time. She coughed and raised the small microphone/ring to her lips and said “answer call”.

    Beep! Caller confirmed: Commander Haulsee, USN

    Agente almost laughed. Why would an English Lord – who happened to be an immortal cybernetic avatar – be calling her in the middle of the night?

    “Agente, you need to get out of Paris.” Haulsee said without preamble. Another shell went off near her. “Though I take it from the background noise you might have come to the same conclusion.”

    “No, I thought the Germans just surrendered and it was a party.” Agente said sarcastically as she pulled some clothes on. “What happened?”

    “The 2nd broke.” Haulsee said flatly. “The Germans punched through them with armor and encircled most of the city. There’s still one corridor out, but Ironside’s guarding it pretty jealously as he withdraws his heavy equipment. Clementine can’t risk flying out against the kind of air cover the Germans have brought. I’ve had her leave through the catacombs and try to find a way out when it’s clear.”

    “So you want me to join her there?”

    “No. You need to try and work your way out to the north, get to the coast. Laiin and Mahan will be waiting to pick you up.”

    “So she’s aware of the German breakthrough too?”

    “She will be in a few moments.”

    “How is she going to explain this to the captain and crew?”

    “Atkinson already suspects something’s up with her.” Agente could almost hear Haulsee smiling, even though she knew he was just as likely to be “subvocalizing” in the middle of a session of Parliament as actually calling her. “She’s a resourceful woman. She’ll think of something. Worst-case Atkinson gets brought into the Circle.”

    “A destroyer captain in the Circle with us?” Agente asked, raising an eyebrow as she levitated herself to the door over the shattered glass. “What benefit would that be?”

    “Your extraction?” Agente had no comeback.

    “Yes, well, I suppose that is a good thing.” She finally said. “Any advice?”

    “Don’t die.” Haulsee deadpanned before cutting the connection. Agente shook her head and closed her eyes for a moment before pushing on.

    __
    Well this is about the point that Paris was finally attacked. Well, I should say - the point I finally had men in it when it was attacked. It was never really a contest. All I had was twelve divisions, including an HQ.

    The Germans had 30.

    I think I need to make a point here. What I did to this game was merge America and Britain into The Allies. Now this might sound powergamey - as we have a total of about 700IC once I added some infra mods - but the Germans? 1400 IC after France fell. AND I recently went and buffed up their manpower stockpile to compensate.

    So yeah. This game is getting almost masochistic. Part Two: Paris Burning will feature the exploits of some of the common Allied soldiers in the battle of Paris, so stay tuned!

    -L

  7. #7
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    “Come get some, Jerries!” Sergeant John Davis heard Private MacGregor’s yelling even from his position a room over. MacGregor’s rifle fired again, and Davis saw a German go down. However, that didn’t mean anything. For one thing, almost three dozen riflemen were firing at the Nazi infantry force. For another, he might have just been diving to cover.

    Then there was Davis. Davis was firing a big MG42 that his company had “liberated” from a German halftrack somewhere near Dunkirk. Davis had been detailed to lug the damn thing with them the whole time and now – with Private James Terry assisting him – he was using it to wreak havoc in Paris. He scythed across the German positions, pretty sure he nailed a few of them. A rifle bullet pinged off the wall behind him. Davis paid it no heed.

    “Davis, leave the damn thing!” Captain Price’s voice echoed through the shattered building. “There’s Nazi tanks closing on us! We can’t afford to be caught here with them banging at us!”

    Davis ditched the gun forlornly. It would have been very helpful later. Behind and before him, Paris burned.

    Davis stiffened suddenly as the troops retreated. He saw a woman with jet-black hair and mesmerizing green eyes scurrying along the Parisian streets purposefully even as German shells started raining down. Davis wasn’t sure what to think of her sanity. He shrugged and moved on.



    “Is it in motion?”

    “It has begun, mein fuhrer.”

    “Good. Soon enough our men will fly Germany’s flag from Versailles and the Eiffel Tower – just as you assured me they would.”

    “One tries to keep a positive view.”

    “Indeed. I have a rally in Nuremburg to attend now – but I wish to thank you for your help.”

    Athers smiled darkly at Adolph Hitler. “Think nothing of it.”

    __

    Not much to report that you can't already guess. It's just a shitstorm in Paris right now - and France in general. They have 176 divisions coming at me.

    I have 12.

    COME ON FRENCHIES! BACK ME UP HERE!

    -L

  8. #8
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    Good luck with the competition, Lighthearter.

    (From a Fellow Competitor)

  9. #9
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    Taking some things from Weber's Safehold series, aren't you?
    In my cookie jar
    Krofta Kookie! | PanzAARcookie! | Uniting Russia's Russian double-chip Peter Wrangel's chocolate cookie• | Got 10 in Timelines

    To place foot upon tyrany's neck,
    to lead tyrants to knowledge of the right,
    this is the most sacred of man's duties!
    Bishop Danilo - The Mountain Wreath

  10. #10
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Whoa - I got time to finish this.

    Anyway - on to important matters:

    OH MY GOD A PARADOXIAN WHO'S READ DAVID WEBER'S SAFEHOLD?!?!?! OH MY GOD I THOUGHT SUCH A CREATURE WAS NONEXISTANT! AHHHHHHHHH!

    :P

    Really, I liked the character idea and the story is awesome. It's a fun diversion for me to use other works as templates in AAR's and such because I'm so independent with my real book.

    Cramming out an update tonight! I'm GOING to get the remaining four updates out for Writing with the StAARs by Saturday! <crazyvoice>YOU'LL SEE. YOU'LL ALL SEE!


    -L

  11. #11
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    Chapter One Part Three: The Last Oracle

    Agente broke into a sprint, moving swiftly away from the sudden barrage of explosions in her wake. German artillery was pounding Paris pretty heavily. She wasn’t sure if the Eiffel Tower was still standing. No matter, you idiot! She insisted to herself. Get out of here!

    Agente ducked down a side street, aiming north. She was sure that she could find a way out up ahead. She had been in this city for months. She knew the roads and ways. She passed a coffee shop, boarded up tightly. Parisians don’t want the Germans coming after them.

    She took another turn, coming out into the open. She recognized where she was after only a moment. Just another few turns and I’ll be near enough to getting out as makes no difference, she thought with relief. This whole damn city is exploding one block at a time.

    There was a sudden shout in German. Agente’s blood froze. Then she turned and looked. A squad of German soldiers was rushing up towards her, weapons at the ready. Behind them rumbled a panzer tank – a III if she had her classifications straight. The vehicle loomed as an ominous shadow in the light of the many fires. The German footsoldiers yelled again.

    Agente didn’t pause even to think. She raised her left palm towards them, seemingly a gesture of placation. The soldiers laughed and one started in her direction.

    That made him the first to be consumed by the wave of flame that detached itself from the inferno that was Paris and swept over the Nazi troops. His comrades were almost all incinerated as well before they could realize what was happening. A few found over from the blast behind the panzer or rubble. As the fire dissipated into superheated air behind them a few leaned out and began firing at Agente.

    All the bullets slammed into an invisible wall about a foot away from her body. The Nazis froze in disbelief.

    Laiin could have performed that stunt with the fire – with a lot of effort, Agente thought slightly smugly, But she’s no psionic. There are days that it’s really quite fun to be the last Oracle.

    A grenade blew up a few feet from her, the fragments of the casing scattering off her psionic shield. Agente sighed and shot her right arm out. The fragments picked themselves back up and whizzed over to the Germans, slicing through several as she guided them around.

    She abruptly stopped caring about the footsoldiers, however, as the panzer fired its machinegun at her. She performed a perfect cartwheel away from it, her shield catching dozens of bullets. Then she punched the air in the vehicle’s direction. A fist of air slammed into it, punching the entire frontal armor inward. The main cannon barked, the shot slamming into the ground.

    Agente dropped into a crouch and swung a vicious uppercut, acting out what she wanted the elemental building blocks of the world to do. Haulsee had tried to tell her that her powers weren’t “magic” but the ability to manipulate something he called “molecules” and “atoms” into new things. Agente didn’t know what those were, nor the “electrons” and “protons” that he spoke of, but she got the feeling Haulsee wouldn’t have needed to be told that the first rule of magic was “everything is connected.”

    As it was, the panzer blew into the air, a massive geyser of water shooting it hundreds of feet up. A low flying German dive-bomber slammed into it, wreathing the sky in flames and smoke. By the time that the German soldiers had recovered enough from the awesome spectacle, Agente had vanished down another side street.

    She grinned as she remembered the looks on the Nazis’ faces. There was something almost sadistically pleasing about awing the people of this world with her talents. Any mage could have wrecked a panzer like that – one of the reasons that Haven didn’t have large armored vehicles like that even though magic could have easily made them function. But no mage could have shoved the thing as high as she did, nor seized the plane at the same time and drawn it into the crash. Agente laughed softly to herself.
    “Something funny?” Asked a voice from next to her. Agente whirled, gauntlets of silver energy forming on her hands.

    Esther Amundsen laughed out loud, swinging a sword of fire at Agente’s head.



    “Come on, damn you, start!” Haulsee snarled, kicking his assault skimmer.

    Command not recognized.

    “Shut it, you goddamn computer!”

    Haulsee whispered a chain of obscenities that would have made a Great War sergeant’s jaw drop. He kicked the skimmer again, then threw up his hands.

    “Guess I’m not going to Paris.” He snarled angrily. “Damn thing decides it’s not working now of all times!” he paused, suddenly thoughtful. “Anna, was there any unusual molecular disturbance today?”

    Slight.” The computer said, and data flashed onto Haulsee’s vision. He studied it.

    “Wonderful.” He said. “Either Athers or that Esther bitch has sabotaged my goddamn skimmer.” He froze. “That means they know it’s here. That means they know what I have. That means–”

    Haulsee called up Agente’s locator chip. She was still in Paris. He called up the SNARC watching her. He swore angrily as he received a [SNARC DESTROYED] message.

    He watched the locator chip move a few feet, then stop, then suddenly move very fast over a very large distance. It stayed in that same place for a very long time. Haulsee was about to try and browbeat a boat captain into ferrying him across the Channel when the light winked out of existence.

    Haulsee swore and turned off the tracker program, sitting in the dark for a very long time.

    Unnoticed by the gloomy English lord, a small tracker dot had suddenly sprung up ten miles to the west of Paris the instant after Agente’s disappeared from inside it.

    __

    No gameplay update today - been too long. I'll do one more piece on the fall of France tonight, and tomorrow we'll start Chapter Two.

    -L

  12. #12
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    Chapter One Part Four - June In France

    “DAVIS!”

    John Davis snarled and fired his Springfield again. The Nazi in front of him screamed, clutching at his chest, then dropped. Davis worked the bolt viciously, fired again. A German went down, but whether dead or looking for cover Davis couldn’t tell.

    “Davis!” Price yelled again.

    “Coming, sir!” Davis shouted, ducking backwards from the window to the kitchen of the small French house. He paused to pull the pin from a US-built pineapple grenade and hurl it out the window. There was a very satisfying scream from outside a moment later.

    “Davis, we have to pull back.” Captain Price said, ducking from his own window. “There’s a couple Sherman tanks up there pushing towards us, but I saw a Tiger out there as well. We’ll need to head out right on my count and get past the friendly armor before the Nazis take it out and storm us.”

    “Right, sir!” Davis said, saluting. Damn, Price deserves a promotion. I bet that anyone who lives through this will get one.

    The French government had surrendered only four days previously with the fall of Paris. The Allied Expeditionary Force (I. Corps) was near the French Atlantic coast – ships were running the Nazi blockade (covered by the HMS Hood squadron) to ferry them out, but they were two days away. General Auchinleck was attempting to hold the line, but Davis wasn’t sure how long that would last.

    “Macgregor! Sylvester! Rodric!” He yelled to the only three surviving men under his direct command. Combined with Price and me they make up half of the surviving unit. “We’re pulling out as soon as the Captain orders it!” He shouted. “We’ll head right out the back door and bolt for those woods there – once there, we’ll cover Price and his lads as they push towards the Yank tanks coming up on us. There’s a Tiger out there, so we have to get this right.” He was aware he was modifying the plan a little bit, but he didn’t care. “Once they catch up with the tanks, we run like hell to get over there. Any questions?”

    “Yes, sir!” Macgregor yelled irritably. “How come we get to be the ones playing hero?”

    “Shut up, Macgregor.” Davis snarled. He fired his rifle out the window again. A moment later Price’s whistle sounded through the house.

    “OUT OUT OUT!” Davis screamed. He was behind his men as they bolted from the house. A bullet smashed a window near him on the way out. Another one whizzed by his left ear a moment later as he entered the light. He bent over and ran.

    The ground around him suddenly churned as Nazi riflemen began peppering the area with bullets, trying to catch him. From ahead, flashes of light came from the forest as Price and his men tried to provide covering fire. Davis swore under his breath as a grenade went off behind him. Someone ahead shrieked a moment later.

    Davis dove into the forest like he was trying for a home run. He rolled and came up on one knee, aimed, and shot a German in the face. The man crumpled without a sound.
    A roar filled the sky overhead. “Aircraft!” Davis yelled, hitting the dirt. All the men around him did the same. Davis faintly heard the Shermans erupt into frantic cannon fire. Probably found the Tiger, poor bastards.

    The house ahead exploded as bombs slammed into it, the German Stuka dive-bombers cruising back towards their safety in the skies. Davis screamed a volley of obscenities at them.

    Maybe they weren’t so safe up there – one of them exploded into a trail of flame as a Spitfire descended from above, a US Wildcat keeping station with it. The other Stuka tried to dodge, the rear gunner opening up.

    Davis didn’t get to see the rest of the dogfight. His attention was brutally refocused onto the ground when a bullet blew bark off a tree next to his ear. He ducked instinctively, then fired off towards the Germans. He tried to fire again, but his magazine was dry. He snarled and reached for another clip. He found one – but only one. Dammit, after this I’m out of ammo. Wish I’d brought the MG42.

    He raised the rifle and fired. A German went down behind a farm wagon. Then a massive black shape loomed in front of him. The Tiger tank rumbled over the French countryside, its giant cannon coming to bear on the woods. It fired.

    It was like the end of the world. Davis was lifted up and flung into a tree. He gasped in pain, feeling his leg break. He faintly heard Price’s voice calling Retreat! He tried to yell out, but all that came from his mouth was a scream of pain.

    Then the Tiger exploded. There was no other word for it. At first Davis thought that one of the Yanks had gotten a lucky shot – then he realized abruptly that all three American tanks were burning wrecks, their own crews trying to get into the woods – and what little safety they offered. The funereal pyre of the Tiger was not made any less cheerful from the mystery, however.

    A hand grabbed Davis and pulled him up. He gasped in agony. His arm was thrown about a shoulder, and a very strong person was letting him lean on him. Davis glanced over, expecting to see Price or Macgregor.

    Instead, he saw a woman, soot covering her face, blond hair disheveled – and a feral light burning in her eyes. Davis almost fell over from shock. It was only after that moment that he realized that she seemed to be in pain herself.

    “What are you doing here?” Davis demanded. “This is a battlefield!”

    “I noticed.” She said dispassionately. “That’s the problem with France these days.”

    They limped off – the farmhouse burning behind them.

    -L

  13. #13
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    Chapter One Part Five - The Strength To Carry On

    “Thank the gods.” Lighthearter said, sinking into one of Haulsee’s padded chairs. Laiin was doing the same, with a similar statement. Ishhrggen hissed in relief from Hawaii.

    “Yes, she’s fine.” Haulsee said, relentlessly practical. “Agente’s vitals are normal, at least. She seems to have rallied the survivors of the AEF and grafted them onto French Resistance elements – that can’t be good for the Nazis.”

    “Indeed.” Roosevelt said from Washington. He rubbed his eyes. “As much as I hate to say it, we were in France too long. Once Hitler broke Belgium, there wasn’t really any doubt as to how this would play out. The French fought bravely, but their commanders were too slow to respond and they didn’t catch the full concept behind the attack in time. Paris was going to fall, and we didn’t recognize that in time.”

    “Perhaps.” Haulsee said. “Now we have another pair of problems – Britain and Africa.” He shrugged. “We can’t fight a war on two fronts at once, people. Nazi planes are going to come roaring out of France like a cannonball on fire straight at us. We’re going to have to hope the RAF can match them. I’ll also want Army Air Corps elements moved here.”

    “Done.” Roosevelt nodded decisively. “I’ll see to it personally. Should I put Navy forces on station out there?”

    “They’d be appreciated.” Dudley Pound allowed grudgingly. “But the Royal Navy can hold its own.”

    Lighthearter stood up. “I’ll go to Africa.” He said suddenly. Everyone looked at him. “Think about it.” He challenged them. “The Italians have pushed our men to the Suez Canal and south of Cairo. It won’t be long before they cross into Palestine. We need to take the AEF elements from France and get them out there – and I’ll go with them.”

    “It’s a gamble.” Haulsee warned.

    “If we take unitsss from Britain we run the risssk of a German invasssion.” Ishhrggen commented unhappily. “Like was sssaid, we cannot fight a war on two frontsss. We can barely manage one.”

    “We could send Patton.” Roosevelt mused. “Bring him into the fold on the way down there, I guess. His tanks would send the Italians running in all sorts of directions.”

    “Seven divisions of Shermans would do that to most anything.” Asona agreed, bundled up against the Icelandic weather. “I think someone needs to go down to Egypt, at least. We need eyes and ears alongside Patton.”

    “Then I will.” Laiin said resolutely.

    “Why you and not me?” Haulsee asked reasonably. “Either of you.” He looked at Lighthearter.

    “You’re too important in Britain.” Laiin said. “You’re their leader, like as not. They need you to stay here. We also need you here to rally the country. And you!” She turned on Lighthearter. “Someone needs to protect him!”

    “Rest assured, milady, I can protect myself.” Haulsee said with a wan smile. “You haven’t seen me angry yet. I am a nigh-indestructible mass of wires and motors, after all. We needn’t fear me being shot – my armor was designed to take lasers. We need not worry unduly about me being poisoned – because I have no real need to either drink or eat. Not even to breathe, actually.”

    “I think you’re being overconfident.” Ishhrggen said. “But the point ssstandsss. I think that Lighthearter and Laiin ssshould both go to Egypt, Haulsssee will stay in England and be joined by Asssona. I will – how is the sssaying? – hold down the foressst here in Hawaii.”

    “Fort.” Roosevelt corrected automatically. Then he sighed. “Makes the most sense, I suppose.”

    “We’ll send Patton,” Laiin mused, “But will he be enough alone? No, we should dispatch Auchinleck with him. It’s by virtue of his skill he even lived through France.”

    “Oh, very well.” Haulsee said. His eyes were grim. “Take Patton, take Auchinleck – and get out of my country, the both of you! The sooner that Italian Ethiopia and Libya flies the Star Banner of the Allies, the sooner I’ll sleep soundly.”

    Lighthearter laughed. “And tell me, Lord Haulsee, when have you ever slept?”

    Haulsee grinned himself. “You’re learning fast about what I do and don’t have to do, Lighthearter.”

    -L

  14. #14
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Chapter Two Part One - Blood and Guts

    “General Patton, I will have you know you are out of your mind.”

    George S. Patton(Jr.) turned, raising an eyebrow. Laiin stood next to him, her face a mask of worry and incredulity.

    “That’s the point, dammit.” Patton said gruffly. “It’s the last damn thing the Italians would expect!”

    “True.” Lighthearter commented, staring off the HMS Indomitable’s bridge and off towards the horizon. All around the mighty battlecruiser small boats and transport ships cruised sedately through the Red Sea. It had cost them weeks to go around South Africa instead of through the Strait of Gibraltar, but with the Royal Navy’s main elements protecting the British Isles themselves, everyone felt that this was a safer course to avoid the Italian navy.

    And the food was good in South Africa. Laiin thought somewhat wistfully. Better then the rations on this ship, anyhow. But Patton – he’s either mad or a genius. Though we are better off with him having access to the SNARC network then if he was just haring off on his own – that means doing what he’s doing is only slightly insane under perfect circumstances.

    She remembered the dinner with Patton that she and Lighthearter had arranged three days out from Portsmouth – Auchinleck had been briefed by Haulsee before he even left England. Patton had thought they were crazy until Laiin showed him her contact lenses – let him try them on, even! – and had him speak to President Roosevelt and Lord Haulsee at the same time.

    Since then, Patton couldn’t get enough learning of the systems. He talked with Anna every day and night, learning how to reposition SNARCs and access camera feeds, how to open calls to other users and – Laiin thought he enjoyed figuring that out most of all – how to hang up mid-call.

    And he had redirected most of Haulsee’s Middle Eastern SNARCs from Iraq and Saudi Arabia – with the Lord’s tacit approval – to Palestine and Egypt. Patton probably had a better view of what was happening there then the actual soldiers on the ground. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good. Italian troops broke past the light elements used by the Allies to hold Egypt fairly swifty after France surrendered and they only had one front to worry about. Ethiopia was steadily falling to British colonial troops, however – which is why Patton and Auchinleck bypassed it. The two had been conversing solidly since the fleet passed the Horn of Africa.

    Which led to tonight’s plan. It was insanely risky – the Italian troops controlled the entire Suez Canal and were knocking on the gates of Jerusalem itself – but had a small chance of being a total victory. And Patton just loved that kind of victory.

    With the suddenness of a gunshot, a shout echoed from the shoreline. An Italian shout. As if it was a signal, all the Allied ships suddenly opened up, their guns pre-aimed for best results. The cacophony was tremendous. Machineguns mounted in Higgins boats unleashed with a sound like a stick battering the spokes of a turning wheel. Flashes of light tore through the darkness. Italian guns answered, but there were fewer of them, and the ones that were there were lighter.

    Allied troops surged ashore, tanks rumbling forward, infantry racing alongside them. Laiin knew that Auchinleck was executing a similar maneuver further up the coast against Suez itself – Patton’s troops were cutting in behind the enemy and trying to pin him up in Palestine.

    Patton, Laiin and Lighthearter watched in silence as the fighting ebbed, then finally died away completely. A few moments later, a fresh-faced man came onto the bridge.

    “General Patton, sir! Colonel Sawyer reports the enemy is in headlong retreat. All units have reached their assigned positions and are setting up the supply caches and ammunition dumps.”

    “Good!” Patton cried, thumping the man on the back. He grunted. Patton looked back at the shoreline. “And so the game begins.” He murmured.

    “The game’s been on for years.” Lighthearter said. “This is just the next chapter.”

    “Then let’s write it.” Laiin growled, thinking of Athers and Esther.

    “Indeed.” Patton grinned. “Would you be so kind as to accompany me ashore?”

    ___

    Gameplay in Africa was pretty cool. The Italians shoved me almost into Sudan and past Jerusalem - invested a lot in cavalry to protect the area. So I dropped Patton into Eliat and Auchinleck into Suez.

    7 Divisions of Improved Medium Tanks beat the shit out of Italian militia and cavalry. Just sayin'.

    -L

  15. #15
    Do the other Axis powers have the same IC boosts as Germany? Speaking of which, don't forget to give the Gerries some resource bonuses, or else they're going to be starving by '41, .

  16. #16
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Well I'm sorry for dropping away like that, but my life really went insane right there for a while. I can't promise I'll continue this - there's not a lot of activity on this subforum and something in me just hates seeing my posts stacked back to back like that - but now that I've finished my RL book I can start really hammering on this to build my characters and stuff for the sequel. Depends on if people are still interested.

    Hyo - No, just Germany. And I'm keeping a weather eye on them

    -L

  17. #17
    Banned prodigiousbstrd's Avatar
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    Subscribed. Haven't read it yet, but I skimmed through it and it looks good.

  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant jonie-dinofreak's Avatar
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    dam, this is story is so good that I decided to ignore my critisism...
    Keep up the epicness!

  19. #19
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    The Problem with Dreams

    Almost time for the Remembrance Ball. Laiin shook her head at that thought. When am I going to realize that this is empirically not the world I’m used to? They don’t have a Remembrance Festival. Hell, they didn’t have the Mage’s War.

    Though the “Great War” they go on about sounds awfully similar. But it’s not a national holiday throughout the winning powers on November eleventh.


    Laiin sighed, sitting back. It had been months since Suez. One might almost be excused for thinking that the world had just stopped. Well, everything outside of Libya and Egypt – Laiin smiled at the memory of El Alamein and Benghazi. Patton’s tanks were gods-sent.

    She closed her eyes in the North African sun. Sometimes I really do miss home. I wonder what happened back there after we all vanished? She felt her heartbeat quicken. I do hope Mitenov has everything under control. It wasn’t fair for Father to die and leave him the throne like that. But I’d be saying that no matter what happened. Hell, if I were Queen I’d be saying it wasn’t fair.
    Me, queen? Fat chance. That would be the day the Empire would be well and truly screwed.
    Laiin’s eyes opened again and she sat up, a cold shiver coursing through her body. The faces . . . the faces came back. Women, men – children. Dozens of them. She saw them all in perfect clarity.

    She’d killed every one of them.

    I was just a murderer. A common thug. I stole fathers from children, daughters from fathers, husbands from wives. I’m the one who deserved to die, not them. A part of her tried to say she’d had no choice, that the Syndicate would have killed Agente if she hadn’t complied – but it was a very small part. Laiin barely heeded that it existed.

    Athers was one of them. She recalled, that cold anguish melting into the sort of molten rage she hadn’t felt for years. He was the man giving me the orders, for the Progenitor’s sake! He deserves to die more then I do!

    I already killed him once. Laiin held her head in her hands. She didn’t understand. Okholt kept replaying itself in her mind:


    Laiin snarled and leapt forward. Athers ducked a slash, then knocked her thrust aside with his knife and cut her on the cheek with inhuman speed. He kicked her hard in the chest, sending her sprawling in a heap. Laiin rolled back up.

    “Ah, the glorious song of combat!” Athers cried as their blades met again. “Steel on steel, soul on soul!”

    “What’s wrong with you?” Laiin growled as she began battering him with a series of attacks.

    “Many ask me that question. I’m sure you will again someday, tied down somewhere for me. You see, I have this fascination with making people scream – well, I’d dearly love to hear you. So I ask – would you like to see my knives? I have quite a collection.”

    “You’re insane.” Laiin whispered. Athers caught her sword on his gauntlet, locking it from moving.

    “Not insane, darling.” He said with a smile. “Evil. Learn to tell the difference!” He heaved her sword away in one fell move.

    Laiin used the chance to whip out a smoke bomb and hit it into the ground. She jumped back to avoid Athers’ strike – the man was coughing and lashing out wildly – then she hammered three successive throwing stars into him. One into his throat, one his face, another his chest. Athers dropped to his knees with a gasp. Laiin darted in, seized his knife from him, and rammed it into his own heart.

    Athers crumpled to the ground with a choked cry.


    Laiin gasped as she came awake. She shook her head frantically, then looked at the clock on the wall. I’ve been out – most of the day. She looked up. Indeed, it was sunset. There was a blanket draped over her. Standing a ways from her and watching the stars was Lighthearter, a strange look on his face. He was idly fingering Moonfire’s hilt.

    “This reminds me of our second meeting.” Laiin said, slipping out of the chair and over to him.

    Lighthearter smiled. “Why do you say that? I haven’t hit you in the back of the head and tied you to a tree this time.”

    “I woke up from a strange dream to see you staring at the night sky with that sword in your hand.” Laiin raised an eyebrow. “And I never said anything about that part of it.”

    “Maybe I should have hit you this time, since you seem to have enjoyed it.” Lighthearter murmured thoughtfully. His eyes betrayed his sarcasm, however.

    Laiin slapped him on the arm. “Not that part, you nitwit!”

    Lighthearter laughed and embraced her. “Well that part can be recreated.”

    “Indeed it can.” Laiin said haughtily, lifting her nose into the air. “Peasant. You’re lucky I put up with you.”

    Beep beep beep . . . .

    Lighthearter groaned at the same time as Laiin. They both raised their hands and activated their coms.

    “Somebody better be dying.” Laiin growled.

    “Sorry to interrupt your moonlight romance, Laiin, but a lot of someones are dying right now.” Haulsee was blunt as always, but Laiin’s contact showed Patton and Roosevelt also in. Ishhrggen connected a moment later, a lei draped around his neck and a cruiser sitting anachronistically in the background.

    “More specifically,” Patton said, “A lot of Soviet someones. In Persia.”

    Lighthearter stiffened. “Gods above.” He whispered.

    “Indeed.” Roosevelt lit a cigar – and it looked like he’d already had a few. “Stalin just threw his hat in with Hitler and Athers.”

    ___

    And the game's afoot . . . I'll have screenies for you this time! I swear it to the Nine above and Fukouka below!

    -L
    Last edited by Lighthearter; 10-05-2011 at 03:26.

  20. #20
    NOP-field present Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    Well, I'd say your small remark about the writing competition did achieve to turn me into skimming over your AAR and I must say that while I am not into HoI-games AT ALL, this is definitely a very well written AAR worthy of more views and comments. I hope you continue.


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

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