The Battle of Mashhad

The most important event in this narrative is the Battle of Mashhad. At the time, Mashhad was a prosperous and wealthy city in the Wastelands, and if there was a capital of the Silk Road, it would have been it. As such, there was also a sense of tension around the city, with agents from all over the world, all over the solar system, present, trying to manipulate and control things. The area erupted into an event known as the Caspian Sea War. The war was a complicated mess, with half a dozen factions and supporting military forces engaged. The Atlantic Federation was involved mostly through them operating an embassy in Mashhad, staffed with a number of power armor soldiers and diplomats.

Wars in the Wasteland are dirty exotic things. Nations tend to let their black budget experiments end up in militia hands, so they can see weapons and such field-tested. The result of this was a large Dimensional Fatigue weapon being lit off near the city. Mashhad found itself eyeballs deep in a dimensional incursion, or in marine parlance, a bug hunt. The city was swarmed with arachno-crustacean horrors, and it was every person for themselves, and the Federation embassy ended up as a defensive strongpoint. The Federation armored marines proved themselves, admirable warriors, mowing down para-insectile horrors with brutal efficiency. The fight lasted hours, but even the embassy fell to the maddening claws of the monsters because ammunition ran out, power cells were depleted, and one by one, the marines were pulled down and butchered by the horrors.

Respite came when a coalition of Eurasian armored infantry, Federation aerospace assets, and Wastelander junk mecha were able to break the tide of alien insects. Lt. Major Morten was among the survivors and spent more than a year in medical treatment. She survived, but not unscathed. Morten lost both arms, one to being eaten by a bug and the other to sustained damage, infection, and tissue necrosis. Worse than this, she had been taken and was going to be an incubator for bug eggs. The surgery to remove the potato-sized eggs implanted in her abdomen and chest took nine hours.

Discharge and Discard

After recovering from surgery and physical therapy, Morten was discharged from the Federation Armed Forces. The only reason she had been shown the degree of medical care given was that the scientists wanted the eggs that had been injected into her via an alien ovipositor. Once those were recovered, her chances of recovering her physical condition to return to service were low and many suspected after such a traumatic event, that her mental state would be beyond recovery. Like many such veterans, she was discharged and forgotten by the military organization she had devoted her life to.

With so much effort being devoted to parapsychic research, the Federation military is actually fairly good at creating them, but always by neglect and accident.

Morten erupted as an exotic class parapsychic.

Rather than manifesting fire manipulation or levitation, Morten gained what could speculatively be called entropokinesis. Her first demonstrated power was an entropic energy manipulation, typically projected as a narrow cone of visible darkness with erratic geometric fractals vibrating through it. This 'blast' dealt hideous amounts of entropic damage to living tissue, major erosion of inanimate organic material, and corrosion to metallic materials. Glass was demonstrated to prevent damage, but the so-named Ronsonberg radiation generated by the release was known for causing depression and related mental illness in those exposed to it. Morten called the ability her Dark Shock.

Ruinous Strike developed later, and Morten used it to break things that are typically beyond breaking. By using this entropic field manipulation power, Morten could shatter stone, glass, and metal with a scream, kick, or headbutt. It was much less effective against soft targets or organics, but a soldier inside a power armor suit that was shattered with Ruinous Strike had little consolation as the shrapnel and debris from their armor being destroyed tended to be a serious threat to their life.

Crushing Purge is perhaps Morten's most devastating parapsychic attack. This creates an area of effect where volatile substances become uncontrollable. Flammable materials oxidize and burn, explosives are unleashed, and electrical devices discharge violently. This power used on something like an armored vehicle causes an ammunition explosion, including any ammunition carried by the soldiers. Bullets cook off, grenades explode, flasks of alcohol spontaneously ignite, and energy cells convert their stored power into heat, typically melting and exploding batteries. If focused, Morten can use this power to cause a mech fusion reactor to detonate, or a dimensional reactor to breach. This does not protect her from the effects of the power, so it is seldom used.

Before Mashhad

Morten joined the military as a brat, her parents had been military and it was a family tradition. The only deviation was Morten washing out of the mecha corps and being adopted by power armor. She spent six years as an enlisted trooper and eventually started climbing in the ranks. Contrary to most expectations, Morten was adept at the job and was decorated a number of times for heroism and humanitarian aid in a crisis. The relocation to Mashhad was a huge move in an old boys club inside the military. Morten was due a promotion and her own command, but a higher up in the chain called in a few favors, as he had a familial appointment he wanted to make. The veteran soldier and officer was bumped off to a wasteland garrison while the fresh out of the academy upstart was given a Lieutenant Colonel rank and command of a Federation Marine Infantry battalion.

Morten served in Mashhad and the Wasteland theater for another year and a half before the battle. The upstart Lt. Col. survived her command of the 119th Mobile Marines for a little more than six weeks before that unit was wiped out on a routine patrol in the Caucus mountains. The soldiers of the 119th that survived the triggered avalanche didn't survive the Armas raid that followed.

In typical Federation fashion, the entire valley where the 119th was lost ended up being a military target for six months' worth of recon forces and an attempted search and rescue for the missing Lt. Col. Once her remains were found, the valley was hit with several bombing runs, destroying the villages there and killing most of the populace under the guise of dealing with insurgents and terrorists, who had converted the locals.

After Mashhad and Recovery

Unemployed, technically armless, and dealing with severe PTSD and other issues, Morten was sent home to the Carolinas. She quickly tumbled down through the social strata, unable to reintegrate into society. Her social credit score collapsed, her military benefits were eventually canceled, and she ended up homeless. This is where her parapsychic powers manifested, and she killed several men who had decided that the armless homeless woman would make a pretty entertaining and easy thing to entertain their genitals.

That was when she met a charismatic man who named himself Ma'at Ptah, or something akin to 'enlightened servant or priest to the Egyptian God of craftsmen and artificers. Ma'at Ptah was an Anunnakus, a member of the House of Desecration. Seeing her parapsychic power, and spiritual trauma, and later learning about her military experience, he worked very hard to recruit her to the Brotherhood.

For a time, Morten remained in the Carolinas, living in a refugee/Luddite commune, reading Brotherhood materials. She eventually accepted Ma'at Ptah's offers, left NorthAm, and emigrated to the Holy City of Enoch. In Enoch, hidden beneath the desert, Morten underwent a religious conversion and accepted cybernetic augmentation. New arms of Enochian steel were grafted to her body. To support the weight of these arms, she was further augmented with a Cromwell Chassis, and other cybernetic improvements. Now blessed with Enochian (Anunnaki) tech, and having psycho-frame gear that was attuned to her parapsychic powers, Anne Morten became a Tech Priestess, Anmortis.

The 12 Crusades

The most important city on the north coast of Africa is the Federation arcoplex of New Carthage. The arcoplex has three central arcologies, eleven demi-arcos, a large and well-developed geofront, and two wings of seacology extending from it into the Mediterranean. The city is a major seaport, producer of aquatic food and goods, and a cultural center. It is also home to the Federation's major military base Hasdrubal Castle. The 1st Crusade Anmortis led was a siege of New Carthage, and to this end was not ... successful. The forces of Enoch were not supported by Wastelander factions and lacked armor or mecha support. While there was a siege, and a good deal of Federation equipment was damaged, the crusade itself was a dismal failure.

Anmortis survived the battle, but not without taking serious injury. She also took a major trophy. The commando force that was sortied against her command unit was armed with a hyperedge blade known as Merton Edge. Anmortis slew the commando squad, looted the bodies and claimed the legendary Hanseatic blade as her own. 

2nd Crusade

Two years later, Anmortis would launch the second campaign against New Carthage. This time, she led a larger host, and more importantly, had significant support from Wastelanders. The most notable change was the inclusion of aardwolf mecha, armored vehicles, and junk ships. The siege dealt more damage to the city and forced the commander to call in naval support. The Federation lost a number of patrol ships and a destroyer dealing with the siege, and a number of installations were overrun, looted, and destroyed. In the course of the battle, Anmortis had her left arm blown off, her right arm crippled, and her standard bearer was forced to drop his weapon to recover her blade and keep her banner up as the Enochians retreated back into the desert.

There was no victory for Enoch or Anmortis, despite the amount of damage inflicted on New Carthage by the attack. The video of her facing and butchering the Federation Reflex team sent to assassinate her ended up being reduced to a vid clip of her losing her arm, dropping her sword, and being caught by her bannerman and command squad and retreating. The subsequent use of her Crushing Purge attack to kill a dozen heavily armed and armored marines was completely excised from the records.

3rd Crusade

The 3rd Crusade was functionally a diversionary raid in the greater sense of things. Anmortis rallied a new army and launched what appeared to be a massive attack against New Carthage. The defenders braced for a major attack, and they were hit with the parapsychic manifestation of a teratomorph callsign Tall Man. While the city and its support ships rained fire down on Tall Man, and the beast rampaged against their walls, smashing mecha and tanks, the real objective was carried out. Point Griffon was ninety kilometers from New Carthage and was state-of-the-art communication and surveillance center intended to hunt Enochians in the deep desert. Anmortis completely leveled the entire installation. The staff was either ritually executed or carried back to Enoch as slaves. Tall Man was destroyed, the city suffered some damage, and New Carthage counted it a pyrrhic victory, Anmortis counted the crusade as a great victory.

The 4th Crusade

Fort Chrome was built several hundred kilometers out into the Sahara desert as an attempt to extend Federation control into the said desert as well as continue their search for Enoch. This was a problem, as it was a serious threat to Enoch. The 4th Crusade was launched and started as skirmish raids against a half dozen targets across the region. The largest force struck against New Carthage, now generally accepted as the main target and object of vendetta for Anmortis. While the main body was engaged with a vicious siege of the city, a secondary force coalesced out of seemingly random raider bands and Fort Chrome was burned to the desert sands, and its command staff was captured. They would be taken to Enoch and subjected to brain-draining, psycho-surgery, torture, and then repeated cloning to become terrorist agents working for Enoch.

The success of the 4th Crusade was undermined by Anmortis barely surviving. The self-styled Enochian Hierophant and her command unit were caught by a Federation headhunter mech and most of the command staff was killed, and Anmortis was kicked by the machine almost seventy meters. The Enochian would spend two and a half years in recovery and when she emerged from the Enochian bio-labs, she was more an infested fury-filled power armor horror than a human. 

The 5th Crusade

Also known as the Desolation of the Sudan, the 5th Crusade was the first to not lay siege to New Carthage in one form or another. Rather than a single thrust, Anmortis organized a region-wide scourging of the Sudan and Chad regions of Africa. These territories were considered part of the wastelands and were claimed by no CE power. The Crusade was hideously effective and the Enochians were able to almost completely depopulate the region. Villages were wiped out, and waystations and trade cities were razed. It isn't known how many perished, and how many were carried back to Enoch or sold into the Silk Road's human trafficking operations.

There were a number of unofficial operations in the area that were fairly well defended, including light mecha support. There were looted and the ground was turned to mud with the blood the Enochians spilled. To this end, Anmortis unleashed hekatonkheires against the targets. These cosmic horror infested mecha defeated the garrisons, and though several were destroyed, the overall number increased. The machines they took down were infested as well and rose like fifty-ton iron zombies.

The 6th Crusade

The 6th Crusade struck further west than any previous and drew on the success of the 5th. Anmortis gathered the support of the wasteland warlord Farnogar and his Army of a Ten Thousand Thieves and struck against the Federation Arcoplex at Tangier. The Arcoplex was considered of great importance as it faced the Eurasian Alliance stronghold, the Gibraltar Naval Yard. Construction was still underway on the Castle Avalon element of Tangier, Castle Tennessee, as the Federation was strengthening its position in north Africa. Regular attacks against New Carthage and the volatile politics of Egypt and the ruins of the Middle East made the old cornerstones vulnerable. Anmortis and Farnogar sacked Tangier, set back the construction of Castle Tennessee by at least a decade if not longer, and turned Morocco against Federation membership. They rightly claimed the only reason Anmortis had shown up was to sack the Federation stronghold and all of the collateral damage was because of that.

After the battle was concluded, Anmortis slew Farnogar and half of his command staff. The Ten Thousand Thieves Warband, or its survivors, were integrated into Anmortis' Enochian legion. In the course of the battle, Anmortis lost her left arm, left leg, and a good deal of armor on her torso. Not to Farnogar, but to a Federation light mech that she shattered with her parapsychic powers.

The 7th Crusade

The 7th Crusade was devastating for Europe. Anmortis lead a massive war host across the Mediterranean to Siciliy. After rampaging across the island nearly unopposed, the host struck east, with landings in Italy and Greece. These might have seemed random, as southern Italy and Greece were technically part of the Wastelands, unclaimed by the Eurasian Alliance or the Federation. The places that were hit the hardest and took the most damage were all associated with Eurasian Alliance Intelligence or Federation observer posts. Both powers are still interested in the region and were working to influence it. Anmortis destroyed several clandestine military outposts, sank several Neo-Soviet submarines, and sabotaged hidden airfields. Several of these installations were permanently abandoned as the Enochian mines and booby traps proved dangerous enough that even years after the crusade, landing aerospace craft have found undetonated ordnance and were splattered on landing.

Anmortis led the host around through the Levant in a lightning advance back into Egypt and the lands that Enoch controlled. The host took serious damage, but by unleashing their hekatonkheires, mobile mines, and suicide craft dealt considerably more than they took. This was minimized in the news feeds, the Wastelands are the Wastelands, and a massive military campaign there was of little to no media interest. It also helped that Anmortis did avoid a few historical sites. There was little to no official outrage, though the Alliance launched a considerable naval and marine force to hunt the Enochians, and the Federation's aerospace assets over the Mediterranean were tripled.

Neither achieved anything other than almost setting off the first Federation-Alliance war. Thinking they were engaging Anmortis and her forces, The Alliance engaged and destroyed the 2nd Commonwealth Grenadiers company in Sicily, and the Federation hit the Alliance submarine troop cruiser, Tsar Nikolas, with anti-ship torpedoes, sinking it.

The 8th Crusade

After the previous crusades, there was blood in the water, and North Africa was enormously dangerous. The 8th Crusade was a psyop war, with Enochian agents spreading seeds to start cults. These cults were based around degenerate literature, fueled with psychoactive substances, laced with mutagens, and focused on pieces of discreet arcanotech disguised as religious relics. People who followed technophilic or pro-Enochian ideals were kept from the cults, while normal people, criminals, and underclass residents were strongly encouraged to embrace these new spiritual teachings.

The end result was a five-year surge in degenerate and dissident activities in North Africa, Europe, and the western portions of Eurasia. There were fertility cults, pedophile cults, cannibal cults, and mutilation/spirituality cults, and almost all had self-destruct triggers for either acts of mass terrorism or mass suicide.

Note: This is where there is evidence presented that Fahrenheit 451 and Guy Montag would be seen as good guys. The only things that stymied the 8th Crusade, and both the surge in cults and widespread 'Rebel Spring' against the Federation and the Alliance were concerted efforts and book burning, anti-cult operations by international organizations like Sigma Blue, and the recently reorganized militant arm of the Vatican.

The 9th Crusade

Following the 6th through 8th Crusades, much of North Africa belonged to the Wastelands. Morocco and Tunisia rejected Federation membership, though the Federation retained control of New Carthage and Tangier. The 9th Crusade struck south and east away from Enoch, into Greater Araby and the eastern coast of Africa. The surprise was that Anmortis went from being a land raider to having naval ships. Not just floating warships, but flying heavily armed junk ships. These ships would go on to raid Central African holdings of the Federation, as well as hit targets in the South African United Republics. The SAUR and the Federation responded predictably, a six day war between the two powers, with the Amerikka Command fleet in exile striking out from Jo-Burg to support the SAUR armor forces that attacked the Federation.

The 9th Crusade was a near thing for the Enochians. Anmortis' ship, the Lamenter, was lost in action over Ethiopia, and she barely survived the wreck. Rendered armless and legless, Anmortis was briefly held in a Federation field hospital, as the 217th First Responder Company swept up survivors of the wreck of the Lamenter as well as three other warships, including the SAUR's cruiser Hertzog, the Amerikka Command frigate Rochambeau, and the Federation escort carrier Casablanca. Given the number of wounded, the 217th prioritized saving lives over verifying the identity of patients before administering aid.

Anmortis was rescued by an Enochian Wraith team, but she prevented them from killing anyone in the 217th, or anyone under their care.

The biggest loss in the 9th Crusade was the Federation's when it lost the Heavy Carrier Agamemnon. The carrier was lost along with much of the crew and all of its heavy aerospace assets when an Enochian agent detonated a dimensional shear device against the hull. With the a-pods no longer operational, the ship fell half a kilometer to the ground. The agent perished but took a capital ship, ninety heavy attack craft, and about 3,000 sailors with them.

The 10th Crusade

The 10th Crusade was technically a resounding defeat for the Enochians. Anmortis, now with a fully cybernetic body the size of a small vehicle led a large Enochian host into Neo Anatolia. This was stunning, as all of the previous Crusades had been against targets in Africa, or arrayed against the Federation, or wastelander factions. This was a major land offensive against a major and important province of the Eurasian Alliance including laying siege to its capital, Ankara. The city was majorly damaged, the military bases were scourged and what wasn't destroyed was stolen. Even more daring, Anmortis and company hijacked multiple ships and sabotaged the Tengri mass driver.

The Eurasian response was swift and brutal. The Battle of Ankara further damaged the city, but the high command considered trading Ankara for Anmortis' head to be an equal exchange. Most of the Enochian force and its wasteland allies were slaughtered. This was not the whole of the force, as the occupation of Neo Anatolia had also involved widespread looting and mass-scale abduction, it was still a major percentage of it. Anmortis herself lost her arm and almost her head facing the Eradicator Battalion of the Chernobyl Brigade.

Despite the setbacks and the losses, Anmortis learned a great deal about how to face the Alliance and even more about how to properly burn major cities.

The 11th Crusade

Little is known of the 11th Crusade, since it was the first, and likely only Crusade that was launched against a target that was not on Earth. After perfecting a stable Einstein-Rosenberg Gate, Anmortis and the Enochians launched a massive crusade against, of all places, {Huo Hsing]. This raid was almost a decade in the planning, as the losses of the 10th Crusade took some time to replenish, even with cloning, cybernetics, breeding pits, and other less savory things.

The Enochians destroyed several major ACPS cities on Mars, looting and depopulating them.

Questions were leveled about Anmortis no longer being human or mortal, as her bristling steel body was recorded on the surface without any life support systems. She was also recorded ripping masks and helmets off of Chinese soldiers so she could watch them claw at their faces while they suffocated in the thin martian air.

The 12th Crusade: the Day of Reckoning

Several long-term plans paid out for the Enochians, and the gain for them was enormous. The biggest casualty in the 12th Crusade was the crippling of the JOSH-Annex 1 above the Rocky Mountain Republic. An Enochian long-term worm program allowed Enoch and it's AISCs to access the central intelligence of the Ramiel Military Spaceplex and both download that data and commandeer the station for a short period of time. While under the control of Enoch and Anmortis, Ramiel was activated and severely damaged four Federation capital ships, crippled the JOSH Annex, and fired on multiple surface targets in North America.

Anmortis and her forces swept out of Enoch while a massive CogNet outage crippled Federation response and reflex abilities. Several dozen major targets were hit, ships on the ground were taken out of action, or in the case of the battlecruisers, Ireland (of Fleet Sterling) and Scharnhorst (of the New Hanse fleet) were taken. These two ships would be refitted and renamed as the Morpheus and the Osiris respectively. While the net was down, Enochian forces hit targets across North Africa, the DMZ part of Europe separating the Federation EuroZone and the Eurasian Alliance.

While people panicked, and in some places rioted, the Federation high command and the Eurasian Fleet command were moving to high alert, they were fully engaged in the hottest cyber war since the collapse of the 3rdNet, and there were no assurances that they would win. They had already seen the most dangerous weapon in the Federation fleet turn on their own ships, and several Alliance boomer subs were missing. Land wars were being fought seemingly in every military theater, and half of the military was down. In some Federation mechadromes all of the mechs were offline because they were all in full diagnostic update and defragmentation mode. There were tentative agreements made, and rather than going after each other, the world powers stumbled together and worked to bring the net back up, while scrambling what forces they could to face the fury of the 12th Crusade.

The outage lasted two days before the CogNet blackout was lifted.

There was significant damage, and dozens of ships were lost or missing. An unknown number of mecha and aerospace craft were down until their burnt-out L/AI systems could be removed and replaced, their memory cores having melted down.

Anmortis was critically injured, again, at the Battle of Lagos, being reduced to a charred torso punched through with meter-long anti-mech needle rounds. The Warlord survived, and within days was seen again, striding and proclaiming victory.

The Federation media machine then knew who the scapegoat was, who the enemy of the Federation really was, and they ran a staggering media campaign against not Enoch, but against Anmortis herself. The feeds were peppered with her face, and videos of her in therapy, in surgery with her limbs amputated, with doctors digging around in her guts pulling out horrific cysts. She was crucified as a comical figure, one that was just a chopped up, used up, deranged chunk of female flesh. She was humanized, and exposed as the weak flesh and blood human she had once been. Instead of a figure of terror, as Anmortis had been, she was brought back to being some basic mediocre bitch from the Commonwealth. The scourge of Africa was turned into meme fodder, with incels and trolls mocking her breasts and claiming the only reasons she was a mutant warlord was that she was that fucking ugly.

Imagine being so ugly and so rejected that instead of finding a mate and starting a family/domestic sitch, you've got to go full metal and murder people. God, I'd kill myself if I was that ugly, damn.

The 13th Crusade

The 13th Crusade started with a naval offensive, the first and thus far, only, Wastelander fleet action against a major power. The Ireland and Scharnhorst had spent several years missing while Enochian engineers and tech priests went over the ships, tearing them apart, and putting them back together. Ireland was rechristened as the Kunopegos, Destroyer of Ships, and the Scharnhorst was renamed Rahab, Bearer of Violence. The ships struck across the Sahara, smashing lighter craft from the sky, and when Federation ships retaliated, they were either destroyed, or the two Enochian ships and their screens of picket ships and junk fighters would all but vanish into static and screaming data screens. Knowing something was going on, Federation forces were on high alert, as were Alliance elements near the Mediterranean and Araby. The Federation considered moving the 2nd Fleet into the area, but there was concern that this would be too much and could start hostilities with the Alliance. While the Federation council was sure they would win this battle, the cost of ships and lives would be high. Despite superior tech, and the Alliance having few aerial warships, they had a distinct advantage in submarines, and the subs could easily barrage the Federation ships from the depths of the sea. Instead, they used a reserve fleet, limited to a few cruisers, and larger numbers of frigates and destroyers. This would prove costly, as the Enochian ships proved capable of damaging and destroying multiple Federation ships before retreating to rearm.

Protests and riots broke out across the Levant and southern Europe. Enochian cults and organizers had been busy, and this divided local attention. Multiple incidents saw food supplies damaged, utilities cut, and large amounts of anti-govt propaganda pumped into the region. Local morale was low, the outrage was high, and in some places, work to build defenses or get militia forces prepared for whatever was coming out of the desert was stymied by civil unrest. Still, the cities across North Africa knew something big was coming, so they started preparing.

The 1st Battle of New Carthage, Betrayal of the Ozbek

The leadership of New Carthage and the Federation AfroZone were serious in preparing for the offensive. When the Enochians appeared, rather than assuming a defensive posture, they would go on the attack. To this end, New Carthage hired a large contingent of mercenaries, scouring the wasteland markets for soldiers of fortune, and freelancers, and even creating conscripted forces. This was fine, for a short time. To bolster morale, the city held a series of parades, where the soldiers marched in formations, their vehicles lined up behind them, looking very impressive and serious. The betrayal came with the Ozbek Division, a large contingent of Anatolian mercenaries. The Ozbek were Enochian-influenced cultists and in the midst of a city-wide parade, the Division attacked. Some charged to deliver suicide attacks, others turned their weapons against other units. Most destructively, however, was the Ozbek armor unloading their anti-mech and anti-armor missiles into the official section of the grandstand. They might have done more concrete damage by firing on other vehicles and Carthaginian mecha, but the sudden attack killed or severely wounded most of the command staff and the city dignitaries. This left the chain of command majorly disrupted, compounded by damage to the city, and losses among the other units. The Ozbek fought their way out of the city, burning and killing as they did.

The Scourging of New Carthage

While the city was reeling from the deaths of so many officials, the Enochian fleet and its outriders struck. The city was avoided, but farming complexes were burned, supply depots and transport heads were bombed, and a large number of Carthaginian ships were lost on the ground. Their crews and captains demanded permission to take off and fight, and no one knew what was going on or who was in charge. It was a sort of Pearl Harbor for North Africa and dealt a punishing blow to the region.

While this was underway, secondary Enochian forces launched major offensives south into AfroZone controlled Central Africa, unleashing a bombing campaign, cyber virus attack, and spoofing the appearance of multiple Enochian ships in aggressive formations. The AfroZone command pulled back its forces from the desert and refused to send reinforcements to the North African arco-cities. 

The Battle of the Victorian Sea is a study of how not to fight asymmetrical warfare. The Victorian surface ships stayed close to the coast to provide fire support for the infantry and armor. The battle was technically a victory for the Federation, but a costly one. The Enochian forces, centered around a core of medium and heavy mecha advanced around the western coast of the Sea of Victoria, eagerly engaging Federation forces and then falling back seemingly in disarray. The Federation mecha and armor would surge forward, vanish into a static smoke screen, and end up cut to pieces. In simulations, the Federation mecha were superior in every way, as were the pilots. This required all of their smart gear to be working, and their electronics to be functional. Blinded by chaff and static smoke, the mechs stumbled and the pilots were forced to try to shoot with 'iron sights'. Meanwhile, the Enochians used parapsychic systems, or just experience without smart systems, and butchered the Fedbois.

Eventually, the force fell back, as attrition and ammunition shortages started cutting their effectiveness. Many of the Enochian mechs were abandoned, and the force vanished. The Federation lost 2.6 mechs for every Enochian mech they took down, and the abandoned mechs killed dozens of techs. Some surged to life running suicidal drone protocols, some detonated with sabotaged fusion cores, and a few were hekatonkheires and as soon as someone touched them, they boiled to life devouring men and smashing machines until they were burned.

The Assault on New Carthage

Anmortis lead the command cabal in the attack on the city. With the outlying farms burned, and settlements razed, the city was packed with refugees. The Enochian force heralded itself with lightning rent sandstorms, and a wave of magnaspawn. Strange reptilian-insect horrors swarmed the defenses, and forces outside the walls were shredded with fang and claw. The Enochians quickly followed, armed with their eclectic mixture of improvised weapons, cutting-edge weapons, parapsychics, and a disturbing number of youma leashed ones. The Doomseekers assisting Anmortis called forth a cadre of teratomorphs to assist in the siege, living war engines to lead the mecha into glorious battle.

This ground down into a three-day grind. The massive guns of New Carthage were limbered and fired. The city turned out its forces with terrible fury, and the ground ran red with blood. Reinforcements were dropped, but Kunepegos and Rahab were lurking on the edge of the sensor scrambling storms and carry-alls and dropships that tried to reach the city were easily shot down. Mechs that executed power drops were able to land, but these were machines built for mobility, not armor and firepower. The Federation started moving fleet assets, and the Alliance made it obvious they would not move against operations. The Battlestar Columbia turned to move into firing range, while Fleet Sterling, the Hanse task force Dora, and the Carolingian warships Charles Martel and Charlemagne moved to provide naval particle cannon fire.

The Enochians responded by lobbing dimensional fatigue warheads, spreading the electrical sandstorms, and disrupting weather across the region. Then the Enochian ships advanced on the city, engaging at point blank range. The Rahab smashed into the main curtain wall, destroying the turret there, killing thousands of gunners and gun crews, and the reactor was deliberately detonated. The effect was similar to a 30-kiloton warhead going on. The Kunepegos circled, and discharged its beam weapons, raking the Columbia and the Fleet Sterling cruiser Steadfast before moving to flank speed and ramming into the main arcology of New Carthage. The arco was in the process of collapsing when the ship's eight reactors went up in a chain reaction. the New Carthage Dimensional Tap reactor went critical fifteen seconds later, releasing a sixteen megaton explosion.

New Carthage died.

Anmortis signaled the retreat and the Enochian survivors fell back. The Crusade was done, a Federation Castle Avalon was destroyed, a number of ships were ruined, and untold numbers of mecha, vehicles, and soldiers were dead, missing, contaminated by strange radiation, and the Tunisian fiefdom was broken.

The Enochian Ministers spread their information, and the 13th Crusade was claimed to be a great success. The Federation Bureau of Information fired its own counter-intelligence campaign. New Carthage was lost to a reactor breach, the only thing more laughable than a woman known for her arms falling off claiming to destroy the city was that she claimed thirteen victories when no one could list those other mocking great crusades. While the survivors of New Carthage died, mutated, or were recruited into the Wasteland raider gangs, Federation boffins were spooling up making toys of Anmortis and her allies, turning them into comical figures, inept and bumbling.

The media even spun out Captain Hannibal Carthage and the Carthaginian Commandos to Fight Armless Anmortis and her confederation of geeks, freaks, losers, and weirdos. Kids played with pro-military toys, and collected increasingly goofy action figures. The highlight came with the adult collectible figure of a naked, nubile, armless and crying Anmortis figure.

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