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IE Journal 16

Page history last edited by Michael 8 years, 11 months ago

back to Journal entry 15, or the Iron Empires index

 

84 Rising 599 (or 15 July 12606 AD); presuming time is flowing along back home, the date there is the 28th of February, 2012 AD. The Terrans are on the planet Aleif.

 

The Terrans have just returned through the Ivory Gate of Dreams from the Chamber of Wind and Thunder. Given their condition, they decide it's time to return to Hanzhou and do some recuperation; they contact the Roman helicopters and are flown back. They've brought 5 horns back from hell.

 

At Hanzhou, there's a lot of press attention ... "brave Vindandish knights enter hell itself to rescue kidnapped orphans" etc. They stash the Iron and the Gate Ripper in a hangar, high up on the central tower. It is pretty obvious that the Roman intelligence agencies (mostly the Curia Speculatoria) are interested in what the Gate Ripper is!

 

McClellan goes into a hospital, to be treated for blast injury. Burns and Black are feeling poorly (due to severe chi depletion); O'Reilly on the other hand parties up! He also makes some modified "Big Ol' Bombs", with a bit less boom. The Terrans provide some imagery from their Iron to the Roman military ... mostly pictures of the terrain in the Chamber of Wind and Thunder, and the defenses of the Thunder Pagoda.

 

Saint Peter's in Hell

the elliptical courtyard is about 200 meters wide

defensive walls are 7 meters high, 10 meters thick

the statue in the middle of the square is of Huan Ken

the "tower" or dome is the circle on the left

 

The Terrans decide to publicly announce that they will return in a month, but actually return in two weeks. They spend the time recovering, making experience checks (take your checks!), repairing their Iron, and working with the Roman military on the planned assault on Hell. The Romans don't use many military ground vehicles, apart from paddy wagons and such in the Lower City, so the military agrees to purchase 30 or so surplus trucks from another nation.


something like this:  11.6 m long, 11 ton off-road cargo capacity

 

20 of the trucks will pass through the Ivory Gate, carrying 200 Thunder Knights, along with drivers, gunners, medics, comm-techs, etc. Each truck has space to carry about 20 passengers (rescued children, presumably) after machine guns, Thunder Knights, etc. The trip from the Ivory Gate to the Thunder Pagoda will take them about half an hour if they don't have to stop and fight. One of the trucks will be waiting at the Ivory Gate, carrying the assembled Gate Ripper. A sort of field hospital will be set up in the wildlands, near the Ivory Gate, to check the rescued children for health issues and (ahem) demonic issues. The Roman military are enthusiastic about this plan -- rescuing children will make everyone look good.

 

The Terrans are concerned about spies and assassins; signals continue to be sent from Hanzhou to the Vaylen stations in orbit -- and of course there's been a lot of broadcast news coverage of their exploits. A tiny Vaylen "spy roomba" is found in their quarters, planting bugs; this starts a long period of conversing in Old Norse.

 

As part of the recuperation process, McClellan leads sessions in chi enhancement and control.

 

98 Apex 599  (Roman date as used in Hanzhou:  17 September 2280 AD) 

 

Before dawn, the Terrans don their Iron, and load themselves and the Gate Ripper into a couple of large cargo helicopters. They head out from Hanzhou towards the wildlands.

 

The various elements of the rescue mission converge from several staging areas onto the Ivory Gate, arriving just after dawn. Anti-aircraft guns, helicopter gunships, field hospital, etc. are being set up -- it's quite a military scene. What with the Zero-Index vehicles and military tech, the dusty and desolate terrain, and all the hustle and bustle, the Terrans who've earned the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, or the Afghanistan Campaign Medal might feel a little deja vu.

 

The Roman forces are commanded by Duke Hawksmoor, the Thunder Champion and leader of the Thunder Knights; he's had one of the big trucks modified into a sort of command vehicle/mobile gun platform/stateroom. He has long white hair, muttonchop whiskers, and a Kaiser Bill mustache; for this operation he's wearing a very showy outfit, with knee-high leather boots, chest full o' medals, shiny chromed breastplate, red cloak, Mandarin hat, big holstered pistol, gauntlets, broadsword, etc. He looks like a cross between General Custer, General Patton, one of the showier Three Musketeers, a Chinese warlord, and Captain Harlock. He's accompanied by a bodyguard of four Thunder Knights, and a combat videographer.

 

Four of the Terrans (McClellan, Black, O'Reilly and Burns) pass through the Ivory Gate into Hell; McDougall remains with the Gate Ripper. A small team of Thunder Knights accompanies the Terrans.

 

In the Chamber of Wind and Thunder

 

Conditions seem generally the same. Craters, demonic skeletons, rusted and blasted bits of military hardware, and the miles of "hershey's kisses" badlands leading to the Thunder Pagoda. The Thunder Knights set up a communications relay station near the Ivory Gate, and the Terrans move onwards.

 

400 meters along, the Terrans detect some demonic creature lurking in the sky, among the swirling clouds and lightning strikes. A quick flurry of gunfire brings it down.

 

After a few hundred more meters, they detect some activity among the rocks, and spot a small boy, naked and dirty, hiding behind a hershey's kiss. They call him over, and he claims (in Hanzhou dialect Mandarin) to be Chen, an escaped prisoner from the Thunder Pagoda. However, McClellan is able to tell (using the ghost goggles) that Chen is some sort of demon; Burns recites a quick Mandarin Ritual of Command, and forces the young boy to admit his demonic nature. The Terrans ask some questions, but he doesn't know much; it's pretty clear, though, that the locals know the Terrans are coming. Most prisoners are kept in the tower portion of the Thunder Pagoda; they are only taken to the crypt for "special handling". The leader of the Carceri, Adimarchus, cannot leave the crypt below the basilica.

 

About halfway from the Ivory Gate to the Thunder Pagoda, the Terrans detect an ambush ahead; they toss some Big Ol' Bombs at the ambush. Some demons are slain by this, but many are immune to explosions, and rush forwards. Combat! Some of the creatures attempt to use various psychic powers; others use strange martial art skills! The Terrans pretty quickly defeat them, but take some damage. They decide to return briefly to the Ivory Gate, grab some Foam, and tell the truck convoy to begin moving through the Gate (along with McDougall and the Gate Ripper). Four of the Thunder Knights are detailed to follow the Terrans along the path to the Thunder Pagoda.

 

Arriving at the edge of the cleared area around the Pagoda, the Terrans survey the structure for weaknesses. Some demons are peeking over the outer walls from time to time; the wide gates are closed, with wooden stakes planted in the ground to stop cavalry. The Terrans use some infantry missiles to blast the gates and the wall around the entrance, snipe a few demons, and charge into Saint Peter's Square!

 

Deciding that a bold rush will work better than clearing all the demons from the walls, the Terrans run into the basilica (a rather tiring 400 meter dash). The interior is a very garish combination of Renaissance and Ming dynasty styles; various Carceri and other demons are lurking behind massive pillars, popping up from hiding, etc. The humans fight to the center of the basilica, and climb the stairs leading to the dome/prison. Soon, they are kicking down cell doors, and leading groups of weak, emaciated children down the stairs.

 

Possibly important note (and not mentioned at the game):   none of the permanent/original structure of the basilica can be damaged by any weapons carried by Iron; they were magically created by Huan Ken, after all.

 

Meanwhile, the Thunder Knights (and other Roman forces) have entered and cleared the square, and are proceeding into the basilica. The Terrans hand over the freed children (just about two hundred of them) and enter the wide stairs leading to the crypt.

 

Down in the crypt, long lines of wide, squat pillars support the basilica; at the far western end is a broad masonry well (about 10 meters wide, and 1 meter high). The well is obviously significant, with mystical symbols carved on it and around it. A sort of "swimming pool cover" or fleshy membrane covers the opening of the wall; a large humanoid figure presses up from below, stretching the membrane as it attempts to escape.

 

Adimarchus has two forms. In the Shape of Light, he is an angelic humanoid, about 4 meters tall, with pale purple skin, no hair, and razor-sharp metallic wings; he uses a sort of energy-whip of white-hot material, and a spiked, armored gauntlet on his right hand. As the Shape of Darkness, he is only 3 meters tall, black skinned, with four tentacles/snakes attached to his back; he wields a sword resembling white-hot glowing cinder. He is able to switch between these forms at any time.

 

Adimarchus is broken out of the well, and focuses his attacks on McClellan; the other Terrans pound him with weapons, and suppress the other odd creatures trying to follow the demon out of the well. During the fight, Duke Hawksmoor, four Thunder Knights, and a combat videographer arrive in the crypt; the Thunder Knights' attacks prove ineffective, but Hawksmoor (while still a great git) is actually skilled enough to survive a strike from Adimarchus. Several of McClellan's weapons are destroyed by Adimarchus' attacks, but in the end the demon is destroyed - or was he? All that is left is a dried husk, and the wierd glowing greatsword. The well, which is about 20 meters deep, holds the blasted and burnt skeletons (and carapaces, horns, etc.) of a bunch of creatures blasted by the Big Bombs tossed in there.

 

Ashen Blade

 

The blade of this greatsword appears to be made of fused volcanic cinders; the hilt, guard, grips, etc. are fairly simple and unremarkable. The edge doesn't appear to be very sharp, and certainly isn't straight (lots of nicks and so forth). However, when wielded in combat, the blade quickly glows white hot (after one round of use), and does 10d6 damage. Half of this damage is from intense heat (plasma-cutter level), and the other half is from divine power! Outside of highly-magical junctures (such as Hell) the weapon will not display it's magical ability, and will be "only" a greatsword, doing 2d8 damage. The STR Min is 11; the weapon is about as indestructible as any of the "Iron" melee weapons, and can affect creatures "only affected by magic".

 

The Terrans and Duke Hawksmoor's party return to the surface, to find basilica entirely in the hands of the Roman army; a convoy of trucks is about the leave with the rescued children. MacDougall is already directing the setup and activation of the Gate Ripper in the middle of Saint Peter's Square.

 

In the distance, swirling hordes of demons can be seen gathering, apparently preparing to take back Saint Peter's.

 

After ten anxious minutes, the Gate Ripper is activated, with Omshiip as the target. The portal opens, and after a few minutes, a wheeled robot comes through.

 

sort of like this ...

 

The drone has the image of a Kerrn displayed on an external monitor, but (it turns out) it's not in live contact with Omshiip; so after a couple of minutes it returns through the Gate Ripper. A couple of minutes after that, a couple dozen heavily-armed Kerrn pour through the Gate Ripper; some of them recognize the Terrans from their visit to Omshiip six months ago.

 

The Kerrn commander tells the Terrans that this initial force is part of the security element at the portal research station near Omshiip; it'll be several hours before the Kerrn can get a large force to and through the portal. They take several of the horns from the Terrans and send them immediately back through the Gate Ripper. The Kerrn have brought a couple of coil cannons and quad-mount heavy assault lasers with them, along with various anti-Iron and anti-tank weapons; the gathering demonic horde is (for now) turned back. Remember, though, a lot of demons are immune to bullets -- but apparently none are immune to lasers!

 

By the time the Terrans have been in control of the Palace for an hour, there are about 120 Kerrn present, and they've just brought another Gate Ripper through the Terran's Gate Ripper, to begin assembling it.

 

On to Journal entry 17

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