• Attention All Comstar Customers, Due to unexpected interference by suspected Word of Blake operatives, the HPG systems update was *not* successful. No data was lost due to our careful and extensive backups; however, we will need to try again next weekend. Sincerely, Comstar Precentor Dune

Anime & Manga GATE: and so the Iron Pact Fought (GATE/Alt Time Line fic)

Informational: Nations of the Iron Pact African Commonwealth

Aaron Fox

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So, the African Commonwealth... a nation-building project that is mired with so much bad, good, and mixed results that it's a walking contradiction. The initial plans for the African Commonwealth was born out of the two genocides that Imperial Germany did during the early days of it's colonial ambitions (both ethnic groups would, after the Great War of Resistance, get special treatment and grants as part of an apology for this) in a loose family of plans known as 'Mittle Afrika'. In actuality, the first phase of these plans was already being carried out before World War 1 with various colonies being testing grounds for various nation-building methods. Some of these methods were harsh and caused untold amounts of problems. Some were rather positive, making great strides in ensuring that a genuine nation was being built there. The others were, sadly, of a mixed bag, having both good and bad properties.

The one constant thread that all these 'nation-building experiments' had was infrastructure building. The German colonial administration -which would later be restructured into a nation building administration via Adolf Hitler during the tail end of his term as Chancellor- would undertake massive infrastructure projects, building schools, universities, hospitals, clinics to rail lines, telegraph (and later phone and radio) networks, power grids, canal systems, and ports to not only increase productivity, but also ensure that things would go smoothly. Many of the ethnic groups in Africa would later take the German word for school as their own (like in GATE/OTL, some nations in Africa actually have their word for school actually be a loan word from Germany), but this wasn't a smooth process in the least.

The biggest and most constant problem that the nation-building efforts had was due to the numerous ethnic groups in Africa itself, all of them having their own grudges against each other and that was always a source of immense grief for everyone involved. This, inevitably, led to various acts of violence where -despite the various garrisons' best efforts- numerous innocents died due to ethnic conflict (and in some cases, this world's first bouts of ethnic terrorism). Many methods to have everyone get along were tried and sadly many of them backfired into ethnic conflict. However, some administrators got rather inventive and would eventually develop a system of cultural abrasion and education to help alleviate the situation, and while this system wasn't perfect, it helped limit ethnic conflict. Eventually this system would succeed beyond all expectations.

By the 1960s, the nation-building was going slower than expected. This is partially due to the aftermath of WW2 and the various ripple conflicts from that war and the fact that outside of raw resources, Africa didn't have much for itself. At least, until a discovery was made in 1967 when a nation-building administrator was stuck in one of the tribal villages on the west coast of Africa and made a discovery of a lifetime: the discovery of viable biopolymers. To be specific, the ethnic group that the village belonged to had -for centuries- utilize a concoction made from a specific wood resin and a specific seaweed to create a plastic-like material that strengthened and water proofed whatever it was painted on. When this administrator got back to his office, he quickly asked for a team of scientists to come with him to verify what he had seen. The research took almost a decade to complete, but the discovery was unmistakable: a viable biopolymer that can be used in building construction. With the tree viable across much of Africa and the seaweed across Africa's coastline, a whole new industry was created. Half a decade later -and quite by accident, and the discovery created a biopolymer plastic that was great for storage containers- it was discovered that this biopolymer material could be modified by changing the resin, making it an even more valuable material. This discovery caused a major interest in traditional methods by the various ethnic groups, leading to the discovery of whole new medicines, with the ethnic groups getting the patent rights in the process.

Politically, the African Commonwealth started out of a collection of colonial administrations. When the Americans started with their joint administration program during the interwar years, there was a lot of problems in how it would all pan out. At first, the Americans wanted to start creating a democracy right away, but the Germans believed that it would be a recipe for disaster. Quite a few problems stem from this sadly enough, and threatened to cause the entire experiment to fall apart until a group of Africans with a higher education, some Americans, and some Bovarians worked out a plan of action: gradual democracy. The idea was, oddly enough, mindbogglingly simple (or to quote one administrator 'so simple that it was stupid'): slowly introduce the idea and systems of democracy at the local level and slowly work your way up from there. This, as all things, didn't start out that well. Even with this simple idea, things didn't go as planned and in some cases caused ethnic conflict. The planners persevered however, and slowly built an effective bedrock for a democracy. So, during the 1960s, a convention was called and this convention took almost a decade to hammer everything out, leading to what the African Commonwealth is today.

In essence, the African Commonwealth is a rather unique creature, taking elements from all nations to suit it's needs. The executive -for example- is a fusion between the US and Imperial Germany, with what amounts to be an elected king and his heir (the President and Vice President) and a Chancellor for domestic policy while the legislative is heavily reminiscent of US Congress with two more houses for the various ethnic groups (with one house being similar to the Senate that each ethnic group had equal representation and the other being similar to the House of Representatives which had population as a determining factor for representatives). This melting pot of governments had it's problems as the nation building administration slowly pulled out during the '70s, partially because of how new and different it was. As the people got used to the new government, however, the easier things went. While ethnic-based problems do still exist, it hasn't blown up to disastrous proportions in the African Commonwealth's history.
 
Informational: The Imperial German Sanitäter

Aaron Fox

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While I was working on furthering the adventures of Arpeggio and friends, I came upon this little video:

Basically, a bit of a brain bug hit me and I had to post this informational down.
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The Imperial German military can be a paradoxical one at times. At times it's quite conservative in the 'if it works, don't fix it' category, at other times it can be looking so far into the future that it was insane, there are times where it appears that they are trying to satisfy some sort of fetish, then there are the times that it is outright paradoxical. The Sanitäter Corps is one of these outright paradoxes. The bedrock for what would become the Sanitäter Corps would be birthed during the Great War of Resistance, as soldiers and nurses that were trained in first aid went into the field of battle with only a pistol and some recognizable symbols strapped to them. They even painted recognizable markings on their helmets to help with identification. While in the years before the Great War of Resistance attacking medical personnel was generally frowned upon (some more than others), several French and British units would outright ignore these protocols during the Great War of Resistance.

These units would be later be made an example of and were all executed by hanging after the war for Crimes against Humanity.

Now it is -oddly enough- due to the herculean efforts of these 'ad hoc' frontline medics that fatalities dwindled. Stories about men and women only armed with a pistol -usually a Luger or C96- and adorned with as many Red Cross markings as they could without impeding their ability saving lives as bullets flew above their heads (or outright at them on occasion) became legendary. Some of these stories would be written down by men like Adolf Hitler, who had several chapters about a Sanitäter unit that he nicknamed the Walküren (translated: Valkyries) who, to paraphrase Hitler, "came upon the battlefield, taking the wounded to safety without care for their lives like the Walküre of legend, and if they couldn't take the wounded to safety, they would stand and fight only with pistols even it meant dying where they stood. Some kept trying despite the wounds they gained in doing these duties, dying to save their fellow soldiers. Words can never tell the full extent of their heroics, for there are no words to describe it...". Others would be immortalized in cartoons or movies like Disney's The Little Sanitäter and the Hollywood short movie The Humble Sanitäter, both of which told stories of a man and a woman who took the mantle of Sanitäter (both of which toned the exploits a bit because they were breaking the suspension of belief even back then).

As word of these units filtered towards German High Command, they started standardizing the training for these individuals, beginning the formation of Sanitäter units. As the fighting moved on from German soil, High Command would start enforcing a standard uniform for the Sanitäter, leading to the now-iconic uniform.

(a recreation of what would become the iconic Sanitäter uniform that would be used after the first two years of the Great War of Resistance)

The Sanitäter Corps would become the pride of the Imperial German Army as the war progressed. Thanks to their efforts, the German Army and the Iron Legion would suffer fewer battlefield fatalities than their French and British counterparts. The Sanitäter would be retained and expanded after the war, creating a vast system of medical facilities, doctrine, and personnel that would be later copied by numerous countries including the Commune of India (who learned it from Republican Indian forces during the Indian Civil War). This system is still used today, decades later. Sanitäter would gain several responsibilities during the interwar years, including medical checkups in the field (particularly on long marches).

In Imperial German doctrine, one Sanitäter team -with appropriately marked field ambulances- of 2 to 6 Sanitäter is attached to an infantry platoon who are part of a company-level field dressing unit. Sanitäter are clad in modified versions of their company uniform, have two armbands with the Red Cross symbol in a white field, the iconic medical badge in white and gold on the sleeves just before the cuffs, a modified helmet that is painted white and adorned with the Swiss Cross on each facing, and the now iconic Sanitäter Vest (which is a white vest with the Swiss Cross on the front and back). Each Sanitäter is armed with a pistol, partially due to the fact that some groups don't actually take the Rules of War that pertain to field medical units seriously and partially due to history. In the case of forces that consistently target medics, Sanitäter can remove their vest and switch their helmet for a standard one but must retain the rest of his uniform no matter what. Sanitäter is also allowed to defend themselves and their patients as needed.

The company-level dressing unit is only there to ensure that wounds are dressed and anyone that needs more experienced medical attention is prepped and ready for transfer to battalion-level medical camps or division-level field hospitals.

However, one major difference in doctrine between GATE!Earth and Iron Pact!Earth is the provision for giving Sanitäter units the ability to utilize 'combat arms' -pistols on Iron Pact!Earth is generally considered 'defense arms' to allow this- when an enemy force keeps -consistently- killing medics.

Like MPs, Sanitäter is considered to be the closest thing to God on Earth. If a Sanitäter says your not able to fight, you are not able to fight. If you try to override their order, they have the right to literally drag you kicking and screaming. The modern Sanitäter have a higher percentage of their personnel equipped with various cybernetics, so there is the chance that you'll be overpowered by the Sanitäter and dragged out of the combat zone...
 
Informational: Important People of the Iron Pact Universe: Adolf Hitler

Aaron Fox

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... yeah, staring into the historical figures of the Iron Pact timeline and we're kicking things off with what is probably one of the most controversial ones. Much of the Iron Pact's Adolf Hitler was pretty much the same as OTL, had a somewhat sub-par childhood with a father who tried to force Hitler into politics, took a stint at art and got ridiculed and kicked out of art school (the thing is, he is pretty decent as an artist... it's just that he's an architectural artist and not an 'artist artist'), joined the German Army during WW1, had anger issues, felt betrayed in the aftermath of WW1, etc. etc. etc.

The difference between Adolf in our timeline and the Iron Pact timeline is The Great War of Resistance. When the Kaiser made the call to arms, he went to it's banner with gutso but only to defend the Fatherland.

Adolf would quickly become the leader of a unit made up of what he would have called 'undesirables' before the Great War of Resistance. German Poles, Old Prussians, every Jew who could fight... and a whole lot more. Adolf's unit would start out in defending the Ruhr Valley, fighting in such a way that would make Paul Emil von Lottow-Vorbeck proud... and a little confused. The fighting would also show Adolf's uncanny ability to know when and when not to gamble. It is was also during the first half of the Great War of Resistance that his unit would have an unusually high fatality rate... but this is just as much as Adolf's willingness to spend 'undesirable' lives as much as those he considered undesirables fighting with such ferocity and conviction that it would eventually steer him from the path he was walking at the time.

He saw where his path would take him several times during his days as commander of his unit. One would be in a town outside Düsseldorf, where the French massacred Germans and anyone that managed to get into the churches were literally put to the torch... burning them alive. Hitler and his unit didn't get there soon enough and saw it for all it's horror. That town became a rallying cry for the defense of Germany. The second time would be during the lesser-known Siege of Düsseldorf, where the Franco-Anglo forces used nerve gas in several quarters of the city. Then there was the push towards Paris, where he and his unit nearly shot fellow Germans trying to stop a massacre of French civilians. The 'tipping point' for Hitler would be the death of his XO, a German Jew by the name of Egon Spangler who took a sniper's bullet for Hitler. Hitler tired to keep Egon alive the best he could, but Egon would die in his arms... and he would fly into such a righteous rage that it scared everyone half to death. He would find the sniper and then proceed to keep slamming the man's head until it was a fine paste on the wall. When Hitler snapped out of his rage... well... to say he puked his guts out in horror would be an understatement. No one else would see this rage again until the Day of Death in the 1930s when the Nationale Reaktionspartei decided that they wouldn't go down quietly after making an assassination attempt on Hitler during his early political career. No one would blame him after seeing the carnage in the old Jewish Quarter of Berlin, and I do mean no one.

When he returned to Germany, he met one Walt Disney (whose only 'claim to fame' at the time is that his ambulance had his cartoons slapped on it) in Hamburg, where Walt was waiting for the ship that was supposed to take him home to arrive. The rail system was clogged with traffic, so Hitler decided to go back into art to wait until a train to Berlin was available. Hitler was doing a skyline painting at the time when Walt found him, and saw something that has to be nurtured instead of crushed. So that was when -in very broken German- Walt commented on how good the skyline painting was. This surprised Hitler, who was basically belittled about his artistic talent all his youth, and thanked Walt. Soon enough, they started to discuss their lives and their passion for art... and eventually became an exchange of ideas. Walt and Hitler would become pen pals, helping each other out in writing and occasionally meeting each other to discuss art and how to improve on art.

Hitler would soon become a staple of politics in 1932 when the Nationale Reaktionspartei (NRP for short) started to cause trouble. He would go to the Progressive-Socialist Party and speak out against the NRP in rather passionate speeches, turning him into a target. It was 1935 that the NRP would attempt an assassination on Hitler, which failed (and starting to show to the rest of the world Hitler's uncanny ability to dodge death) and killed a dozen people in the process. Kaiser Fredrick then gave the NRP an ultimatum: surrender the assassins and the conspiracy or get a Royal Ban. At this point a Royal Ban hadn't been actually implemented and only existed as a political construct as a check on power between the elected government and the monarchy. A Royal Ban is basically the highest ban one can get, and only the Kaiser can lift such a ban... and now it was going to be used against an increasingly hostile political group.

The NRP decided that they'll pull a coup instead, causing what would become known in infamy as the Day of Death. To say the carnage was bad is to simply understating it. Despite the fact that under the new German constitution, everyone had to have at least five years of militia or federal military service and have to go through a series of test to retain their military certifications every two years, many Jewish, Polish, and other 'undesirable' quarters had massacres unlike the world has ever seen since the Great War of Resistance. This, and the fact that his favorite niece was raped and killed by the NRP, understandably sent Adolf into a righteous flying rage. This wouldn't end well for the perpetrators, as they were quickly found doing the same thing in another quarter of Berlin and were executed. The few survivors quickly told the other NRP insurrectionists what had happened and most of them quickly surrendered fearing that the same fate would happen to them. In the aftermath, most of the surviving insurrectionists would be executed or jailed for the rest of their lives (usually doing some sort of hard labor in the mean time). Hitler's profanity laden speech to Kaiser Fredrick about the fate of the NRP would be later parodied, played straight, hammed up, hammed down, and everything in between in cinema and comics for days to come.

After that, Hitler would become Chancellor in 1940 after being selected as one of the candidates by the Kaiser himself (the new German constitution had the Kaiser pick candidates via interviews and audits on their political actions, and allowed the people to elect a chancellor out of those candidates) in a landslide election and would stay there until he asked to retire in the early 1950s so he can be with his family more. Hitler, in his time in office, made numerous reforms, which included but aren't limited to: establishing the equivalent of the National Forest Service and numerous national parks in 1941, made a standardized gun registry and weapon certification program that would be later used in the US in early 1942, creating a shell shock treatment program for everyone in mid-1942 and became one of it's first patients, improved education and the access of it, and creating the foundation of the African Commonwealth.

Adolf Hitler would later pass away peacefully in 1967 with family, just as Apollo 8 circled around the moon...
 
Informational: Changeling Physiology

Aaron Fox

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Since the next snippet is going to be the aftermath of Chrysalis getting hauled to Fort Portal and getting Wolfenstein to take a more prominent role in the story, I'll have to explain Changeling physiology.



Now, Changeling physiology is something of a complex thing. Born on a dying, magic-saturated world, the Changelings looked less like zombie bugs and more like anthro-horse moths. The Gate was -oddly enough- their salvation and after stocking up as much food as possible, they made a mass exodus -along with numerous other races who eventually bred into what would become the modern changeling, the cataclysm itself had been lost to time sadly enough- to the world they now live on. The thing about the magic of the Changeling's original world is that it is influenced by emotions, and the changelings were known for helping the various other races by literally absorbing emotionally charged magic before it would saturate the area to the point of casting even the simplest of spells would have explosively catastrophic results.



We're talking explosions that range from simply causing houses to turn into kindling to 1-ton bombs to -if the ancient records are to be believed- 53 megaton Tzar Bomba equivalent explosions.



This is a very important component for the changelings as it is the ability to simply absorb ambient magical energy that makes them different than anything that has been previously encountered by the various races living on the planet where Equis and Famart reside... and is their greatest weakness. This ability can be easily corrupted with the right spells and curses, one of which that transformed the changeling race into what it is today... just because one particular god hated the changeling pantheon's guts and wanted them to suffer besides.



Spite does not begin to properly characterize what this god did. This particular god basically poisoned the changeling race, making the only way to get any real sustenance by literally taking magic from someone. This partially caused the changelings' bodies to become the zombie-bug look that they're best known today, all but erasing the anthro-horse moth physical physiology out of the various memories of the races that live on Equis. This curse also slowly poisoned their minds and bodies, causing mental and physical problems as time went on (hence why they shifted their homes from surface settlements to underground complexes disguised as cave systems, in their 'zombie bug' form, sunlight can harm them).



At first, the changelings tried to break this curse via an assortment of rituals... but in doing so created the Parasprites and the Windigos... a combination that caused the collapse of all civilizations on Equis millennia ago. As time went on, not only the fertility of the changeling race suffered but also their ability to simply absorb ambient magic... which led to the birth of Chrysalis (who, in all honesty, eventually went a bit mad when trying to get rid of this curse... alongside that even being a child of a goddess doesn't completely stop the curse's effects).



Changelings can simply absorb magical energy and thus feed directly or they can store it in special sacs in their bodies so that energy can be used later or part of numerous concoctions using what is effectively solid magic that had been transformed into food. These concoctions range from drinks and tea/coffee additives to full out stuffing and confectionaries and the more positive the emotion, the tastier the concoction (as Luna found out thanks to King Thorax sharing his tea additive during one meeting, the taste of which nearly -quite literally- blew her socks off). Pure love is, unsurprisingly, the sweetest of emotions. Negative emotions like lust and hate are basically the opposite and are increasingly nonviable as a food source.



Physically, changelings are only slightly more durable than the various races of Equestria, but the curse has made staying out in the sun in their current form... deadly in long periods. Their transformation can mitigate this a lot, it only mitigates not eliminates... hence why you generally see undercover changelings in work that doesn't have much to do outside more often than not. Mentally, there is increasing mental degradation as the curse's power accelerates... which would be a problem in the long run.
 

Aaron Fox

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... and that should do it for getting everyone caught up to speed.

Also, thanks to the theadmark system, I can post prototypes to judge what needs improvement, what is good/bad, etc..
 

CarlManvers2019

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Architectural Artist and Artist Artist? Let me guess the first values skill and detail, the second is about a bunch of pseudo philosophy and symbolism and how art is supposed to represent something and stuff
 

Aaron Fox

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Architectural Artist and Artist Artist? Let me guess the first values skill and detail, the second is about a bunch of pseudo philosophy and symbolism and how art is supposed to represent something and stuff
Architectural Artists are akin to concept artists today, just for buildings in their case. If you actually take a look at Adolf's paintings (some of the Germania paintings were actually his work from what I've heard, although his previous works are just as indicative) he is phenomenal as an architectural artist. One of the key things for architectural artists is that they have an eye for detail and understand construction enough to conceptualize the building in real life.

Artist Artists is expression, symbolism, and more rolled into one in various degrees. Some schools of art are more expressive/symbolic/else than others. If that makes sense.
 

CarlManvers2019

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Architectural Artists are akin to concept artists today, just for buildings in their case. If you actually take a look at Adolf's paintings (some of the Germania paintings were actually his work from what I've heard, although his previous works are just as indicative) he is phenomenal as an architectural artist. One of the key things for architectural artists is that they have an eye for detail and understand construction enough to conceptualize the building in real life.

Artist Artists is expression, symbolism, and more rolled into one in various degrees. Some schools of art are more expressive/symbolic/else than others. If that makes sense.
The latter I think maybe harder and/or more frustrating, as that particular “skill” may just be something that happens with particular people

Ever read Horus Heresy-Fulgrim? The titular Primarch(while corrupted or being corrupted by the Laer Blade)has a Sculptor-Remembrancer take a look at his work, statues of his captains, and the Remembrancer told him that the “flaw” was that his work was “too perfect”

I think it was in other words the subtle lack of “humanity” from something that was mostly just focused on great detail and skill
 

Aaron Fox

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The latter I think maybe harder and/or more frustrating, as that particular “skill” may just be something that happens with particular people

Ever read Horus Heresy-Fulgrim? The titular Primarch(while corrupted or being corrupted by the Laer Blade)has a Sculptor-Remembrancer take a look at his work, statues of his captains, and the Remembrancer told him that the “flaw” was that his work was “too perfect”

I think it was in other words the subtle lack of “humanity” from something that was mostly just focused on great detail and skill
I agree, to a point. The thing with Adolf's paintings is that if he wasn't squashed so thoroughly in his talents, he would have been the sort of person that would have been showing off what some architect's designs would have looked like in real life to investors or the public. You can shore up your weaknesses to a point, but having it squashed ruins that process.
 

Aaron Fox

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Just something that will come in the future... it was interesting given the musical inspiration for this snippet...

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Cynaegiros frowned as he and his Great Wyrm Nighirth -alongside the rest of his flight- flew through the air as the greatest terror short of monsters that were more akin to natural disasters like the Great Fire Dragon and its kin. He had been hired by one of the crown princes to pillage the lands around Italica to ensure that very little would be useful to the Men in Green. Cynaegiros's family are known across the lands as the greatest dragon breeders and tamers. The best dragon mounts have always come from Rhodes and estate that Cynaegiros's family had owned for centuries.

What the common citizenry didn't know was that Cynaegiros's family was the crown's go-to family as a way for plausibly denying certain elements of the senate and nobility. Few people ask more questions after the words 'a dragon attacked' get uttered. With reports of two juvenile Great Fire Dragons being out and about circulating, it became easier to burn empty villages to the ground and have no one investigate them. The thing was, the plan wasn't working out as the crown worked out in their heads. He had nearly lost one fellow rider and his dragon when it was found that the Men in Green didn't need to live off the land to keep supplied! By Hardy, they were replacing the various roads with their own from the looks of things alongside pairs of metal beam fastened to numerous wooden beams on top of what looked like gravel.

Cynaegiros had already sent said rider and his mount to relay that bit of information to the Crown so they can make a better plan of action and not get him and his flight killed in the process.

That was when Cynaegiros heard an odd buzzing noise. The biggest thing that Cynaegiros noted was the fact that he could hear it. The biggest misconception that those who weren't dragon riders had was that you can hear everything in the air. That misconception is false, even when staying still the dragon is flapping its wings and thus manipulating the air around it, and you can barely hear orders -either verbal or musical- in that state. Forget hearing anything when the dragon is moving at any appreciable speed... and yet this odd buzzing noise was particularly loud to be able to hear it despite the sedate pace that the dragon was going at. Instinctively, Cynaegiros and his flight-mates quickly scattered, just as four odd machines flew by at speeds far higher than the dragons in the flight could manage.

That was when Cynaegiros noted that the machines were brightly colored and had two pairs of rigid wings...

... and one of them was bright ethereal blood red.

Cynaegiros gave the visual command to get into a somewhat loose formation created for aerial combat and his flight-mates quickly obliged and organized into pairs.

Cynaegiros and his wingman picked the bright blood red machine as their target and started to maneuver into a better position. In the distance, Cynaegiros saw that the others had done the same and were repositioning to give them the best chance to fight these unknowns. Cynaegiros quickly swiveled his head around, trying to keep the target in his sights as it came for another pass.

"Quick ain't yea?" Cynaegiros thought to himself, "Well then, let's see how you react when your opponent can breathe fire at you!" Cynaegiros ordered his mount to prepare for a breath attack and unleash it on the unknown when he saw flashes come from the unknown. Instinctively, Cynaegiros ducked... and it was this instinct that saved his life as some sort of projectiles shredded the plume on his helmet. Cynaegiros quickly ordered his mount to spew fire, and it barely missed the unknown by digitus. Cynaegiros smiled, now this was a worthy opponent!

In the corner of his eye, Cynaegiros saw that his flight-mates weren't doing as well. While the rest of the flight was made up of veterans of numerous campaigns, they didn't have the extensive aerial combat experience that Cynaegiros had or the long lineage of aerial combat that Cynaegiros's family had. Despite that, however, they were doing far better than expected given how the unknowns stacked the deck against them.

That was when Cynaegrios saw his opponent, it was a very young -not even an adult!- man with a leather cap and some sort of eye protection and what looked like a scarf. It was an unusual looking uniform by Cynaegiros's standards, that was for sure. Now knowing that his opponent was a young man, Cynaegiros decided to goad his opponent into opening weaknesses in his abilities. Cynaegiros began his plan of action but quickly discovered that this young man fought like a veteran rider. He was cool and collected, aware yet focused, always maneuvering and trying to get into position for the killing blow.

That was when it hit Cynaegiros like a ton of bricks, if these unknowns had anything similar to the various aerial tactics then where was the man's wingman? Instinctively, Cynaegiros ordered his mount to weave and managed to avoid getting killed by those projectiles. Cynaegiros now knew that the situation has changed enough that discretion was the better part of valor and taking a vial of liquid, ordered his mount to breathe fire with that liquid in his mouth. The vial is formulated to shift the colors of the flame to green, the color for retreating in this sort of chaotic mess. Fortunately, the rest of the flight were able to see the signal and worked to make an opening to retreat before leaving the battlefield...
 
Informational: Brown Water Corps

Aaron Fox

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First, I'll have to say that RL is a fun ride... and I've been on an Anno and Battletech binge as of late... and with Christmas so close it's getting even harder to find the will to write. Then there is the fact that the current segment I'm writing isn't going as smoothly as I want it to.

So, here is an informational for you guys, this time talking about something that is going to show up in the near-future: the Brown Water Corps of the Iron Pact.

The Brown Water Corps is a specific detachment of the various militaries of the Iron Pact whose sole job is 'Brown Water' -i.e. riverine/costal- operations. The various vessels of the Brown Water Corps are designed around going up and down the various rivers of the world and assist in inland combat operations, usually for combat support or transporting supplies and personnel. It should be noted that despite its inglorious nature, the Brown Water Corps is highly regarded by the rank and file personnel of most militaries within the Iron Pact and almost put onto a pedestal for Imperial Germany, Vietnam, and China. For Vietnam and China, it is the fact that most of their internal traffic is via the numerous rivers that cross significant portions of their countries but for Imperial Germany, it is due to the fact that what would become known as the Rhine Guard ensured that the British and French wouldn't get past the Rhine during the Great War of Resistance and the 2nd World War.

It should be noted that while the British and French wouldn't respect the brown water ships during the Great War of Resistance, they wouldn't make the same mistake twice during the Second World War. The Rhine Guard would suffer a fatality rate similar to the U-Boat service in OTL: i.e. the loss rate of 75%. This is due to the fact that the Rhine is a massive waterway and thus a barrier to invasion and resupplying troops, so controlling the river was paramount.

The various brown water ships within the Iron Pact arsenal were initially made up of appropriated civilian boats repurposed for combat or outdated gunboats with shallow enough draft but during the interwar years and World War 2, they would be mostly made up of purpose-built designs with a handful of standardized conversions of civilian ships. The primary gunboat of the Rhine Guard and other Brown Water units during the 2nd World War would consist of the 'MZ' series of multi-role ships/boats (US designates 'ships' based on ability to carry boats, and with a lifeboat that means the MZ series are considered 'ships', several other navies considered them 'boats'), which largely consist of ships armed with anti-aircraft weapons (usually a pair of 'mid' range and a pair of 'short' range cannon) and a dual-purpose cannon (usually the American 3" guns due to German armament industry having problems making their own until WW2, although some late-war models played with 10cm and 10.5cm guns but not with much success) with removable depth charge launchers and two sets of twin 21-inch torpedo tubes. Some experimental models would also see the use of rocket mortars of the 15cm variety or 12cm standard mortars installed instead of torpedo tubes, something that would be immensely useful during World War 2 and later during the early stages of the Cold War (having some light artillery ordinance prowling the rivers on standby is a good thing).

These vessels would prove devastating in the escort and ambush roles, as they were cheap enough to mass-produce while having a shallow enough draft to navigate all but the shallowest rivers with ample firepower. This would prove crucial in Indochina in the offensive role, where the numerous rivers made it incredibly difficult to move men and material through and thus required the use of riverboats and barges to help navigate the terrain. This gave the Commune of India numerous headaches as they tried to extend their reach into Indochina.

The 'Brown Water Corps' would prove itself during the early days of the Cold War in the various interventions in Indochina kept proving their worth, and kept giving various Commune of India-aligned guerilla groups massive headaches... allowing for the Iron Pact's Vietnam to be far more successful (and, really, the different goals, but that is for another day)... which ensured that the 'Brown Water Corps' would never be disbanded by the United States and other countries.

The current Iron Pact arsenal consists of numerous designs, some familiar, some unfamiliar. The Iron Pact includes PBR style vessels well into the 21st century, but this is backed up by purpose-built river monitors and the latest of the MZ series. While the not-so-modern ones will be used overall, the ones that will be showing up will make things hell for the Empire, for they carry a lot of autocannons, thermobarics, and rocket launchers.
 

Aaron Fox

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Ok, status update. First things first, I had to rewrite the current section twice already because I didn't like how it flowed and read (first one was another Imperial viewpoint, the second was a villager's viewpoint on the Iron Pact!Americans that became the garrison of the village and had a historian try to describe the air battles of the First World War and the Red Baron to pre-industrial fantasy citizens, right now it is taking place in the rapidly growing town of Alnus Town). Two, I'm fighting this stupid head cold thing and I'm hating it. Third, I might be going crazy because the world just kept getting crazier. Fourth, I might take a short break to work on my XCOM/MLP:FiM or another project more just to get out of the funk I've been having.
 

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Here is part of a snippet that leads to the mind of someone who is part of the Empire but is 'looking in' as it were:

)___________________________________(
Bert, Tetsui, and Hans International Bar and Grill – Alnus Town; a few minutes later

The immense floor that was the bar and grill was packed with patrons and the air was filled with the smells of barbecue, alcohol, and food. It was… peculiar… to Itami that the establishment fit so well into the medieval style structure, and to see it so lively was a bit surprising.

“Ah, Kallus!” one the waiters exclaimed as the small group, “I see you’ve been assigned to Alnus town!” That was when Kallus’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Samantha,” Kallus exclaimed as he jogged towards the waiter and hugged her, “how did you get authorization to get to Falmart?” The waitress -Samantha, Itami reminded himself- returned the favor and hugged Kallus back.

“Eh, you know, the usual,” Samantha answered with a smile, “being a former Hauptmann does have its perks. With the company following the soldiers to Falmart, they chose me to help get things running.” Samantha quickly escorted us to a table, handing out the paper-thin tablets that served as menus. “Anything to drink before you make your order?”

Itami took a quick look at the drink section of the menu and was intrigued at the wide assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages… and then sighted that a statement that the establishment also had an entertainment center. Itami quickly filed it in the back of his brain as he continued to look at the beverages…

_________________

Working at a Men in Green establishment was far different than what I was used to. Most non-humans in the empire tended to be relegated to work that is barely above slave work, but the Men in Green -from either Gate- are vastly different in that regard. If you have the talent and experience, you could get the job.

Being a wood elf, being a head chief was something that I never expected to become. Sure, I had to do some training in order to get the job, but once I got a handle on how the Men in Green handle things, I thrived. Right now, I’m on my lunch break and had decided to go into what the Men in Green termed ‘the game room’.

What I saw there was… well… beyond words.

The entire room was filled with various machines designed to provide entertainment to a wide variety of patrons. The games inside weren’t any sort of gambling -which was rather common in Imperial encampments- or at least what I was used to. Various ‘TVs’ and ‘entertainment consoles’ lined the far wall while the other was lined with various games that I never saw before. The center was filled with various table games that I’ve never seen before, some of which had ethereal images instead of figures.

It was a lot to take in, I had to admit.

I simply wandered around, trying to pick what I would try first. That was when I heard something unusual, leading me to one of the ‘entertainment consoles’. A bunch of Men in Green from Alnus Hill were playing a game from Remus Hill, and are completely entranced by it.

Welcome to Cologne kamaraden, for you are about to begin the greatest moment of your life. The Jackabins have lost hundreds of tanks and planes while Smith’s brutalized hordes are climbing over mountains of their own dead bodies. The Kaiser, our glorious fatherland, have given us the task to ensure that the enemy doesn’t reach the Rhine and defend the city of Cologne!”

I heard explosions in the background as images of fountains of water rose, the sounds of machines and weapons I could never imagine simply drowned the scene.

Forward towards the unrelenting battle kamaraden! For Cologne, for the Fatherland, not one step back!

The scene was horrifying to my eyes, an entire city -bigger than Saldera itself- burning. Numerous boats and barges floated across the massive river, escorted by armed boats armed with weapons that I couldn’t recognize. One of the barges was ravaged by an explosion while several of the escorts were pummeled by what looked like outright magic.

Do not count days, do not count kilometers, count only the number of revachists you have killed! Kill the revachists, this is your mother’s prayer! Kill the Jackabin, this is the cry of your German earth! Never let up kamaraden! Kill! Death to the revachist invader!”

That was when I heard numerous replies outright repeating the last sentence. It was simply chilling to my ears. That was when one of the waiters -who was also from the Gate on Remus Hill- saw me simply mesmerized by the scene playing in front of me.

)______________________________________________________________(
So, yeah, I partially ripped of Call of Duty: Finest Hour for that, but that has always been an epic introduction to Stalingrad by many... and a similar one is used in the Iron Pact universe. Please tell me where I should improve right now because I'm running myself up the wall trying to get this down...
 
Informational: Psi-Memories

Aaron Fox

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Ok, the next snippet is going to deal with a Psi-Memory, so I'm going to prepare you, folks, for it in a way.

Those that have played the Metro games will understand the basic concept, it is the equivalent of a moment in time burned into reality and stuck on repeat. The Metro Last Light Ghost Plane scene is probably the one that everyone would know of. Each of these latch onto something in the physical world, usually an item or rarely a location. It is extremely rare for a Psi-Memory to latch onto people and those that do have a significant problem that will follow them throughout their lives which I'll go into later.

In the Iron Pact universe, it is an interaction of humans and psionic energy. A sort of echo or death-scream for some of the nastier ones. The odd thing is, before the 1960s in the Iron Pact universe, these are fucking rare. How rare? Rare enough that even the Vatican -who has been keeping an eye on this sort of thing for almost two millennia previous and still keeping an eye for them to this day- had only had encountered... five, one of which was the infamous Prague Program where the supposed Golem of Prague was created and used. The Vatican, in this case, made a standard procedure to send a message that is sealed with a special seal to the local cardinal, who would then direct the stationed Inquisition to the site and recommend the best course of action. Out of the five that the Vatican encountered, only one -specifically the Prague Program in a certain attic- was incapable of being disposed of until Wolfenstein contained it in the early 1990s. There is a very good reason that the Catholic Church had prayers for -seemingly- every occasion, and it partially stems from protecting the people from these sorts of horrors (as, oddly enough, some prayers have improved the chances of people surviving encounters with psi-memories).

When Wolfenstein began their investigations, more and more of these started to show up and Wolfenstein developed the technology to contain and/or dispose of them. This was interrupted by an incident in 1989 when a Wolfenstein operative became the anchor for a psi-memory. It was discovered that when a living being is the anchor of a psi-memory, it is effectively contained... at the price of one's sanity. At times such a person 'lapses' into the psi-memory and it can cause all sorts of havoc, both physical and mental. The operative in question eventually expired after a lapse too many, ending his life in 1993.

It should be noted that people with psionic abilities or specific paranormal abilities (usually the ability to talk to spirits) are able to 'dive in' and save living people stuck in a psi-memory without technological assistance. It isn't always successful mind you, but having these sort of people and Wolfenstein support has a far better chance of getting people out than just either alone...
 

Aaron Fox

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Just letting you guys know, my dad's dog has recently passed away (had to be put down) and I'm still trying to get used to life without him. This has, predictably, delayed my latest snippet immensely, especially with the scene and trying to ensure I give it justice (not-so-spoilers, it's the Siege of Cologne during the Great War of Resistance aka essentially Stalingrad, WW1 style).

I hope you guys can understand this.
 

Aaron Fox

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Ok, here is what I have so far for the Psi-memory section:

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Fort Portal, Remus Hill; 22:00 Hours


The ‘Iron Pact’ is something that I’m still trying to understand, their reasons of existence, their politics, their goals…

… and understand the strangeness that is ‘Hauptmann’ Neumann.

This one man has kept defying what I know as logic. This man is different than anything I’ve ever encountered. Then there is this aura around him, making him even more of an enigma. Everyone in the castra has been incredibly tight lipped about Hauptmann Neumann. My -and the warrior bunnies that managed to smuggle themselves here- investigations kept hitting stone walls, a lot of this man’s career is locked behind the term ‘classified’. What little that the warrior bunnies and I could dig up show that he is an incredibly powerful shaman. Almost stupidly so. He is also an incredibly capable warrior, and either of these facts does not jive with his calm, simple, introverted demeanor. There is just something off about him. After we returned from ‘Berlin’, Rory had told me her fears. Few things got her afraid of someone, and this man is one of the few that did.

That was when I felt that reality got… bent… before I blacked out.

When my vision returned to me, I was in a small rowboat of some kind. The people around me were clad in uniforms that are far older than the ones I have seen, each one of them had grim looks on their faces. The rowers moved with almost mechanical precision.

I looked around and saw numerous other boats and barges crossing a great river. Most of which had more soldiers and some of them had older versions of what the ‘Iron Pact’ and the ‘JSDF’ are using studding them. That was when I saw the bodies floating in the water alongside wreckage.

What the fuck have I been dragged into?

“Kamaraden, I will not mince words with you, many of you will die,” the man in the front -apparently an officer- stated plainly, “your deaths will not be glorious, your deaths will not be remembered in history, you will die in the ruins of the city of Cologne. You will be only remembered as a simple number, one among many. While that is going to be our fate, I will commend you for volunteering to help our beleaguered kamaraden in the city proper. While Command has deemed that falling to the river is the only safe option available to us, we must ensure that our retreat is organized and covered. Given the likeliness of being killed, command will only accept volunteers that know the full gravity of their choice. Our orders are to hold the line as much as possible to ensure that we deny the enemy supplies and weapons while ensuring our wounded are extracted to the safety of the defenses on the other bank.”

The soldiers simply nod in acceptance, like if they knew full well what they were getting into.

The officer simply looked towards the shore, deep in thought. That was when I saw the other shore, littered with bodies and equipment. Men and women in a vastly different uniform with some sort of vest and a red cross on it scurried across the various groups, trying to ensure as many people survive as possible. There were even children trying their hardest to keep the medical supplies flowing. To be forced to use children in such roles, the manpower shortage must be catastrophic.

“Kamaraden, know this,” the officer began, “while it warms my old heart, my soul, to see you volunteer despite cred or ideology, we are going to die. I am sending you where you will die. I am spending your lives and mine to ensure that our kamaraden will live. We will die, we will not be remembered as people, only as numbers. Yet, history will remember our actions today, for better or for worse. We will hold the line for as long as we can and make the enemy pay for every meter of land they take. That is what is expected of us…”

That was when the boat came into a dock.

“Boatmen prepare for non-critical casualties,” the officer said, “you are no longer to haul soldiers to the frontline, you are to move as many casualties that can walk to safety. Is that clear?” The rowers simply nodded and prepared to help people onto the boat. The soldiers disembarked and I, unable to control myself, followed.

The line of waiting soldiers slowly moved towards the boat, moving only as fast as their child caretakers would let them. Each one suffering many wounds, barely able to walk towards the docks on their own, only to be sent to the other side of the river to safety. I slowly walked with the other able soldiers towards our battlefield. Along the way I saw how much damage this battle had wrought. Bodies still laid in the streets, their entrails littering the rubble like a sick sort of paint, buildings all but destroyed or simply annihilated to the point of being motes of dust. I have seen my fair share of horrific battlefields, but this is on a whole new level…

… and I was being force-marched to the front of it all.

The march was slow but brisk and it kept showing the horrific scars of this battlefield. That was when at the corner of my eye I noticed something out of place, something that didn’t belong, but I ignored it as neared my forced destination. The officer quickly ordered us about, taking up positions along a badly done trench line between the various houses of the intersection. That was when I heard a battle cry that I never heard of in my life and men with turbans on their heads charging like madmen towards our position. My body fired my weapon, sending death downrange like a demented automatic high-powered crossbow. The men had chosen their path well, and it quickly devolved into brutal hand to hand combat.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw that the officer had taken out a stubby shovel, using it as an impromptu sword. I saw another soldier stab one of the madmen with the knife at the end of his weapon before flipping it around and using it as a club. Soon I heard explosions from all directions and sometimes I saw the results. This combat went on for what felt like hours when it only took minutes… and that was when everything… stopped.

“Well, well, well, looks like Slick lost control a second time,” a mysterious voice -attached to a fairly lanky-armed man of middling height- in the most unusual accent said, “although, I wouldn’t blame him given the shit we’ve been through.” I soon discovered that I could move by my own accord again, and I took this advantage to gain an explanation.

“What in Hardy’s name is going on here!?!” I exclaimed, “Why am I forced to go through this?” The man simply shook his head.

“So, this is the first time through a psi-memory eh?” the man answered, “Oh, where are my manners, the name’s Tony Delvecchio and right now I’m getting you out of here.” I frowned at that last statement. Why is he so forceful of getting me out of this horror now? “That is if you want to become part of the scenery…” Wait… become part of

… ok, that has set all sorts of red flags in my brain. If there is a chance that I could become part of this ‘psi-memory’, then I need to get out of here…
_____________________________________________
One thing that I am not happy about is that it isn't complete and I think it is too quick and too sparse on the details. Still, it is better to post it now and ask for forgiveness than keep banging my head against it...
 

Aaron Fox

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Ok, I've got three main ideas for the next snippet. One is some of the POWs watch a Baseball game and are intrigued, getting a soldier who has been assigned to POW watch duty forced to explain medieval Romans of what baseball is... while the Iron Pact soldiers start commenting that this is likely to be Japan all over again (fun fact when the US sent teachers to Japan in the 1870s, one of those teachers formally introduced baseball to his students and Japan went nuts with baseball... let's just say that Japan became just as baseball crazy -with their own quirks to boot- as the US for a time). The other idea is focused on a 'sound' mage investigating on what instruments both the US/Japan alliance and the Iron Pact has to offer... and proceeds to make both alliances go WTF in terms of musical ability (which would probably include an organ). The third idea is a priest/priestess from one of the conquered peoples of the Sadarian Empire raising an eyebrow both on the through atheism/monotheism/general disinterest with religion within the two alliances' ranks and the various chaplains assigned to the military units in said alliances despite said atheism/general disinterest with religion in the ranks.

Does anyone have a preference for any of these ideas?
 

Surimis

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The last idea is the best, I think. Most modern people doesn't really understand how religion permeated every aspect of life before the Industrial Revolution; and in a world with interventionist Gods and Apostles like Sadera, secularism would be alien to the point of absurdity. And instead of just reacting to the lack of devoutness among the troops, there could also be a discussion of how much of Earth's governmental and societal structure is purely secular as well - and that the very concept of religion playing a role in politics is viewed mostly negatively by the developed world.
 

Aaron Fox

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The last idea is the best, I think. Most modern people doesn't really understand how religion permeated every aspect of life before the Industrial Revolution; and in a world with interventionist Gods and Apostles like Sadera, secularism would be alien to the point of absurdity. And instead of just reacting to the lack of devoutness among the troops, there could also be a discussion of how much of Earth's governmental and societal structure is purely secular as well - and that the very concept of religion playing a role in politics is viewed mostly negatively by the developed world.
I've asked around for my viewers and one of the things is that they tend to vote for either the second option or the third option.
 

ATP

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I've asked around for my viewers and one of the things is that they tend to vote for either the second option or the third option.
Remember, that Gate is harem story.Baseball is fare less relevant,then which soldier get which girla as waifu.Remember about good, rich german boy for Giselle !
 
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