It is a well known fact that nearly all civilized nations are responsible for the creation of smaller puppet nations. The reasons for this vary. Some are created to expand the influence of the parent nation in regions far away. Others are used in subterfuge to avoid nasty international incidents that could have devastating effects on the political instability of the parent, particularly if they are a member of the World Assembly. Though most are merely created for the amusement of others, or are purposely subdued in their technological advances to give the impression that they are inferior to their creators. This has the same effect of telling someone, “You're head's caught fire but at least you're not as bad off as those jerks in XYZ.” And so on.
The Empire of Zarquon Froods is no stranger to this concept and it too has indulged in the occasional spot of puppetry as a way of meeting an end. And though the nations that have sprang forth from under the watchful eye of Zarquon have been used mostly for diplomatic relations abroad, there are others, lesser known to anyone outside Zarquon Froods of course, that were created some thousands of years ago for but a single purpose. That purpose was for weapons testing. This is the story of one such nation.
The following document has been declassified
It began on a lovely ###### day in the middle of ####### in the year of ####. The ######## were in bloom and the ########### were singing their songs of ######## and ####### with a hint of ####### thrown in for good measure as if to say ####### ###### to the rest of the world.
Far out in the western part of the nation, things were different. The heat was sweltering, the sand was unyielding and the sky absolutely refused to open its borders to allow even the tiniest cloud to pass through it. Though not because it chose to segregate against such things, it merely worked very hard to maintain its brilliant shade of blue and wasn't about to let it be ruined by a bunch of lazy cumulonimbus vagabonds. It was in these harsh surroundings that men were REAL men and women were REAL men as well. For here it was that no one had lived for centuries, and here it will be where one nation shall meet its fate.
The desert lay at the edge of Zarquon Frood's western most border, meaning it lies along side the ####### Ocean. The shoreline is a wide sweeping beach shielded from the desert by a range of rocky cliffs left by the erosion of the shoreline over thousands of years. It was here that the only vegetation for nearly ### miles could be found. The plants were thick with the occasional palm tree thrown in for a dash of variety, the sky always thought this was a bit tacky but no one ever asked its opinion and it couldn't have been happier.
Typically, no the beach is deserted. However, on this particular day it happens to be inhabited by some 5,000 tanks from the Fifedom of ########### with the sole intent of laying waste to the Empire of Zarquon Froods without prejudice. The tanks were not your typical anti-personel/anti-vehicle/whatever you happen to feel like being anti about this particular day variety. In other words, this wasn't the sort of tank you would hop in for a ####### drive unless it involves taking half the known universe hostage.
They were lining themselves up to advance up the only road leading into the desert where they had hoped to sweep into the empire undetected. The “road” was a fairly steep hillside where the constant winds upon the desert had cause sand to continually spill over the cliff for centuries. It was roughly 1,000 ft wide and nearly a quarter mile long, and today it was excited because it was to entertain its first visitors in as long as it can remember.
As the tanks upon the shore gathered themselves into formation, two figures sitting beneath a white canvas ten fly set up upon a dune in the sand some 2,000 feet east of the gap overlooking the deployment of the tanks on the beach and looking with interest and the line of uniforms moving in the direction of the gap.
“More tea?” Asked Alexander Dimwitty. “Oh yes, thank you. Two lumps if you please and don't skimp on the milk.” Replied Zarquon.
Alexander was wearing his typical attire of black frock and matching vest while head was adorned with his favorite top hat. Zarquon had chosen this special day to wear his command uniform made of a blue tailcoat with off white pants and matching vest. Upon his head was the curious conception of a bicorn hat that had long since been out of style in nearly every major department store since, well, ever. They sat in plush blatterbeast chairs that were as smooth as a baby's bottom, assuming you were a pedophile and thought about that sort of thing. The floor of the tent was lined with blatterbeast hides, a table of the finest hardwood the empire had to offer sat between them where upon sat an exquisite tea service amidst a small stack of papers. A pair of aides wafted palm leaves over the two to prevent heat exhaustion which is precisely what the two aides were hoping their masters would succumb to at any moment so they might pop off to the pub before happy hour.
“There certainly are a lot of them.” said Zarquon taking a sip of his fresh cup of tea.
“Indeed.” replied Alexander. “They are far more resourceful that I originally thought. Still 5,000 tanks is quite a lot when compared to what we have.”
“And what do we have?”
“Well as far as tanks go, we have ten.”
“I was saying, mmmm.”
“Is that all we have?” asked Zarquon taking another sip of his tea and carefully considering the enenmy movements.
“Certainly not!” shouted Alexander who stood from his chair and placed an arm upon a tent post and the other upon his hip. “We've four regiments of the National Militia marching out to meet them as we speak.” he said waving a finger in the general direction of the enemy tanks where a large collection of soldiers in blue uniforms with white pants and tall black hats were marching towards them.
Upon hearing this, Zarquon sat down his own cup of tea and walked over to a large telescope on a tripod to have a closer look at the men. “Ah yes. Well at least they certainly look handsome. But, um, what is they're carrying?”
“Those are pointed sticks, sire. They have been individually hand sharpened by the finest craftsmen the empire has to offer.” Alexander said, his chest swelling with pride from the satisfaction that his men would be defending their country with sovereign made weaponry.
“I see.” said Zarquon raising his head from the telescope. “And you think this is a good idea?”
“Well no, not as such. I should much prefer them to have slingshots. In fact, take a note.” he said to an aide. “Place order for 2,000 slingshots, and best thrown in 500 pop guns for the line officers. Oh and a very large wooden sword for the Brigade Commander.”
“Is this what we plan to stem an invasion of 5,000 very angry looking tanks with? Two thousand militia armed with pointed sticks? I'll be quite honest in saying that I don't think it will work.”
“Ah, but look there sire” Alexander had walked over to Zarquon and placed a hand upon his shoulder then pointed out in the distance the three blocks of men in similar uniforms to that of the militia, with the exception that these were trimmed in red, and the tall hats were covered with blatterbeast fur. “That is the Old Imperial Guard, your most elite soldiers! They will stay in reserve to support the militia.”
“I must say I they are quite dashing. Is, is that muskets they're carrying?”
“In a way yes, its best not to dwell on these sort of things sire. All will become clear.”
“So am I to understand that our force consists or 2,000 militia armed with pointed sticks, 900 men of the Old Guard armed with what appears to be muskets and 10 tanks, and that they are to be fighting over 5,000 enemy armored units that look as though they are about to leap upon the buffet table after a lifetime of fasting?” Zarquon said with the slightest hint of doubt creeping into his mutton chops.
“Well when you put it that way.”
“What other way is there to put it?”
It was at about this time, the enemy commander, a General ##### #############, commented to his Lieutenant while en route to battle upon the condition of the Zarquonian army.
“Is this it? A band of, what, militia armed with sticks? And there behind them, are those men carrying single shot muskets?”
“They would appear to be, sir.”
“And those tanks of theirs, the chimneys, they can't possibly be steam powered can they?”
“I believe they are, sir.”
“Surely they can't mean to fight.”
“I think they do indeed mean to fight, sir. And don't call me Shirley.”
Zarquon had resumed his former position in the chair and drank thoughtfully from his tea while he considered the predicament lying a half a mile in front of him. Alexander sensed his concern and sat down in his chair to clear things up.
“The situation may not be clear to you now sire, but it soon will be. With your permission, sire, I would like to engage the enemy.”
Zarquon pondered this for a moment but ultimately relented, a feeling was welling up inside him that he was in for a treat. “Very well, Alexander. You may proceed.”
“Thank you, sire. If you will indulge me, I'd like to enlighten you upon our new army. Let's begin with our tanks.” Alexander said pointing to the two units of 5 tanks each on the left and right of the gap. Both units had taken great care in elevating their positions so that they were firmly looking downhill at the oncoming enemy. “The tanks are the new M42 “Wobagger” model. They come with Infinitely prolonged projectiles that are quite capable of coming around and biting them in the ass. Take special notice of the smoke stacks, no that isn't smoke, that's the thermal vent of the small nuclear reactor used to generate steam for the main drive train. This enhances their mobility range by a factor of infinity and increases the time between refueling stops to 500 years! Thanks in large to the onboard ionization system that constantly takes in ambient air and converts it to water to replenish the reactor.”
Zarquon seemed to be quite pleased as he gazed upon the black war machines with the occasional bits of brass and copper here and there. Often the sun would catch the brass gears that moved the tracks and the resulting glint made them breathtakingly beautiful. “Impressive,” he said taking another long sip of tea. “what of the infantry?”
A wicked smile crossed the face of Alexander. “I wish to leave that as a surprise, sire. Right now, might I direct your attention to the DERP?”
“DERP stands for Defensive Electronic Repulsion Perimeter. Allow me to demonstrate.” He pulled what looked to be a large scientific calculator from his pocket. After a minute of punching in calculations and coordinates he pressed the large red button at the bottom of the face. A moment later a beam of blue light shot down from the sky and formed semi-transparent bubbles around each of the line infantry units that had now moved about midway down the slope of the gap and stopped. They had more or less positioned themselves so as to cover the entire extent of the “road”. “That barrier is impenetrable, it has been tested on every weapon known including nuclear and has yet to be breached. It is the brainchild of old Xan, the conglomeration of TEA and OOPS technology on a smaller scale. The old bastard has really outdone himself this time. Best idea to ever come out of ZIPP, but there is a drawback. The shield works both ways, the enemy shells will bounce off it from the outside just as ours will bounce off from the inside. Don't ask how we found out, it wasn't pleasant.”
Zarquon leaned forward with interest, he was absolutely delighted with what he had seen thus far and was as giddy as a school girl to find out what the infantry had in store. “I do so love technology. Shall we ring their bell?”
“You took,” he said grinning wickedly, “the words right out of my mouth. We'll open with the 1st and 2nd Armored firing a salvo in amongst the enemy to see what their resolve is and just how serious they are about all of this.” He leaned over an the table and scribbled a few lines onto a small sheet of paper then walked to the far end of the tent fly where a long rack stood with what appeared to be carrier pigeons with leather aviation helmets with goggles and jetpacks stood lined up on top of it. He grabbed the first pigeon and slid the piece of paper into the small satchel slung under it's wing and told it to deliver the orders to Field Marshall ##### ########, and the bird was off like a shot. Then he sat himself down in his chair and filled his cup again then refilled Zarquon's out of courtesy.
A few moments later all ten M42 tanks fired in unison, a few seconds passed and they fired again. Off in the distance, 20 small mushroom clouds erupted from the beach when the enemy tanks were pressing down hard upon the Zarquonian line.
Zarquon leaped to his feet. “Are those nukes?!”
“Absolutely not!” shouted Alexander clamboring to his feet and walking towards the telescope to survey the damage. “They use a ################ warhead. It produces twice the energy with no radiation. Fascinating stuff. Ah, yes. Looks like we took out several hundred of them. Shook them up a bit but it has only served to speed up their advance. We'll need to retire the infantry to the crest of the hill. It appears the enemy is resolved to merely running them over rather than wasting ammunition.” He finished writing then whistled for the next bird in line which landed on his finger. After instructing it to give the orders to the Field Marshall he sent another pigeon towards a number of large trucks that hadn't been noticed before by Zarquon they were fairly large and looked like they were designed to carry liquids of some sort, they began moving towards the gap a few moments after the pigeon reached them. “You may wish to look at this.”
Zarquon rose and strode over to the telescope and peered through it. What he saw surprised him. “The militia appears to be struggling up the hill. Wait, they're using the sticks to aid their retreat. And the Old Guard appears to be holding their ground. Now the enemy appears to have reached our shields and using it for their own protection. Are you sure this is the right move Alexander?”
“Quite. The militia was a decoy, they were given pointed sticks to both lure the enemy into thinking they were both extremely ill suited for the situation and that we were completely backward. Knowing as I did that they would need to haul ass in retreat they could also use them as walking sticks to help them up the shifting sand. I think you will find that the Old Guard is about to give the enemy a surprise.”
At that moment, the enemy advance had halted. The forward rank of tank attack column had stopped inside the first line of shields, not more than 500 yards in front of the Old Guard, whose shield had been dispersed by Alexander during this stare down. There was an air of smugness about the tanks as if they wished to say how glad they were that they should likely live long enough to tell all their little tank children of how they evaporated 900 grown men within the timespan of half a heart beat. This was of course all for not, as the order came through for the front rank to fire, two things happened simultaneously. First, due to a gross misunderstanding of how the DERP shield worked, when the tanks fired the shots ricocheted wildly inside the bubbles ultimately resulting in the destruction of everything inside of them leaving nothing but the smoldering ruins of what use to be a mechanism of death that had just suffered the greatest irony imaginable. Second, the Old Guard stood its ground, and as soon as the other shield line had been dispersed they gave a horrendous volley that no one saw coming.
“Lasers! The Old Guard is firing lasers. This is absolutely phenomenal. Ah yes, I can see them clearly now, all the cathode tubes and bits of wires. Those are X42 Disentigraters aren't they?”
“That they are. And from the looks of it they are giving those tanks the what for. Time to pull them back for the next phase.” Alexander once again sent another pigeon to the front lines and the Old Guard hurried out of the way as the trucks that were ordered to advance earlier had made it to the gap and turned to face away from it just above the top of the slope. “If the lasers tickled your fancy, you're going to love this.”
Upon seeing the flight of the Old Guard, the enemy armored division, who at this point is ultimately flabbergasted at what it has thus far experienced, sought to renew the advance despite losing nearly half its number within the first 10 minutes of the engagement. After shoving the dormant carcasses of the once mighty war machines out of their way, they pressed on up the rapidly inclining hill. The further they found themselves advancing, the harder it was to continue the advance due to a slight misconception of the ground. The sand which they are currently traversing is far looser than anticipated, and they were beginning to wonder if they could make it to the top at all. And furthermore, with the current angle of their turrets, they was simply no chance of engaging until they reached the top. They pressed on.
At least they tried. At the top of the hill was several large tanker trucks. Each one had a man standing behind it with his hand on a valve looking very smug about his place in the grand scheme of things. A whistle blew and at once all of the men opened their valves, and out flowed a bright white liquid that was having a tremendous effect on the sand. The sand had turned to ice, right in the middle of a sweltering desert, ice was being readily formed and was not ashamed to stare the sun in the atoms and say it damn sure wasn't going anywhere. For a moment it looked as if this would not stop the advance, then the first tank begin to slip. The slip turned into a slide, and the slide created the equivalent of Master William Callahad's “Train Wreck on Ice.”
“It's called Perma Ice™. We've been using it for freeze dried goods for years as you know. Only recently have we discovered its potential military uses. Wonderful stuff, guaranteed to never thaw. Now we must finish them off.”
A moment later the Zarquonian 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions turned their turrets to face away from the enemy and let out one last salvo before retiring from the field. About 20 minutes later, 10 small points of light were seen flying through the sky behind them and found their targets in the form of the enemy tanks now scrambling trying to find away off this cursed beach.
“These new Infinitely Prolonged shells are going to be quite useful. We've yet to find a maximum on their range. I suspect we could probably hit Jupiter on a good day. In fact make a note of that, never hurts to be sure.” Alexander said to his aid while reaching for a small device in his pocket. After a moment of fiddling, he returned it. “Shall we be off to the pub then?”
“Indeed, a most remarkable day deserves a most remarkable drink. We should begin preparations from Project 42. I plan to call the Council together so we can make the final arrangements.” Having said that, Zarquon and Alexander loaded themselves into a carriage and rode across the desert disappearing over the horizon. The army was quickly on their heels, satisfied by the fact they had not missed happy Hour.
Amidst the smoldering remains of the tank division that was so certain that its victory was assured now lay in ruins upon the beach. The gran assault had began with 5,000 of the most fearsome war machines ever devised has ended with less than 100 badly crippled metal hulks. They were further disheartened by the fact that they had not managed to inflict a single casualty upon Zarquon's army. Though they would be happy to know that their sadness was about to come to a sudden end as a sleek white missile was buzzing through the atmosphere above them and with a brilliant flash of light all that remained on the desolate beach was the sound of the wind rustling through the palm trees and a new permanent ski slope in the middle of the desert. Elsewhere a separate TEA missile consumed the entirety of the nation that dared to wage war against Zarquon Froods. In fact, the only reminder that there had been a nation there at all was the simple note left upon the Regional Message Board:seconds ago
: The Fifedom of ############ has ceased to exist.
END OF DOCUMENT