We were fighting the MiGou, and their Neo-Soviet soldiers, it looked grim. The line along the Polish Soviet border had broken, and if Krakow's defences fell, it would create a major salient for the MiGou. The mecha brigade was down to a handful of battered machines, the infantry were close to breaking, and even worse, our fleet support was gone. We started the battle with a small task force, a pair of Frigates and a trio of destroyers. The Scorpio took the brunt of the Soviet airfleet and went down in flames, while the Cameron took some sort of weapon into a heat exchanger and the whole rear of that destroyer blew itself to pieces. The Destroyers didn't fair much better, honestly. It looked like it was curtains for us, for the whole damned Krakow garrison.
Then I heard bells. Damn me I heard bells. Not any bells, but the bells from the church where I went to service twice a week for damned near 20 years. it was impossible, but that is what I heard. The church has been gone for close to five years, the bells were probably reclaimed for their metal, and the building itself, well its just a concrete foundation. The gunfire faded, the other men looked the same direction I was. Our gunnery officer gaped like a fish, can you hear it, can you hear it, he kept asking. Then there was the light, like the Jesus is coming, say hi to the other side kind of light, but this wasn't from a movie, this was real life. There was a flash then. I was pretty sure we were all dead then, the gamma flash from a nuke, the high command having decided that if they couldn't win or hold Krakow they would wipe it, and the alien invaders and their allies off of the map in a blast of thermonuclear fire.
I was wrong. I saw an angel, as big as a skyscraper, with six wings sprouting from her back. She was made of light and I could feel chills running up and down my legs, my heart was in my throat and I could feel the bells ringing, all through my body. I was light headed, giddy as the day when I was married, when my first son was born... I wept openly. She was beautiful, her face was calm and serene, and light came from her. Make fun of me if you want, but its true.
Ar'ael, the Final Judge
Power Level: 5, epic unique summon
Appearance: Ar'ael appears as a non-descript woman of great size, typically 100 to 150 feet in height, with three pairs of golden wings rising from her back. There is no consistant appearance of her face, as all witnesses of the Summon describe her as looking like a specific woman that they knew, usually a mother, grandmother, beloved sister, daughter, or niece. The woman in question was typically worthy of admiration or respect. The summon seems to be wearing a simple style of white robe that blows slowly in a wind that cannot be felt by mortals or measured by scientific device at this time. Unlike most summonings, Ar'ael never appears with any weapons, armor, or other objects in her possession. It is worth noting that close observation both by eye witnesses and electronic devices reveal that under the robe there do appear to be mechanical and biomechanical features on the summon. There is speculation that this is a byproduct of the fact that Ar'ael is a synthetic summon, rather than an extra-planar summon.
11:59AM, Ar'ael manifestation engine deployed to Krakow HQ, activation approved and system is engaged.
12:01:12PM, allied forces cease fire within 1.2 km of the manifestation engine. Enemy forces continue to engage, damage is minimal as most defenders have taken protected positions.
12:01:18PM, main MiGou command ship engages Ar'ael with forward batteries. Summon manifests defensive paling, defeating all incoming rounds.
12:01:22PM, Ar'ael counter attacks MiGou command ship with energized strike. Forward section of the ship is destroyed, structural damage estimated at 66%, ship begins to burn and rapidly looses altitude until crashing, there are no survivors.
12:01:30PM, Ar'ael begins high energy particle bombardment of Neo-Soviet ground forces. Estimated loss of enemy material 17 mecha, 112 tanks and armored vehicles, 300 power armor soldiers, unknown number of unarmored combatants.
12:01:36PM, surviving Neo-Soviet fleet, three Citadel class assault craft engage Ar'ael with conventional missile barrage and particle beams. Ar'ael manifests paling defence. Missiles destroyed, but particle beams strike the summon, causing some disruption to the entity.
12:01:40PM, Ar'ael engages Citadel class assault craft with raking strike from energized strike, two ships are crippled and crash with heavy damage while the lead ship is consumed by a massive internal explosion.
12:01:52PM, Ar'ael levitates to 1000 meters above the manifestation engine, obvious draw of ambient power. After sevens seconds a high energy wave bursts from the entity. Optic sensors are knocked offline, and observers are temporarily blinded. Damage is extensive, fires are widespread from the event, and enemy forces suffer near total annihiliation within 3 km of the summon core. Friendly forces suffer approximately 23% casualties from summoning event, mostly due to secondary explosions, burning debris, or unexplained reasons.
Defensive Paling: Ar'ael is invulnerable to non-capital weaponry. Anything smaller that siege weaponry, capital weaponry or ordinance smaller than 1000 pounds of explosive cannot harm the summon. Should the summon focus its power on defence, the paling can withstand direct bombardment from heavy naval weaponry and area saturation attacks. The paling can only be penetrated by very high power particle beams or Dark aspected magic.
Flare Strike: Most often a counter strike, or reflex action. This is a high energy armor piercing and area attack strike. Anything less than 80 tons is left in unrecognizable pieces. Bunkers, warships, and other objects take damage similar to a broadside of heavy naval particle cannons. Warships less than 200 meters in length are usually outright destroyed, cruiser sized craft are crippled if not outright destroyed, and a fortress or bunker complex would almost certainly be breached. The flare strike can penetrate up to 300 feet of earth to strike hidden or underground objects.
Holy Smite: Similar to a sustained bombardment, Holy Smite is a high energy attack that inflicts saturation damage. Unarmored or protected victims are vaporized, while protected victims are still likely to suffer major burns from the explosions. On a curious note, the 'explosions' from Holy Smite do not have any sort of blast component, but rather are assumed to be some sort of transdimensional energy expression. Holy Smite typically doesn't harm humans in a prostrate or non-aggressive stance.
Final Revelation: Only demonstrated in the Battle for Krakow, Final Revelation generates a massive energy phase shift event, creating damage and carnage similar to a small yield thermonuclear device. Similar to Holy smite's lack of blast wave, and general lack of harm to those in certain positions (kneeling, prostrate, etc), still causes fire, heat, and kinetic damage to physical non-organic objects in the blast area. Non-humans, or humans that have been corrupted, such as the Neo-soviet slaves of the MiGou are typically incinerated or vaporized.
That day, the sky turned to brilliance and the earth turned to fire. The MiGou fell back in confusion and disarray. We were still alive and most of those poor bastards the space fungus mind raped into attacking us were ash and dust in the wind. I saw her for a few seconds, her form outlined against the pillars of black smoke boiling up from wrecked warships. I saw hope. I saw something pure and beautiful. I saw something worthy of worship and devotion. She saved us all, she gestured with a hand and missils shattered uselessly, explosions couldn't even blow her hair back. The worst the aliens could throw at her wasn't enough to cause her to even grimace, she always had that little odd serene smile, like the Mona Lisa...
Ar'ael was among the first of the artificial summons to be created by arcanotechnology backed by a near bottomless budget. By combining the known precepts of planar summoning and binding, and the best materials and minds that could be found the central government created the one of the most powerful weapons devised. Ar'ael is principally composed around the ideals of purity, devotion, and protection. As the project proceded, it was found that by adopting elements associated with angels the entity created by the manifestation engine became more composed, stable and powerful. It was almost by accident that the Summon was intertwined with ideas of Revelation, and the Apocalypse. Such themes and beliefs have had poweful sway over the populace, but in light of the wars following the MiGou occupation and psychic dominance of the Neo-Soviet Union such End Times thinking grew in power. The Ar'ael summon taps into this collective belief and draws its power from it. As such, it is literally a being that comes into existence to bring an end to things.
The initial tests of the entity were of moderate success, retaining stability but never demonstrating any major potential. It was surmised that the entity did nothing because it didn't percieve any threats to itself or to those around it. Thus it was decided that rather than continue work on it, or relocating the manifestation engine and engramatic crystal containing the summon that it would be deployed to the Krakow salient. Military planners were desperate, and it was thought if it worked that would be grand, but they expected nothing from it. There were already plans to reinforce secondary lines and bring up the North Atlantic fleet as well as accepting naval assistance from the Atlantic Federation to stop the MiGou incursion.
Then Ar'ael happened. Drawing on the massive amount of fear and despair of the soldiers who activated her, and the millions huddled in terror, waiting to be assimilated or exterminated by the MiGou, she appeared as something twice the size of the largest mecha. It was in retrospect realized that in the presence of rational, largely atheistic, arcanotheistic, and otherwise agnostic viewers the summon isnt very strong, and not at all motivated to do anything. In the presence of 'believers', the summon can increase exponentially in power. Witnesses all report events like hearing bells, or a feeling of great peace and tranquility when the Final Judge is summoned. This is assumed to be some sort of psychic feedback, as no electronic devices record any sounds from the summon, even when it is discharging its attack abilities.
They can all go to hell. That's what I saw to those scientists and arcanowhateverists.
They can all go hoot and holler about how there is no God, that there is no truth to faith, and that blah blah blah the soul is just a 7th dimensional shadow cast by a living being. They refer to her as an entity, as a weapon, as something they made in a laboratory like Doctor Frankenstein. I've seen here, I heard her bells ringing and seen her face, and felt her peace in my heart. There are things in this world that are greater than what can be measured or photographed.
It's called Faith.
For a decade I didn't have any. I believed the nay sayers who pointed out every fault and flaw in the holy books. I saw the lies and the other things that made people feel enlightened and made fun of those who knelt in prayer. I don't need a book, or a man in a silly robe telling me shit written down thousands of years ago, stories for sheperds and farmers. I have SEEN it, I've seen HER.
In her, I have Faith.
The Cult of Ar'ael
There is something of a problem for the Eurasian Alliance and it's wonder weapon. She has a fan club slash religious cult. The core of the cult are veterans of the Battle of Krakow, and refugees and civilians who witnessed the summons appearance and how it decimated the MiGou and the Neo-Soviets but almost completely spared the beleagered Alliance soldiers, civilians, and innocents. The typical cult is usually centered around a dark god or exploiter of magic and shamanism. The cult of Ar'ael is centered around a weapon created by the military that is the object of devotion and worship. The cult is not so much a problem, as they do not worship a chaos being, dont practice magic, or do the other subversive things that most cults do. Instead, they are regularly petitioning to see the manifestation engine that houses Ar'ael's crystal, or to even see and touch the crystal itself.
The government doesn't want the crystal to be seen, noticed, photographed or otherwise observed. It would much rather the weapon sit unnoticed until it is needed and then rolled out and activated, and once the carnage is over, dusted off and wheeled back to its hidden bunker. Instead it is petitioned to put the thing on display by a rather large number of people. The more the government attempts to make the issue go away, the more it makes them look paranoid and insecure. Some have gone so far as to start acusing the government of discriminating against the good will of the cult since it generally has no compunction against sending out the mecha for parades and field exhibitions and recruitment drives for the military.
This is principally written for my CthulhuTech setting, a futuristed world at war mixing aliens, arcanotechnology and things like summons. As mentioned in the submission Of Summons, things like the highest power summons are unique, and a fixture of a nation or culture. The seed of Ar'ael is the idea of a summon being a quasi-religious experience. To see something like Ar'ael manifested is like seeing the face of God. There is no longer doubt, or worry, it is something that is simply a fact. Those who haven't seen it, havent heard the carillion of bells long since gone, cannot and will not understand. The CthulhuTech core setting is fairly up front about the fact that the appearance of aliens, a massive war, and arcanotechnology have lead to the complete abandonment of religion. Humanity is fairly predisposed to believing in something larger than itself. In times of fat and plenty, this faith becomes rather plastic and cosmetic in nature, only embraced in earnest once the threat of eventual death is knocked at the door to the Nursing Home. In times of duress, such as in major conflict, that faith becomes something that can move mountains. The Cult of Ar'ael is the beginning of a new sort of faith. Rather than dusty books and centuries of repetition and deeply ingrained automatic beliefs, it is a return to the ideal of the divine actually communing with man, face to face with things that can be called divine by their power and their appearance. Ar'ael is indeed something divine. While she was created in a laboratory, she became something far more than component parts should have created.
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? Responses (8)
Echo likes, Echo approves. The Scrasamax has been deployed, and exceeded expectations! Nay-sayer forces have been eliminated, the EchoMirage only took a minor hit in pride and saw a great increase in motivation.
All in all a 5 :)
Sole objection: why do you US guys have to place the bad guys in Russia these days? It's kind of lame.
Who was our last worthy and respectable foe? The Cold War made for some amazing movies, from the threat of nuclear war, spy thrillers, fantastic submarine movies and the like.The Middle East becomes an pointless backwater in the post petroleum age, and China, the nucleus of the ACPS not only has to deal with the Neo-Soviets and the MiGou but also failed experiments with stolen Dimensional Technology has created a permanent rift in China and they have to routinely deal with the cosmic horrors, corrupted military forces, and things not meant to be known that spill out of the contaminated zone.
Besides, who else would the cold loving MiGou chose to occupy and usurp their military and industrial infrastructure? China and the ACPS is typically warm to hot and spread out across islands, the Atlantic Federation is the most heavily armed and defended, but the northern zone is largely uninhabited and the manufacturing centers are in warm to temperate zones. The Eurasian Alliance has had the most success with Dimensional Tech, which is the stuff the MiGou are the most afraid of facing because they don't understand it.
And finally, because the whole Soviet design paradigm I like, and it is an excuse to roll out things that never existed, like Sovietski Mecha, ultra heavy tanks, and exotic stuff (liberated from Red Alert 2) like desolators with rad cannons, mammoth tanks, tesla troopers and tesla coil defense systems.
And the blame the Nazis thing has been overdone way more than the Soviets thing, at least IMHO
My sole objection was swept away by a second barrage of well-worded explanations by Scrasamax, then :) Migou infestation of Mother Russia is well justified in this context (though I think it would be awesome if you still had normal Russians resisting the Migou).
There is, of course, another choice, Scras. Everyone sing with me now -
With all their beady little eyes
And flapping heads so full of lies
Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
We need to form a full assault
It's Canada's fault!
I like the details, and it seems like a universe that Odin's youngest Valkyrie would be at home in.
Beautiful description, with lot of juicy details, with many possibilities. In other settings, Ar'ael would be the big gun, highest possible summon, or most powerfull angel of a Deity. I do not know how that arcanatech works, but if she strictly spoken a golem is, then a occult conspiracy might have created her to discredit religion. Of course, just as with the veterans, inadvertently a religion might be created.....
A question, does Ar'ael have any intelligence or sentience? All that believe might create one, one that probably will try to confirm to the believers' expectations. Her creators might have created a bigger problem than the one Ar'ael had to solve.
I like it, but I really don't have anything constructive to add to the conversation. Continue onward good sir.
This calls to mind an awesome visual. Top notch for your setting!
I enjoy the way this is written, you have a number of narrative elements that bring the concepts to life. I echo Phaidros's comments.