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The Age of Strife


Zoot Zoot
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THE AGE OF STRIFE

 

In the intervening years before New Babylon revealing its existence to the world at large, the Holy Emperor launched a crusade across the Middle East in an effort to expand the Empires interests from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. The first Great Crusade was over within a year after a lightening war against the primitive civilizations in the region following the collapse, spreading the Imperium from the Iraq to Cyprus, encompassing the ruins of the Holy Lands and all the people in-between. The might of the Babylonian Army was met with nothing to match its skill and size as vast machines of war obliterated all resistance, eradicating all those who fought against the Emperor and the golden throne of New Babylon. In the years following the great crusade, peace came and prosperity developed as billions were thrown into rebuilding the regions, rehoming the people, giving them jobs, sanitation, education and vital infrastructure to fully bring them into the fold and make them realize how better their lives would be under the guidance of the God Emperor.

 

As the years rolled by, the vast machines of war and the soldiers would begin to withdraw to bases in favour of locally raised police forces in a bid to reduce the footprint of a military presence on the streets. This was of course, to finalize the normalization and stability of the new provinces. But there was one region, which threatened the very existence of this, glorious and most Holy Imperium and that was the Trojan Empire.

 

Anatolia had been ruined in the final years of the collapse as Athens valiantly fought a retreat to Greece herself in a bid to save its weakening grip on its Empire. The scorched earth policies and following tactical nuclear warfare between armies had decimated the land. In the far west of Anatolia lay the ancient city of Troy, ruins for thousands of years had become a refuge for those escaping the war. As New Babylon secured its borders and began expanding, Troy began its own crusade to secure its own region and bring order and stability to the people. But it took far longer than expected and by the time there borders had reached those of the Babylon, the Holy Emperor was prepared.

 

In the beginning, emissaries would talk and meetings were held as the Trojans relocated their capital to Ankara to protect against an invasion from the sea and the diplomatic situation began deteriorating as the Trojans refused to give up their claim or de-militarize the border regions. This is how it began. Vast Armies marshaled along the border and machines of war so large they made the ground shake when they fired and filled the air with thunder so loud that that soldiers claimed when gossiping like old women as soldiers do, that the God Emperor himself could hear it from the capital.

 

Lasting a decade, the following war ravaged the northern Empire and the Trojan border regions as Imperial invasions and counter invasions took their toll. Millions on both sides were killed and in the last year of the war, the frontlines didn’t change and a stalemate followed with neither side willing to make the final push, neither side knowing that just one final push would break the spine of the other, paving the way for final victory over the other. Months would pass with earth shaking artillery barrages, missile strikes and mass slaughter, as close quarters combat and hand-to-hand became the norm for soldiers on the front.

 

Peace was declared after lengthy negotiations and then Empire returned to its internal development, keeping one eye always on those in Anatolia for treachery.

 

That day was coming.

 

Satellites had detected large formations of Trojan military units moving to the border, increased air force activity at southern bases and the relocation of lots of aircraft and land based missile launchers to within striking range of the Imperial garrisons spread out across the North. In his wisdom, the Holy Emperor decided the threat was to be removed and eliminated and commanded the marshaling of a grand army to counter the Trojans and face them down.

 

Three hundred thousand men would begin deploying to the northern borders with everything they had. The air force began a re-distribution of its weight to the north, still leaving token forces elsewhere to maintain the aerial integrity of the Empire whilst they would smash the Trojans. CVBG: Home wrecker left its port in Acre and moved south of Cyprus. Missile regiments on Cyprus were activated and a war machine not awoken since the Great Crusade roared back to life. Pumping out the weapons and machinations of war and preparing them for use at the soon to be front line.


The Empire had waited long enough and the time had come to finally eradicate the thorn in their side.

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Edited by Zoot Zoot
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THE DAWN OF WAR

 

As Imperial Forces reached their final strength on the Trojan border, the operation was stalled. Satellites and high altitude reconnaissance discovered Trojan Forces were already prepared on the ground. The Imperial Guard and The Swords of the Emperor, a force of three hundred thousand men had been sitting in their formations ready to launch the spearhead into Anatolia for weeks now as supplies and logistical routes were established to support the massive operation about to take place.

 

Short range ballistic missiles fired from the TEL launchers on the ground and cruise missiles from the fleet which was south of Cyprus and inwards to the Trojan lands with programmed targets gleaned from satellite analysis of Trojan military facilities. The missile assault would focus on radar stations, military bases and other items of strategic importance. Those missiles fired towards airbases and airports would carry a mixed payload of high explosive and cluster warheads with the aim of cratering any runways and causing massive damage to the housing of military equipment such as aircraft and ground formations. Munitions depots, fuel depots and arsenals would also be targeted by the enormous assault, which would strike across Anatolia from the south, all across the nation. Hundreds of missiles would be fired.

 

Second to this, the fleets cruisers and destroyers would launch their own attack comprised of sub sonic cruise missiles to saturate the more mobile forces of the Trojan military infrastructure such as mobile anti air, radar units and static defences, as well as supplementing the first wave of missiles.

 

Aircraft from the carriers, primarily F-35C's and F-14++ jets would begin the massive first wave aerial assault to dominate Trojan skies. With the F-14's primarily to dominate the skies from the carrier fleet, the F-35's would carry mixed payloads to assault ground targets. Military command and control, which had been identified with satellites, would be attack mercilessly by JDAMs as well as any targets of opportunity, which presented themselves. Once the ground attack munitions had been expended, the F-35's would aid the F-14's in dominating the airspace, actively hunting down any Trojan military aircraft, which made it into the air that is assuming it, could take off. Tornado ECR++ aircraft that would jam surviving enemy air defences and provide an EWAR assault on any enemy aircraft would supplement this air attack.

 

From the Empire proper, the hundreds of aircraft on readiness due to the preparations had begun filling the skies in waves to ensure complete and utter saturation of the enemy’s air and ground forces. Two squadrons of B-2's would begin SEAD operations using long-range air to surface missiles and smart bombs, these would be maintained for as long as required by rotating aircraft crews back on base. To support the B-2's SEAD operations and the deep strike missions being run by F-35's and the F-14's, three squadrons of Tu-160 supersonic bombers would operate on the same basis as the B-2; s, but using their speed to strike hard at Anatolia’s military infrastructure and military forces on the ground using payloads of long range air to surface missiles with HE and fragmenting warheads.

 

F-15E Silent Eagles would operate in the same role as the F-35 squadrons, only on a much larger scale. With eight squadrons of F-15's in the first few waves, their part in the aerial supremacy attack would be kept rolling with replacement squadrons from the reserve pools of aircraft. These would be supplemented by all five squadrons of A-10 II's to focus on enemy ground formations.

 

Six squadrons of Saab JAS 39 Gripens++, eight squadrons of Typhoons++ and three squadrons of F-22's++ would begin the second phase of the assault in tandem with the heavy SEAD operations, which would be the mission to dominate and destroy the Trojan air force in its entirety. Supported by naval, land and air based radar systems, the fighters would systematically hunt down and wipe out any hostile aircraft they detected with overwhelming force and aggression. The massive reserve pool for continually rolling SEAD and AA operations to cover the ground assaults would sustain this.

 

Imperial forces would watch on in awe as the Trojans were hammered by the might of the Imperial Air Force and Navy and their own massive artillery pieces reigned destruction across the frontlines on their enemies. Using a mixture of ballistic artillery in the form of the many artillery platforms used by the army, and rocket artillery from the MLRS units, the ground forces would saturate the Trojan positions with anti tank Excalibur munitions and anti personnel HE munitions.

 

Using the very structure of the Army as a weapon, it allowed the Empire to advance in six massive formations of fifty thousand men, each with a heavy armoured point which would advance rapidly behind the artillery barrages, punching through the weakened positions and enveloping the enemy forces. This process would repeat itself every day that passed from D-Day.

 

The resistance from the Trojans in the opening weeks of the war was pathetic until the frontlines reached the cities of Gaziantep and Diyarbakir…

Edited by Zoot Zoot
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  • 2 weeks later...

Month three: Diary of Guardsman Darius Ishtar-Braavosi

Week 1

The Trojans shelled us again today. I don’t know what the fuckin airforce is doing, but its not silencing those guns. They are giving just as much as they are getting I suppose; our guns don’t stop, day or night, not even for a dinner break. Thump, thump, thump, all night, and then you pop your head over the top of the line for a quick look and it’s all over. That’s how the captain slipped off the mortal coil.  Snipers bullet, straight to the head all over some poor bastard behind. We have advanced a few miles in the last week or so, our armour punched through the Trojan lines and we came storming into the breaches right behind them to mop up the fuckers the tankies missed. Course I can’t say the none stop artillery barrages, the forever threat of snipers, bombs, drones and god knows what else the Holy Emperor as has deemed worthy of eradicated the Trojans. Still, I’m sick to the back teeth of this fuckin trench, and the smelly cunt who I share it with, I mean I know its not ideal, but he could at least do his dumps in the latrines pits and not in some shallow hole he digs under his cot.

 

Week 2
The artillery is never ending, it just doesn’t stop, its driving our guys mad now, never mind the other guys, our guns are so close, you can see the shells going over the lines, and the ones they shoot at us, you can tell if its artillery or a mortar or even a rocket if your eye is really good, though I prefer to get into cover instead of staying around to double check. Especially after today. They lead a counter attack in force, they obviously lost, and they lost badly. Thousands were dead; it was something out of the end times described by the Holy Emperor or the old musket wars. It got desperate and we had no choice to but to advance from cover or be overwhelmed, so we went on the attack and charged them with the bayonets. Half the company is dead, and that’s just my company, this attack was across the whole line. I know I killed perhaps fifteen? Nine with the bayonet, four with my side arm and one with my hands. Its strange to look into a mans eyes when you kill him. From across the battlefield, he is just an enemy, but when you feel his breath on your face as you choke the life out of his body, his eyes popping out of his head and his body thrashing, getting weaker and weaker, you suddenly feel empty. But then there is another guy to take his place who needs topping, then you forget about it until the darkest recesses of your imagination come to haunt the abyss behind your eyelids as you sleep.

Least my trench companion bought the farm. Head cut clean off, it’s about forty feet away staring at me. I wish he wouldn’t, its rude to stare.

 

Week 3
We made the final push the day after my last entry and broke into the cities, I can’t say which ones for censorship reasons, but we did it. Once the Trojans main defensive line broke, they surrendered in the droves. We have something like forty thousand prisoners of war I heard from my mate in the MP’s. Man, I’ve been posted to some shit holes in my time, but this city is the worst, I mean weeks of constant bombardment has worked its magic, very few high rises buildings remain and I get to sit on top of the highest one on the edge of the city. The Trojans have lost the will to fight in this region and are in full retreat. I watched a daylight raid of out B-2’s obliterate retreating columns as fast jets went in and bombed the sweet, ever loving fuck out of them. One of the armoured regiments was tasked with overtaking the Trojans and cutting off their escape. They did, anything the flyboys missed was finished off the armoured tip of the Imperial Guard spearhead. It also turns out that the butcher bill for the last major fight they put up cost us around four thousand or so men, they lost more than ten thousand.  We didn’t need to lose that many men, we have the planes, the ships, the fire support and everything else to place our casualties far lower than this. Rumour mill is spinning a story that General Khanid is going to be punished for wasting lives needlessly. More on that story as it develops.

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  • 3 weeks later...

New Babylon

 

The Emperor seemed to glide as he moved silently around the vast halls of the Palace, the long black robes and hood covering his face and body trailing behind his body across the marble. In his hand he held a holoreport of the most recent actions in Anatolia. Victory on all fronts as the Trojans retreated to Ankara to make their last stand, hounded every step of the way by the air force and his Guardsmen. HIs fingers tingled as the feeling of victory felt its away through his veins the more he read of the report. He thought back to the great crusade and how he led his armies in person and achieved only a partial victory. Partial in the sense that the Trojans never fully recovered or rebuilt Troy after he ordered it to be flattened by heavy bombers. That attack in itself nearly cost him the war for if it had failed the Trojan moral would not have broken to allow guard time to break the siege of New Babylon.

 

The Emperor was alone as he wandered the empty hallways, passing room to room until he reached his observation tower and riding the lift to the top he considered the tens of thousands who prayed to him. He privately mused in humour that this elevator was his lift to the heavens and on more than one occasion the weight of prayers he felt in the air all demanding to be heard had made him stand on the rails looking down over the world and think of a reason not to let himself tumble into the dark oblivion that was his fate. He never took the final step because nobody would know whom he was because nobody ever saw his face. His wife had long abandoned his side and now lived in the province of Israel. Her blindness from birth even stopped her from seeing his face. He was truly alone. His advisors were too humble to meet with him as they said he was too pure to share a room with. The Mouth of Babylon and Ishtar, his daughter, only came to visit him. Even then with simple reports of the state of the Empire.

 

Over time his loneliness turned to bitterness, especially after the birth of Ishtar as his wife and the wet nurse swept her away from him. He saw her rarely now and when he did he was never happy. Her devotion to him was not because he was her father, but because he was her God Emperor. He knew at all times where she was, how she felt and he knew that deep in her heart that she loved him as a father and he drew strength and comfort from that. Strength enough to commit the Imperium to the bloodiest wars, to the longest battles and to the defence of humanity.

 

He knew things other men did not, he knew only one or two people on the planet knew what was coming to this earth. Such revelations he kept to himself but he planned. He planned for it all. The war in Turkey was not some punitive conquest to finish off what he started. His borders needed to be secure, his industrial machines needed to roar into life and begin manufacturing war machines bigger than anything built before, fortifications that that the strongest armies could not breach around his cities. The Emperor was nearly ready and with the war in Turkey over, he would continue his preparations.

 

By now he was standing on his observation deck, looking out at the vast sprawl of New Babylon and his thoughts returned to those of the prayers buzzing in the air around him. He felt each one of them. Praying for a job, a wife, a child, a new toy, a new car for a birthday. His eyes closed as he sought out somebody who was praying. He arrived at the siege lines of Ankara, a terrible battle raging around his ethereal form. The person in question was Darius Ishtar-Braavosi, Guardsman. He found him curled up in a ball as the world exploded around the slit trench he was hiding in. His company was dead to the man and the nearest friendly lines were too far away to reach.

‘My Emperor!” he cried as dirt rained down on him from another explosion. ‘My Emperor, I beg of you to save me or give me a quick death’ he cried again. His voice was animal and rough. His face was streaked with dirt and blood, broken only by the tracks of tears running down his face in fear.

 

The ghostly form flitted around Darius before settling down in front of him, becoming visible for but a moment enough to talk.

“Darius, it is time to come with me” he whispered, the soldier looked up as his hand touched the Emperors shadow. Everything was silent. Both shades now looking at the body of Darius in his trench.

 

“What killed me Sire? Came the question they all asked.

 

“It was gas son.” Was the response.

 

“Now what do I do Sire?”

 

“Be free Darius, be at rest”

 

With a gasp of air he was back on his tower looking over the city. Another had died in his name and he would not be the last he thought as he made his way back to his chambers. He remembered the battlefield of Ankara and his blood surged with adrenaline. The war would be over by the morning, just in time to end for the next one to begin.

Edited by Zoot Zoot
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