Operation Hammer [sci-fi; mature content]


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  1. #1

    Operation Hammer [sci-fi; mature content]

    WARNING! CLASSIFIED CONTENT!

    The following information is classifed as Top Secret. Unauthorized disclosure carries the federal penalty of life imprisonment to death.

    ---

    TARGET: Helion Prime

    TARGET ASSESSMENT: Planetary type C1A, primary industrial world. Landmass 65% of planetary surface, two major continents. Predominant terrain - rolling hills and plains. No native lifeforms, existing ecosystems introduced. Population ~ 1.5 billion, urbanization ratio - 98%. Population concentrated in 7 major mega-cities. Technology level - 27th century, all standard Imperial technologies available. A major hub of interstellar commerce and shipbuilding.

    OPERATIONAL GOAL: Secure a base of operations for further advances against the Imperium. Deny access to a strategic hub of interstellar traffic, secure the planet's shipyards.

    THREAT ASSESSMENT: Expected resistence of 1-3 regular legions strength, up to armada-strength naval forces. Strong planetary defenses with direct and indirect fire and aerospace fighter/bomber capabilities and orbital combat platforms. Heavily-fortified urban areas, primary industries located mainly underground. Orbital bombardment predicted to have minimal effect.

    RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: Orbital bombardment authorized with divisional commander's sanction. WMDs authorized with divisional commander's sanction. Deployment of chemical and tactical nuclear weapons authorized at battalion commander's discretion. Collateral damage acceptable except for orbital shipyards. Civilian casualties - completely acceptable.

    Address your unit CO with any detailed questions and unclarities.

    07.01.2630


    ---


    Date: January 7th, 2630

    Location: Tau Draconis system, 150 light-years to target

    Time: 0900 hours, T-6



    "Alright, ladies, you know the drill! The briefing's an hour before jump in the mess hall, after that retrieve your weapons and assemble at the drop bays! Any questions!"

    "No, sir!" the troops barked in unison.

    "One other thing... Feldwebel Dokhter, I don't want to hear of no "heroics" like on the last mission after landing, understood?" the lieutenant who was instructing his men turned to a blond staff sergeant who sported longer hair than was generally deemed proper for a soldier.

    "Aye, sir!" the man barked.

    "Heroics, he said..." the sergeant grumbled after the lieutenant had rounded the corner, "If I recall correctly, it was me who saved his goddamned ass back on Agincourt!"

    "Don't mind him, Christoph! He's just one of those stuck-up by-the-book twats who won't break a regulation even if someone stuck a Sidh plasma grenade up his ass and made him sing Far Beneath the Distant Stars!" a corporal spoke to him, "Outside of service he seems an alright lad."

    Feldwebel, or Staff Sergeant Christoph Dokhter, was a Rheinlander like most of the men present. This world of the Federation of Mankind was notable in many ways, first and foremost with their government system which could best be described as democratic National Socialism. It was commonplace for Fed worlds to be settled according to ethnic principles to prevent any conflict at the very root, though interstellar migration did eventually spark such again. Ever proud of their traditions and history, the Rheinlanders who descended mainly from German and Scandinavian stock had refused to repeat history and allow foreign immigrants to gain the upper hand on their native soil. The product of that was the peculiar Rheinland regime, which only awarded permanent residence rights to healthy and educated members of the White race, and was the only major nation of the Federation to formally practice eugenics. In contrast to it's Old-Terran predecessor, Rheinlander regime had replace the Fuehrerprinzip with military democracy, only military veterans being eligible to vote and be elected, and renounced violent racism and anti-Semitism in favour of a more neutral White nationalism.

    Unsurprisingly, the once-despised leaders of old Germany had again become idolized in the Rheinland society. The battleship on which Christoph's company was stationed was, for example, named Adolf Hitler, though the crew was also in the habit of irreverently referring to it as Dolfie. Few if any people these days were bothered by such a name - after all, what were the 60 million victims of World War II, when more were routinely killed in a single battle these days? Besides, it wasn't that other nations of the Federation didn't have their own heroes and tyrants to praise. Rheinlanders were also unusual with the majority of their population being Odinist neo-pagans. To them, it was a return to their historical roots, the worship of their ancestral gods rather than the "Jewish corpse-god" that represented everything foreign.

    Adolf Hitler was a Rheinland-class battleship. At almost 8 kilometers length and 20 million ton displacement, this vessel instilled respect in even the strongest adversaries. Although stiff resistence was expected, Christoph and his men felt fairly safe and confident about their survival at least until the drop in such a mighty vessel.

    "Hey, Matthias, gimme a light!" Christoph spoke, drawing a cigarette.

    "This is a non-smoking area, I think," the corporal objected.

    "Fuck that, there ain't no smoke sensors here!" the sergeant frowned and pointed at the neighboring platoon's sergeant, "See, Hans is already smoldering like a friggin' locomotive!" Matthias shrugged and lit up himself in the end.

    "Think the Sidhae will surrender to us alive?" he asked in a moment. It was more of a rhetorical question, really, just to keep conversation. They all knew the real answer.

    "Most probably they won't. And if they do, we'll baptise them!" Christoph laughed viciously, grinning a sadistic grin when he mentioned baptism. The aforementioned was favoured method of torture by his platoon, Sidh prisoners being "baptised" with battery acid. Even though the Sidh had a considerably higher pain threshold than most humans, few were able to endure such "baptisms".

    "Let's hope Will here won't take offense at such mockery of his religious custom," Matthias added, referring to the platoon's only Christian and non-Rheinlander. The aforementioned William was from New Phoenix, a world settled by predominantly-American colonists.

    "As if you didn't friggin' know Willy..." Christoph chuckled, turning to William, "He's one of our chief baptists himself, right, Will?!" The latter responded with the same kind of sadistic grin.

    The notion of torturing Sidh prisoners by dousing them in sulphuric acid didn't really seem reprehensible to anyone. After all, the Sidh themselves weren't exactly paragons of merciful and chivalrous treatment of POWs, like many eyewitnesses among the men knew all too well. Even though the Sidhae were essentially just augmented humans themselves, most of them regarded their unaugmented conspecifics as uncivilized barbarians unworthy of mercy or compassion. Consequently, being hanged in one's own intestines was just one of the more modest fates that a human prisoner could expect to be subjected to. Obviously, humans rarely hesitated to return the favour whenever possible as well.

    "Alright, lads," Christoph turned to his platoon, "As I understand, none of you have fought the Sidh before?"

    After being met with a series of heads shaken in denial, he concluded that the replacement for the losses in his unit were again a bunch of greenhorns and sighed with resignation. Even though the Rheinland War Academy ranked as one of the best in the whole Federation, the average cadets coming out of it still generally ranked only a handful of suppressed rebellions and counter-pirate raids behind their belts upon their first deployment. Most grunts didn't even get that much of a practice. In Christoph's opinion, an utterly unacceptable situation against an enemy like the Sidh.


    "Listen up then, and forgot whatever it is you think you know about fighting the Sidh!" Christoph continued, "From this moment on, you're as good as raw recruits! Why am I saying that? Because this is your first time with the Sidh, and they won't hesitate to pop your cherries hard!"

    After the platoon had their laugh over his remark, he continued: "Forget whatever you learned on your previous missions thus far, because the Sidh play on a whole different leauge than your average rebels or pirates with stolen museum-piece ships, slumdog gangsters or fringe colony separatists with antiquated handguns. Your new enemies are the Sidh - born and bred for combat and trained for it literally since before birth! Every Sidh warrior is a wonder of genetic engineering and cyber-augmentation, stuffed with cyber- and nano-tech of the latest design, armed with the best gear this side of the Galaxy, clad in a suit of powered armor that is directly interfaced to his nervous system! The Sidhae don't fight for an idea, but for victory, because their only idea is victory in the name of their Emperor! They are fanatics, but also very clever and cunning fanatics, which makes them all the more dangerous - a defeated Sidh won't repeat the same mistake twice. In other words, every Sidh is a walking tank with a conviction! So think twice about what waits ahead, because there's gonna be millions of their sort down there when we drop!"

    After taking a breath, the sergeant continued:

    "However, in spite of it all, we have something the Sidh-kind does not! They have no gods, and no freedom! They call their tyrants gods despite being their slaves! How can their corpse-emperor aid them, or his daughter who lives on the other side of the galaxy? We, on the other hand, have our true gods! We have Odin, we have Thor and Tyr, some of us have chosen Jesus the Christ as their protector, but all of them stand by our side! We have nothing to fear, for those who fall today will forever rejoice in the halls of Valhalla, where the Sidhae can only hope to die and rot!"

    "Hail Odin the Allfather!" the more faithful of the listeners exclaimed.

    "There you have it, lads! Keep that in mind, and with the gods willing, we shall crush those half-machine abominations like we have many times before!" the sergeant concluded.

    ---

    "Herr Feldwebel, is everything you said about the Sidh really true?" a young lad spoke to Christoph in a while. Another foreigner whose parents had embraced the Rheinlander ways, Harvac was now one of them in all but name.

    "Believe me, lad, when you see them in combat first, you'll find I haven't said even a half of it..." Christoph frowned, "But don't worry about them now. I don't want you to shit your pants before battle!"

    Truly enough, as far as individual combat skill was concerned, it was difficult to match the Sidh. Considering their life-extension technologies that could keep seasoned veterans alive practically indefinitely, it wasn't uncommon among the Sidh to encounter fighters who had literally centuries of military experience. Such longevity tended to make the older Sidh extremely dangerous opponents. Granted, they never really had the numbers on Mankind despite their much more efficient artificial procreation - mainly to do with their sustainable development policies that strictly regulated population numbers. Few Imperial worlds had more than a handful of billion residents as a result. Another nominal weakness that the human troops tended to exploit was their fondness for energy weapons and the corresponding slow rate of fire. Although the typical Sidh energy rifle packed the punch of a 30-millimter autocannon and landed hits square on the target from 2 miles away, its fire rate was only marginally above that of a WWII semi-automatic rifle. The Sidhae consequently had trouble laying down suppressive fire without overheating their energy rifles, so the weaker, less-armored humans were more often than not able to get the better of them. Because of this, melee combat had once again became a thing, all involved sides resorting to various bladed and energy-based melee implements like bayonets and energy swords. Even though the armored and heavily-augmented Sidh had a considerable advantage close up, the humans often made up with numbers. So while a return to the trenches was a rarity in general, vicious infantry brawls in close quarters were not unheard of especially in urban settings.

    For these reasons, Christoph wasn't in the habit of wasting a minute of free time before a fight with such a fearsome adversary, and advised his men to do the same. As soon as the briefing was concluded, he determined to spend the last hours before the drop in the ship's shooting range.

    --- 6 hours later ---

    "Soldiers of Rheinland! This is Generaloberst Hausser speaking! In five minutes we will commence a jump to Helion system! For many of you, this will be the last time you hear my voice, so listen well!" the sound from loudspeakers reverberated through the vast halls of Adolf Hitler.

    "As you already know, the fleet will need time to recharge their star drives upon entering Helion system, so a quick retreat is simply not an option! Likewise, defeat is not an option as well! But today we have numbers on our side, and the enemy is not expecting us! Today we catch the Sidh with their pants down!" the general continued, "We have another five fleets and soldiers from 37 different Federation worlds fighting on our side today! I expect you, my fellow Rheinlanders, to lead by example and be at the forefront of these 37 worlds! Do not forget - the right for you to consider yourselves above the lesser races of Mankind comes not from your birth as Rheinlanders, but from your own efforts! To be superior, you must constantly prove it in battle, and this battle is no exception! You, sons of ancient Aryans, whose ancestors made Old Terra shake in fear, are said to be the best men to be born of mortal mothers - so prove thy boast in deed and show your worthiness of the noble legacy that is your humanity and membership of the White race!"

    "Your enemies might seem invincible to ordinary men," the general continued, "But look at them closer, and you will realize that it is not so! Your enemies - the Sidh - have augmented themselves with machinery and technology. Which merely means that they are too weak and pathetic to win you without what nature has already granted them like you! They strive to be immortal - which means they fear death! No matter how good they are, they will fall before you, the Humanity's finest!"

    "Sounds almost like one of your pep talks," Matthias remarked to Christoph as they assumed their places within the dropship.

    "I've been serving under Hausser for 3 years now," the latter retorted, "It's pretty much what he's been saying every time. Admittedly, old Papa Hausser does tend to give more pep talk whenver we fight the Sidh. Frankly, I'm more bothered by the fact that we're dropping in by ship rather than pod. Even though these things can provide good fire support, they're little use in a tightly-built city, but the Sidh AA defenses might find them mighty tasty targets."

    "Sure, but you can't maneuver a pod. One the enemy gets a lock on one, that's it," Matthias argued, "Not to mention how prone they are to navigation errors. How many times have lads deviated from course by a few hundred clicks and perished in the middle of an ocean, mountain range or an enemy base?"

    "But if you lose a pod, you lose just one squad, as opposed to a whole platoon and an APC packed in a dropship," Christoph argued, "The dropship alone is worth more than a whole platoon of us will make in our lifetimes. Which regrettably tend to be pretty brief."

    "Now, now," Matthias warned, "Don't speak of the devil!"

    In the meantime, a Hanomag APC rumbled into the dropship's cargo bay, the ramp being raised behind it. The dropship's two flight engineers rushed to make sure the docking clamps had firmly secured the vehicle in its place, while the men inside the ship felt it shake and move. Evidently, the dropship was being moved to the drop bay airlock. When Adolf Hitler would be in orbit above the enemy world, the drop bays would open, and the ships within would be ejected in free fall like bombs.

    According to briefing, Christoph's platoon had been assigned to a very hot drop zone - the downtown of City Seven. Despite his experience in fighting the Sidh, Christoph had little idea what to expect in a Sidh city, having thus far only defended human worlds. However the company's CO, LT Becker, promptly noted that anyone who survived for longer than 5 minutes after touchdown ought to be awarded a medal.

    "Attention all personnel!" the ship's AI voice warned on the loudspeakers, "Interstellar jump commencing in T minus 30 seconds! Find stable footing and make sure no unsecured objects are in vicinity!"

    Although an interstellar jump did not entail acceleration in the normal sense of the word, it still involved a considerable shove, which was why ships commonly came equipped with the so-called oh-shit railings, aptly named after the most common utterance of those reaching for them upon sudden jumps or changes in the ship's course. They also came useful whenever the artificial gravity aboard was lost for some reason.

    "Star drive engaging in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Engaging!"

    An instant later, the entire space around seemed to turn inside out.

  2. #2
    Hello and good day!
    Quick question concerning your intent with this piece before I decide whether or not I can proceed with a critique.
    Is this supposed to be a commentary on the dangers of forgetting the crimes of past leaders and how we become inured to tragedy over time, or a bit of soft Nazi futurist propaganda?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Von_Mitchell View Post
    Hello and good day!
    Quick question concerning your intent with this piece before I decide whether or not I can proceed with a critique.
    Is this supposed to be a commentary on the dangers of forgetting the crimes of past leaders and how we become inured to tragedy over time, or a bit of soft Nazi futurist propaganda?
    Hello! As someone who deals with CyberWar's works on a regular basis, it's certainly not a neo-Nazi fantasy. Ironically enough, the Sidh society depicted in this universe (which you'll see more of if you read more of his stuff) is at its most elementary what the SJW movement is working towards - a society free of discrimination under the eyes of the law. Though of course, it's a lot more complex than that; again, you'd need to read it to see it.

    Cyb himself could go into a lot more detail than my foot-in-the-door perspective, but the two prevailing themes of the Sidhverse are the failure of idealism and the supremacy of the lesser evil. Sticking to this specific piece, the battleship being christened Adolf Hitler would be (putting it lightly) controversial in our world, but not so in a galaxy where far worse tyrants commit infinitely more evil atrocities than the Holocaust on a daily basis. It's little hints like this that are designed to give insight into what life in the Sidhverse is like (take my word for it, it doesn't get any peachier - this is not a franchise for the faint of heart).

    ~

    Which leads me nicely into my first critique directed at Cyb himself. You have a habit of doing what I very broadly call "technobarf", i.e. vomiting forth needless information that doesn't really do anything but distract the reader from the ongoing narrative. For example, your explanation of how torturing Sidh prisoners with acid doesn't faze them. Think of how your story might look if it were a movie/cartoon. By mashing the details down out of character, it's basically the equivalent of having your characters stand around scratching themselves while they wait for the narrator to finish waffling on. Instead, have your characters discuss the pointlessness of worrying about torture when they can expect an infinitely worse fate from their enemies. A good example of that you've done in the past is that conversation between Drax and OTAN about artificial intelligence. By doing that, you've deepened Drax as a character and showcased an important part of Sidh philosophy, achieving both your original objective and nabbing quite a few others.

    I'm going to use a gaming term you're probably familiar with - when it comes to character building, build tall, not wide.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Von_Mitchell View Post
    Hello and good day!
    Quick question concerning your intent with this piece before I decide whether or not I can proceed with a critique.
    Is this supposed to be a commentary on the dangers of forgetting the crimes of past leaders and how we become inured to tragedy over time, or a bit of soft Nazi futurist propaganda?
    It's actually a translation of the prologue of an old novel-sized project in my native language. Considering how I've improved my writing skills considerably since I first wrote it, it will no doubt seem clunkier and more rough around the edges to those familiar with my more current works, so any criticism and suggestions for improvement will be much appreciated.

    Rheinland with it's pseudo-Nazi regime and more broadly the Federation of Mankind as whole is mainly a comment on the modern UN. The Federation of Mankind is essentially a stronger version of the UN, but just as woefully-incapable of enforcing it's proclaimed ideals on member nations as the real thing. Just like modern UN can have Saudi Arabia preside over human rights affairs, Russia as a permanent Security Council member with veto rights, or China and North Korea as sitting members, there's no reason why a future UN-equivalent couldn't have a prominent and respected member world run by actual Nazis. For all it's self-proclaimed ideals of universal human rights, civil liberties, equality and fraternity, the Fed is, just like the UN, a farce - one imposed by the leading powers to maintain status quo that people buy into solely because the alternatives are even worse (especially in a universe inhabited by hostile aliens).

    Rheinland and its regime is also a comment on the relativity of history - tyrants and their crimes that seem like the epitome of evil today will not necessarily seem that way in 600 years from now, just like Ghenghis Khan or Tamerlane who once struck terror throughout the known world hardly inspire any outrage and revulsion today. So I wouldn't find at all surprising that in 600 years Hitler will be remembered as just another great conqueror of old and inspire new generations of even more terrible conquerors - especially so in an age when it is not uncommon for more people to be killed in a single battle than in the entire WWII.

    And lastly, if you have Nazis as the actual good guys, that's saying quite a lot about the general state of things in the grimdark far future.

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