You don't have to be Samuel L. Jackson to be perturbed by snakes which take to the air under the motive power of a pair or two of powerful wings. Hissing with tongues flicking while swooping down on any exposed flesh in a power dive, assault by a squadron of elite flying serpents is frequently devastating to an unsuspecting fighting force's morale. With a bird's agility and a reptile's tenacity, plus venom and/or a constrictor grip, these creatures can be formidable opponents for anyone to face. Their effect on forces they face lies also in the psychological realm as they play upon a couple of hot-button phobias for many people. Others are the product of selective breeding and the application of forbidden knowledge, specialized to a high degree to take on just one particular target in among your forces. Still, if your forces are adequately prepared to face these flapping ophidians of the battlefield, it will become apparent to all that they are no more inherently fearsome than any other unnatural foe you might have to take on.
- Work with a crosswind. The flying serpent's design is optimized for situations where they can count on calm air, because of the greatly increased amount of drag their long profile presents to the wind. Indeed, blustery locations such as high mountain passes can virtually nullify any advantage they might have. Take this into account when selecting the regions in which you plan to maneuver your forces.
- Enlist their enemies. Unless the flying serpents you meet are a brand new design, it is likely they have amassed a collection of enemies of their own where they come from, whether these might be balloon jellyfish, cybernetic grizzly bears, telepathic mongooses, or whatnot. To the extent you can broker an alliance with these natural predators, perhaps one based on the redress of bitterly contested border claims, or simply the tally of heads, you may be able to increase your military capability by leaps and bounds against your adversaries.
- Snake-proof your bunkers. Snakes are well known to be adept at infiltrating positions through tiny openings. The winged sort are only slightly less adept at this. Stout metal mesh and bolted gratings over your ductwork, chimneys, and windows openings are the first step to ensuring that your lair will not be overrun. Do not overlook the possibility of special winged serpent forces with aquatic capabilities coming up through the sewers.
- Cover of night. Since the majority of birds and snakes are active during daylight hours, it is often the case that their hybrids will also exhibit diurnal behavior, with increased vulnerability to attack during twilight and night. Be careful, however, if there is any possibility that you may be facing a formation of owl pit vipers who can turn the cover of darkness to their advantage.
Strokes of genius
- Turn to magic. If your serpents are supernatural creations, they are probably susceptible to magical disruption as well. These creatures are in many cases extremely resistant to low-level spells and charms, so you will most likely need to bring a costly specialist in to deal with the problem. If the specimens opposing you are rare and sought after by beast fanciers, you may be able to offset some of the expense by selling off some of the enemy casualties, however.
- Weapons of mass destruction. If you have the capability of sterilizing large expanses of contested ground you can save yourself much difficulty dealing with these elusive fighters. While nuclear weapons have the problem of imposing a large stand-off distance between your forces and the enemy, biological and chemical weaponry can be devised to serve as effective tactical measures. Charges on the part of international bodies that you have escalated the fight can be easily countered on the grounds that they brought in the flying snakes first.
- Take them on the ground. As they lack legs to help during launch, most types of flying serpents have a hard time going airborne for the first time, often relying on high cliffs, towers, or trees to achieve the air speed needed to make their wings effective. Those with the capability of taking the air from the ground have to expend considerable effort flapping and, in some cases, casting spells to be much of an offensive threat during that time. This is a slight weakness that you may be able to exploit if you can catch them in this predicament. Do not be surprised if the creatures prefer to slither away at a high rate of travel rather than chance the cumbersome launch maneuvers.
- Negotiation. If you survive the initial shock of contact with these forces and can fight back to an impasse, it may be desirable to arrange a parley. Interpreters of snake-speech are always uncommon, so you will need to obtain access to these specialists, perhaps by capture, in order to get the process started. Expect to encounter shrewd, hard-nosed bargaining with a hostile edge directed at humanoids of all types.
- Counter-infiltration. You may be able to determine where the flying serpents are being raised, in which case an effective means of deflecting the fury of their offensive may well be to threaten to abduct or destroy their clutches of eggs. Members of the weasel family are well adapted to work their way up into the passages of a rookery, guided in the near pitch black by their keen senses of smell and of vibration, and defeat the defenders so that the objective of the fight may be won. Small robots may do as well.
Traps for mere fools
- Exposed flesh.
- Reaching blindly into nests.
- Hovering spitting cobras. Wear eye protection.
- Hypnotic gaze.
- Fainting attacks.
Precious and needful
- Light hand weapons.
- Tight mesh nets.
- Antivenom kits.
- Eye protection.
- Snake charmers on hovercrafts.
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- Image credit Aztec double-headed serpent (detail) by Neil_Henderson
- Image credit Heroes by JuditK
- Image credit Quetzalcoatl by Michael Heilemann
Created by: . Last Modification: Sunday 21 of August, 2011 06:10:13 EDT by .