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The Story of Civ II

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  • The Story of Civ II

    1. The Beginning

    THE BELLS tolled, and under the bright light of fireworks couples kissed to celebrate the new millenium. 2000 years since the birth of Christ, and as the fireworks faded a presence left. Everyone on Earth felt an indescribable loss for less than a second, an unmeasurably short time, no-one even had a chance to speak of what they had felt as their brains took over and the revelries continued. It was the year 2000 and the gods had deserted man as man had deserted the gods.

    On another planet, similar to Earth but by no means the same it began again. People believed and worshiped in the gods, gods of the sun & the moon. The gods had power they had not had for millennia, and so began the great game.

    7 people from around the Earth found themselves in a chamber, a waiting room. They would have talked to each other- but whatever mysterious force brought them here daunted and belittled them. They waited for a few seconds but it seemed like forever to all of them. The doors opened and they found themselves entering it unthinkingly. As their eyes grew accustomed to the light they saw a wondrous site- a chamber of gold.. A place of dreams, none of the people doubted for a second where they were, people sat on a table, but they looked more than just people, their auras told the visitors they were gods, none of the people in the room had ever been more sure of anything than this. Simultaneously they fell to their knees- feeling truly belittled, as their heads rose they were beckoned towards the table. Then one of the gods spoke.

    "We will give you 6000 years of life, 6000 years to lead your civilizations to glory, but let them never forget who we are. Let them never forget.."

    The last words echoed through their head as they found themselves back as heads of the tribe. The warriors sharpened their spears as they listened to the tale, the great game had begun.

    The Russians, the Indians, the English, the Zulu’s, the Chinese, the Aztecs, and the Germans as they would all come to be known founded their first city, the gods had chosen their chieftains well since they would represent them in their quest for global conquest.....

    Barbarians!! came the cry, the horsemen charged towards the Chinese village. The Barbarian chieftain smiled as he led the charge, there were no enemies visible, they must be hiding, the thought came, then went in a second as the Chinese phalanx became visible, fortified in their trenches. The Chinese had recently developed bronze working, and now the Barbarians would pay. A scene of carnage awaited any traveler’s that afternoon, the Barbarian leader preferred to die rather than be captured.

    'Fellows' said the chieftains, 'it is time for us to found a new city, can we risk our entire populace, our culture, and our technology being wiped out by barbarians?'.

    The argument settled it, the settlers left, the Chinese capital momentarily suffered a drop in population, and then the settlers built 'the great road' between Peking and the city they later founded, Shanghai, and so the Chinese empire grew.

    Other civilizations were having less spectacular starts, the Indians had managed to explore a great deal, and had founded 3 cities, they had also developed knowledge of the Alphabet, and Warrior Code. The Germans had only one city, but were putting everything into it, they had just developed bronze working. The other civilizations had 2 cities and 2 techs each, the world was still at peace, then something changed:

    The archers entered the forest when they noticed signs of civilization, roads and irrigation. A messenger was sent, what should they do?? They had found small tribes before, but never ones with the technology to irrigate land and build roads. The reply was hurried back, 'make contact, defend yourselves if need be'.

    The Russians archers moved down to the road, and saw a city, an emissary was sent out, and then began diplomatic relations between the Russians and the English.

    A few hours later the Russian archers had been destroyed, and thus began the first “great” war.

    The Zulu officer walked forward and looked into the trees, had he just seen movement, or was that just a figment of his imagination??

    And thus the German civilization and the Zulu’s met. The Zulu archers eyed the German warriors with distaste. If this was the best of the German civilization then they might as well finish it here and now. The Zulu officer wanted to start a war. Later however they learned that the Germans were not as far behind technology as they seemed to be. The Zulu scribes came with endless piles of documents, and so both civilizations acquired higher levels of technology.

    'Charge’ the notes were sounded again and again as if they could force the horsemen forward against the hail of arrows. The English archers were veterans and poured flight after flight of arrows into the charging Russian horsemen, horse and man cascaded down in showers of blood. A fear came upon them as the horsemen continued, as soon as they reached the archers it would be slaughter, a few archers took a few steps back, they feared the horsemen more than their own commanders, a few more steps, soon it was a rout. The second Russian horsemen unit had destroyed the English second archers and had almost destroyed themselves in the progress.

    That night queen Elizabeth studied the maps. The two Russian cavalry units had destroyed the fourth warriors and the second archers, however they would need several days to recuperate and even then they would be quite far from London. The threat was the Russian first archer unit and Russian second warrior, which were a day’s travel from London, by tomorrow they would be within strike range. A smile touched Elizabeth’s lips as she contemplated the fate that awaited those units in the capital.

    Elizabeth was not the only one studying a map that chilly autumn night. Lenin had his own maps. His generals wrote out the orders telling the cavalry to rest and the archer and warrior units to advance. Then a man strolled into the room. He carried a document, as Lenin viewed the document his face did not betray the feelings of apprehension, fear, and inspiration that he felt. Tomorrow would be interesting....

    The Indian commander cursed the sun that obscured the cliff from view. He cursed his soldiers who could not even kill a bunch of barbarians without continuous pestering from him, but most of all he cursed the barbarians for fortifying themselves in this hill, this hill with no strategic value which the politicians had ordered taken. And so his men would die for this worthless bit of turf.

    The barbarian leader intended to stay put until this damn force left, he would make sure never venture into this crazy territory again. Soldiers had trailed his every moving, surrounding them, hounding them, even taking extraordinary steps to follow him, then he saw he would never do anything ever again, the Indian horsemen had charged. The barbarian phalanx wearily raised their bronze tipped spears, the horsemen approached, but no horse wanted to charge into that seething mass of metal. One horse was skewered, his frenzied rider threw himself from the horse, raised his sword, dodged between the points and cleanly beheaded a barbarian, and his bloodlust opened the way for several horsemen to make their way behind the barbarian horde, inspiring terror in the barbarians. It was too little too late however, the few remaining horsemen fled, the ravaged barbarians numbers had been shrunk drastically, sighs of relief and disgust filled the air. They were not too last for long as the Indian second horsemen unit began its charge, the barbarians formed a ring around the hillock, so they could not be attacked from the flank. The battle went well for the barbarians at first. The Indians had seen the destruction of their comrades and feared those spear points, then one brave horseman vaulted over the barbarians, and leapt off his horse scything his sword around in a glittering arc. The fear of the horsemen turned to anger, and then the anger turned to bloodlust, the barbarians assailed from all sides split and fled. The horsemen tracked targets, cutting down the barbarians with fierce slashes until none of them were left standing, the barbarian presence had been removed from the hill.

    'A great wall sir'

    'A what'

    'A great wall, wouldn't that be a good idea, then looters would not be able to get away with loot'

    'Hmmm, interesting' Mao's frown slowly turned into a smile, they would build this great wall, it would be a testament to the superior building techniques of the Chinese, the most advanced civilization in the world. Besides, no one would dare attack a civilization with the resources to build this 'great wall'.


  • #2
    2. New Alliances

    GASPS FILLED the air as the catapults fired in union. Some of the archers fired their weapons but at this range their bows were wildly inaccurate and most of the arrows fell short. Within hours the archers fled, the warriors on the flank of the archers were spared the devastation of the catapults, the catapult ammunition expended the English defenders celebrated but then they stopped.

    The Russian chariots were foreign to both of the armies, the Russian warriors were preparing to attack the strange units when they realized they were carrying the Russian banners!!!

    The first and second Russian chariot units charged. Two horses pulled the chariots. One driver sat in the chariot along with one warrior with a long sword giving him a very long reach, and a lot of momentum. Some of the chariots had spikes on the sides, threatening to skewer anyone who came close, the English phalanx put up a brave defense but they were outnumbered, outclassed, and shocked, what the hell were they fighting? The phalanx fled from the low ridge they had been occupying back towards the unprotected city, but few of them made it that far as the Russian chariots pursued, their riders hooting with their joy and bloodlust. Then came the catapults turn to defend, a token defense was mounted which ended swiftly as the chariots came close.

    As the dusk settled graves were dug, the stench of battle filling the air, and the citizens prayed they would never bear witness to such carnage again, the newest bastion of the Russian empire was fortified, its name, 'London'.

    As queen Elizabeth fled on horseback to her second city of York, she cursed her intelligence sources, and her scouts. She would have to make peace with Lenin, and with the victory the Russians had won it would be an expensive commodity. She had made mistakes by under estimating the Russians. She would never make that mistake again.



    'Who are you?'

    'I am chang.. what are you??'

    I am sidhu... of Bombay"

    'Never heard of it!!!'

    'Have you ever heard of Delhi??'


    'I had heard rumors, but never thought it was possible, other civilizations, with power and riches comparable to the great Indian empire."

    And so it came to pass that a new era of enlightenment was brought to both civilizations as the great Indian and Chinese civilizations allied, forever to tread parallel paths??

    'Damn those Zulu bastards'

    Heinz was usually a mild mannered man, but recently things had gone awry. Following the acquisition of new techs from the Zulu’s in their recent exchange the main body of the German army had been upgraded. The German commanders were not foolish however. They realized the aggressive tendencies of the Zulu’s and so the old units were not decommissioned, the four warrior groups were renamed the 'explorer' division. Their job now was to look out for the Zulu units.

    The Zulu’s were far too intelligent to launch open hostility, this would give the Germans warning of the forces arranged against them and a chance to counteract this move. Instead the Zulu’s would bribe them away. One by one the scouts were being removed, strategic positions falling to the Zulu’s and they could do little about it. People in Berlin were starting to get a little nervous. With Zulu armies on the border trade had already suffered a decline, the Zulu’s would have to go but the Germans could not bribe the Zulu’s as they had moved more armies to the hilltops so the units would keep a check upon each other. If German armies advanced adjacent to the Zulu’s then the Zulu’s could attack when they wanted to, the Zulu’s had already begun to build fortifications, making it impossible for the Germans to force wholesale retreats. Instead, an ultimatum was sent to the Zulu emissary.. "Withdraw or face the consequences". He knew the Zulu’s would never withdraw though, all the cards were in their favor, and they would know the consequences would be pitiful.

    Within hours the answer came back "what consequences?", it was official the Germans and the Zulu’s were at war.

    The German chariots rolled down the path, on both sides of the path was a clearing of about 10 meters, past that was dense forest. Ludwig smelled a trap, he just hoped he had read the mind of his opposing commander. As the arrows hit the leading chariot the rest turned and ran, the Zulu archers began the charge from their concealed position only to be faced with the ground where the German chariots had been, as they wandered, befuddled, their commander trying to assess the situation the German first archers unit struck, a hail of arrows carved glittering arcs out of the light blue sky before descending into the Zulu archers with devastating effect. The Zulu’s began pulling themselves into line, turning right 90 degrees, but they saw only shadows in the forests where they fired. The Zulu line took heart from a piercing scream of a German archer in the distance. the Zulu commander thought that maybe all was not lost... when he heard piercing screams from behind, the German chariots had returned, the battered Zulu ranks turned and saw the battle was lost. Pride kept them from running. They rearmost archers drew their swords, and more archers turned to fire arrows at the chariots the Germans began taking casualties. Seeing his men like fight like demons the Zulu commander felt his heart surge with pride, but archers were no match for the German chariots at this sort of range, with the arrows still falling amongst them the commander ordered the retreat, as rank after rank peeled off and moved to the wood, he stayed behind in the rearguard.

    ludwig watched the Zulu’s retreat in good order, he was shocked that they managed to maintain their integrity under such tough conditions, looking at his archers he doubted they would remain put in such a maelstrom, but he had won, that was the important thing, the Zulu spearpoint aimed at the German capital had been blunted, and his men would face tomorrow as the victors. as the last of the Zulu’s departed, leaving a trail of dead and wounded he shuddered to contemplate the next engagement with those troops.

    Zulu strategists worked all night collating information and updating maps and statistics. the news was mixed, on the flanks the Zulu’s had made tremendous progress, but no German cities lay in the path of the advancing Zulu’s and the German units their had been second line units, using outdated technology, the German military would hardly notice their loss. in the center where the fighting had been hardest the third, fourth, fifth & sixth archer units had achieved their objectives, putting them in the right strike positions, but the first and second archers unit had been fended off, and they had taken heavy casualties. Mpondo, enlightened leader of the Zulu’s let out a gasp of amazement at that fact, he knew that units leader himself, and over the long years together had begun to think him invincible. the Germans had earned themselves a reprieve, without the archers at their throat they could maneuver their troops to plug the gaps in the line.

    German strategists also worked late that night. Frederic stared at the maps, both of his flanks had collapsed but his center had held firm. that would buy him time, but time for what. the chief scientist, hendrick, approached. Frederic insisted that staff officers called him simply 'Frederic' formality had its uses, but here where sharp minds were needed it acted like a metal collar.

    "Frederic, the experimental unit is ready"

    "What?", He needed every unit he could get his hands on at the moment, he needed victories, if he could turn one of the Zulu’s flanks it might raise some questions about their own defensability, that was the only hope they had. As he was briefed the king of the German Empire felt a smile touch his lips as he imagined the Zulu’s reaction to this latest development.

    The Zulu chariots advanced. silhouetted against the sunrise the soldiers moved rapidly, partly belying their skill in piloting their machines and also their haste to finish this campaign. suddenly a sound filled the air like none before, a trumpet, but what was it?? As the hairs flicked up on the back of the leader’s neck he ordered a halt. what men always feared the most was the unknown.

    the lumbering hulks were hidden by the forests behind them. the dark shapes were remarkably quiet, a low rumbling the only hint of their presence, then the charge begun.

    The theory was that the elephants bulk, their tonnage of muscle, made them armored cavalry. the Germans piloting the elephants had endured a great deal of training, as the elephants struck the Zulu’s from all sides to compensate for the chariots enhanced maneuverability the Zulu’s terror was evident on their own faces. There was no retreat, only death and destruction as the Germans bloodlust wreaked his havoc.

    "So what is it to be?"

    The leader of the small tribal village always aspired towards something better. As time wore on he seemed consigned to share the fate of his forefathers, a lot of hard work to little effect. Then had come the Indian messenger. He heard tales of their cities, their splendor, and he had seen their technology. Now the council of village elders was in deliberation. What would they do? A few hours later the decision was made. The leader of the village walked over to the Indian emissary

    "Welcome to Calcutta, the newest city of the great Indian Empire"


    • #3
      3. The Age of Enlightenment

      THEY WERE the best of the best. They had seen more training than anyone else in the Russian Empire, and had served in some of the battles against the English earning veteran status. they had always had the best of the Russian military technology, and surprised all by their quick learning and fierce determination. but in all of their years, and all the tales they had heard they had never encountered a unit as fierce as this.

      the Aztec first legion had been hit by the Russian elite first archers early in the morning after being softened up by the fourth Russian horsemen. the arrows had little effect as the Aztec adopted their defensive formation, shields over heads, and to the front, making a tortoise. The Russian archers had, to all intents and purposes unlimited ammo. They had expected the stifling heat of the afternoon to cause the Aztecs to retreat from the far side of the valley, during which time they would be vulnerable, but the legion had held its position through the hottest part of the day. Frustrated the Russian commanders ordered the second and third horsemen to attack. The Aztecs had held them off with consummate ease. Then the fourth chariot had charged against the depleted Aztec numbers. The Aztecs had pursued the chariot unit back towards the elite archer unit, as the chariot units slipped through the lines the archers had suddenly realized they would have to fight the Aztec legion. The Aztec legionnaires did not give the Russians time to use their bows, shields deflecting any fired arrows they waited until they were at point blank range before simultaneously drawing their short swords in a dark warning of what was to come. If they were surprised that the archers were going to fight they did not show it, with short effective strokes the elite archers line had been forced towards the head of the hill, but the archers did not break leaving a trail of blood they stepped back, swords in hand. The Aztecs held back for a second, drawing itself as if to throw a punch, they then threw themselves with renewed ferocity at the Russians. The Russians desperately wanted to channel their fury at the destruction of their horsemen into an attack but the Aztecs gave them no time, no time to think, sensing their opponents fear they changed from their effective strokes to wild slashes, mutilating their enemies, opening them up, and bringing horrible screams from them before they fell. Honor and pride lost the elite archers unit ran, leaving the Aztecs silhouetted against the sun they had fought under all day, victors, enemies, conquistadors.

      Lenin had made a mistake and he knew it. He had not known enough about the capabilities of the Aztec legions and assumed that his elite archers and horsemen would be more than a match for them, but this was not the case. the Aztec legion was a fighting unit with no equal in his army, and many of his best units had been destroyed in proving that. None of his cities were at threat, the legion would have to cross a mountain range which he had well defended, phalanx units fortified on mountainous terrain had been proven virtually unbeatable, but the Aztecs would know this. They would not waste their legions, they would move round the mountain range giving him plenty of time to prepare a defense. damn it, but this was supposed to be a lightning strike, and now at best it would be a long drawn out campaign. Another fear plagued him. the English had all but disappeared. He did not know where any of their cities were and their scout units kept blocking any attempt to find out. Meanwhile many of his horsemen were on the other side of the world, exploring. He had the mightiest army in the known universe but his plans were being thwarted by a bunch of savages and the pathetic English civilization. He would recall his armies and then his enemies would pay.

      'The great wall is finished'. Pride shone from the mans face as he presented his findings to Mao. 'about time' thought Mao, but his face showed none of his skepticism as he went to survey the wall. 'maybe this was not such a good idea??', but all doubts were soon banished from his mind as he saw the wall in the distance. Here was something that man had never achieved before. more than that he was worried about the Indians. They had become very powerful recently as their population grew, and their knowledge grew accordingly. This was partly a result of the development of monarchy. Mao was not yet convinced it was right for his civilization but there were doubts about his philosophy as he saw the Indian maps. He could barely contain his skepticism when he saw cities so far from the capital, but his explorations had later showed that the Indians were telling the truth. What if the Indians suddenly decided they wanted a piece of the Chinese civilization? Well this would certainly stop them, as well as being a formidable barrier to any army it would place doubt in the mind of the opposition. No this great wall would certainly stop unfriendly peoples.


      • #4
        4. Expanding Borders

        'DIG YOU SCUM!!'

        Anand was not so sure any more that was a good idea. Opting to become one of the settler corps had seemed exciting at the time he had signed up, journeying to far off lands where he could own his own farm and make his fortune, but the Indian empire needed roads more than it needed cities. It was in danger of expanding above the capabilities of its own armies. So now settlers had to spend a certain amount of time building roads and irrigating land before they were allowed their own land. Meanwhile cities had stopped churning out settlers and started building archers. The Indian army now boasted 12 archer units, twice as many as the Chinese, and these were travelling to the borders of the empire to secure against barbarian attack. His section of the irrigation completed Anand traveled back to the camp to get some well earned rest.

        They marched, they marched like they had never marched before. They had discovered a river which would take them to the mountains. The Aztec legion was nothing if not determined, but being so far from home dampened spirits. No sight of the enemy was also frustrating, there was nothing like a battle to take your mind off your troubles. The second and third Aztec legions were close on their heels but the first was determined to be the first into battle, and so they marched.

        The four English cities had flourished, surrounded by irrigation and connected by roads a period of peace had fallen upon the English Empire allowing them to regroup. the English now had 8 archer units, what was better was that their enemies had no idea of their strength. They would keep building archers and phalanx and then the Russians would realize their mistake of not crushing the English while they had the chance. These thoughts echoed inside the mind of queen Elizabeth as she traveled to her new capital. there was a commotion somewhere further ahead, the convoy had stopped? why?.... the Indian 11th archers and the Chinese 6th horsemen had traveled together to investigate rumors of activity, possibly barbarian further south. But what they had encountered was certainly not barbarian. as queen Elizabeth met the envoys a smile touched her lips, maybe English blood need not be shed in the destruction of the Russians??

        in the weeks following the arrival of German elephants upon the scene the Zulu right flank had been stopped dead. local commanders were unwilling to leave the shelter of the trees and have to face the nightmarish creatures other Zulu’s had spoken of. With the speed of these new units the Germans could make their way around the Zulu flank and strike at the undefended cities that lay there. unlike in German cities the thought of attack by enemy units was laughed upon. and so Mpondo had ordered reinforcements sent to that flank. Progress on the left flank had continued, but slower, the trap that should have struck like lightning was now closing shut ponderously slowly. Mpondo believed that the Germans had stripped their left (and the Zulu right) flank of defenses for the center, Mpondo's elite units were outnumbered and often forced back with overwhelming numbers, always inflicting casualties upon the enemy but not enough to cripple the enemy. Behind this screen of outdated units Mpondo realized a solid wall of phalanx and archers was being created. Still, if the German elephants ventured too far forward his units would sweep across the right flank and end this campaign the way it should have been ended. And so Mpondo uttered a silent prayer to the gods of war and fate, with those on his side no demons would stand in his way.

        'It looks fishy to me sir'

        'My thoughts exactly, but what can we do'

        Minutes earlier the commanders of the elephants had seen a glint of metal in the trees ahead, but despite careful observation they could not see any more. There was another pass half a mile up the range. the commanders decided to make their way to that one, it would take longer to pass through it but they had time.... George had been charged with being blatant. he had spent time in the trees brandishing mirrors. When the elephants came he was worried but he was one of the elite Zulu archers, retreat was not an option. And so this one man had turned an army. half a mile north the rest of the Zulu archers waited, deep in cover. the German commander had no time to plan his retreat, whilst his forces were strung out along the narrow track the hail of arrows fell, one fateful arrow struck him in the forehead, a spasm shook his body as he fell and was then crushed by the panicked elephant. The German elephants were broken, and now the path to Berlin lay open.

        Fritz, commander of the German armies received the news later that evening. immediately troops were re-deployed to meet the multiple new threats posed, but their were still gaps, big enough to exploit, but big enough to push an army through??

        Things had been getting increasingly hostile between the Indian & Chinese civilizations. First Indian archers (7th, 11th & 12th) had placed themselves on the border, with no intention of going anywhere. If that was not enough the Indians had announced their alliance with the English before the Chinese had a chance to make their offer of an alliance. Now it appeared the Indians were gearing up for war, they had stopped building the settlers and were now building military units, rumors were that the Indians had developed some new tech. and were building new units, it would be a brave Chinese diplomat who challenged the Indians about this, but Chinese scientists had been slow to deny the possibility of new techs existence, too slow as one member of the diplomatic team was only too quick to point out. Now the Indians were getting all flustered up about this great wall. Chang failed to see why this was so threatening, although he allowed himself some pride at the accomplishments of his kinsmen. A smile touched his face as Chang realized that Sidhu was facing him, he reckoned that he had the measure of the man, although he attempted to dismiss this thought as soon as it entered his mind. Complacency was a luxury he could ill afford.

        Sidhu meanwhile had a different agenda. The leaders of the Indian Empire, in their wisdom, realized that it was going to be increasingly different for the two empires to co-exist. The addition of the English into this equation had led to the creation of a plan, simple, yet requiring exact timing. Formalities over the Chinese began to discuss their complaints with the Indians. As the problems began to unfold the Chinese began to get worried, partly by the coolness of their opposition and partly because of their actions. The Indians were not offering the denials which they expected, nor had they offering conciliation’s, or even hinting at them, something big would happen by the end of this meeting and the Chinese were blind as to what this was.

        "Mr. Sidhu, I must insist upon some input by you, you have offered no conciliation’s or explanations?"

        "Well Mr. Chang, really we are facing the situation that Rome & Carthage faced in the Punic wars, what will Hannibal do?"

        To almost everyone in the room this statement meant nothing but Chang immediately recognized the references to Rome & Carthage, Delhi & Bombay, & Hannibal who was their deep cover operative in Delhi. These words were chosen directly by Mao, and meant nothing to anyone else. Well ahead of its time and the best 'covert operative' training center within either of the two realms China's best resource was 'Valhalla' in Shanghai which had produced Hannibal and others like him. His discovery meant disaster. Chang attempted to determine the best course of action. If Hannibal had talked denial would be useless, but he did not know how much Sidhu knew. On the other hand he had already delayed for a few seconds so Sidhu would know he was on the right track. To admit that these covert operations existed would be a major diplomatic incident. Chang looked into Sidhu's eyes, He had under estimated this man. He had caught Chang off guard, having to switch from attack to defense was very difficult. Oh- what to do?

        "Perhaps we could talk in private Mr. Sidhu"

        "I think that would be pointless, I think news of our dissolution of the alliance and any treaty between our realms will get out soon, as will our declaration of war"

        Stunned silence filled the room, the Indians were in strike positions on the Chinese border with superior numbers, and if rumor was to be believed superior tech.

        "Oh, and the English Empire declares war on you too..."

        That had been the plan. Should India go to war with China the English would pledge their help, send their archers North. The Chinese would be trapped between the hammer and the anvil, it would probably not even be necessary for the English archers to fight, the panic sown would be enough. Once the Chinese had been defeated, the Indians promised to declare war on the Russians, they would turn their overwhelming forces together onto them, and then the Indians & the English would rule the world together. The Indians left the room leaving the Chinese standing, still in shock. The words had been said and now the soldiers would march to war.

        All was quiet on the Chinese border, early a few staff officers had galloped about, sketching maps and determining the best route to pass through. The Chinese Empire would strike first, The first, second, and third horsemen units would be stronger in attack than in defense. Confidence was high. Were they not the feared Chinese army? So numerous and well trained that it would take the combined strength of both the Indian and English militaries to pose a threat to them. Was the Chinese army not undefeated in all of its existence.

        As the horsemen turned round the hillock they saw the enemy. A unit had taken defensive places on the hill. They looked like simple warriors from a distance, but as the horsemen were midway through the charge they noticed that these soldiers had short phalanxes. What little it would profit them, the fools. They were the immortal Chinese horsemen in full charge, and nothing could stop them now.

        Exactly one hour later, the reinforcements turned up. The pikemen had inflicted crippling casualties to the Chinese horsemen, and as the Indian first knights unit charged the Chinese attack was over, now the counter-attack would begin.

        'Excellent' thought Gandhi. The forces which could have damaged his elite knights units had instead attacked and paid highly for that. There was a lot of ground to cover before Indian forces were within strike ranges but the pikemen had taken up defensive positions along the route, guarding the Indian supply lines. These pikemen were virtually immovable to the numerous Chinese horsemen, and any other units the Chinese cared to send towards their doom would be helped along by Indian knights & elephants even now hurrying to their destinations. The English had reported token resistance further South, but that had been swept away, by the time the Chinese realized the force they were facing the war would be over.

        The Russians phalanx unit on top of the hill was caught off guard. With the sudden arrival of the Aztec legion there was no time even to fortify themselves, they approached the ridge piecemeal and out of formation. Considered a quiet sector the troops that came here had little or no fighting experience. Then, suddenly they were in combat with one of the most advanced units in the world, comprising of elite soldiers, with more battles under their belts than the Russians had military units. Despite the Aztec advantages the phalanx line held for a few minutes whilst the Aztecs contemplated the best way to strike at the men behind the long spears. Then the Aztecs charged, a few were impaled, but most made their way through, where they were rewarded with a chance to strike at the enemy. The Russian commander called for the Russians to form a second line a few yards back, but no second line was formed, the hilltop now belonged to the Aztecs, and with it, the path to the heart of the Russian empire.

        The Zulu’s charged. The Germans were assailed from all sides, but still they fought. This was their land, and they would die before they saw it fall into the hands of these barbarians. The German archers were on a hill. They had fortified themselves in it. Large wooden stakes stuck out, breaking enemy charges and making the Zulu’s shudder with expectations of death. The Germans had split themselves into three groups. 1 group held wooden stakes, they were fending off Zulu’s at range, and were death to any approaching horsemen. The second group held swords, they fought the Zulu’s off the spearmen, protecting their comrades. They were not trained in hand to hand combat, and so did not use the thrust techniques which had recently been proven best, but used wild slashing strokes. However, these strokes had their advantages, they mutilated their enemies, and drew horrible screams from Zulu’s as they died. The third group poured volley after volley into any approaching Zulu’s with their bows and arrows.

        The Germans here were now veterans. They had adapted their fighting style to suit their environment and had made 'adaptations' to the force they were fighting. They had collected shields from the dead Zulu warriors and used them to shield themselves from any approaching Zulu’s. The arrows that the Zulu’s fired were collected, and were stuck into the ground surrounding their positions, making the defenses even more formidable. There were also barriers of Zulu dead, not only for its psychological effect, but because it earned them precious seconds. Seconds which could be used to pour volley after volley of arrow into the densely packed Zulu ranks.

        Now however, the fighting was harder than it had been all morning, as more and more Zulu units were committed to the attack, the higher the stakes went. If the German line held now, no more Zulu’s would climb that hill today, but if the Zulu’s broke through the Germans could not expect anything more than total annihilation.

        The Zulu eight chariot unit on the left was charging, then reforming, arrow ridden chariots made their way through the spear points, only to be faced with a wall of shields, and a German brandishing a sword. On the left it was the Zulu Ninth archers who had attacked, firing arrows as they ran towards the entrenched positions. Then they engaged in hand to hand fighting. In the center the Zulu first and second warriors had attacked. They used out dated technology but had the experience other Zulu's lacked. The battlefield stunk of blood, and already the stench of rotting flesh made both commanders wonder why they were at this place. They were soldiers, they were surrounded by horror, but never in their lives had they seen anything like this. Death personified.

        One Zulu chariot had smashed through the line of German shields. The Germans were too slow to fill the gap, wearied by the days fighting. The Zulu chariots saw the German archers ahead drop their bows, was the fight over? No, the Germans at the top of the hill drew their short swords, they were very low on arrows anyway. They charged down the hill. They had seen to much horror to feel attached to their bodies and they realized they would die, but they knew what the Zulu’s did to their prisoners, and that knowledge turned to hate, and then to frenzy. They had the courage of martyrs whilst the slope gave them speed. Stumbling across the rocky terrain they hit the Zulu’s as they were beginning their own charge. The Zulu’s were far better in hand to hand combat, and whilst they were astonished by the ferocity of this attack after a day of fighting, superior numbers of chariots waited to be unleashed behind them. The Zulu’s scented victory. Then the tone of the battle change. Suddenly the retreat was ordered, out of the corner of their eye they saw movement. The Germans in other positions were charging towards them. But how?? Where was the rest of the Zulu army which was supposed to be tying this force down? A hail of arrows was their answer, the German fifth archers had arrived. The Zulu commander surveyed the odds from his chariot. He realized he was outnumbered, and his force would never capture this hill. He must retreat. In a voice which momentarily silenced the living and shook the death the order was given- "CHARGE!!"

        Once again the decisive break through had not occurred. The German archers had held off vastly superior forces, they had taken a casualty rate unparalleled in the annals of history for a victorious force. Things had gone much better on the flanks. The noose had been tightened today, but every day they waited gave the Germans more time to organize their defense and plug gaps. Even now Mpondo knew the Germans would be making a series of night marches to face him with a new set of problems tomorrow, but if the flanks did as well tomorrow as they had done today they would not even need a breakthrough in the center.

        Frederick wanted to put a curse on the elephant unit for their untimely deaths. His flanks were collapsing, and he knew the strains placed on his center would only get worse. He should march out the two phalanx units to the right flank as this was where most danger was posed, but that would only buy him a day, with the next unit not scheduled to be ready for at least a weak he knew he was clutching at straws.

        The Indians old units had all been posted South, to guard against the English, and by posing as weaker than they were the Indians hoped to have the upper hand should diplomatic negotiations break down. For this reason it was new knight units which patrolled the area North East of the Indian Empire. Later that day they had stumbled across a road. They had decided to follow it, whilst always remaining on guard. Their envoy was most excited, the diplomats who had worked out the alliance with the English were regarded as heroes in some circles. It was as he had hoped, a new civilization, but something was wrong. The envoy facing him was hostile, even the Indian knights could sense it as they become more alert, looking out for any signs of enemy soldiers. The Zulu, as he was known, insisted that tribute be paid before they could enter the kingdom. The Indian Empire had never paid tribute to anyone, and were not about to start now, 5 minutes later, the empires were at war. Zulu archers, thinking they were facing horsemen and not highly trained knights approached nonchalantly. The Indians training had been so intense that by the time they saw combat they were already the equivalent of veterans. This was all part of Gandhi's program. The Indian empire actually had less citizens than the Chinese at the moment, although it had more cities, this was partly due to the fact that the Indians had spent such a great deal of effort modernizing their army, Gandhi had foreseen trouble with the Chinese in the future. Now the knights displayed the result of India's technological lead, and training schemes, as they wheeled & charged, always in formation seemingly effortlessly. The Zulu archers broke after only a few seconds. They saw their arrows rebuffed by the armor the knights wore, and whilst they were killing horses, that would only unleash an un-mounted beast. Within three hours the city of Ulundi was theirs.

        The events of the last few hours were more like a dream than anything else. First had come rumors about a new empire, with new technologies at war with the Zulu’s. Then Mpondo had asked Frederick for a cease fire. Frederick had insisted upon a peace treaty and reparations (although the sum of 50 gold was more a gesture than anything useful). Frederick had little choice but to make the peace treaty. Whilst he had several defensive units these were committed to defending his cities. Meanwhile he had no attacking units except for 2 archer units, still holding the center. What if this new civilization attacked him too? Although whatever it was that had made Mpondo react so quickly must have been pretty scary he had fought the Zulu's and knew the skill and numbers of their troops, surely there was no empire more powerful then them. If there was, he had to react quickly. This could be the chance of a lifetime.

        Shanghai had fallen. The Chinese defense had been split, half to head towards the rapidly opposing English archer units, whilst some more Chinese defenders had been ordered North to make sure the Chinese capital, Peking, was under no danger. Finally a small force was left to defend the city, although it was considered more than adequate to deal with the scouting units the Indians would send. They could not get a force there so quickly. 'They' had been wrong. The Indian first, second, third, and fourth Knights unit had poured out of the hills, ripping apart the two archer units send to fend them off. Then the third knight unit had attacked the city, destroying the ancient band of warriors stationed there. It had been left to the fourth to occupy the city. Instead of regrouping for a counter-attack many of the units that came from Shanghai had given up. They had returned to Shanghai as farmers. The Indians had not attempted to enforce martial law, and had begun to hand out food etc to placate the locals. Having lived in a despotism all of their lives they were in awe of the technological advances the Indians had brought, they also realized that they had more freedom now than ever before. Better yet, the Indians were paying for their goods, and some of them were very rich. Some Chinese remarked as to how the Indian economy could survive, not understanding the complexities of the situation. A new day dawned and the Chinese went to work, like they always did, although now it was under a new banner.

        The Aztecs had swarmed over the hill. All of the units that had been sent North awaiting the arrival of the Aztecs had been cut off, as 5 Aztec legions swarmed over to the Russian city of St Petersburg Lenin puzzled over the reports he had been getting. He was no closer to working out exactly where the English cities were but a spy had managed to escape. She had told of the fact that the English had managed to find and trade knowledge with several civilizations known as the Chinese & the Indians. There were new reports of even more civilizations, Zulu, the word being used which the Indians may be at war with. Luckily the Indians & Chinese seemed to be attacking each other which was good since it meant that neither of them could attack him in the near future. Other reports had said that the English were involved in the war, on whose side nobody knew. An alliance between a new powerful civilization and the English was all he needed right now. The Aztec legions were too close for comfort. It looked like three archers and four horsemen had been cut off, another 3 chariot units were on exploring missions and too far away to be of any help. 2 more chariot units were hurrying back, but would only be of help if they could hold off the Aztecs for a long time. Apart from the city defenders that left him with the sixth archer unit, the third and fourth horsemen, and the eighth and ninth chariot units. His units were mostly mobile which would allow him to separate the Aztecs and try and destroy them piece by piece. With any luck he would not even need the help of other units.

        Having achieved their strategic objective, the Aztecs performed the strategic maneuver commonly known as the 'stop'. The settlers who had accompanied the legions stopped, and settled in the hills, next to the gold mines. The Aztecs had wanted this position from the start of the campaign. The legions were doomed to be destroyed on the flat plains ahead, and could not survive on the mountains behind. Here they would be in a position to strike when/if they got reinforcements. Meanwhile it would be almost impossible for the Russians to shift them from these hills, meanwhile they would build, and mine the gold, the ball was back in the Russians court, for all the good it would do them.

        Mao left most of his military decisions to his generals. He rarely ventured into the state room. But this was a time of crisis, he needed to make decisions quickly, and cut through the politicking.

        "This latest thrust had cut our empire in half, with the loss of Shanghai, and more importantly the great wall"

        "We must get them back", said Mao

        "More difficult than you would think, the people are warming to the Indians, they have the cities very strongly defended, with units beyond our comprehension"

        "In which case we must choose one city at a time to attack"

        "We have lost 3 cities in total, the biggest and most important of which is Shanghai"

        "Then we must fight there, and win"

        6 chariot units, 5 archers, and 3 horsemen, making up almost all of the Chinese attacking strength went towards the city. They were nervous. Was it true that Indian units had never lost a battle? So many rumors. But this was a very large force. The horsemen were outriders, making sure that the Indians did not conduct one of their lightning strikes which had cost the Chinese so dearly. The entire convoy had to move relatively slowly because of the presence of the un-mounted archers, but all units preferred it this way. When they finally fought they would be mentally and physically 'up for it'. Their first contact with the enemy came when they were only a days walk from Shanghai. An Indian explorer detachment was on top of a cliff, looking down at the Chinese passing by. The Chinese archers did not even attempt to dislodge them, they were causing them no harm, but now the Indians would be ready for the assault when it came. Who knew what tomorrow would bring.

        The people of Shanghai had rejected the Indians at first, but the Indian soldiers had a great deal of money, and this money soon overcame any taboos they had about contact with the enemy. The Indians had allowed the people their freedom. A riot was organized in which Chinese students shouted at the Indian soldiers to leave, unfortunately no Indian soldiers were anywhere near the square, and without combatants the crowd soon dispersed for more exciting endeavors. The Indians had been ferrying more and more soldiers into Shanghai, once again the city walls were manned. These soldiers would be on garrison duty here, and so they soon settled in. The Chinese welcomed yet more money, the economy was thriving, the restaurants alive with buzz of Indian and Chinese songs. Then one night the Indians were not on the streets. Word was spreading, the Chinese army was coming, people did not know whom they wanted to win, they were Chinese, but their brief encounter with the Indians had been most favorable. The Indians had achieved neutrality among the populace, and it would prove to be a most valuable commodity.

        Anand had eventually left the settler core. Although the work was not particularly difficult he had not enjoyed it. Now he was a soldier, the amount of money being poured into the military meant that its soldiers were well paid. He had enjoyed garrison duty, it promised to be a relatively easy year, before he, like everyone else was transferred to another post. Today however, Anands unit, the third Indian pikemen was needed. They were ordered to man the great wall that the Chinese had built. The Chinese would have to cross it before they reached Shanghai. A cloud of dust showed the progress of the Chinese army, it was close, mighty close.

        Mpondo had received more intelligence than he could handle. An advanced civilization, at war with several other civilizations was at war with him as well. They had a larger and more powerful army, which although split was most potent. They also had alliances with other powerful civilizations, who were approximately equal in technology. What worried Mpondo most was this 'Great Wall'. They had the time and the technology to create structures such as this. Mpondo would have to ask for peace, he needed time, lots of time.


        • #5
          5. Shanghai or Bust

          "WHY HAD the Aztec stopped"

          "There are valuable gold deposits in the area, the Aztecs have set up a city to mine these. It is a very good defensive position, it would take our entire army for us to dislodge them from their current positions. They can group more units for an attack, and attack at will, we have no good defensive terrain to set up upon between their city and ours. This combination of reasons make it seem the best choice they could have made with their current resources."

          "What should we do?"

          "Well Vladmir we must make peace with them, I think the major threat maybe the English with their new allies, whoever they are, we will need a period of peace to build up our military strength. Then we will crush the Aztecs, and whoever else gets in our way."

          "What about this new technology you were telling me about."

          "We now believe we can make our own legions. We are already half way through making our first unit."


          The German civilization was prospering. The threat of war over new cities had been founded. The German army had been brought up to full strength with remarkable speed, and then beyond. For the first time in its history the German army felt powerful, an intricate network of roads meant they could get to their defensive positions quickly, the Elephant units were now a mobile strike force, ready to force back the enemy wherever they might appear. Finally, the legions had been built. Based upon designs received from far off empires these units made all of the cities feel more secure. Thanks to this, and the new form of government that the Germans had been using, called Monarchy, productivity and trade was up. Finally the Germans had recently built the Colossus. This massive structure awed Zulu traders, and made them come back for more, it also attracted visitors from everywhere within the German empire, and was said to be increasing Berlins trade significantly. All of the German cities now had many city improvements, courthouses were proving a popular attraction in Berlin, and Frederick's popularity rating was soaring. Now this diplomat from the Indian empire had turned up. They had recently stopped their war with the Zulu’s, and Frederick was aware of the danger to his empire of an alliance between the Zulu’s and Indians. He needed the Indians favor, an alliance with the Indians would guarantee that the Zulu’s could not attack them again and would allow them more peace to build up their empire. The Indian envoy was most cordial and Frederick felt hopeful that an alliance could be ironed out. He offered 50 gold.

          "King Frederick, the Indian treasury contains over 1000 gold pieces, 50 more isn't much of an incentive"

          Frederick realized this was going to be more difficult than he thought, what to give to the civilization that had everything

          "Do we have anything you want?"

          "Well, we have heard good things about your legions"

          "Say no more, the technology is yours"

          "The Indian Empire thanks you, we will make an alliance if we can also have the 50 gold"


          Frederick had given away his only area of technological superiority and a large portion of his treasury, but he now had an alliance with the most powerful civilization in the world.

          The Chinese archers were too far behind to deploy, and so two chariot units deployed, the second and third. They could see the unit called 'pikemen' ahead, these were proving deadly to those on horseback, their short, sharp spears being used efficiently and skillfully. Ahead the pikemen had fortifications, the chariot units seemed to suddenly be upon them, the second chariot unit hit first, the horses swerved to one side, unwilling to charge into the solid formation, chariots behind surged into ones in front, killing horses and people and driving a seething mass towards the pikemen. Some of the men in the chariots turned and scythed their long swords towards their enemies, mostly the Indian pikemen deflected the clumsy blows. The pikemen retreated to the next set of fortifications, running so as not to be a target to the rapidly approaching third chariot units. The surviving members of the second chariot unit charged after the pikemen, thinking they were fleeing the battle, suddenly the pikemen turned, some of the Chinese horses did not have time to swerve, like missiles they tore through the Indian line, killing Indian and China-man indiscriminately, but the pikemen held.

          The attack of the third chariot unit was fragmented, they had to pass the pile up of the second chariot unit, and then found themselves yards away from the pikemen.

          Anand was shocked at the boldness of these chariots. They seemed so fragile, and frightening, but as long as his comrades held he would not desert. The Chinese third chariot was rebuffed. The Pikemen held.

          The Indian commander in charge of this sector had recalled all of his units. He had one pikemen inside the city, although he did not want the Chinese army to get anywhere near the city, if they did the loyalties of the citizens would be tested. Just outside the city were two elite veteran archer units. He also one knight unit nearby and one elephant unit. If he could hold out for a few days more knight units would be there. Meanwhile the English army was also near, and these factors would make the Chinese attack as soon as possible. Looking back to the battle the pikemen would not be able to hold against the Chinese archers, so they were recalled. The first phase of the battle had gone well, two of the six Chinese chariot units had been badly mauled, although not destroyed they would take no further part in this battle.

          The Chinese commander had been surprised with the ease he got this far, now he saw this campaign was by no means a sure thing. The pikemen were retreating in good order after destroying two of his chariot units. He would have to be careful, this Indian commander was good.

          The Aztec empire was a small empire. Montezuama was a perfectionist. If he had any cities, they would be in the best locations, and the military units must be the best. They all had to undergo serious training in order to live up to ideal of the first five Aztec legions. They had fought over difficult terrain against numerically superior opponents and they had one without losing a conflict, or even a unit. To Montezuama it was an example of why he ruled the way he did. He had only 4 cities, 3 of them were equally fit to rival any in the world and the last had the largest military in the world, more legions had been placed there, there were now 8 legions there, supported by 2 phalanx. The Russians had made peace, but they were nervous about this thorn in their side, but Montezuama knew they could not remove him from this hill. Montezuama was also happy about the amount of money that this new city was bringing in to his empire. That was why he had continued the war against the Russians, he wanted this position for a new city. Recently however, he was contemplating where to place his 5th city. The best positions in the area were already taken. He could load up a trireme and explore for a better position but triremes were so unreliable and expensive. Why not poach a Russian city? Although if he poached one the Russian may keep fighting and fighting until he had all of their cities He had the military, and there was only a short term left in the cease-fire. He had decided, and none of his advisers could change his mind, the Russians would taste Aztec steel until the entire Russian civilization was finished, then, and only then, would the Aztec civilization know peace.

          The Chinese kept in close formation, so that the archers could rain death upon those who assaulted the mounted units. The Chinese had been burnt once, they would not make the same mistake again. The Indians kept retreating back along the pass, the Indian commander content to just keep the Chinese coming. Then he ran out of space. The Indians had reached the head of the valley, and now the fight would begin.

          Anand had seen some of his friends die, but had rejoiced when the shattered chariot units eventually pulled back. Then the order to retreat had been given. Anand was confused as to why, but then he had seen the archers in the distance, the pikemen would have little chance against those. The next hours marching had been hard, they had constantly been pressed by the Chinese. Then as suddenly as they had started the Indians stopped and turned around. The Chinese deployed, the archers in front to face the pikemen. Then the Indian knights charged.

          The Chinese archers had been looking forward to the chance to get their hands upon the Indians. As the Indians stopped and turned round they thought they had it. Then the Indian eighth knights had charged, there orders were to cause as much damage as possible, to kill, maim, and burn. The Indian knights approached the archers with great speed, the Chinese felt as if these avenging angels were here to punish them for their earlier thoughts. Before the Chinese commander could react 2 of his archer units had been destroyed. The Indian knights did not retreat from the Chinese center, instead they continued, quickly horsemen plugged the gap. They seemed unwilling to fight the Indian knights in battle instead they marched towards them. The Indian knights were still in the center of the Chinese formation, horses were dying as arrows fell amongst them, but an un-mounted knights was still a dangerous one as they drew blood from their enemies in large scything cuts. The Indians refused to retreat, they wanted to keep fighting, to die.... then the elephants struck.

          The first elephant unit was a 'relic' they were being shown up by their knight brethren. Now they would show their commanders what 'relics' could do.

          The Chinese horsemen were pressing forward when a new noise came. The elephants were a fearsome sight, especially in charge, the Chinese horsemen moved to the flanks, content to let their already beleaguered archers fight these creatures. The Chariot units were about to hit and destroy the Indian knights when the new enemy had appeared. They were indecisive, and decided to hang back until it was clear what was going on. Meanwhile the archers were paying a heavy price for their indecision. The few mounted Indian knights were cutting through them like butter, whereas the rot was spreading through the archers as the un-mounted knights fought the archers hand to hand, the arrival of the elephants gave the archers even more targets, However they held firm and poured volley after volley into the large targets. The elephants eventually gave away, after crushing a big portion of the attacking army and scaring the rest close to death. However, the un-mounted riders joined with the knights, forming a tight circle.

          The Chinese chariots and horsemen were still untouched by the battle. The Chinese archers parted to let them through. The Chinese commander smelled victory, albeit a phyrric one. However, if the Indian resistance collapsed quickly he would still be able to continue today. Then the archers struck.

          The Indian commander ordered the archers to attack from the left side. The Chinese distracted by the enemy in the center of them, and the pikemen in front of them did not notice the Indians until the arrows fell. As one archer unit continued to load and fire, a second charged down the hill. The Chinese archers there were now assailed from two sides, and arrows from above, they fired a volley, then ran. This presented an opportunity for the Indians in the center to escape, but they did not run, instead they were reinforced by the archers. Instantaneously the two forces changed into line formations as the Indians advanced and the Chinese on the flanks retreated. There was so much activity that the Chinese did not notice the pikemen slip away.

          The Chinese commander had a rough idea of Indian forces in this area. That all of them were arrayed in front of him surprised him, surely it would be better to defend the city?? It was not for him to question the Indian commanders decision though. He would have to react quickly. He was finding it difficult to make best use of his mounted assets, the battlefield was so confined. He did not want to send his mounted units away to charge from one side as it would weaken his line further. He supposed this was why the Indian had chosen this battlefield. He suddenly had a new respect for his opposite number. Maybe he should retreat and regroup?? No, he was worried that if he ordered his units to retreat they may not stop. It was all down to his soldiers now, and looking at his superior numbers he suspected he had the advantage.

          Anand's unit had been watching the battle with some interest, they were supposed to be part of the unit garrisoning the city, but due to a technical anomaly his unit was actually two units, so one was still occupying the city. Now he watched as the archers charged. The ball was still in the Chinese half, but at least if they won here today the force would be crippled. Then orders had come, but where were they moving to?? After a few minutes it became clear, they were moving behind the Indian lines.

          Suddenly they were standing where the archers had been standing, and the order was the same for them as it was for the archers... "Charge"

          The Chinese commander had not noticed the absence of the pikemen until they suddenly bolstered the Indian line. It would make it much more difficult for his mounted units. Then a thought flashed through his mind. The way to the city was open, he would order his mounted units to attack the city, meanwhile his archers could withdraw, if they were quick enough they would only take medium casualties, and they could then take advantage of the defensive ridge. As the plans intricacies was sorted out he called for his aide, the timing would have to be just perfect.

          The Indian commander was surprised the mounted units had not left already, then suddenly the Chinese retreated and the mounted units went off. He watched as his soldiers executed their part of the plan expertly. As the Chinese mounted units approached the hill, they did not notice a large portion of the Indian army following them, meanwhile the archers began to trade hails of arrows with each other, numbers were about the same, the Chinese had the height advantage, but the Indians did not have to suffer the humiliation of retreating from the battlefield. The Chinese mounted units reached the top of the hill, then suddenly, they stopped. One and a half units of pikemen greeted them. The snippet of the pikemen the Chinese commander had seen was not enough to tell him of the disparity in numbers. Suddenly the mounted units were facing their fearsome nemesis. A pause filled the air, then a gentle thud, as the mounted units turned round they saw a large force approaching them from behind, pikemen among them, although not large numbers of them. Suddenly the Indian archer’s aim shifted to the concentrated ranks of mounted units which had drawn close together when they had stopped. The Chinese archers momentarily stopped to see what was happening. Suddenly the mounted units began to move, half of them charged towards the pikemen, half towards the other group. The Indian archers switched back to firing on their counterparts. The Chinese archers, realizing that their arrows would have little effect on the un-mounted Indian knights kept aiming towards the Indian archers.

          As the mounted units cleared the summit of the ridge they began to string out, the pikemen braced themselves from the impact of the enemy, as usual the horses stopped early, and not much got through after the pile up. To speed up the process and to close the lower jaw of the trap the pikemen charged.

          The Chinese commander had seen the ambush coming as soon as he had seen the un-mounted Indian knights go after his mounted units. He could do nothing, his plans had been foiled, and through the tactics of the opposing commander a superior position had been turned into an inferior one, the battle hung in the balance, but the commanders work was done for today, it was now up to the little people down below.

          Anand saw the mix of horsemen and chariots approach, he had utmost confidence in his commander and the men beside him, the pikemen in the group pushed their pikes forward. Unlike on the other side not all of the horses stopped, the gaps in the line allowed some of the enemy through, but the long swords of the Indian knights were equal to the task. As the group continued, leaving behind a trail of wounded, the dust cleared. The mounted survivors of the first wave had retreated back to back, in the background he could see more Indian pikemen, the Chinese horsemen scattered, they would do no more fighting today. As the Chinese mounted division scattered the Chinese archers began to edge back, the Chinese commander ordered the retreat, the attack on Shanghai had failed, and with it's failure the fate of the Chinese empire depended entirely upon the Indians.


          • #6
            6. Old hatreds

            MAO WAS not surprised that his attack had been rebuffed, when the enemy had superior numbers and superior technology, and your own people turned against you it was very difficult to win victories. Mao studied the maps, if he continued to fight he would be fighting a defensive battle, road links were poor so it would be difficult to reinforce his outermost cities. He had a large group of Indian knights heading towards his capital, and a long line of English archers. Individually he could probably hold out against either of them, but with both of them his generals were having fits. He would have to speak to the Indians, and speak to them soon.

            Gandhi had been getting increasingly unhappy with the way his civilization was going. There was too much war going on. He had developed his army so that no-one would attack the Indian empire, but he realized that his civilization was destined to concertina. If he kept fighting eventually his enemies would group together. He would make peace with his enemies and then concentrate on his technology, whilst always keeping an eye on his army.

            Sidhu was waiting to receive Chang. Both men were aging well. After the formalities were over Chang asked for a peace treaty, Sidhu demanded two more Chinese cities and money, Chang bargained him down to just the two cities. And so two more cities enjoyed the enlightened leadership of the Indian empire. The Chinese formed a peace treaty with the Indians.

            Queen Elizabeth was more than annoyed. The Indians had suddenly stopped fighting, after acquiring a great deal of money and cities from their enemies, and the great wall. What did she have to show for her troubles? 50 gold pieces. The Chinese had given them to her to stop fighting, they all knew that without the Indians the Chinese were more than a match for the English, and that soon the Chinese army would be back up to full strength.

            Montezuama had never been so enraged. Russian diplomats had tried to bribe his units!! Montezuama would not waste the lives of his honorable troops against these honorless curs, he had already disbanded the remote fourth city and had sold all of the city improvements in the rest of his cities. Now he was destroying his existing cities and pillaging any improvements around them. He was leading his peoples in a great exodus into the polar wastes, the triremes were already ready. He would not share his land with anyone!!! years from now he may come back to teach the peoples the meanings of honor, but until then he would leave.

            Lenin was surprised how expensive it was to bribe an Aztec legion. Then one day the Aztecs weren't where they usually were. Reports from along the border told him the Aztecs had gone, where?? It was the English all over again, but at least he had a rough idea where the English were.

            Lenin had recently made contact with more civilizations than he could keep tabs on. A council of leaders had been started now that all of the land within the great continent had been explored. Triremes had been sent round the continent and thereby concluded that the council members were the only inhabitants of it, Lenin suspected that the Aztec civilization had been wiped out, maybe by one of the plagues which were going about. In the council Lenin had already starting setting apart allies and enemies. The Zuluís and Chinese had suffered at the hands of the Indian empire and were therefore against it and its allies, although the Chinese seemed to be more Anti-English than Indian of German. Lenin was against the English which naturally put him in opposition of the Indians and Germans, although from what he had heard from the Zulu's, the Indian empire was not a good one to fight.

            In terms of military strength the Indians were marginally more powerful than the Russians, the Russians had more units but the Indians ones were higher up on the technological scale. The Chinese and Zuluís were next, being about equal, and The German & English were joint last, although the German army was growing rapidly. The Indians had a population as large as the Chinese one, but it was growing quicker than the Chinese because the Indians had more cities. Next were the Russians, then the Germans and the Zuluís, and last were the English. The Indians were also ahead in infrastructure, being slightly better than the Germans and English although not by much. The Zuluís and the Chinese both had a reasonably good infrastructure, Lenin's Russian empire had no infrastructure to speak off, something to work on though, and in technology the Indians were well ahead of everyone else who were roughly equal.

            Ultimately two power blocks were emerging, if one nation declared war against another nation now, all hell would break loose.

            Frederick was more worried than he had been in a little while. He would have felt safer if the Indian Empire had kept fighting everyone, now that it had settled down it gave other empires a chance to build up their armies. By allying himself with the Indians Frederick realized he could have set himself up for trouble. If any of the 3 'outer empires' as they had been called attacked the 'central triumvirate or vice versa his nation would have to mobilize its armies. However, being part of the central triumvirate gave several advantages. Trading with the Indian empire was really boosting his economy. Zulu traders were not allowed into his market places and vice versa, which meant that to trade Zulu caravans had to travel all the way around his empire, not surprisingly this was hampering the Zuluís somewhat. Besides, the Zuluís would fear attacking him now.

            Anand's son Akbar had witnessed the death of his father. He had been there at his fatherís bed when he had died. Anand had a good innings, he had been a settler in the days when the empire needed roads. He had been fighting in the now legendary battle of Shanghai. Now Akbar was continuing in the steps of his father. He was in one of the Indian crusader units. There had been no battles for several years, and Akbar was still untried in battle, but the training he had received made him believe he was ready for anything, especially being a crusader unit, a unit not as good defensively as the knight unit but better in attack, making it more than a match for anything in the outer empires.

            The Indian population had soared recently, strengthening the economy and increasing the rate at which technology was researched. The peace gave Akbar plenty of time to contemplate what to do in the future. Then one day orders came, it looked as if they were going for war.

            The Russian civilization had finally found the English cities, they had mobilized their armies and were moving towards them with great speed. The Chinese had already approached the Indians and said that they had no intention of fighting them. The Indians had said they warned the Russians that they would fight if the English were invaded. The Russians denied that they would attack, but they were fooling no-one. The Zuluís had said that they would fight the Indians if the Indians attacked the Russians, but they would be neutralized as the Germans said they would attack the Zuluís if the attacked the Indians. Ultimately this would mean a battle between the Outer empires - the Chinese Vs the central triumvirate. With the Zuluís & Russians having concentrated on building massive attacking armies this was an equal match up, the Indians would have to fight on 2 fronts, and the commitment that the Germans would make was dubious.

            To this end the Indian armies were moving towards the Russian & Zulu borders, and explorer activity increased dramatically on the Chinese border to give the Indians plenty of time if the Chinese allegiance changed. All of this was promising to be, as one German officer was heard to remark 'A very rare fight'.

            Queen Elizabeth was surprised at the boldness of the Russians, they were advancing straight towards her capital in force. By concentrating their force they were bypassing many of her defenses along the border. The Russians were using a highly mobile force, intending to win on speed. The main body of their force was elephants, a force of horsemen and chariots which were acting as scouts supported them. All of the knights that the Russians had were also in the force, but they only had a few as yet.

            The English force to counter this was far less mobile, the few horsemen and chariots that there were had already been positioned so as to make pre-emptive strikes when Russians approached cities, hoping to cause mayhem and destroy the elephants that were weak in defense. Most of the English force comprised of archers, these littered the course the Russians would have to take. Inside each city were 2 phalanx, an archer units, and catapults, making them quite difficult to take, however Elizabeth was in no doubt that the Russian force would reach her cities, whatever she did. By her calculations the Indian relief force would arrive just before the Russians could reach her capital, assuming that nothing went wrong. She would keep a large detachment of her archers hidden in her capital, after the Indians and Russians had killed each other she could use these to recapture any cities she lost, and punish the Russians for their impudence. Let the Indians shed their blood for her empire, her soldiers blood would be shed on Russian lands.

            Mpondo was going back to war. It felt good to be back into the strategy room after a decade of micro-management of cities. The Russians had warned him that they should expect trouble from the Indians and the Germans. This had given Mpondo enough time to build up his army to the force it was today. He would attack the Indians, the first city he would take was Ulundi, the city that the Indians had taken off him 12 years ago. If he did not attack the Germans they would have to attack him or be accused of playing neutrality. They would have to leave their excellent defensive positions for battlefields of his choosing. In one foul swoop he would inflict damage upon the Indian empire and conquer the entire German empire for himself, after which the Zulu empire would be the largest, and most populated civilization in the world, and take its rightful place at the head of civilizations.

            Indian cities had been developing a lot of projects, the pyramids and the oracle had both been built in Indian cities, these 'wonders' rivaled the lighthouse in Moscow, copernicus's observatory in Minsk, the hanging gardens in Peking, and King Richards crusade in Swaziland, and Marco Poloís embassy in Berlin. Now the Indian Empire had constructed a few more wonders, Leonardo's workshop in the Punjab, and Michelangelo's chapel in Calcutta. Leonardo's workshop was proving to be a most useful addition to the army, it had provided cheap upgrades to make the old units as good as new ones, unfortunately, Gandhi remarked 'It cannot make units out of thin air'

            It was the year 0bc and the world was going to war..

            The English archers had retreated from the hill, Russian horsemen had appeared from the South early in the morning. These were outriders, set to secure the path before the main body of the army came through. The English archers lay down, as the horsemen rode a path between two hills, heading North the English archers got up and opened fire. It was a cloudy day, and so the arrows seemed to take the shape of a new rapidly moving cloud. Against the dark Grey of the sky the arrows shivered, and then fell. The Russians heard the noises, and looked around, then half of them fell to the ground. The Russians broke and retreated. Then a Russian chariot unit charged up the hill. The English archers defending the hill were veterans, they timed their volleys together, making the Russians shy away. Some of the Chariots reached the archers, their long swords carved notches into the English ranks before being hit by arrows, or skewered by the English short swords. Then the archers saw a Russian knight unit in the background. Archers had learned to fear knights, and so the archers retreated back to the next range of hills.

            There a catapult waited, trained upon the ground between the two hills, where the knights must emerge. They waited for what seemed like an eternity.. Maybe the Russians had spotted the trap, maybe they were making their way behind the catapult, just then the Russian knights came into view. Once a few knights had passed the catapults fired.

            Knight armor was incredibly tough. Iron, hardened by being struck repeatedly, forged and reforged, was made into breastplates and helmets. More armor was made for the arms, and legs, chain mail filled the gaps ultimately making a man very difficult to kill with arrows. Veteran knight units, who were paid more could afford larger horses, and tougher and thicker armor. Almost all of them chose to make this investment for their own sakes. The armor on these veteran units totally protected them from arrows at long range, and even at short ranges arrows could not penetrate the armor on the head or torso, meaning that a knight could survive several hits.

            The Russian knight unit were veterans, however, none of their armor did much to stop the basketball-sized chunks of rock hurtling towards them, accelerated to great speed by the mechanism of the catapults. They were literally blown from their horses. The knights were momentarily disorientated by the fierce accuracy of the veteran English catapults. Suddenly a smattering of arrows fell among the knights. Little was done to the knights but their horses died. Immobilized and assailed by two different units in defensive terrain the Russian knight unit reluctantly retreated.


            • #7
              7. Fools Errand

              THE RUSSIAN advance had halted at a pass between two hills. It was a good defensive position, and by all accounts that Elizabeth had heard her soldiers had fought well. The question was what to do now. The Russians could not afford to advance their elephants until they knew the way ahead was clear, a sudden attack by a few archer units could cripple their attack. This unexpected resistance had stopped the Russian convoy. If she sent reinforcements she could choose her battlefields, and maybe even cause enough damage to stop the attacks. The Russians would not also be expecting these reinforcements, enhancing their effect. If however these mobile units were lost she would be hard pressed to guard against another attack. She took another look at the map. The Russians had to capture these hills. If she held these she could gain respect from the Indians and if the Indians continued into Russia she could send her units along and capture even more Russian cities than she anticipated. That clinched it, she would gather her horsemen and chariots and send the Russian units back from whence they came.

              "Damn it, tell them to attack!"

              "Well sire they have already been broken by the English catapult units"

              Every moment that the Russian convoy halted allowed the Indian relief force to get closer to the English capital, York. Meanwhile the English defenders on either sides of the Russian attack had pulled back and out of the Russians sight, they could lay ambushes anywhere along the route. Now the only available unit which was in a position to attack had gone to the brink of desertion, they had already been broken by the defenders on the other side of the hill. It would be tomorrow before the next knight units would be in position to attack, and who knew what devilish surprises the defenders would have prepared.

              "Sire, I suggest we attack with the elephants"

              This interruption was by Petrovsky. He had been appointed chief military adviser to placate the governor of Minsk, who was getting very tetchy as he felt his good work was not being rewarded. Lenin had contemplated having him removed, but even his critical eyes could spot no flaws in his governorship, and the people recognized that too.

              "Elephants have been proven to be useless against archer units, they have surprisingly thin skin"

              This was Trotsky, Lenin's aide who replied, whilst only being an aide, Lenin respected his opinion more than anyone else on his staff.

              A hurt look crossed the face of Petrovsky before he replied, although unconvincingly

              "We could place armor plates on them??.."

              "How many weeks exactly do you anticipate that taking, should we wait here for them to be made??"

              Were Lenin a less diplomatic man he would have smiled at this comment, but he had to be seen to be above this politicking.

              "I'm sure that elephants aren't totally repelled by arrows, and we have plenty of them milling about, it is worth looking into".

              Petrovsky, not recognizing the molly coddling beamed, whilst Trotsky did all he could to stop from laughing.

              "What the F*%^ was that?", asked Gandhi

              "Well, this powder explodes when we set light to it"

              "What are you calling it"

              "How about Gandhi powder"

              "Yeah...., I like that..."

              And so the new powder named 'Gandhipowder', or 'Gunpowder' in short, had been born, and the world would never be the same..

              The Russian knights crept into the pass, they could see no sign of the English, where had they gone?? Then the rocks struck. The English had placed the catapult over the crest of the hill, where they could move away quickly should the Russians attack in force, suddenly an archer unit emerged from the left, the archers fired hurriedly, attempting to kill all the horses as soon as possible. More Russian knightís came into the killing zone, unsure about which target to go for. Meanwhile riders fell off their horses as the arrows struck. Finally the Knights turned to the only opponent they could see, the archers. The English archers retreated back over the summit of the hill. The Russians blood was up. They ignored the boulders falling amongst them and continued towards the summit of the hill. Strung out the knights suddenly found themselves in a position they did not want to be in. From nowhere an English legion unit was now facing them. The knights had to continue their charge, but a second detachment of English archers began firing, catching the Russians in deadly crossfire. The Russians turned and fled. But soon it appeared that even that avenue was not open to them, as the English legion charged down the summit an English chariot unit swept through the valley, cutting off the only line of retreat, meanwhile the boulders kept on falling. The Russians had no choice, they surrendered.

              It took all the self-restraint that Lenin could muster to avoid clouting Petrovsky. Two of Leninís best and latest knight units had surrendered. The English would get the horses and the armor, the English army was big enough without his armies adding to them. The fact was that this pass was untakeable. They could not hope to get any units over these steep hills, not with any equipment, and even if they did they would only be on a level footing with the English. If they tried to go around it would take a great deal of time, and even then the best they could hope for was a narrow pass for the elephants to get slaughtered in if anyone in English high command had any sense. He failed to see how his commanders had not seen this flaw before. How they could not have noticed that this was a perfect site for the ambush. First he had blamed Trotsky, but Trotsky pointed out to Lenin that this section of the route was planned by one Alexander Petrovsky. Now Petrovsky had asked if the armor for the elephants was ready yet, and claimed that if his plan had been followed they would not be in this mess. Finally it all became too much.

              "Petrovsky, who organized this part of the military operation?", Lenin asked. Petrovsky who had been hoping that no-one would notice his little faux-pas was taken aback,

              "I believe I did Commander"

              "And just what did you think would happen once we reached this path"

              "Well, if we could seize it early on in the campaign then I thought we could place a feint here and attack further to the North", Petrovsky hoped he had given the right answer, he wasn't sure whether the bit about the faint wasn't embellishing the plan a bit, but he thought it might impress Lenin, who didn't seem to be angry at all, if he had been standing closer, he may have noticed one of the veins in Leninís temple throbbing, but he wasn't.

              "Intelligence reports told you that the enemy had a sizeable presence here though"

              "Well yes, but you know how inaccurate intelligence reports are sir"

              "Well, they proved to be rather accurate this time, wouldn't you agree?"

              "I suppose so"

              "You suppose so, in fact, have you ever known the explorer corps to be wrong"

              "No commander"

              "So you assumed, that for the first time in it's history the explorer corps was wrong, just at the time we were planning the most important campaign in our history"

              "Errm, yes, I mean.." Petrovsky paused to consider, he did not like where this conversation was going. "Well, I expected us to sweep the enemy aside without difficulty"

              "You expected us to 'sweep aside' veteran troops, fortified, with reserves on call, in the best defensive terrain this side of Moscow", spittle emerged from Leninís mouth

              "Errr, that is, if we'd had those armored elephants-"

              Lenin had turned white at the mention of the word, as if choking, and barely able to speak, then the color began to build at his forehead, and slowly spread throughout his face. Petrovsky had stopped, believing Lenin to have some kind of seizure, this myth was quickly dispelled as the words began to flow


              Petrovsky ran out of the room, a few seconds later pop his head round the tent-flap. He was about to ask for a note to give to his father, but this didn't seem like the right time, best be heading back to the tent


              • #8
                ​8. Chariot anyone?

                MPONDO WAS shocked to have met no resistance so far. He would have expected the Indians to charge out of their territory and set up a harassing retreat to slow the Zuluís down enough for the Russians to be decisively beaten. Then, once the Zuluís were into their territory the Indians would bring their armies to bear, and try and break down the Zulu army which was in disorder. Mpondo had planned to make it appear that his army was smaller than it was, then hit the Indians with the core of his armies. His victory would give the Russians new heart, and then the Indian empire would be his. But the Indians had not advanced at all. They had stayed in their fortifications. They had also told the Germans not to attack, they were content to face the Zuluís alone on an even footing. Rumors were there had been massive troop movements ahead of his army. Mpondo could see from the clouds of dust raised that a large army seemed to be approaching the fortifications from the Indian side, at the same time, soldiers seemed to be leaving the fortifications. What the hell was going on??

                Mpondo's army kept moving forward. Mpondo planned to overrun the defenders here with sheer numbers, and move on as soon as possible. He planned to lead the charge of the first elephant unit. The mountains loomed large overhead, and Mpondo felt the joy of battle drawing near.


                The Indians held their pikes high, beckoning the Elephants near. Then, at 40 yards away the world exploded. Mpondo, being immortal was not killed by the metal pellet rushing into his chest. He lay in pain on the ground whilst his body rebuilt organs. The metal pellet rolled out of his chest and onto the ground. Within minutes Mpondo could walk, albeit stiffly, he felt a pain in his heart, but it was not just the rebuilt organs fusing awkwardly with his old ones, it was the destruction of his attack. Was his army so far behind the times, was his empire so antiquated, could he rule the rest of his term. Looking to the victorious Indians celebrating he decided that a major rethink was needed.

                Lenin was surprised how recklessly his diplomats used his money. The Russian Empire was now penniless as reparations were paid to the English and Indians. Humiliating turns had also been enforced onto the Zuluís. Lenin was pleased to note however the friction between the Indians and the English, some Indian units were being moved into locations along the border. However, Lenin had to admit those units might have been put their because there was no-where else to put them. An immense line of fortifications were built around the Indian Empire, and these were heavily fortified, so they could not be bribed away. Then roads had been built to every one of these fortifications.

                All around the Indian cities were irrigation, and roads, and mines. Lenin desperately wanted that empire. He realized that everyone did. That was why the fortifications were there. The only way that he could get a piece of the Indian empire was with the helps of the Zuluís, & the English. Since Mpondo had been wounded little had been heard from the Zulu Empire. It had hidden itself away. What Lenin would like to do is form a closer alliance with everyone against the Indians, but he had not gone about it the right way, his blood soaked vision alienating the Chinese, his plans destroying the Zulu army, more specifically Petrovsky's plans. The Germans could not ally with the Russians so long as the Russians were allied with the Zuluís. Meanwhile his civilization still controlled the English capital and he had just finished a conquest which had resulted in a great deal of blood lost on both sides. No, the Indian problem required a diplomacy which would take a great deal of time and efforts. Looking at the line of fortifications he became angry... he swept his hands across it knocking the plastic representations of Indians units across the room.... if only destroying the Indian units were as easy.

                Elizabeth hated the way that the Indians had anticipated her moods. She wanted revenge on the Indians for placing units on her border. But with what? The Russians had taken a heavy toll on her armies. She needed to rebuild her armies, and quickly. She would sell all of her granaries, let her population starve for a little while, that way they would be more grateful when her conquests bore fruit. "Moreau!", She called her advisor.

                Moreau was beginning to hate this woman. He received little thanks for all the work that he did, all the diplomacy he had to impart when issuing her often-bizarre orders went unnoticed. What worried her though was her hatred of all other civilizations. Now Moreau was listening to some totally insane orders- sell all the improvements they had toiled so hard for. What was going on?? Could he stand by and watch this woman (immortal though she was) ruin what they had worked for. Elizabeth stopped talking. She anticipated Moreau's confirmation that he had received the orders and then his swift departure, but Moreau just stood there. Then he suddenly became very animated:

                "No, these orders are insane, much like you have become..."

                In 1000 years of immortality no one had dared contradict Elizabeth. Surprisingly she did not feel much anger. Moreau stood impotently waiting for some response. Elizabeth suddenly realized that she loved this man...

                Frederickís empire once again was blossoming. Now that the Zulu armies had retreated the Germans could get back to what they did best, trade. German chariots were 'in'. A popular German chariot company, Mercedes had recently sold a vast no. to the English. Frederick was not worried about selling arms to enemies any more. The Indian Empire had ably demonstrated its ability to protect its allies, and Frederick woke up every morning staring at that document, housed opposite his bed. That was a brilliant decision to make an alliance with the Indians. He was a great ruler, the German Empire would soon rule the world not by force of arms but by trade.

                Mao considered the current political situation. The Indians were all powerful in the center. They had all the technology, a great deal of land and a massive economy. But their strength was also their weakness as a group of civilizations surrounded them, all wanting a share of the spoils.

                Mao was not surprised when the envoy came. He sensed a change in the atmosphere. Frederick was loyal to the Indians so long as they protected him, but the Indians could ask for little from his puny empire. Meanwhile the Russians & English both had imperialistic tendencies which made them want to raise the Indian Empire to the ground. Although Mao speculated, if they did it would only be a matter of time before they raised each other. Their mutual hatred of the Indians could lead to an alliance against the Indians. This would give the Germans no chance to help the Indians. Russians units would move through English territory. Mao noted the new fortifications along the Indian/ English border. Obviously Gandhi had spotted this threat. Now this envoy from the Russians, hinting at a renewed attack by the Russians & the English at the Indians, and seeking a reaction from Mao.

                Should he attack the Indian Empire? It offered great spoils, but even greater threats. Mao had always considered himself a force acting against barbarism. Nations had to maintain armies to keep the peace, Mao felt no contradiction of his morality in maintaining an army. However, he would not use it to attack. The Indians had proven themselves to be above petty imperialistic tendencies, maybe that was a weakness? It did not matter- he would not attack.

                Mpondo's army, its morale crushed its leaders slain returned to its cities. Mpondo needed more time to think. The Indians were too powerful. This technology they possessed scared him. His scientists could not even begin to come up with answers to the questions he asked. What policy should he pursue. Hints had been cast towards the renewal of war. If he could capture one Indian city.. he would fight. It was Autumn- and the Zulu army prepared to go on the warpath.

                It was autumn, season of change. Gandhi knew that soon his army would go to battle. It was not only his own intuition but also the reports of spies. It would seem this time the English would join in. No matter, for his scientists had worked on something spectacular, a weapon of unparalleled power- he would defeat his enemies, this time he would not show the compassion the Indian empire was known for, he would take no prisoners- these barbarians could not be trusted- so they must die..

                Frederick knew war was coming. It would help his trade- but then, if the Zuluís decided to attack him he must defend his empire. It was the Indian empire that the Zuluís were after- Frederick would make peace- so what if it jeopardized the alliance- after the Zuluís & the Indians annihilated each other he would need no alliances- and the value of the Chariot & Knights units his empire was hoarding would increase dramatically..


                • #9
                  9. Iron Army

                  ARUNAN STARED east. The cloud of dust was approaching. They had beaten this enemy once, now he was returning in greater numbers with greater allies, but Arunan knew Gandhi would not desert them. They would beat these Zuluís- beat these Zuluís down into their graves.

                  Indian commanders looked at the battle maps intently. Commanding Indians forces was becoming more and more difficult the larger they got- it required greater numbers of commanders. Gathered in the tent that served as mobile HQ they contemplated the size of the force they were facing. In terms of numbers they were outnumbered 3:1 on the Southern flank. On the Zuluís side the Indians were only outnumbered 2:1 but defensive terrain was not so good there. It would require a supreme effort to come out of this battle with acceptable casualties.


                  The English knights saw their enemy. They could see their muskets leveled, they saw the smoke, and collectively they felt the shudder of their losses. They pushed on though, the Indians frantically reloaded their muskets, and another cloud of smoke, a deeper shudder, they say the whites of their enemies eyes, then Armageddon.

                  The cannon posted on the left flank was full of a type of shell called 'case shell'. It ripped into the Knights, and sent them reeling. The English retreated in good order, they were the best of the best after all. Some turned expecting to see enemy muskets in the distance. Instead they saw the whites of their enemies eyes. The 9th musketeers had run down the hill, reloading as they went. The cannon fired again, its sound obscured by the resounding crash of one hundred muskets, the knights galloped off. The musketmen trudged after the fast retreating knights.

                  The Indian commander, Arjun had always wanted to fight an aggressive battle. Indian troops had been trained to fire & move. But this quality was rarely used, now Arjun smiled as the sixth cannon unit appeared on the flank of the English knights, guarded by a company of pikemen who in turn were guarded by another unit of musketeers. The already defeated knights had to run the gauntlet in order to get back to safety. Knight & man fell together unceremoniously as the English fifth knights took the pounding of its life.

                  In response the English commander brought out 2 more units of knights supported by 3 units of archers. They charged the sixth cannon unit. The cannon withdrew, leaving the pikemen and the 9th musketeers to face the enemy.

                  The bugle urged the knights further, the 3 notes being played again and again as if they controlled the outcome of the skirmish. The Indian 9th musketeers were veterans but hopelessly outnumbered. If they formed squares they would be shot to pieces by the archers, if they formed line they would be ridden over by the knights, they did neither- they charged.

                  Their charge corresponded with the arrival of the 18th musketeer unit, which tore into the flank of the English force. The English assailed from two sides stood still despite every muscle in their body telling them to do otherwise. They charged the 18th musketeers, exposing their flank to the other side of the 9th musketeers.

                  By now the English archers were making their presence felt, arrows falling amongst the Indians of the 9th musketeers, luckily for the Indians they were outside the archers optimum range, few arrows reached them, but those that did tore holes in the line.

                  The knights however were facing a new problem. The Indian pikemen unit had interposed itself between the knights and the 18th musketeers, it was too late to stop the charge though, the pikemen's ranks seemed to be shredded as the knights meet them. A pile of horse and man. At an order the pikemen turned, ran a few paces, then dived to the floor.

                  The Indians musketeers used the opportunity to fire. As the remaining pikemen got up (1/4 of their number having being trampled into mush) they saw the English knights retreating, they had fought enough for now.

                  The English archers advanced towards the 9th musketeers, sensing that their numbers could win this conflict. They were so absorbed in their work they barely noticed their knights retreating, and the noise of battle obscured the order to wheel, the first they knew of another enemy was the sudden absence of many of their comrades.

                  The English commander mentally urged his archers to wheel, he felt the shudder as the 18th musketeers opened fire. The archers started retreating, taking casualties but too shaken and too far away to effectively deal them out. Luckily for the English the knights rallied, they moved to the flank of the 9th musketeers. It was forced to wheel, towards them, giving the English archers a chance to reform their lines.

                  As the English archers moved towards the 9th musketeers the 9th moved into line with the 18th, forming one big clump. The Indian pikemen stood between the English knights and the 9th musketeers. The battle lines once again drawn up the English advanced. Upon this battle lay the fate of a pass into Indian territory, if the English won here today, not only would they be heroes but their campaign would start a far greater chance of success.

                  And so the English commander brought out 2 more knights units, he was taking a big risk. He had half the troops he commanded on the field, he had wanted to take this pass with far lighter casualties, but the wheeling and dealing of this Indian force had stopped him.

                  A slow steady advance began. The musketeers and the archers trading fire from long distances, with the musketeers getting the best of it, by the time the archers had got to optimum strike range they were badly shaken up, and unable to cause many casualties to the musketeers. Meanwhile the musketeers switched to the knights who quickened their base. A block of pikemen lay in the knightís line of advance, its purpose to act as a breakwater, funneling knights down avenues of death. For now though, it became the target of the archers. The knights began to canter forward. It was the knights versus the musketeers. The knights contemplated victory as the Indian musketeers had little effect on the numbers of the massive knight unit. Then the charge began, the knights raising dust as their horses ran full tilt at the musketeers, who calmly fixed bayonets and waited. Once again there was Armageddon.

                  The sixth cannon unit had not gone very far, then turned round and headed to the battlefield, they returned at a most opportune moment. It looked however like it was not going to be enough to the stop the English knights, who realized that this was merely a distraction, albeit a dangerous one. Then Armageddon seemed to come again, as another cannon unit fired from the other side of the Indian musketeers, this one had earlier stopped one charge, but even it could not stop this one, the English knights had enough of this 'gunpowder' stuff, they would show these Indians what steel was.

                  And so it became the steel of the knights against the steel of the Indian bayonets. The English archers became the focus of the cannon's attention, the English knights & Indian musketeers were too close for the cannons to fire there. The English archers broke, but no one really noticed...

                  The Indian commander watched as his now very depleted pikemen turned and headed towards the English knights, all of his units were fighting, there was nothing more he could do, the cannons were ordered back, there work done for the day.

                  The knights were supposed to crucify these musketeers. They had the advantage of height, and their trained horses. They had longer swords, and thick armor. The musketeers should have run, but the Indian Empire had never yet lost a battle. They thrust their bayonets forward fighting with a savagery which astounded the knights.

                  Astounded, but not broken the knights continued to press forward, using clumsy slashes as opposed to neat thrusts, they were losing their technique, but they were still killing. Both sides entered bloodlust, a state where they cared neither for their lives, or the lives or their enemies, men fell at increasing rates, which side would run first.

                  The English commander realized it was too late to call in reinforcements. He was proud of the way his knights were fighting, pushing on, regardless of casualties, but also worried, the battle hung on a knife-edge.

                  Arjun broke that knife-edge- sending his command lance, him and a few other mounted officers into the flank of the English knights turned the battle. The Indian bugle ordered the charge- a moment of doubt crept into the English knights minds- they took a step back, then another, then several hundred- leaving the Indians to bury the dead.

                  Other battles did not go so well for the Indians- the 13th & 14th musketeers had bravely fought to the death on the East against elite English units & destruction had also met the 6th & 7th musketeers on the West who fell to Russian elite units. The Indian line had been broken, and some Indian forces would have to retreat so as to avoid being cut off, but there were bright spots. The 2nd & 3rd musketeers- elite veteran units had crushed 6 archer units- for this the two units had been merged as the 'Indian First Guards',- creating a hole in the English lines letting 3 Indian knight units behind the English lines, cutting off supply lines & undoubtedly causing pandemonium in English HQ. At the same time some Indian units were arriving from the Chinese border- and their were rumors that Gandhi had prepared a secret arsenal and it was making its way towards them!!


                  • #10
                    10. Strange Bedfellow's

                    QUEEN ELIZABETH & Lenin were sharing one HQ. Not only was it supposed to create a sense of unity between the armies but also it was practical. Information could be exchanged easily. The English and Russian soldiers were not entirely comfortable with one another, having been fighting each other only recently, however, they followed their orders, and the losses they suffered at the hands of the Indians united them. The campaign had been organized rapidly- Leninís troops pouring through English territory towards enemy fortifications. English units converged alongside the Russians, East of them. Supply lines guarded and every troop mobilized the two column poured towards the Indian lines. They had expected to hammer through this thin line of musketeers at a few points, cutting off the others, and then marching along roads Gandhi seemed to prepared for them on a zigzagging course through many cities, ultimately leading to Delhi. They were the hammer. Meanwhile Mpondoís forces would slowly advance, razing everything in site and demanding attention from the Indian armies- he was the anvil.

                    Already though the hammer was being blunted. Whilst some victories had been, they would not be able to get past the Indian lines in time, the Indians had bought themselves the opportunity to retreat. Ultimately it should not matter- musketeers were not very mobile, and now they would have to fight on battlefields of The Anglo-Russians alliances choosing- still, Lenin & Elizabeth both had fears about what lay ahead- they knew so little about Indian technology, these cannons they had unleashed had proved devastating... No plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

                    This place brought back many unhappy memories. The Indian musketeers had lined up on the ridge. They had poured volley after volley into the dense ranks of the Zulu first elephant unit. It had been an elite veteran unit- riders had trained long and hard- but they had never reached the enemy. Instead volley after volley had ripped the unit to shreds.

                    Now it was a different campaign and his enemy had retreated before him. Morale was high once again, and humiliation of 2 years ago had disappeared.

                    Mpondo was supposed to raze all before him but Mpondo rejected that idea. He would fight Indian soldiers but not Indian civilians, following the lead set by the Indians themselves. Meanwhile he had to track down an enemy to fight. The Indians were content to give ground in the knowledge that eventually Mpondo would face supply problems, and they were right, however his analysts had concluded he could capture 2 cities before he was forced to consolidate his gains- although, a part of his brain quoted a phrase to his mind which sent a shiver up his spine; "No plan ever survives contact with the enemy"

                    Gandhi looked at the maps- his forces had made contact with the enemy and so far everything was going to plan. Gandhi had expected his units to the South to be far worse off than they were now, instead they were still a very effective fighting force. It was odd to thing that this put his plan in jeopardy, but the problem was easily solved as the musketeers next movement would be to the flanks away from where he wanted the English & Russians to go. Meanwhile, on the Zulu side his forces had retreated. Soon they would wheel and stay put- forcing Mpondo to deploy in his battle formations and attack. His forces would fight and retreat- fight and retreat and harass the Zuluís, who had not put as much thought as the English & Russians into supply lines- ironically it could be Mpondo's miscalculation that saved him.

                    In the din of everyday life the little explosion was not heard- York was a busy city- The English had gunpowder.

                    The Indian first riflemen had not trained at any of the academies like other troops- they had been hidden away- a neat little experiment. Now the first riflemen unit was leading the new rifle brigade- 8 units strong.... they marched along the straight road- so they raised little dust. The straight road led to the heart of the enemy formation.

                    "What the &%#! is that!!"

                    The Russian knights were approaching what appeared to be musketeers- the musketeers started aiming at well beyond their optimum range- the knights cantered along- preparing to jeer the Indians for their foolishness- then half of their number died- suddenly the Indians did not appear so foolish.

                    The year was 1380- Lenin & Elizabeth were surprised when the Indian musketeers had moved to the flanks- maybe Gandhi realized they would be defeated by superior numbers and so wanted them spared the full force of the battle. This suited them fine!!

                    Then they had met a large contingent of musketeers- bolstered by what they saw as a victory both English & Russian forces charged towards their foe. The alliances elite units were sent forward to clear this obstacle as soon as possible. When no word came more forces were sent forward- the alliance could not foresee anything less than total victory. Then reports came back, and a map could be drawn from these reports. The 'riflemen' as they called themselves had not been touched, the elite units had been shattered beyond repair, and now the riflemen were advancing. The Indian musketeers behind the alliances force had not moved around to the front, instead they had retaken fortifications behind the alliance- Lenin almost laughed out loud when he realized they were the anvil whilst this new force was the hammer. The entire attacking force of the Russian & English empires was trapped between an unbeatable enemy, and a fortified near unbeatable one. After defeating them the Indian force could smash through English defenses to capture the English empire- and they could carry on, capturing the Russian Empire at the drop of a hat- it was going to be a long day.

                    Frederick had received confused reports. First it appeared that the Alliance was winning, that the Indian empire was being beaten- if it was it was bad news, but Frederick had already made a secret alliance with the Zuluís- even if the alliance won their attacking strength would be pathetic, and they would have little to defend what was the Indian empire- The Zulu's & the Germans could take a share of it, ensuring that if other civilizations ganged up against them they would have a suitably large population and production to survive.

                    On the Zulu front it seemed like Mpondo was paying dearly for the ground that he won, but slowly he was grinding down Indian forces.

                    Suddenly, the English & Russians suffered a disastrous defeat, Mpondo swiftly withdrew his armies from Indian territories, paid huge reparations, and starting fortifying his units well clear of the Indian border.


                    • #11
                      11. Prodigal Returns

                      THE YEAR was 1400. The English Empire was but a memory- The Russian Empire consisted of one city- Moscow- surrounded by enemies. Following the annihilation of the English forces the Chinese empire had declared war on them- whilst Indian units had to overcome the English defenders the Chinese empire strolled in and captured city, after city. Then both sides went after the Russians, again the Chinese repeated the same trick. As the dust settled the Chinese empire became the most populous in the world once more- a renaissance came about, Chinese scientists worked hard to catch up with the Indian ones. The German empire meanwhile had integrated itself with the Zulu empire- both sides feared for their safety as the giant Chinese & Indian empires allied. Recently the political situation had become tense. The English sections of the Indian & Russian empires wanted back 'good queen Bess'. Elizabeth was being held in a cell in Peking. The Franco-Zulu alliance was doing all it could to cause trouble in the area (covertly). Over the next few yearsí tensions built. Fortifications were built along all borders and both sides did all they could to build themselves up militarily.

                      The raiders were no ordinary barbarians. The Franco-Zulu riflemen fired at these vehicles, but their bullets did nothing. One of the vehicles had eventually been blown up as one frenzied German ran up to it clutching a grenade, a small gap in the armor had emerged, the riflemen threw more grenades at the vehicle. Bruised and battered the vehicle stopped, then it exploded, sending shards of metal far and wide. Other vehicles were untouched, and the riflemen had used most of their grenades on the one vehicle!! The order was given to retreat, the slow moving vehicles continued their march over the rough terrain. Artillery was brought up- the vehicles fired in unison, the artillery commander looked up, and saw his team dead. He lit the fuse as another vehicle fired. He had the pleasure of seeing one of the enemy blow up before the shards of metal came for him- the artillery commander died a happy man.

                      Fritz Gunnheld Shaka- a man of mixed descent watched these vehicles with amazement- nothing was stopping them- they continued their relentless advance- on top of the vehicle was mounted a long forgotten banner- the Aztecs were back.

                      Back in the frozen wastes Montezuama surveyed his empire. Since the time now called the exodus much had happened. The Aztec Empire moved in a giant train to the frozen wastes- Montezuama knew he had been called here, but as the food supplies dwindled he sought guidance. One wind torn night he left the train. As the snow whipped across he momentarily entertained the thought of not going back to the train- as one of the immortals Montezuama needed no food and felt no hunger- why not get away from the responsibilities of leadership? In the middle of the bleakness Montezuama heard a little splash as his foot stepped in a puddle- odd- all water froze here, except here a hot spring provided warmth enough to melt the water. Montezuama looked through a thin layer of ice and thought he could see the swift eddying currents. From he saw the glimmer of fish before it disappeared. Montezuama hurried back to camp, this place was not as barren as it seemed!

                      During further explorations large subterranean caverns were discovered, and, with the warmth from the springs soil peeked through... during the 3 months that was summer light fell continuously on the outside and life blossomed around the spring- The Aztec empire grew...

                      Back on the ďGreat ContinentĒ Great changes were occurring. The Indian & Chinese empires watched as the Aztec empire formed a beach-head at the South of the continent. A non-aggression pact was signed by all inhabitants of the Great Continent until the Aztecs were beaten- The Aztecs had not responded to any diplomats and were destroying everything that lay in their path-even the Franco-Zulu empire seemed less inclined to make trouble realizing that they would not last 5 minutes against the Aztecs alone. War councils were held- trying to find ways to delay the advance of these numerous Aztec machines- the only thing capable of breaching their armor was artillery- and that only at close range. Ambushes were planned- and roads destroyed- 3 massive armies made their way South- to the War Zone.

                      Montezuama was pleased at the progress that his machines were making- they were more than a match for anything the opposition could throw at them. A distressingly large number of tanks has been lost in ambushes- but Montezuama knew that if they could make it past the Southern mountain range then there would be nothing capable of standing in his way along the giant plains of the Great Continent.

                      The Seventeenth tank division was attacking along the right flank of the advance. The Aztec advance could be likened to a spearhead. The elite tank units were taking the center (1-7) and the other 10 units were taking the flanks (5 each side). Behind this spear head Aztec alpine troops were providing close support where necessary, and fortifying important positions- further still Aztec riflemen were helping engineers to construct roads and railways to support the front line but they- as a tank division were the steam roller- the unit that ground everything down. Recently however they had been doing a little more grinding. The Alliance facing them was adapting its tactics- making hit and run attacks- placing ambushes. Once an entire enemy rifle battalion had hidden itself, and then thrown hundreds of grenades upon part of the convoy- 5 tanks had been destroyed in one go- the rifle battalion had then escaped with surprisingly light casualties- considering the other 20 tanks of the division had been firing at them. Now this looked like a likely place for an ambush. 2 hills- very difficult to get round, a narrow path through the center, with steep slopes. Damn their command- if they had support from alpine troops the tanks could be advancing twice as fast.

                      The twenty remaining tanks in the division advanced slowly- guns pointing up towards the summit of the hills- turrets slowly swiveling. As the sun set the tanks continued- maintaining their vigil- then the alliance attacked....


                      • #12
                        12. Dead Lock

                        FIST THE artillery pieces were moved forward- as ten of them suddenly appeared and fired in unison a few Aztec tanks fired back angry retorts- from the other side of the hill appeared infantry- they charged down the hill, preceded by grenades which dented already bruised Aztec tanks- as they closed on the tanks Aztec machine guns mowed down those who got too close, whilst the rest dived and began throwing their stock of the grenades downwards.

                        The artillery stopped, silenced by the volleys from the tanks, most of their crews had fled, and a few had charged downwards- throwing grenades at the tanks. As the Aztec machine guns continued their incessant roar more artillery pieces, and more riflemen appeared- The Aztec tank commander gave the order- the retreat was sounded. Battered and bruised- but not beaten- 11 Aztec tanks limped back- leaving behind a trail of German bodies.

                        Montezuama faced a problem. To allow Alpine troops at the front line would increase the speed at which his tanks could travel- and also reduce the number of tank losses that he was suffering. The problem with this course of action was that it would drastically increase the number of human casualties he would suffer- he also risked large numbers of prisoners being taken. However- it was clear a change needed to be made. The 15th, 16th, and 17th tank divisions had taken heavy casualties, and the 17th tank division had even been forced to retreat. His right flank was in danger of being turned (with the horrible possibility of the alliance being able to use his own rail network against him). He decided that he would let alpine troops forward- after all- once he was past this pocket of resistance his tanks would have mastery of the field.

                        Gandhi looked at the maps- his army was in position and could begin a counter-offensive. Recently the German troops on their left flank had been having great success- turning back the Aztec offensive- however the elite units in the center were not really being slowed down much at all. Recent reports had indicated that the Aztecs were now using close infantry support- if that was true it represented a danger and a possibility, the Indian regiments now had a chance to inflict some very high casualties- but Gandhi wondered- on whose side?

                        Fritz Gunnheld Shaka had been one of those who first witnessed the encroachment by the Aztecs. He had been the leader of an explorer unit, and whilst he had played no part in the battle he was awed by the capabilities of these machines. The allied attempts at mimicking the technology had been laughable. There had been no ways of powering the machines except steam (no scientists had yet solved the mysteries of how the machines functioned). The steam tank had seemed like a good idea, it was an unusually hot day as the first crew made their way into the tank. Unfortunately The engineers had given little thought to cooling, and the first team were literally ďboiled aliveĒ. The second design provided more ventilation but even in this device the bulky engine overheated within seconds of moving. One engineer suggested they use horses, so desperate were the engineers by this stage they gave the idea a go, with predictably useless results.

                        The best that the engineers came up with were stationary turrets, they were capable of withstanding fire, and much thought was put into ventilation and cooling. An external steam powered unit was set up to pump air into the room. From this turret artillery commanders were able to aim more precisely, and take their time.

                        Leaders of various units, although disappointed at not having some functioning tanks after the money they had invested (the engineers had wanted for nothing) were nonetheless pleased to have another weapon for their arsenal, this and the development of the mortar promised to slow the Aztec advance.

                        Fritz was particularly delighted with the mortar, it would allow them to set up much better ambushes since they could now attack outside of line-of-sightís. Fritz had been given charge of the new technologies in a new special unit. They had been set the task of slowing the Aztecs elite units (the fact that these armor units were progressing much faster and with much more ease had not escaped the allies- they had been dubbed Aztec elite units).

                        Now Fritz waited. The Aztec tanks had been seen approaching, now with the accompanying alpine troops who always maintained a wide front to detect ambushes.

                        The approach of the riflemen was met by a volley of machine gun fire. The Aztec alpine troops quickly organised themselves in a line to meet this new threat. Attacks like these were becoming ever more frequent as the desperate allies tried to stop them before they reached the plains, foolish allies, nothing could stop them, they were the best, they were the elite.

                        The riflemen had hit the floor, their approach whilst brave was predictable, foolish, finally vulnerable, the alpine troops would stop the grenades from reaching the tanks. Suddenly a volley of artillery sounded.

                        Rham was leader of the elite Aztec tank and alpine troop units. For the first time in this campaign a wave of nausea swept over him. The alpine troops had been drawn one way, away from the tanks, and that had left the artillery to get them. Individually they were vulnerable and now he had a decision to make, engage the artillery at range or get in close. There really was no option, getting in close would make better use of his tanks mobility and allow him to finish these artillery off quickly. As the tanks approached riflemen emerged from the head of the valley. They outflanked both the alpine troops and the tanks, his forces had been split in two!! The allied riflemen engaging the alpine troops meanwhile were making use of the cover to withdraw slowly, not dealing out casualties but not taking many either (riflemen would always take casualties from the rapid fire of alpine troop machine guns). If he was to turn to face the new batch of riflemen then he could be sure the first rifle group would turn on him though. He had to withdraw the troops slowly to a position they could take both sides on.

                        The Aztec tanks meanwhile, upon reaching the summit of the hill had found curious machines awaiting them, they looked like tanks but were fixed into the ground. They fired artillery rounds, and they were damned hard to destroy. One sat there smoking, a testament to the destructive power of a barrage of Aztec rounds, however a tank also sat smoking, a testament to the destructive power of Allied rounds. Slowly the Aztecs were prevailing, their mobility paying off, but if there were more of these things....

                        Rham counted the flashes, there were only 8 turrets, 7 turrets now.. but why so many explosions now. Rham saw some explosions in the distance.... mortars, the Allies were using mortars, but if they were using mortars...

                        On the left flank of the alpine troops a cluster of explosions erupted. Fritz had walked up the Aztec approach several times, and worked out where he would have put his troops if he were the Aztecs, then he had concealed his mortars, and tested to make sure they could fire there. As it was the troops had arranged themselves slightly to the right of where he had predicted, but the result was the same, into the void riflemen charged, and alpine troops who thought todayís battle was won saw the faces of their enemy, some of whom, it seemed, barely concealed a mocking smile.

                        Alpine troop unit 3, one of the elite units charged into the fray. Rham had called for reinforcement as soon as he had seen the turrets, and by virtue of their excellent rail network troops had arrived not much later, however, in the short time it had take for them to reach the battle much had happened. The Aztec troops had not broken but had taken horrendous casualties and been forced to retreat, Aztec tanks had defeated the last of the turrets, but only 6 tanks of the original 20 were left, and Rham had seen little point in pitting them against the riflemenís grenades.

                        Meanwhile the riflemen had been reinforced, and kept driving the Aztecs back.

                        Alpine troop unit 3ís commander ceded command to Rham, and watched with horror as his troops were thrown into the gritty battle. It was the type of battle commanders dreaded, a phyrric victory, or a sad defeat, the only effect victory or defeat would have is on troops morale.

                        Fritz watched as his troops hounded his enemy, and at whilst he marveled at the solidity of the Aztec position he felt pride in these troops, his troops.

                        There was a weakness in the line, several riflemenís grenades had landed close to each other blasting a hole in the Aztec defense as some dazed Aztecs momentarily lost co-ordination. Johan lost no time, he flung himself forward, and into the gap, more by luck than any skill evading the bullets seeking him. The other riflemen were providing covering fire, as Johan turned to call his comrade over he saw him being jerked back violently. Johanís comrade did not even have time to scream.

                        Johanís eyes watered, but then the tears burned, anger seethed up in him. His vision clouded, and his body quivered with rage, a vein throbbed, harder, harder, he felt like he was going to explode. Picking up his rifle he charged, firing with accuracy he never knew he had he hit an Aztec gunner between the eyes, he dived onto the dead gunner, rolled, now piloting a machine gun. Everyone except him was moving in slow motion, an Aztec aimed, but he could see the gun aimed for above his head, he dived down, at the same time bringing up his gun. The recoil in the Aztec soldiers gun caused the bullets to go stray whilst Johan suffered no problem. Johanís momentum carried him head first into another soldier. Johan would have nightmares of this encounter now later but now anger burned in his eyes and the Aztec soldier, for the first time in his life, knew fear.

                        Minutes later it was over, part of the Aztec line had collapsed, allowing the numerically superior riflemen to collect some Aztec machine guns, and wreak havoc upon the enemy, the Aztecs had fallen back in disarray, an occasional mortar blast hindering their retreat.

                        If the Aztec commanders had expected Montezuama to be angry they would have been surprised. Montezuama calmly studied the maps in front of him. Elite units had been pushed back, nearly destroyed, his enemy had created new units that posed new problems. Rapt in thought Montezuama ignored the presence of his advisors. A rethink was needed.

                        Elizabeth had at first almost enjoyed being held prisoner. The pressure was off her, and she could relax in the comfort of her surroundings. Now however Elizabeth was not happy- she wanted to be back with her subjects, back to lead them to glory, as the days past Elizabeth wanted freedom more and more, freedom from this luxury. The Chinese had realized that if one day they needed Elizabeth then it would be best to have her Ďon sideí- hence the luxury. Now that day had come..... The logic was irrefutable, Aztec units were approaching ex-English cities, they would be lost if the citizens could not be incited to pick up arms. There was only one woman who could inspire these people, their long absent leader- Elizabeth was back.

                        Lenin meanwhile had watched the destruction of his empire. He had a large military force in Moscow- and for that reason, and in the knowledge that he would not dare attack, Indian units had held back, now they needed his leadership. Lenin regained control of many of his cities, and his thoughts were directed towards the Aztecs, who had launched this campaign because of him- only he knew that, and only he knew who Montezuama was after... but buried deep within his mind a little voice looked towards Foreign empires and seemed to whisper ďrevengeĒ....

                        Gandhi knew it was a risk- give those cities to Lenin and he may never see them again- but, its citizens would fight ferociously for Lenin, and that would slow the Aztec advance, meanwhile it would give him time to prepare more experimental units- this ďflame-throwerĒ looked suitably savage...


                        • #13
                          13. The End

                          MITESH HAD always known his heritage. He was a descendant of Anand, one of the warriors who had taken part in the legendary battle of Shanghai. Cadets learnt about that battle as a study of tactics, the use of his assets by the Indian commander was brilliant, and the Chinese commander had also performed admirably.

                          Now however Mitesh had no idea where he was. They had marched for weeks, the route they used had not been worn much, so Mitesh suspected they were not going to the Aztec front, but if they were not going to the Aztec front, where were they going?

                          His question was answered by the arrival of a new horizon, they were at the ocean. Having reached the summit of a hill they could see thousands of soldiers milling about, and transport units in the distance, Mitesh, his rifle battalion, and- from the looks of it- much of the Indian Northern army were going on a little voyage.

                          Mao meanwhile was watching a parade from the window of the imperial palace. Yet another rifle battalion was heading south, the battle against the Aztecs was taking a lot of manpower, giving cities away to the English had not helped a great deal, however Mao was pleased to see that the cities which had been yielding him little were now crammed full of riflemen- albeit English riflemen. Meanwhile his scientists had succeeded in producing many new techs, most impressive was the rapid firing mortar, which was proving to be most effective- although prone to overheating. New "light turretsĒ had also been developed, using mixtures of metals. These promised to pose new challenges for the Aztecs...

                          Tensions had been growing recently. Whilst there were many outward manifestations of the problem at its heart the problem was simple; Zuluís and Germans did not get on. They differed in many ways as people, and as cultures. Whilst the threat of the Indo-Chinese alliance had kept them together things were now fragmenting. Mpondo and Frederick both saw they could not stick together, the German-Zulu alliance was finished.

                          Operation bottleneck as it was called was beautiful in its simplicity. The Aztec forces were ferried across from the icy wastes. Arriving on the ďgreat continentĒ the forces went to their various designations, travelling swiftly along the railway lines, which, even yet the Allies did not have the technology to build. However, for their all of their technology the Aztecs could not produce units out of thin air. Operation bottleneck involved ferrying units to where the Aztecs landed on the great continent- by doing this they stemmed the flow of reserves, from there the task force could destroy railway lines, and ultimately cause chaos. Simultaneously the Allies would launch attacks on the wide Aztec front line, hoping to spread panic and open gaps. If Allied forces could fortify themselves with their new technologies amongst the mountains then the Aztecs might never remove them.

                          Mitesh ran out of the transport. The task of his rifle unit was to take the Aztec carriage towards the front line, pillaging the rail as they went. Once they neared the front line they would fortify themselves and prepare for attacks from ahead, or, if the Aztecs had succeeded in bringing reinforcements from the main continent, from behind.

                          The allies advantage lay in their intelligence. Montezuama had shunned diplomats, which allowed for poor counter-espionage on the Aztecs part. Allied intelligence agencies meanwhile had progressed a lot. Indeed a new type of diplomat had developed; the spy. The efforts of Hannibal, a spy in Anands time would now be considered pathetic to what modern spies could do. This intelligence allowed maps to be stolen so allied forces knew where to go, they also knew enemy troop designations, and finally, they knew the most important information of all, every single command on the great continent was organised through the Aztec town of Myomra, and Myomra was coincidentally the target for operation Bottleneck, it was the city through which all Aztec units from the great continent passed!

                          Meanwhile a firefight began in Myomra as the two alpine troop units, supported by a tank unit battled 6 units of riflemen, accompanied by mortars and artillery.

                          The Indian commander surveyed the area in front of him. The Aztec tanks were off in the distance, not wanting to engage the riflemen close, and content to rely upon their heavy firepower. The two units of alpine troops had formed a line in the buildings against him. In the towns grid-like pattern it would be difficult to flush them out. He had a few surprises up his sleeves though. A group of Aztecs were annihilated as the ďspecial unitĒ opened fire. They had been armed with captured Aztec machine guns!! The Aztec commander ordered his troops under cover as the ramifications of this unit hit him. His troops had lost their advantage.

                          Meanwhile the Indian commander ordered his artillery and mortars to shell the brick buildings, the Aztec commander watched in dismay as buildings, with his troops insides were slowly destroyed. He had no choice- the Aztec commander surrendured the alpine troops whilst the Aztec tank commander was ordered to flee and link up with other Aztec units, and warn them of what had happened here....

                          The truce was signed one week later. Assailed from all sides, lacking supplies, reinforcements, and news of their comrades one by one Aztec commanders has surrendured. Montezuama knew he could not keep on fighting, not only had the allies recaptured all the defensible and strategically important locations they had also captured a lot of Aztec weaponry, having his own weaponry turned against him was a thought to horrible for Montezuama to fully grasp. The last Aztec boat left the shattered remains of Myomra for the great bastions of the ice continent, never again to return- they departed as mysteriously as they had arrived.

                          As Gandhi heard the news of the truce something happened, he reeled on the floor, a pile of ash lay on the floor- to be joined by the body of Gandhiís advisor who promptly had a heart attack... simultaneously 6 other people died, 6 leaders of state...

                          They had forgotten why they had been sent there- so the gods had terminated their existence- on another planet, far, far away, the great game began again. Meanwhile- as news of their leaders death reached the populace the empires fought- fought like they had never fought before; where would the battles take them? This time no one knew.