Norshelm, Outer City, 4th Avenue, Marine Defense Line

The pop of a ranging mortar round exploded into a red smoke over the roof tiles of a nice looking townhouse with balconies filled with wilted flowers and herbs. "Splash over! Good zero!" The spotter yelled into the radio handset which was linked to a ground line that spun over the rubble covered streets to a communication unit at the rear which relayed the radio messages down another cable that ran out of the city and to the main command post. "Fire for effect!"

Seconds later, the shriek of mortar bombs came over the skies and explosions rained across the front of the Marine companies dug in in the city. Instantly, the pressure from the arcane spells and effects against the Marines lifted and the men raised their heads up over their cover and cheered.

Yet, their cheers slowly died out as the mortar barrage lifted and hordes of crazies rushed their lines again.


Outskirts of Norshelm, UN Forward Command

"Sir, reports are coming from both companies that they are at the risk of being overrun," A command staff reported. "The crazies are rushing our lines and the mortars are not as effective due to the narrow streets and buildings."

James turned his attention to the map pinned on the board. The map was a mixture of hand drawn and photographs taken by the Griffins before one of them was shot down. "Pull both companies back to the Church at 2nd Avenue."

"Have the mortars cover their retreat as best as they could," James ordered. "And tell Top to get here."

Master Sergeant Pike, aka Top, came into the tent after he was summoned. "Need me for something, Sir?"

"I'm having both companies pull back from their positions," James gestured to the wall map. "Whole city is throwing everything at them and we risk having the troops being overrun."

"I am gonna need your new toys," James said. "Are your toys ready?"

Pike gave an evil grin and nodded. "Yes, Sir, ready when you are!"

"Good," James tapped on the map. "I want you to put the love of God onto this sector and this sector!"

Pike nodded again as he looked at the map. "Yes, Sir! I will be sure to give those crazies some T L C!"

"Go," James said. "Both A and B companies are pulling out as we speak and time is of an essence!"


Outskirts of Norshelm, UN Firebase

A dozen matt green painted half tracks were packed into protective earth berms with several large cylindrical tubes sticking out, facing the skies. When the order came to the nervous crew who barely had any experience operating these weapons and even lesser drills, nevertheless leaped into action.

The rocket tubes were already laid in and only need some minor adjustments as Pike came yelled out orders and coordinates to the crew. The crew quickly removed the protective coverings of the half tracks turned SRM carriers rocket pods and they ran off under cover once all adjustments were made.

Pike stood on behind a sandbagged bunker as he waited impatiently for the order to fire to come as Command waited for the Marines inside the city to fall back away from the target area.

"TOP!" The radioman yelled. "Command is calling for fire support now!"

Pike nodded and turned to the SRM commanders and snapped. "By the numbers! FIRE!"

The SRMs were grouped in pairs, each pair formed a battery. Each battery was named and numbered Thunder One to Six and when the command was given. Thunder One's both SRM salvo fired their rocket pods, 98 70 mm rockets screamed and shrieked like a banshee, leaving behind massive plumes of smoke and flames.

Seconds later, Thunder Two followed suit, another 98 rockets were fired into the city, followed by Thunder Three and so on. In less than five minutes, a total of 588 70 mm rockets carrying a mix of high explosives and thermobaric warheads rained down over the city, lighting up the storm clouds over the city.

The targeted area for the rocket barrage consisted of one kilometer by one kilometer area. The unguided rockets rained through the warp clouds like giant deadly teardrops and detonated as they slammed onto the ground and buildings.

Instantly the entire city shook wildly as if a giant was stomping through the streets. Buildings, streets, and bodies were vaporized or blown into bits and pieces from the explosions.


Norshelm, Outer City, 2nd Avenue, Ruined Church

The Marines fell back from the streets in good order, covering each other backs as they retreated down the streets and buildings which they cleared just a day ago, giving ground back to the crazies as those crazies chased them.

Despite their superior weapons, the numbers of the crazies were almost unlimited. For each they killed, another two or three more took their place, and even those shot in the limbs carried on screaming and rushing them until they bled out or a shot killed them.

Mortar support managed to keep the worst out for the Marines as they finally managed to disengage themselves from the crazies. They quickly reinforced the ruined church of some obscured god, ignoring the rotting tore up bodies of those that had sought refuge in the church but were overran by the crazies later on.

"CONTACT!" Someone yelled. "North wall!"

The Marines quickly took up positions and fired at the approaching horde. Hundreds fell, yet it was like a drop in the bucket. "INCOMING! DANGER CLOSE!"

Hearing that the Marines' training took over, and they ducked under what scant cover there was, covering their long ears and opening their mouths when an ungodly roar came from skies. They saw holes being punched through the dark thick clouds and like a kid scribbling with a pencil, thick lines were drawn, coming out from the clouds, with bright plumes of flames that illuminated the dark clouds.

And the world shook.


Unexpectedly, the explosions of the rockets caused a massive shockwave which knocked the warp storm higher into the skies while the updraft of superheated air slammed into the colder storm clouds, creating a violent vortex of wind and lightning.

The unnatural tornado swept across the city, sucking up the flames and debris, turning into a nightmarish pillar of moving flames which was visible even many kilometers away. Eyes from outside the city stared at the horror as the pillar of flames entwined with the storm clouds were spinning round and round like some kind of doomsday ritual while lightning flashed.

Pike walked out of the bunkers and joined the other support staff in the firebase as they stared at the unnatural speculate in shock. "Fucking hell... did we released another God?"

He quickly turned to the dumbstruck crew members and yelled, "Reload the SRMs! Stop gawking you dumb asses and get to work or I let you gawk at the toilets for a whole damn month!"

"I fucking hate this planet!" Pike muttered to himself as he stole a glance at the unnatural weather in the distant city.


Norshelm, Underground Palace

Hedone was having fun teasing and torturing the poor human's memories as she slowly questioned the human. She found herself surprised at the speed of development and history of the humans but she did not put them in her eyes as they were still ants to her.

As long as she gets her powers back, nothing could stand in her way. "Tell me, handsome. About the weapons of your... United Nations of Mankind?"

She gave a bewitching smile at the glassy eyed human whose a dibble of drool was leaking out from the corner of his slack jawed mouth. "Tell.. m-?!"

The ground suddenly shook madly and rock dust rained down from the ceilings, followed by a heavy continuous thudding that for a moment, Hedone thought that it was Thor himself hammering her roof with his hammer.

Cracks broked out among the pillars and walls, while her followers too drunk or absorbed in their desires failed to notice. Those sober enough only stood there in confusion as their bewitched minds attempted to process what was happening.

The loud booms and thudding continued together with the shaking and Hedone frowned as she nearly fell. Suddenly several pillars supporting the underground palace that was secretly built for her cracked and chunks of white stone fell with a crash that was mild compared to what was happening above ground.

Bodies were instantly crushed under the falling debris. Those witnessing the incidents laughed and giggled, while others continued on with their revery. Hedone hissed in anger as she dodged a falling pillar and as suddenly as the earthquake came, it stopped.

She quickly made her way to the exit of her palace but found the exit had collapsed. She turned around and waved at her converts, calling them. "Come to me, my loveys! Move the rubble away for me!"

Her followers hearing her command quickly stopped what they were doing and with a single will, they worked to remove the debris blocking the exit while she waited impatiently at the side. She felt a tingle of fear down the pit of the stomach which she has not felt for many eons. "Which God has revived with their powers? Is it here to kill her?"

"No!" Hedone muttered to herself. "No God should know I am here!"

"Hurry up!" Hedone chased her people, ignoring the screams of those that got crushed under the rocks while attempting to move them away.

I better hide! Thought Hedone. I am still too weak to fight, it was some God coming to take her divine spark which can erase her being totally from this universe and this borrowed body of hers was the only means to move about in this plane.

If her body was destroyed, the most she will be returned to the void in between of this planet, where all the other Gods and Demons would be sent to. Breaking the void and getting a host body in the material plane requires immerse amount of energies. She did not want to return to the boring darkness not when she paid a huge price to move her divine spark out from the void and into the material plane.

Having her divine spark in the material plane gave her some advantages. Her ability to recover her powers was faster and her divinity was more potent. But there were dangers too, should her divine spark falls into the hands of another, they could control her while other Gods or Demons would happily devour her divine spark which could increase their powers while erasing her completely in the universe.

No, she will not fight. Hedone tapped her fingers impatiently as she stood on the side with folded arms. I will run and hide, once I am strong enough. Whoever that tried to attack her will pay for it!


Outskirts of Norshelm, UN Forward Command

James watched the flaming tornado in the city and ignored the frightened cries of the command staff. "It is just fire whirl!"

"These things happen when the turbulent wind conditions combine with the fire to create a rotating vortex of air!" James explained to his command staff calmly. "It's not magic, just... meteorology and science!"

His staff calmed down after hearing his explanation but still kept a wary eye at the scary flaming pillar. "What is the situation on the ground now?"

"Sir, A and B company reporting the enemy has been repelled," A command staff quickly reported.

"Good. Tell them to hold at their positions," James smiled. "And tell Thunder to fire their SRMs at the next sector! Once they are done, they are to target the next grid."

"Yes sir!" The staffer replied. "Thunder, this is Nova Command."

"Thunder send."

"Nova Command, proceed to target next grid with barrage fire, how copy?"

"Thunder, roger! Firing barrage at next grid! Out"

James turned his attention away from the city and he took a marker and drew a large 'X' on the map. "This is for Drake, assholes..."

A note from neo Koh

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