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Thread: Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

  1. #1
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter One: False Promise


    "If you are going through Hell . . . keep going."
    ~Winston Churchill




    “Are you sure this will work?” the boy asked, clutching his rifle.

    “Just do your job, Irregular,” Major Thomas Hardy grunted. He picked up the phone from its jack, idly listening to the sounds of the Syndicalist rally a few blocks over.

    “The phones don’t really work,” the irregular offered helpfully. Hardy sighed.

    “This one will. Go check out that rally.”

    “Yes, sir,” the irregular replied with a salute. He was an eager kid – probably hadn’t seen battle yet.

    Hardy had been at Saint Paul and Milwaukee. He knew what he was getting into. He rang a number and leaned against the wall, wondering if there was time for a quick smoke.

    Probably not, he decided with an inner sigh. He popped a stick of gum into his mouth instead.

    “Hello?” a wizened old lady’s voice sounded from the receiver. “Is that you, Jack?”

    “Hey, Ma,” Hardy said, thinking fast. “You wanted me to pick up two loaves and a carton of eggs, right?”

    “Is that right, dearie?” the old lady replied. Hardy had no idea who she was. “I thought it was one loaf and some milk.”

    “No, Ma, my list says two and eggs. You having memory problems again?”

    “Hold on, Jack. Old Man Doug’s at the door again. Let me see what he wants. He fancies me, you know.”

    “Oh, Ma,” Hardy sighed. He continued chewing while he waited. After five minutes, he casually checked his pistol, then holstered it. After ten, he made sure he had his officer’s saber and knife, as well as the grenades he’d went to a lot of trouble to beg, borrow or outright steal. They were hard to come by.

    “Doug wants to make some toast this morning. Two loaves and eggs?”

    “Should be enough. What’s he bringing?” Hardy asked, spitting out the gum.

    “He says his daughter’s got twelve loaves, since she’s coming with her friends. No eggs though. It’ll be a regular hoedown.”

    “Thanks, Ma,” Hardy acknowledged. “I’ll get shopping.”

    “Ma” had hung up before he even finished. Hardy sighed, then abandoned the telephone and marched off after the irregular.

    Where did that boy go? Hardy thought with a flash of irritation. Must have climbed into that hotel to get a look at the rally.

    Hardy followed his train of thought and went inside the ruined building. The Unionists were bombing Chicago night and day to try and convince Jack Reed to surrender. It hadn’t worked, and there were rumors Reed had even run the St. Lawrence river on a steamboat and made it to Europe. Fool’s rumors, for sure.

    Hardy entered a room to find a pair of irregulars trading a single set of binoculars, a scope-equipped rifle lying unattended beside them. Hardy cleared his throat.

    “Major, sir, I was about to come get you!” the boy from earlier called, saluting. “There’s something big goin’ on down there. It’s regular circus, if you get my drift. That’s the Second Platoon we lost a couple nights back.”

    Hardy frowned. “Alright, son, let me have a look.” He took the offered binoculars and examined the old stadium ahead of him.

    Hardy was thirty-four years old – just too young for the Weltkrieg. But he’d been in DC during the retreat action, and had fought with Old Man Doug all across West Virginia and Kentucky in the astounding Douglas Breakout. He’d fought Unionists, Syndicalists, and even New Confederates.

    But he’d heard his granddaddy’s tales about the War Between the States, and the firing squads where Dixie men put suspected Union spies to death. Of course, he’d also heard of the opposite number, but that didn’t really matter to a Californian like Hardy.

    What mattered was the collection of men being led toward nooses by a legion of Syndicalist troops. Anger washed through the Major and he clenched the binoculars, nearly breaking the irreplaceable item.

    Focus, he told himself. You and the irregulars need to find their commander – Colonel Johnson, or something. Whatever – I know what he looks like.

    “We should do something, sir,” the boy chimed in. “We can’t let them kill our boys!”

    Idly, Hardy wondered if the boy was still grappling with puberty. He didn’t look any other than the Major’s nephew.

    Probably wants to be a big damn hero.

    Hardy stiffened. “Boy, get Lunt and get him moving in on that stadium with everything we’ve got.”

    “We’re saving them?” the boy asked, eagerness flashing on his face.

    “Don’t get all heroic,” Hardy grunted. “That’s their commander in the front row. Markie, get in position. We’re doing this.”



    “Sir, reconnaissance reports the enemy has two divisions in the Chicago area, plus one air compliment of fighters and tactical bombers approximating one air division.”

    “Thank you, Hilda,” the general’s aide said. “That will be all.”

    Hilda saluted weakly, then leaned back in her wheelchair and allowed her nephew – a Marine, honest to God! – to roll her out of the HQ. The General grunted.

    “Two divisions and tactical bombers. Shouldn’t be too difficult.”

    “Ah, but General, there’s also the eight understrength Syndie divisions around the perimeter holding the Minutemen at bay,” General Richardson pointed out. He rubbed his chin. “If they move in, we could be in the soup.”

    “Won’t matter,” the General said. “We’ll crush them anyway – we have the finest boys in the USA here. I believe in our men and I believe in us. Send the orders to get the attack moving.”

    “Yes, General MacArthur,” the aide acknowledged. The generals ignored him and resumed studying the map, a collection of runners and radiomen standing ready to attend to their every need.



    Benjamin Kudros shoved the Irregular closer to the nooses.

    “That’s what you get for spying and sabotaging,” he chuckled. “No one screws over the Revolution!”

    The other guards laughed at the attempted wit. The speaker at the front of the stage eyed the line of Federalist agents being organized, then turned his attention back to the crowd.

    “Witness the power of the proletariat!” he called. “The People’s Law will be upheld!”

    Kudros smiled. “Freedom!” he called. The other guards, and even the crowd, echoed him.

    “Show them your power!” the Speaker encouraged, smiling at Kudros for a moment. “RISE UP! You have nothing to lose but your-”

    Blam!

    The Speaker toppled to the stage, blood exploding from his chest. A woman in the audience screamed – the only sound for a moment.



    “-but your lives,” Hardy finished dryly, raising his rifle. “Good shot, boy.”

    “Thanks, sir,” the boy replied, aiming the rifle again. Hardy shook his head – he hadn’t learned the kid’s name. Probably didn’t matter anyway.

    “Alright, irregulars!” Hardy roared. “STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER!”

    His men let out a cheer – rippling as the message was passed from man to man around the stadium. Gunshots exploded from inside, and Hardy grabbed his rifle. He nodded to the boy and raced outside.

    He didn’t really notice the fight in the stadium, per se – he was sure that the Syndie commander was long dead. What he noticed was the CSA cavalry riding down the road, pistols ready, preparing to engage any Federals they saw.

    Hardy fired. A horse dropped with a screeching cry, crushing its rider. The other cavalrymen spurred their animals off the road, leveling their pistols.

    Hardy threw himself behind a car, wincing as bullets kicked up masonry all around him. From the buildings, more guns started shooting, catching the cavalry in a crossfire. There were screams and shouts from all sides now as the Irregulars and the Federalist Pathfinders who had linked up with them surged forward, overrunning the stadium and surrounding area.

    But that wasn’t the end of it. Hardy swore he could hear a sudden wave of artillery fire to the west.

    ____________________

    It's been too long. I was finally talked into buying Darkest Hour by a few friends of mine. Whereas the attempted multiplayer didn't work out in spite of Hamachi and extensive work on port forwarding fixes, one good thing came out of it.

    I should have bought DH a long time ago.

    I've been away from HOI for nearly two years now, and I'm finally falling back into line with repeated DH Kaiserreich games. This is my working back up from a long hiatus away. I've decided to share the epicness of the Second American Civil War with the Paradox community, to symbolize my returning to the game. I have a sizable buffer already established, and at the least I should finish this immediate campaign I'm engaged in.

    I'll leave it to you to determine which faction I'm playing.

    -L

  2. #2
    Karl Popper Fanboy H.Appleby's Avatar
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    Subscribed! Nice war writing.
    Obessively following Nathan Madien's excellent AAR: The Presidents: Vietnam War Edition and check out my own AAR: The American Experience 1912-1964

    Unapologetic, Arrogant, Unserious, Uncultured, Warmongering, Pyromaniac American Patriot. (As in I can take a joke about my country as long as you can take a joke or to about yours.) But seriously, I love the whole world, so don't take offense at my occasional bits of exaggerated jingoism, I'm really actually pretty open-minded.

    -.-. --.- -.. / -- --. -.--

  3. #3
    Who is John Galt? Earth's Savior's Avatar
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    This looks promising. I vote PSA! Seems to make for an interesting game of survival.
    "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." - Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    If Unionists refer to the old USA than yes, it would be PSA, or an entire new modded faction but I don't believe that. If not these two then it would be the good ol' USA because MacArthur is in charge of that state most of the time in the 2nd ACW...

    Anyway, nice story and will be following this!

    Tim

  5. #5
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    H. Appleby - thanks!

    Earth's Savior - it's actually a little bit more insane than you think.

    Timmie0307 - who the Unionists refers to was more obvious in the original version of this scene. I'll clarify it in the second chapter.

    Thanks all for your comments

    -L

  6. #6
    Well there you are. I see you have finally returned to Paradox-but I beat you to it I'm afraid, albeit not with DH.

    Look in my sig if you want to see an AAR to blow this one away
    In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. - Winston Churchill
    The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy. - Friedrich Nietzsche
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. - John Stuart Mill

  7. #7
    Field Marshal

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    wut wut a writaar battle? :P

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Eversor View Post
    wut wut a writaar battle? :P
    You have no idea
    In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. - Winston Churchill
    The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy. - Friedrich Nietzsche
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. - John Stuart Mill

  9. #9
    -{Kaiserreich Team]- Davisx3m's Avatar
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    Interesting!
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by arya126 View Post
    Well there you are. I see you have finally returned to Paradox-but I beat you to it I'm afraid, albeit not with DH.

    Look in my sig if you want to see an AAR to blow this one away
    I haven't read your AAR, but it's not these type of pettiness that will encourage me to do.

    @Lighthearter: Like Earth's Savior says, it's look very promising!
    Waiting next chapter

  11. #11
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    Awesome start you've got there!
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
    -------------------------------

    My machine specs: i7 2600 @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD6870 with 1 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit

  12. #12
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter Two: Drums of War


    THIS NATION IS OURS;
    RISE UP, PEOPLE OF AMERICA;
    THE FUTURE IS YOURS;
    THESE FEDERALIST PIGS CANNOT OPPRESS YOU FOREVER;
    RISE UP, PEOPLE OF AMERICA

    ~ Syndicalist Graffiti found in Chicago, October 1937



    Corporal William Lawrence leapt from the back of the truck. Sergeant Bukowski was only a second behind him, both men gripping their rifles like they were Holy Grails. In a way, they were.

    The truck exploded violently as the F4F Wildcat pumped bullets into its engine, racing over the street like an angel of death. Lawrence hit the ground and rolled as his feet went out under him. Bukowski was fine, turning and firing ineffectually after the Federal plane.

    “Come on, Billy!” he shouted. “Come on! We’ve got to link back up with Major Holt down south! Get your ass moving!”

    Lawrence climbed upright, his heart beating. He’d fought before, yes, but only quick actions against Unionist probes and raiders. This . . . was something new altogether. He’d never been attacked from the air!

    “FREEDOM!” Bukowski shouted, firing again after the plane for no real reason Lawrence could see. “Come on!”

    Lawrence and Bukowski turned and started running down the streets, away from the flaming truck. Artillery shells and airplanes were everywhere, trying to keep people from reaching their units and digging in for the Federal assault. It was working – there were broken bodies everywhere.

    A shell exploded behind Lawrence and something hot sliced his leg. He howled and staggered, but retained his footing.

    “Come on, Billy!”

    Lawrence gritted his teeth and jogged forward, ignoring the flash of pain every time he brought his foot down. His rifle felt very heavy in his hands.

    “How many are there, Sarge?” he asked. Bukowski grunted.

    “Enough for everyone, Billy,” he replied. “But the People will see off the Federals, one way or another!”

    Lawrence shouted a cheer in response to that, but his heart wasn’t in it. After the bombardment that was wracking Chicago’s suburbs, how could anyone stand against the Federals, however worthy the cause?

    Another plane rushed overhead. Lawrence threw himself to the ground as Bukowski did the same, both raising their rifles – for all the good it would do. Lawrence swallowed, his heart pounding. He centered his sights on the approaching aircraft.

    “Billy, don’t shoot!” Bukowski called.

    “Why?” Lawrence demanded. A moment later he saw the CSA emblem on the fighter’s wing as it roared overhead, its guns chattering at something beyond the next row of buildings. There was a tremendous explosion and the earth shook, then the fighter veered off.

    “Probably shot down a Federal bomber,” Bukowski explained, hauling Lawrence to his feet. “Come on! We’re not out of the woods yet!”

    A building exploded near them, washing a wave of fire over the street. Bukowski roared and dragged Lawrence up, then started running again. Lawrence hastened after him, checking that his rifle was loaded.

    He and the Sergeant raced down a few side streets, artillery fire wrecking buildings around them, Federal and Syndicalist fighters dueling above. A stream of spent bullet casings rained on them as one duel progressed, and a moment later the Federal Wildcat spiraled away to crash into the street they’d just vacated. Fires raged over the suburbs.

    “Surely we’re winning by now!” Lawrence cried as they ducked from nearby artillery.

    “The attack hasn’t even begun, Corporal!” Bukowski said. “You’ll get plenty of chances to shoot Federals today, I assure you!”

    The sergeant peeked around a corner, then rolled out, rifle raised. Lawrence followed, similarly ready. They moved down as quietly as possible, hoping they were protected from the random shell and gunfire that tore up the city.

    Unlikely as hell, Lawrence admitted. But I don’t really think the Federals are shooting blind. They’ve gotten spotters and spies into Chicago – probably those rebels who keep harassing us. This is gonna be painful.

    Bukowski raised a hand and Lawrence stopped. The bulky Russian-born sergeant took a peek around the next corner. He hissed.

    “Federals,” he murmured. “Six of ‘em. They’ve gathered up a bunch of our guys - probably caught 'em sleeping - and are shooting ‘em. Goddamn monsters. Probably those subversive rebels, just given fancy uniforms by Garner’s stormtroopers.”

    Lawrence said nothing, noting how much Bukowski’s hypothesis was mirroring his own thoughts.

    “We’re taking ‘em,” Bukowski growled. “Cover my back, corporal.”

    “Yes, sir,” Lawrence replied, raising his gun. His heart was pounding worse than ever, his palms were sweating. He wished he could take a drink from his canteen.

    Bukowski jumped to the other side of the alleyway, motioning for Lawrence to take his old position. Both of them paused for a second, leaning against the cool stone of their cover. Lawrence idly wondered what it was – a store, or a restaurant perhaps.

    Lawrence wasn’t a native of the Windy City. He was a Philiadelphian born and bred, and it made his skin crawl to think of his hometown under Unionist occupation. Those pigs were worse than the Federals! Lawrence believed in Jack Reed’s words, trusted in the Syndicalist leader’s message and commands, but he would rather join the Federals and fight against the Unionists if it came to that.

    Not that it would, at least. Lawrence would probably be dead or imprisoned long before he got the chance to decide the merits of Federal versus Unionist versus Prison versus Dead.

    Bukowski nodded and turned into the alley, rifle up. He fired and it was as loud as the word of God himself. Lawrence spun out and aimed.

    There were five of them now – one was dead on the ground. Three had pistols and were pushing a crowd of kneeling CSA soldiers and officials around. Two had rifles and were spinning, searching for the origin of the shot. The pistol-holders dove away instantly with the reflexes of veterans, going behind cars and small outbuildings. The riflemen didn’t go for cover, thinking they faced a single disorganized man.

    Lawrence fired once. The shot disappeared somewhere – he didn’t exactly know where. It hadn’t hit its target, at least.

    Work the bolt, fire!

    Blam!


    Bukowski was shooting too, but Lawrence didn’t pay the sergeant any mind. He fired again, finally scoring a hit on one Federal’s arm. The man dropped with a howl. His companion finally got some sense and dropped, firing his own rifle. Lawrence ducked, barely avoiding getting his head taken off by the bullet. He hunkered against the wall, swallowing and reloading.

    Blam! Blam! Blam!

    Bukowski was firing rapidly, putting shots into the air faster than Lawrence thought he could. When the corporal leaned back out to engage the Federals, he saw both the riflemen were dead.

    But there were the three others, and they were firing back now. The prisoners had fled the scene, leaving just the gun battle amidst the screaming artillery and aircraft. Lawrence shouted a battle cry and fired, seeing one Federal go down with a bloody spray around his eye.

    Lucky shot. Calm down!



    Lieutenant Eddie Johnson twisted the stick, rolling the F4F Wildcat away from the lumbering Marauder bombers. He felt the G-forces and acceleration as he punched the throttle to the maximum, shooting toward Chicago below.

    “Penguin Four, this is Lead. Be advised on your strafing pass there are six bandits inbound from the Michigan. Looks like P-39s.”

    “Roger, Lead,” Eddie replied. He wasn’t sure if Lead heard him – the radios were notoriously screwed up – but he didn’t really care. No, there was one far more important consideration on the lieutenant’s mind.

    First combat flight! Wahoo!

    Eddie roared in beside his wingman, the two Wildcats racing toward the supply dump below. The Bloody Mary hanging over it was like a magnet for Federal planes – it looked to have already been shot up.

    They should take that flag down, Eddie thought smugly. Otherwise the Bloody Mary is gonna be real extra bloody.

    It wasn’t a very good pun, and Eddie knew it. He ignored his deficient humor and squeezed the trigger, sending bullets arcing out over throngs of fleeing and scattering Syndicalist supplymen. There should have been more, but most were either long gone, dead or in cover. Eddie still thought he got a couple of them before he had to pull up.

    “Incoming!” Penguin Two announced. “Bogeys on your three, Four!”

    “On my way,” Lead announced.

    Eddie broke away from his wingman and climbed, then dove. The Wildcat shuddered as it was put violently through its paces. Eddie dialed the throttle back.

    It was like a dream. The first CSAF fighter roared straight past him, falling perfectly into line for just a moment.

    Rattatattatattatatta!

    Eddie’s shots ripped one wing clean off the Syndicalist aircraft, sending the remaining wreckage spiraling down toward the Windy City. He heard more gunfire as the rest of the Penguins engaged the Syndies.

    This is easier than bowling on a Sunday, Eddie thought with a broad grin. He twisted the stick and dove, pulling back up under the dogfight. He checked his mirrors.

    The blast of gunfire from the P-39 on his tail made the Wildcat shake. His rudder abruptly went dead. Eddie swore and pulled up, struggling to turn the plane without the rudder. His opponent hung behind him the whole time.

    Come on and fight me! Eddie thought, heaving the stick around and managing to turn 180 degrees. The P-39 had fallen away before he could shoot it.

    Coward, Eddie thought angrily.

    “Lead, this is Four, I’ve been hit,” he announced. “Lost rudder and fuel tank’s been hit.”

    “Roger, Four. Bug out, over.”

    Eddie growled, a foul taste in his mouth. “Sir, I can get a new plane and-”

    Bug out, Penguin Four. If we need you, we’ll give a call.”

    “I – yes, sir,” Eddie sighed. He turned back toward home, checking his mirrors again.

    Rattatattatattatatta!

    He realized he was in trouble when he saw that goddamn P-39 again. He realized he was dead when the bullets ripped both wings off the Wildcat and sent it into a violent, uncontrolled spin, trailing fire.

    “DAMN SYNDIEEEESSS!” Eddie roared.



    Major Thomas Hardy flinched as the flaming, wingless Wildcat crashed into the ground in the middle of the stadium-turned-execution-arena and exploded violently. The irregulars didn’t like it much either.

    “What are you waiting for?” Hardy demanded. “There’s Federal tanks pushing into the suburbs – let’s get moving and link up with them! Stars and Stripes forever!”

    “Hell yeah!” the Boy shouted. Hardy again wondered what his name was. He was a hell of a shot.

    They moved east first, away from the stadium. There was still intermittent shelling going on, but Hardy could tell the gunners were conserving ammo – still an absolute luxury what with a two-front war – and moving deeper into the city. Planes were fighting overhead, but now there was organized AA fire and CSA fighters.

    That thought gave Hardy pause. He raised a hand and his troops stopped. He eyed one source of tracers from the ground, as well as an anachronistic searchlight – given that it was broad daylight.

    “What we doing, Major?” the Boy asked. Hardy surveyed his men.

    There were thirty-nine left, counting Hardy himself. Some Weltkrieg veterans, a couple shopkeepers looked like they were lost, even a few men in suits with tommy guns that Hardy suspected used to be mob men before Reed cracked down on the streets. Plus a half-dozen Army Pathfinders and one fucking nutcase who unabashedly claimed to be a former serial killer – oh, but he was reformed.

    Like hell he was. He just liked killing Syndies.

    Good for him.

    “We’re taking out that AA battery,” Hardy announced, pointing. He grinned at his men. “We got any explosives?”

    “There’s a cache a few streets over,” one irregular said. “A couple of guys can go fetch enough.”

    “Good,” Hardy nodded. “Colt, pick a five-man detail and get over there. Bring as much as you can carry. Be careful of Syndicalist patrols.”

    “Yes, sir!” Colt shouted. He grabbed a couple men and ran off. Hardy smiled again.

    “Alright, boys. See that hotel over there? It overlooks the AA. It’s probably occupied, but I think we can take it. You with me?”

    “Stars and Stripes!” the Boy shouted. The rest of the men let out an affirmative cheer. Serial Killer even grinned, chilling Hardy’s soul. The man began playing with his bayonet.

    “Don’t get carried away, Lenny,” Hardy told Serial Killer. Lenny winked.

    They moved east through the streets, avoiding engagement as they approached the battery. There were some civilians about, but they scattered at the sight of the group of men. There was no further need for stealth.

    They met back up with Colt and his detail a few moments later a block down from the hotel. They were packing enough explosives to take out the PSS Lexington.

    “Jesus, you think you brought enough?” Hardy demanded. Colt merely grinned like the Alabama boy he was. Hardy resolved to keep an eye on the irregular.

    They advanced through the streets more cautiously now, mindful of the scattered Syndicalist artillery. There weren’t many planes – the Syndicalist AA was causing the Federals to hold back.

    Not for long.

    Hardy saw Colt and the Boy run forward, rifles unslung, and dive behind a car. A few men joined them and started shooting at the hotel. The rest of Hardy’s company began fanning out and approaching from multiple sides, weapons raised.

    “We take the hotel and we have a clear field of fire on their AA!” Hardy shouted. “Come on, lads!”

    He jumped forward, rifle raised, but his foot was misplaced and he fell to the ground. A bullet pinged into a car behind him – the fall had saved his life. Hardy grunted, decided nothing was seriously hurt, then whipped out his pistol and rolled over, firing into the hotel.

    Someone fell from a window, but Hardy was fairly sure the Boy had gotten him. Again, he wondered what the kid’s name was. He was really good at this.

    Someone hurled a grenade like a baseball, sending it straight through a window two stories up. There was a blast, then another and another – obviously the grenade had hit a small storage dump. Hardy jumped up, firing the last shots from his pistol and switching to his rifle.

    “Up and at ‘em!” he roared, before charging toward the hotel. He could sense a group moving with him – even if not all his men. He’d lost a couple in the gunfight, and Colt and the Boy were still providing covering fire with their fireteam.

    Hardy reached the door, rifle at the ready. Lenny landed beside him, humming cheerfully. Hardy suppressed an urge to flee. For some reason, the “former” serial killer terrified him more than the Syndies.

    “Breach!” Hardy shouted. Someone kicked the door down and charged in. Lenny smiled and darted after him, followed by several soldiers.

    Major Thomas Hardy lifted his pistol and followed his men, shouting a war cry.

    ____________________

    Well, we've made a sizeable dent in my buffer. Guess I should get up off my tukhus and write some more of this

    A quick primer on the terms: in a lot of ways this is inspired by Peptuck's Command and Conquer novelization on Fanfiction.net, just toned down to fit in the Paradox rules. One of the things he established was all the various little nicknames the GDI and Nod soldiers developed for each other and the various armored weapon systems engaged in the war, and that touched my hard-boiled writer persona - a little bit of humanity, you might say.

    So, the TL;DR version:
    Syndicalists are CSA, Unionists are AUS, Federalists are USA, Pacificans are PSA, the Stars and Stripes, ala OTL, is the base nickname for the Federalist flag, the Bloody Mary is the CSA flag, and the Jackal is the AUS flag. I haven't worked out the nick for the Hawaiian or PSA flags just yet, but the former is probably a complete non-factor and the latter is likely to be the Bear or something.

    Another point I wanted to make was that I think every faction in the Civil War had a point, and was - in their own way - right. None were innocent, pure angels, and that's going to be replicated in this story. Personally, I know which one I support in the end, but that doesn't mean they're always the best option.

    Notice the offhanded mention in the chapter that reveals who won the election.

    @All:Thanks for your interest!

    Until next time . . . .

    -L

  13. #13
    Karl Popper Fanboy H.Appleby's Avatar
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    I am blown away, even more so than the SYnDiEZ in that Stadium.
    Obessively following Nathan Madien's excellent AAR: The Presidents: Vietnam War Edition and check out my own AAR: The American Experience 1912-1964

    Unapologetic, Arrogant, Unserious, Uncultured, Warmongering, Pyromaniac American Patriot. (As in I can take a joke about my country as long as you can take a joke or to about yours.) But seriously, I love the whole world, so don't take offense at my occasional bits of exaggerated jingoism, I'm really actually pretty open-minded.

    -.-. --.- -.. / -- --. -.--

  14. #14
    The Wishmaster Lighthearter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H.Appleby View Post
    I am blown away, even more so than the SYnDiEZ in that Stadium.
    You flatter me But thanks!

    -L

  15. #15
    Garner won the elections. Yeah each had its own arguments and each faction did show something that could not happen luckily OTL but in the Kaiserreich alternate universum it is. But you say there were some Weltkrieg veterans. I wonder, did the USA actually join the war, I always thought they stayed out of it and that was one of the reasons Germany won?

    Are you planning on releasing some in game screenshots?

    Tim

  16. #16
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter Three: Hell's Angels


    We were the kings and queens of promise;
    We were the phantoms of ourselves;
    Maybe the children of a lesser god;
    Between Heaven and Hell!

    ~ 30 Seconds To Mars: Kings and Queens



    “Mr. President, we have a situation,” the aide said quietly. The President looked up from his desk. There was a continuous thundering roar in the background.

    “What kind of situation?” the President of the United States asked. The aide swallowed.

    He didn’t doubt that John “Jack” Reed was President of the United States. Garner had rigged the election. Reed would have saved the country.

    “Well, Mr. President,” the aide began. “There appear to be Federal units on the outskirts of the city.”



    “I don’t right understand. We’ve got twelve damn divisions bearing down from five fucking directions, with almost a hundred thousand pissed-off Yanks with guns and a thirst for Syndie blood, and thousands of bloody airplanes and goddamn Michigan Gunboats the King sent over, and the bloody Yanks can’t even get us a single! Fucking! Tank!”

    “PETERS!”

    “Yes, sir?”

    “Shut up.”

    Captain Courtney Bradford was not having anything remotely resembling a good day. First, Brigadier General Birmingham sent his people racing into Chicago along the goddamn coast, rather than using the actual roads like sane people. Then the bloody Yankee armored column that was supposed to be supporting Bradford got lost in their own bloody city. Things were going downhill from there with the Michigan Gunboats turning their attention to other sectors, the USAF too busy fighting the CSAF to worry about Bradford, and the fact he seemed to have stumbled into an enemy motor pool.

    Even now, he could hear the crackling gunfire and roars of heavy cannons down the street. His men were taking a beating all because that one bloody armored group was so terminally retarded that they couldn’t find their own arses in a dark room if they had a torch to light the way.

    “Bloody morons,” Peters growled. “No Englishman would get this lost and confused in his own hellhole of a country.”

    “But we’re not in our hellhole of a country,” Bradford growled. He, unlike Peters, was actually Australian, but he felt the pain of lost Albion just as sharply. “Just the bloody Yanks’ hellhole of a country. Someone get on the pipe with those Gunboats our King sent scurrying over here and see if we can’t get some gunfire down on those tanks!”

    Peters detailed a man to do so, then returned his attention to the map. The Englishman grunted.

    “Goddamn tossers. Haven’t seen the Yankees actually get engaged in the fighting yet. The bloody hell are they waiting for?”

    “Peters, drop it,” Bradford grumbled. “Get on the pipe with Price and get his company moving up toward that mortar battery the Yankee planes have reported, then stop cursing the Yanks and start directing air support. We’ve got to get something engaged on those Syndie tanks ahead, or we won’t be able to break through.”



    “Grenade!”

    Boom!

    Major Thomas Hardy pulled a grenade from his belt and hurled it through the next door on the heels of the first one. He braced.

    Boom!

    “Breach! Breach!” Hardy roared. He turned to the door, behind the first man. There was a crack! and the Federal soldier collapsed in a spray of blood. Hardy didn’t wait around – he charged into the room with a cry.

    He caught the first Syndie in the chest with his bayonet, twisting and recovering with perfect form. The man gurgled and dropped, his half-loaded rifle clattering from numb fingers.

    The second Syndie lashed out with a shovel, of all things. Hardy dropped his rifle and rolled away, pulling his pistol. He raised it, aimed, pulled the trigger.

    Click.

    He’d never reloaded the weapon.

    Hardy ducked another swing of the shovel, saw a third Syndie behind the first one. He swore and lunged, tackling the shovel-wielder. The remaining rebel raised his rifle and aimed for Hardy.

    Someone launched himself into the room and planted a knife in the third man’s throat with a happy cry. The Syndie dropped.

    Hardy drew his own knife and stabbed his enemy, then slashed his throat repeatedly. Blood gushed over his hands.

    Just like that, it was over as soon as it began. Three dead Syndies, one dead Federal. Hardy pushed himself upright, retrieving his rifle as his mind scrambled to catch up.

    “Fun,” Lenny exclaimed from over the body of his victim. “I should have signed up a long time ago!”

    Hardy wondered at the wisdom of not simply shooting the serial killer then and there. He decided against it, figuring Lenny would have plenty of chances to get himself shot before the day was out.

    “Nice job, Major,” the Boy said, appearing with the men. “We’re clear.” Hardy shook himself.

    “Right, gents. Game’s on for real now. Lenny, Gutierrez, take five-man fireteams and follow me. Boy, tell Colt that he’s on rearguard duty with his boys. Everyone else dig in here and provide covering fire. Shoot and manuever, stay low, don’t be seen, the works. Keep it tight, people!”

    “Stars and Stripes!” they called, before splitting up.

    “Speaking of that, someone find a proper flag!” Hardy shouted. He reloaded his rifle and pistol, sparing a glance for the men he’d killed. He let out a slow breath, then raced off to the back entrance of the hotel, facing the AA battery.

    The Syndies at the guns obviously weren’t prepared for Hardy and his boys to descend on them. Lenny’s men set up at the edge of the street behind a stone fence, firing while Hardy and Gutierrez advanced. Hardy dropped behind a crate, watching the other soldiers with him do the same. Gunfire arced from Lenny’s team and the hotel. Syndies began dropping and the guns fell silent.

    But there were Syndicalist soldiers, too, and they rallied. Guns flashed up, then flashed again as bullets came speeding back across the lines. Hardy ducked a wave of fire from a submachinegun.

    “This is going fantastic. Great plan, Tom,” he told himself. Then he spun up and fired before ducking back down. He thought he got a Syndie, but didn’t know.

    Lenny landed beside him, smiling. The man chucked a grenade blind, eliciting a howl a moment later.

    “They’re retreating, boss,” the "former" serial killer reported. “Falling back to some sandbags on the other side of the square. There’s a couple flak cannons just abandoned.”

    “And the bad news?” Hardy asked. He leaned around the crate and fired a few times before ducking back in.

    “There’s a tank out there, sir,” Lenny said, his grin fading. “And it’s pissed. Like we seduced its wife or something. What do you think we should do?”

    “We can’t fight it,” Hardy murmured. He shook his head. “Gutierrez still have some explosives?”

    “Yeah, boss,” Lenny confirmed, firing a few shots.

    “Can he get in behind it?”

    “Oh, of course,” Lenny smiled. “Or I can.”

    “Whatever,” Hardy snapped. He reloaded and fired. “Someone get behind that monster and blow her up. We can’t take her down in a gunfight.”

    “At once!” Lenny chuckled. The man straightened up and snapped off a few shots, waving for Gutierrez’ team to cover him. Hardy stopped paying attention, pulling out another grenade and skipping it off the ground. A Syndie machinegun fell silent.

    Then he saw it – the tank. It lumbered forward on the attack, menacing in every aspect. Even as Hardy looked, the coaxial machinegun chattered, the cannon elevated and barked. There was a thunderous explosion from behind him and chunks of the hotel crashed down.

    Damn it! Hardy thought, diving back down. Come on, boys – get him!

    There was the sound of a lot more gunfire – Hardy could tell the main bulk of the Federal forces had entered the city. Explosions started wracking the ground again – the artillery was back in action now that it had reliable target coordinates. Hardy took cover.

    Then he heard the tank’s gun bark again, and a massive explosion. For some reason, the irregulars started cheering. Hardy looked around the crate.

    The tank was a burning wreck, sending a pyre of black smoke into the sky like a beacon. For a moment Hardy thought the artillery was responsible, and expected to see more shots pounding around the tank.

    Instead, he heard the chattering of a machinegun from behind the corpse. Another tank had appeared, a Union Jack flying from its turret as it hosed the Syndies with heavy fire. Hardy laughed.

    “Maybe the Edwards are good for something!” he laughed. He stood up, raising his rifle.

    “Over the top!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, leveling the weapon at the Syndies.

    With a roar, the Pathfinders and Irregulars entered the fray.

    ____________________

    Bonus points to whoever catches the stealth pun in the Hardy sequence. Also: enjoy the Title Drop in the opening quote.

    @Timmie0307 - Well, to be brutally honest, my brain had melted when I wrote that part and I forgot the tidbit about US involvement - see also the mention in CH1 about Hardy musing he was "just too young for the Weltkrieg." However, historically there were several organizations of American units serving in France prior to the US entry in the war, and I see no reason that they wouldn't have appeared. Plus, there's the chance that these were British/Italian/French men who immigrated into the US post-war, like Sgt. Bukowski for the CSA.

    I know it's a handwave to explain an error I made, but as far as handwaves go it's not bad. *is shot down brutally by legions of history buffs*

    At this point, I don't have any screenshots to release, but I may start doing that eventually to give a better idea of the geopolitical situation.

    Until we meet again . . . .

    -L

  17. #17
    Again a wonderful update. Yeah it could be like that, I could be wrong as well, but as you mentioned volunteers all over the place would have joined the Weltkrieg.

    Tim

  18. #18
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    Great writing and story. I don't usually follow narrative AAR's very much but this one is really interesting. I like picturing how all of this would look, with various 1930's American factions all battling each other on the streets of Chicago and the skies above it.

    Also, you could have said that the USA had joined the Great War in this version of the KR universe, but still lost the war anyway due to not enough American forces being in France at the time it was defeated or the AEF being defeated in the field by the German Army during their later offensives. Anyways, thats not really important.

    Great updates and keep up the good work, I look forward to seeing if the legitimate democratic government of the USA can prevail against the various rebels, although I imagine the situation is not very good if the AUS has taken Philadelphia, so far from their heartlands...
    In Defense of Freedom, A US Kaiserreich AAR Complete. Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, March 15th, 2010
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    Awarded WritAAR of the week: February 14th, 2010

  19. #19
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    Between Heaven and Hell - Kaiserreich

    Chapter Four: Aggressive Defense


    I send the pestilence and plague into your house, into your bed;
    Into your streams, into your streets, into your drink, into your bread;
    Upon your cattle, on your sheep, upon your oxen, in your village;
    In your dreams, into your sleep, until you break, until you weep!
    I send the storm! I send the horde! Thus saith the Lord!

    ~ The Prince of Egypt: The Plagues


    Corporal William Lawrence threw himself to the ground. He wasn’t sure when the dozen or so other men had formed up around him and Bukowski – some when they took out those Federals back in the square, probably, and other as the Sergeant’s words echoed through the streets. There were men from four companies and two battalions trying to fight together as a cohesive unit.

    “HIT THE DIRT!” Lawrence and Bukowski warned together. The men fell flat.

    There was a tremendous wave of explosions from ahead of them, the very earth seeming to shake. The CSA Liberty bombers thundered overhead, having finished their attack run. There weren’t any Federal fighters around, thank God, and Lawrence laughed.

    “That’s it, flyboys – get ‘em!”

    “Come on, lads, get up!” Bukowski shouted. “We move down the street and occupy the diner at the corner! The Federals are gonna come straight down and we’ve gotta hold them!”

    “Yes, sir!” Lawrence affirmed. Bukowski pointed at him.

    “Billy, try and scrounge up something heavy to help us keep the area secure. You there! You go with him!”

    “Sir!” the chosen soldier agreed. Lawrence turned and led him away, jogging despite the pain from his ankle as he sought something - anything.

    “Right, ladies!” Bukowski was shouting. “Follow me!”

    “What are we looking for, Corporal?” the soldier demanded. Lawrence shrugged.

    “Machineguns, anti-tank cannons – hell, I’d take a basket of ham sandwiches about now. Anything that could help us hold our ground.”

    The soldier looked around. “Watch out!”

    He grabbed Lawrence and pulled him out of the road. A second later, a Syndicalist tank ground through the space the corporal had just occupied, flag streaming from the pole on its turret, gun elevated and scanning the perimeter. Lawrence smiled.

    “Looks like we found our support, soldier,” he said. “You flag that tank down and get in contact with its commander, tell him left from right. I’ll look around and see what else I can find.”

    “Yes, sir,” the soldier agreed, before turning and racing after the armored vehicle. Lawrence let out a long breath.

    Right. I’m sure we have something heavy around here to use somewhere. If I was a machinegunner, where would I set up my position?

    Lawrence scanned the various buildings. After a moment, he isolated a spot on the third floor of an apartment complex that had somehow lived through the Unionist bombing of Chicago.

    Nice field of fire, well-protected by a brick wall, hard to access – perfect.

    Lawrence raced over to the building, checking the door before he entered. Other soldiers were practically gone from the streets, and – thanks be to the God he didn’t believe in! – the artillery had stopped falling. Maybe the Federals were conserving munitions?

    Lawrence entered the building, rifle raised. There was always the chance that Federal partisans had taken over the position, after all. The Syndicalist soldier cautiously advanced up the stairs, beginning to sweat again.

    Faster! He urged himself, but Lawrence wasn’t prepared to take unnecessary risks. After a few moments, he reached the third floor corridor. Cautiously, he advanced.

    It was but the work of a moment to arrive at the windows he’d sighted, and only about five more to check every room. In the last one he found a heavy machinegun, bolted to the windowsill. There was some ammo stashed around the room, as well as a pair of anti-tank rifles.

    “Jackpot,” Lawrence murmured.

    The operators were probably either dead or caught up in the fighting elsewhere, so Lawrence didn’t feel any guilt about taking their gun. He began to try and pry it from the window, but quickly gave up.

    It’s bolted in securely, probably to keep any irregulars from walking off with it. Pain in the ass right now, though.

    Lawrence sighted down the street. He had a good line of fire even to the coffee shop – he could see Bukowski arranging his men in position in a house across the street, to create a crossfire.

    Settled. I’m fighting from here, since I can’t move the machinegun.

    Lawrence grabbed the machinegun. I wish I had a –

    “Corporal!” the soldier shouted. Lawrence jumped and reached for his pistol. The soldier saluted. “The tank’s already with the Sarge. I figured you’d have come up here looking for a machinegun and wanted to see if you needed assistance moving it.”

    “Thanks, soldier,” Lawrence replied. “But I don’t think I’ll need any help carrying it anywhere. It’s bolted down. Can you feed ammunition while I shoot?”

    “Sure thing,” the soldier said, laying his rifle on a table. He pulled a box of ammunition over, then passed Lawrence the belt. The corporal fed it into the gun, then worked the bolt and sighted.

    “Federals will be coming any moment now,” he said conversationally.

    “And we’ll kill ‘em all,” the soldier growled. “I was there in the New Year’s Strike, when Garner brought the Unionists to work the factory. They deserve no mercy at all.”

    “What’s your name, soldier?” Lawrence asked, exhaling a breath he hadn’t known he was holding.

    “Tommy Jones, sir.”

    “Well, Tom . . . .” Lawrence trailed off. He aimed the gun. “Here they come!”

    Rattatattatattatatta!



    “Well, this is a regular clusterfuck.”

    Colonel Patrick “Texas Thunder” Walker chewed thoughtfully on his tobacco for a minute. He growled.

    Fifth Battalion was gone. Not routed, not stalled, not defeated. Just fucking gone. A whole bunch of Syndie bombers had come barreling from Valhalla, for all Walker could tell, and smashed the ever-loving shit out of the Fifth. It was nothing more than a giant smoking crater filled with rubble and broken bodies over there. Walker would eat his flamboyant cowboy’s hat if anyone were still alive.

    Second Battalion was screwing around in the factories, even still. Walker snorted. Colonel Arlington was always a hesitant pansy. Probably was justifying his cowardice with “We have to take the industrial centers intact!”

    Sure, we do. But they’re even more intact if all the Syndies are dead, idiot.

    In short, most of the Federal advance was bogging down. Walker had reached the designated day’s objective – some place called Humboldt Park – hours ahead of schedule. Hell, it was nearly nightfall and everyone else in the Fifteenth Division was still having a rodeo with “heavy resistance” in the suburbs!

    There was, in fact, only one other command that was accomplishing jack shit all, other than that damned inventive Major with the Irregulars. Walker made a metal note to meet the son of a bitch as soon as possible and get him transferred to the Third Battalion. He needed guys like that.

    Anyway, he gruffly told himself. The other guys.

    He spat out his tobacco over the roof of the apartment building, then turned back around. There were five men arranged around a table, while another dozen were standing around with guns – the guards.

    “Right, listen up,” Walker called, walking over to the table and slamming a powerful fist down on it. “The cavalry has managed to break through to our south and is currently wrecking enemy artillery. Last I heard from Major Hardy was that his boys just finished disemboweling a Syndie AA battery and are moving toward Arlington’s lead elements to try and catch the enemy in a pincer. Now, Arlington’s a shithead, but more than capable of beating through with a copious amount of help from Hardy and his Irregulars.”

    “So we’re not gonna save him?” One of Walker’s officers spat. “Suits me fine. That bastard would have it coming if a train hit him.”

    “Certainly,” Walker agreed. “More important: I’m sure you all remember Minneapolis?”

    Everyone but Walker, including the guards, winced visibly. Yeah, they remembered.

    “Good,” Walker growled dangerously. “That was completely humiliating. Now, I just got wind that Captains Bradford and Price are caught up slugging it out with a bunch of Syndie tanks. Anyone thinking what I’m thinking?”

    One man’s face lit up. “We go save their asses this time?”

    “Bang-on, Lieutenant Bannon,” Walker agreed. “Your tanks take point and force their way to the river. Don’t go insane – you need infantry cover, and Sanders will provide it.” Walker nodded to another officer. “Malone, you’re on fire control duty. I’m giving Charlie Company to Kackle.”

    Monty Malone gave Howard Kackle a sidelong glance, then the two men nodded to each other.

    “The enemy is somewhere in Edgewater, and I want to flank them out,” Walker grumbled, patting the map. “Bannon, Sanders, you will push to Lincoln Park, then begin advancing north. Malone will support you, while Kackle uses Charlie and Bravo companies to secure the ground we’ve taken. Melville!”

    “Sir?” Keith Melville asked. The Tennessee-born officer was in command of Walker’s cavalry detachment – and got a lot of ribbing over his name’s similarity to a certain author.

    “Take the Mobys and get in on Reed’s flank up to the north. I want you to establish a line of contact with Price and Bradford, so we can get to work closing the trap. Break a leg – but make sure it’s just the peg one.” Walker grinned. Melville did the same, but only for politeness.

    “Right, lads,” Walker said. He grabbed a rifle from the table, as did the rest of his men. “Let’s get this show on the road. No middle ground – either we’re the laughingstock of the division again, or the Edwards are buying us drinks for a goddamn change. I’m tired of them pulling our chestnuts out of the fire!”

    ___________________

    With a nickname like "Texas Thunder" you know carnage is imminent.

    One of the concerns as I developed these chapters was the relationship between the Edwards and the rest of the American forces - with the Edwards being foreign volunteers from just across the border, I figure they must have a special role: Technically they're in this war, but it's not their country and they can just hop-skip-jump across the border if they want. Plus, since there's so many Weltkrieg veterans in Canada courtesy of the exiled Brits, it's my expectation that their army is up to snuff and generally just better than the American counterparts.

    So I've tried to put them in the light of very capable, very sane men in the middle of a warzone wracked by people learning how to fight a war for pretty much the first time - the proverbial old generation, caught in the world of the new.

    There's an unusual sequence coming up in the next chapter. I'm sure you'll all have a blast with it.

    @All: Thank you for your comments and appreciation!

    -L

  20. #20
    Texas Thunder has to become a recurring character.

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