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Quoteables from the Ring of Fire

Alternate history buff? Wander on over for a discussion about Eric Flint's 1632 series!
Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:59 am

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Posts: 1830
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Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

Well, the thread over in the Honorverse is likely to exceed 100 pages, and while there are fewer contributers herein, I'll get it started and I expect Ms. Roseand heather will join in--along with other 17th century fans.

I'll try at first to restrict it to the first three books (1632, 1633, and 1634: The Baltic War), especially since the MWW collaborated on the last two, but with the breath and scope of the series, well, we shall see.

Besides, I got demoted to Captain of the List in the Great Revision, so I need some more posts to make it back to Admiral... 8-)

And a couple of oldies (from the first book) to start off:

"Well-trained, you Marines," he murmured.

Nichols snorted. "Marines, my ass. I knew what to do with one of these before I was twelve." He hefted the automatic. "This is Blackstone Rangers' training. I grew up within spitting distance of Sixty-third and Cottage Grove."

Suddenly, the black doctor was beaming wickedly at the white men around him. "Gentlemen," he said, "the Marines are at your side. Not to mention Chicago's worst ghetto. Let's deal."


It was early on that James Nichols became one of my favorite characters.

We are surrounded by a Ring of Fire. Well, I've fought forest fires before. So have lots of other men in this room. The best way to fight a fire is to start a counterfire. So my position is simple. I say we start the American Revolution—a hundred and fifty years ahead of schedule!"
--And Mike Stearns states the basis of the entire series right there.

"That's my father. The place where the photo was taken is called Buchenwald. It's not far from here, as it happens." He pointed to another man in the photograph. Taller, healthy looking despite the obvious weariness and grime—and wearing a uniform.

"That's Tom Stearns. Michael's grandfather. He was a sergeant in the American unit that liberated Buchenwald from the Nazis."

He put the photograph back on the mantelpiece. "Most people don't know it, but West Virginians—in terms of percentage, of course, not absolute numbers—have provided more soldiers for America's combat units than any other state in the nation, in every major war we fought in the twentieth century." He turned back to face Abrabanel. "That's why my father moved here, when he emigrated to the United States after the war. Even though he was the only Jew in Grantville when he first arrived. Tom Stearns had invited him to come, you see. Many others went to Israel, but my father wanted to live near the man who took him out of Buchenwald. It was the safest place he could imagine."
--Morris Roth on Mike Stearns heritage.

There. Then. That moment.

That is where the legends pivot and wheel. Decade after decade, century after century; never reaching agreement, but always circling.

The Father of Modern War, Gustavus Adolphus almost certainly was not. But he may very well have been the Father of the Modern World. Because then, at that place, at the moment when the Saxons broke and the Inquisition bade fair to triumph over all of Europe, the king of Sweden stood his ground.

And proved, once again, that the truth of history is always concrete. Abstractions are the stuff of argument, but the concrete is given. Whatever might have been, was not. Not because of tactics, and formations, and artillery, and methods of recruitment—though all of those things played a part, and a big one—but because of a simple truth. At that instant, history pivoted on the soul of one man. His name was Gustavus Adolphus, and there were those among his followers who thought him the only monarch in Europe worthy of the name. They were right, and the man was about to prove it. For one of the few times in human history, royalty was not a lie.

Two centuries later, long after the concrete set and the truth was obvious to all, a monument would be erected on that field. The passing years, through the bickering and the debates, had settled the meaning of Breitenfeld. The phrase on the monument simply read: freedom of belief for all the world.

Whatever else he was or was not, Gustavus Adolphus will always be Breitenfeld. He stands on that field for eternity, just as he did on that day. September 17, 1631.

Breitenfeld. Always Breitenfeld.


--I can't always state that Eric is a perfect historian--but he knows characters, and Gustavus Aldophus was one of the Great ones.

An idle question came. He leaned over and murmured to Tom: "I'm curious. What would be your weapon of choice? In a duel, I mean."

The very attractive woman's husband replied instantly.

"Ten-pound sledgehammers."

Not a good idea.

--Tom Simpson to General Torstensson, both destined to play major roles in the coming years and books.

"Can you handle a .30-06 semiautomatic?" he demanded. "We've got two of them, but they're the only rifles in the whole damned school."

Melissa gasped. So did Julie. Melissa's gasp came from shock. Julie's, from sheer outrage.

"Is that a joke? I can shoot anything!"

James Nichols was, by nature, a smiling man. It was one of the reasons Melissa loved him. But she had never seen such an incredible grin on his face. "Those poor bastards," he laughed. "Did they ever pick the wrong day to piss off pregnant women!"
-At the Seige of the High School

As soon as Dan came aboard, Hans closed the door and sent the bus lurching ahead. Dan grabbed the upright post by the door to keep from falling.

When he saw Hans at the wheel, the police chief hissed, "Oh, shit."

"He can drive anything," stated Gretchen firmly.

The bus careened around the corner. Frantically, Gretchen grabbed the overhead rail. "Anything," she repeated. Not as firmly.

Hans took the next turn like a charging cavalryman. The rear right wheels of the bus hammered over the curb, half-spilling the recruits out of their hastily taken seats.

"Oh, shit," repeated the police chief. He was now holding onto the upright with both hands. His knuckles were white.

On the next turn—whang!—Hans massacred a stop sign. "Anything," prayed Gretchen. "Gott mit uns."
--Hans Ricther as a Bus driver

Led by Anders, the Västgöta flooded the area in front of the tiered seats, protecting the students. At the captain's command, his Finns moved forward against the enemy.

At the end, the surviving imperial cavalrymen—perhaps twenty in all—tried to surrender. They received the traditional Finnish terms.

Haakaa päälle!
--Gotta love the Finns...

Rebecca burst into soft laughter. Dan Frost, standing next to her, was frowning with puzzlement.

"I don't get it," he hissed. "Does Julie know that guy from somewhere? They say his name's Captain Gars."

Rebecca choked off the laughter. "Oh, yes. They've met before."

She stared at the immense man in the center of the room. Her own eyes softened.

"What a lunatic," she murmured. "He has not done this in many years. Not since he was a young man, according to the history books." Again, she laughed.

Dan was scowling fiercely. "I still don't—"

"Captain Gars," said Rebecca. "To the best of my knowledge, he is the only king in history who ever actually did it outside of fable. Travel in disguise, I mean, assuming the pose of a simple soldier. The books claim that he scouted half of western Europe in that fashion."

The police chief's eyes widened. His jaw sagged.

"Oh, yes," chuckled Rebecca. "Captain Gars. Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueciae."


I should have guessed it, but the first time I read the sotry it wasn't until I got to this section that I figured out who Captain Gars was...

"Isn't she beautiful?" whispered Rebecca, cradling the sleeping baby in her arms. "Kathleen," she murmured.

That was the name they had agreed on, if the child was a girl. But Mike had been thinking about it during the endless drive back from Nürnberg with ferocious concentration, trying to keep his mind on future hope rather than today's fear.

"No," he said, shaking his head. Startled, Rebecca looked at him.

Mike smiled. "We can call our next girl Kathleen. But this one—" Gently, he stroked the tiny head. "This one I'd like to name after a promise kept. So let's call her Sepharad."

Rebecca's eyes filmed with moisture. "Oh, Michael," she whispered. "I think that would be wonderful."

She reached up her free hand and drew Mike's head down. But halfway through the kiss she started laughing.

"What's so funny?" he demanded.

"Sepharad!" she exclaimed. "It's such a splendid name. But you know they'll be calling her Sephie before she's two months old."

Laughing, laughing. "Hillbillies! You have no respect."


And about as good a closing line as you could ask for.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by roseandheather   » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:30 pm

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So, in the time to come, Melissa Mailey would take great comfort in the memory of a pool of vomit. Out of that nausea would come something precious to her soul—and just as precious to the souls of thousands of others.

The Inquisition, of course, would feel otherwise. So would a multitude of barons and bishops, and every witch-hunter in Europe.


Melissa Mailey. Melissa Goddamn Mailey.

Melissa Mailey marched in at that point, took one look at her, and demanded: "What are you looking so pleased about?"

Rebecca smiled. Demurely, she thought. Intended, at least. "Oh, it just seems that my father is a more accomplished linguist than these other doctors. Whatever else he may lack."

"Well, of course!" Melissa snorted. "Americans are ignorant louts when it comes to language." The schoolteacher planted her arms akimbo and gave Nichols and Adams the same glare which had cowed thousands of students over the years. "What?" she demanded. "Did you think you were actually smarter than these people?"

Then, spotting Judith scurrying from the kitchen with a plate of food in her hands, Melissa transferred the glare. "And what's this? Two hundred years of progress gone down the drain?"

The glare settled on Rebecca. "You and I are going to have a talk, young lady. Soon."

The response was inevitable, inescapable. "Yes, ma'am."


More Melissa Goddamn Mailey.

When he turned in his chair, he saw Admiral Simpson standing in the doorway. His face was very pale, and he was clutching a sheet of paper in his hands. Mike recognized it as the form used by the radio operators.

"Excuse me, gentlemen, I need to attend to something." He rose, in as unhurried a manner as he could manage, and strode to the door. Then, taking Simpson by the arm, drew him into the hallway.

"What's wrong, John?"

Simpson shook his head. The gesture had a strange, brittle quality, as if the man were afraid he might break.

"Nothing," he whispered. "We just got a message from Luebeck. A courier brought it over here immediately. Gustav Adolf got a message himself, earlier today. From King Christian of Denmark. The Danes—it seems—oh, Jesus—"

Tears were starting to leak from Simpson's eyes. Mike was astonished. He hadn't thought the man could cry.

"He's alive, Mike," Simpson whispered. "He—" Now he broke down, in the complete manner that a man will, who has no idea how to do it. Mike had his arms around him, holding him up.


JOHN CHANDLER SIMPSON. If you do not love John Chandler Simpson after that scene, you have no soul.
~*~


I serve at the pleasure of President Pritchart.

Javier & Eloise
"You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley..."
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:01 pm

Hutch
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Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

OK, let's pull out some plums for 1633 (roseandheather already has one with the John Chandler Simpson quote above).

Melissa pointed a finger out the window. "That's the matter. Where we're going. I thought they'd take us to Whitehall Palace, which is the royal residence in this period of English history."

Tom leaned over and peered out the window. A moment later, he grimaced. Melissa was not surprised to see that he recognized their destination, even though, unlike her, he'd never been to England. Tom had grown up in Pittsburgh, not a small town in West Virginia, and his parents had been very wealthy. The kind of parents who got mail from all over the world.

The place whose gates they were approaching was quite famous, after all. Its distinctive outline graced millions of postcards.

"Oh, lovely," he muttered. "The Tower of London."
--Loved that scene, and if you've read 1634: The Baltic War.... :evil:

He cleared his throat. "The future that would have been, I should say. There would be a revolution here in England. Starting not many years from now. By the end of it, you would rule the country—and have the king's head on a chopping block."

The face drew back, now shadowed again. Only the nose still showed in the candlelight. "You are something of a Puritan yourself, Thomas, as I recall. Predestination, is it?" A wintry chuckle came from the corner of the cell. "Leave it to King Charles to kill a regicide's wife and son, and leave the regicide alive. I advise you to have me executed. For I will do my best, I can assure you, to see that God's will is not thwarted."
--Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Wentworth and I really want to know what's happening in England these days....

"Hans and I got engaged this afternoon." She lifted her hand, Hans' still clasped in it, to show him a ring.

"It belonged to my mother," Hans said, his voice almost trembling with nervousness. "I managed to save it, all these years since—since soldiers took her away when I was a boy. I kept it hidden."

-Sharon and Hans break the news of their engagement to James Nichols, who...

"I managed to get some eggs yesterday. May as well use 'em up for breakfast tomorrow. Sharon likes hers scrambled, Hans. How about you?"
-Proves once again why he is one of my heroes in this saga.

"This is a .357, did I mention that?" Harry's tone of voice was light-hearted. "And I do want to thank you, Freddie, since you're gonna make it possible for me to win an old argument with Darryl, whenever I see him next. Him and me had an argument about it, way back when. Darryl claims if you blow a man's head off with your gun shoved all the way down his throat—handgun, that is, major caliber, magnum round—you'll blow your own hand apart along with it. 'Hydrostatic shock,' somethin' like that—Darryl always did fancy himself with big words."

Harry grinned. Watching, Francisco thought it was the coldest and most savage grin he'd ever seen in his life.

"Me," continued Harry, "I think Darryl's full of s***. I bet I can blow your brains right out of the back of your head without getting worse than maybe a split thumb. 'Course, I admit, Darryl's bound to claim the experiment was no good—on account of you got no brains to begin with—but I can't say I really give a damn. I'd like to do it anyway, just 'cause I despise your sorry ass."
--And Harry Lefferts begins to show the style that led to the Wrecking Crew...

"Okay, stop here and keep her running," he told Hans, when they were again pointed into the wind. He watched Hans' eyes go round as he unbuckled his harness and took off his kneeboard.

"I think I'll go talk to Kathy for a minute," Jesse said. "Why don't you take her up and do a couple of touch-and-gos, followed by a full stop?"

He opened his door and stepped out. "And—Hans!" he yelled, over the prop noise at the gaping student, "Don't screw the pooch, okay?"
-And a 17th century German solos...

"Well." Another pause. "It's all pretty complicated. To be honest, I'm not sure what I think about the whole thing myself. Not just you, I mean—everything. We're from the future, you know. Americans. You may have heard about us."

"Oh, to be sure. The earl of Strafford has waxed eloquent on the subject to me, once or twice. I confess I was somewhat skeptical. Apparently I was wrong."

Silence. Then: "Okay. Well, I guess I'll sign off now. Remember to turn the walkie-talkie off."

"A moment, please. What is your name, Lady of the Walkie-Talkie? And do you have any thoughts on the subject of predestination? I have been puzzling over that matter myself, these past many weeks. Nothing much else to do, of course."

"My name? It's Gayle Mason. As for predestination . . . oh, hell, Oliver Cromwell. I haven't got the faintest idea. I always just figured a person should try to do the right thing and let God figure out the rest of it."

"Ah. Splendid. A Puritan after my own heart."

He heard what sounded like a snort. "Ha! 'Puritan,' is it? That's sure as hell not what my ex-husband called me."

"The more fool him, then." The prisoner's smile became something rather sad. "Enough. I'll not keep you, Lady Gayle. I suppose it is just that I have not heard the sound of a woman's voice since . . . since my wife died. It's a sound I miss a great deal."

Again, there was silence. The prisoner began to push the button, then paused. "Is there some proper signal I should give, before shutting down this little machine?"

"Oh. Yeah. 'Seventy-three.' But—"

"Aye?"

"Ah . . . never mind. I'm sorry about your wife and your son. We heard what happened from some of the Yeoman Warders. Ah . . . never mind. I'll call you again tomorrow night, Oliver Cromwell."

"And the nights after that?"

"Oh, yeah. Sure. Every night. And now, ah—"

"Seventy-three, Lady Gayle. May the Lord watch over you."

--Gayle Mason and Oliver Cromwell--dammit Flint, I want to know what's going on there!!

That's the first half--weepy stuff from the second half later.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by pokermind   » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:16 pm

pokermind
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Posts: 4000
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We all want to know what happened to those who stayed with Cromwell in England. Alex & Julie, Gale, McCarthy, the Wolf in Beefeater clothing. Word is they are working on it, but Eric Flint has been ill, and this story has been on the back burner. My guess is revolution, possible dis union into Scotland, England, and Wales some or all joining the USE as states, and Ireland perhaps being free at last.

Poker
CPO Poker Mind Image and, Mangy Fur the Smart Alick Spacecat.

"Better to be hung for a hexapuma than a housecat," Com. Pang Yau-pau, ART.
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by roseandheather   » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:59 pm

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pokermind wrote:We all want to know what happened to those who stayed with Cromwell in England. Alex & Julie, Gale, McCarthy, the Wolf in Beefeater clothing. Word is they are working on it, but Eric Flint has been ill, and this story has been on the back burner. My guess is revolution, possible dis union into Scotland, England, and Wales some or all joining the USE as states, and Ireland perhaps being free at last.

Poker


I would LOVE to see what's going ton with Cromwell and the English gang. So much potential, so little story!! Isn't the upcoming novel called A Parcel of Rogues? My fervent prayers are with Eric, his health, and most especially his writing mojo.....

Man, I can't wait to get to The Bavarian Crisis. Apparently it's amazing. But before that - The Galileo Affair!! Whee, Sharon Nichols!!
~*~


I serve at the pleasure of President Pritchart.

Javier & Eloise
"You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley..."
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by pokermind   » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:38 am

pokermind
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Posts: 4000
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:58 am
Location: Jerome, Idaho, USA

You'll love The Bavarian Crisis, a love story. The three Italian Novels are superb, The Galileo Affair, Cannon Law and, Papal Stakes.

Poker

roseandheather wrote:
pokermind wrote:We all want to know what happened to those who stayed with Cromwell in England. Alex & Julie, Gale, McCarthy, the Wolf in Beefeater clothing. Word is they are working on it, but Eric Flint has been ill, and this story has been on the back burner. My guess is revolution, possible dis union into Scotland, England, and Wales some or all joining the USE as states, and Ireland perhaps being free at last.

Poker


I would LOVE to see what's going ton with Cromwell and the English gang. So much potential, so little story!! Isn't the upcoming novel called A Parcel of Rogues? My fervent prayers are with Eric, his health, and most especially his writing mojo.....

Man, I can't wait to get to The Bavarian Crisis. Apparently it's amazing. But before that - The Galileo Affair!! Whee, Sharon Nichols!!
CPO Poker Mind Image and, Mangy Fur the Smart Alick Spacecat.

"Better to be hung for a hexapuma than a housecat," Com. Pang Yau-pau, ART.
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:14 am

Hutch
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

pokermind wrote:You'll love The Bavarian Crisis, a love story. The three Italian Novels are superb, The Galileo Affair, Cannon Law and, Papal Stakes.

Poker

roseandheather wrote:I would LOVE to see what's going ton with Cromwell and the English gang. So much potential, so little story!! Isn't the upcoming novel called A Parcel of Rogues? My fervent prayers are with Eric, his health, and most especially his writing mojo.....

Man, I can't wait to get to The Bavarian Crisis. Apparently it's amazing. But before that - The Galileo Affair!! Whee, Sharon Nichols!!


roseandheather, I am not a major fan of the Barvarian Crisis, it is OK and gets two major characters hooked up nicely, but is about 150 pages longer than it needed to be, IMHO.

OTOH, I love the Italian trilogy pokermind mentions, and I'm winning to bet 10 Brazilian reals that once you've read The Galileo Affair you will not be satisfied until you've read the other two books immediately--and you will be happy that you did--IMHO.

Just something to whet your appetite...I've edited out a couple of spoilers...but I think you will know the quote.

Sanchez smiled mirthlessly. "My name is Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz," he growled at the five still-standing French agents. "Prepare to die."

* * *

* * *

* * *

The eruption of violence had paralyzed Billy Trumble for a moment. Soldier or not, Marine officer or not, he was actually a complete stranger to this kind of sudden mayhem. But while Billy had caught the reference—he'd seen the movie—he understood something immediately.

Sanchez hadn't read the book. He'd probably never even heard of it. The character of Inigo Montoya was just an author's comic twist on an ancient and very real model.

Meet Ruy Sanchez. The original.

And he ain't being funny at all.
Last edited by Hutch on Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:56 am

Hutch
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

And from the second half of 1633 (warning, there may be tears...)

When he was done, Freddie scowled at Nasi. "What you got against Florida, anyway?"

"Absolutely nothing," replied Francisco with a smile. "I am especially taken by the prevalence of malaria. And, of course, by the fact that the French and the Spanish, once they get to fighting over it, will find the place a swamp. In more ways than one."
--Francisco Nasi doing a bit of 'disinformation'

"Two things I want you to learn from this, Lieutenant." The admiral came to a stop and glared down at him. Simpson was a big man, even if not the semi-giant that his son Tom was. "First. When I tell you to keep your mouth shut at a meeting, I mean shut. Is that understood?"

"Yessir."

"Good. Second thing."

A wintry smile came to Simpson's face. "I imagine by now both you and Lieutenant Cantrell call me 'the bastard' more often than not. In private, that is. If I ever catch you doing it in public, I'll have your ass. But you might as well understand the other half of it. The Navy takes care of its own, son. Always. So if I'm a bastard, at least you can count on me to be your bastard."

-And the transformation of John Chandler Simpson continues...

He rose to his feet. "Done, then, Madame Stearns. You may tell your husband that the prince of Orange sends a workman his warmest regards. And will pray every night that the day comes when a cardinal of France, thinking he stands astride the world, glances down and discovers he has been disemboweled in the process. And never noticed it at the time, so craftsmanlike was the hand that did the deed."
--The Prince of Orange to Rebecca Sterns.

After she finished explaining the American proposal, Frederik Hendrik arose and went over to the painting. He studied it for a moment, his hands clasped behind his back, and then moved over to the next painting on the walls.

"It's what they never show, you know. You can find everything else in these paintings. Portraits, scenes of daily life—even the carnage of war. Occasionally, perhaps—not often—someone is bold enough to allow the painter to portray the smallpox scars. But never the rest of it. Never the endless supply of infants slid into graves before their first birthday. Never the quiet grief of parents who have seen as many children die as live. Never—not once, that I can recall—a portrait of a mother sitting by the bed of a three-year-old child. Just watching—nothing else to do—while Death spreads its pitiless wings."

His voice became a bit shaky. "It has been the silent terror of the world since time began." When he turned back to face her, his cheeks were hollow—but his eyes seemed bright. "Dear God in Heaven," he whispered, "you can do this?"
--Fredrick Heindrik after Rebecca offers the medical support for the Amsterdam siege.

Slammed his fist on the table. "No, dammit! Let the Dutch handle their own mess! The whole problem with you, Stearns, is that you've forgotten that you were elected to be the President of the United States—not the 'President of Europe.' That stuff should be kept here for—"

And that was as far as he'd gotten. For the first time since anyone in Grantville had met the doctor, arriving in town the day before the Ring of Fire to accompany his daughter Sharon to Rita's wedding, James Nichols lost his temper.

He shot to his feet, spilling his chair. The sound of his fist slamming the table was like a gunshot.

"You insufferable jackass! You stupid, ignorant, self-satisfied moron!"

Nichols came stalking around the table toward Quentin. For all that James Nichols was a smaller man than Underwood—he stood only five feet eight inches tall and was not especially heavily built—the advance radiated sheer menace. For a few seconds, the well-educated and urbane doctor in his late fifties vanished, and everyone caught a glimpse of the ghetto hooligan who, as a teenager, had been given the choice by a judge between the Marines and a stay in prison. Mike started to rise, thinking he would have to physically restrain James from beating Quentin into a pulp. And that he could pummel the larger and younger man into a pulp, Mike had no doubt at all.
--James Nichols is a bad mother........ ;)

Simpson remained stiff and wooden-faced. His wife Mary, on the other hand—one old pro instantly recognizing another—had a smile plastered on her face that was just as wide and just as supple. God knows who this is welded to but I'm sure we'll get along soldered firmly to no sweat, dearie, give me a lob and I'll get the volley started.
***

****

Before Simpson could even think of a response, Mary was saying: "By all means, John. You'll be more comfortable there anyway." The smile plastered on her face was as wide as ever. It would remain so, he knew, for the rest of the evening. Supple as always, of course, the variations would change as quickly as clouds passing through the sky. Right now the smile was radiating thank God I'm in civilized hands standing at attention next to and she's got such a splendid volley with you'll get underfoot, buster saluting smartly and get lost but don't go far holding up the colors.
--About the time Mary Simpson became a personality rather than a brick.

"He seems a nice enough young man," said his wife hesitantly.

"Mary, he is absolutely nothing of the sort. On the other hand, he's on our side."
--Regarding Gunther Acherhof

"No, John." She shook her head firmly. "There's still one last message to send. And this is not a message that can be sent to 'Mr. President.' It's a message that has to be sent to Mike Stearns. Our son's brother-in-law."

She took a deep breath, her nostrils flaring. "If you can't do it, I will."
****
"Last message. Address this one, 'Dear Mike.' " Simpson almost laughed, seeing the man's efforts to keep a solemn face. They'll never believe this in the barracks. What, sailor, you think I don't know that you'll gossip about the Old Bastard?

"Dear Mike," he dictated. One glance at Mary told him not to try compressing the language for the sake of transmission brevity. "Mary and I would much appreciate it if you would do what you can . . ." He groped for the words. Then just said, quietly: "We'd like our son to speak to us again. We miss him. Thanks, John."

The reply came back immediately.

WILL DO MY BEST. MY WORD ON IT.

"As much as I can ask," said Simpson quietly, handing it over to Mary.

"He'll keep his word," she said. Even confidently.

"Oh, yes. He's quite good at that, actually."


"Please, Julie. You have given me so much, this past year, from your future world. Now let me give you some of Scotland. 'Tis God's will, that's all, whatever it be. The child's soul is in no peril, only her mortal sheath. The loss will be ours, not hers. If God chooses to bring her early, 'tis only because He could not bear to wait Himself for the joy of her company."

She turned her head into his shoulder. The tears flowed still, but the sobs ebbed away.

"You think so?" she asked softly.

"Of course," he replied. There was no need to fake assurance now. However much he might have changed in many ways, in this matter Alex Mackay was still a son of Scotland.

"Let me give you some of my world now, beloved wife. For the world we are creating will need that also."

"Yes," she whispered. "Yes, it will. Me, most of all."
--Julie and Alex and a desperately sick baby. Nuff said.

Tom nodded. "Part of that's his faith. Most of it's just him." He turned his head and studied the slowly moving Thames, now gleaming. The sunshine was back. Autumn sunshine, to be sure, but sunshine nonetheless.

"Any world I can think of, Darryl, I think that man will rattle it. Shake the bars of its cage the same way he did those of another world. So, push comes to shove, I think I'd much rather have him on my side than anywhere else."
--Tom Simpson on Oliver Cromwell.

This is getting a bit long--I'll finish up in a new post.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:26 am

Hutch
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

OK< I can definitely promise tears this time...

He dragged himself across the blood-smeared cockpit on his belly, trying not to think about Larry or Bjorn while he did so. It seemed to take an eternity, but finally he reached Larry's broken seat. He felt a tiny stab of gratitude that the roundshot which had killed his friend had also thrown Larry's mangled body out of the way. He didn't know if he could have made himself move it to get at the wheel.

He clawed himself upright, forcing himself somehow up onto his remaining foot, and bent to peer through the blast shield view slit.

He'd taken just a little bit too long to reach the wheel, he realized almost calmly in the seconds he had left.
--That whole chapter was gut-wrenching

"No, Hans," he whispered. "Please. It's just a f***** battle, and we've already won it anyway." But even as he uttered the plea, he knew it was useless. Even if Hans' radio wasn't damaged at all, he wouldn't have listened. Not now.

There was nothing Jesse could do to stop him. Nothing anyone could do. For Hans Richter, it wasn't just a battle. It wasn't even just a war.

They fought wars, for whatever remote purposes seemed good to them, sitting in their palaces. Fought them atop the broken bones of German families; trampling their way through the entrails of German mothers; slaughtering fathers in their little shops. Hans Richter was fighting a crusade.

Just an orphaned brother, in the end, flesh of his sister's flesh. She had been his steel angel, often enough. Now, he would be hers.

Jesse watched the other plane as its nose dropped. Watched Hans adjust his course with all the assurance and skill he had learned so well. Watched the aircraft accelerate.

***
Hans wished his radio had been working.

It wouldn't have mattered, in one sense. He already knew what Jesse had been ordering him to do, and there would have been no point in obeying the command. Not as badly as he was bleeding. His thoughts were growing wobbly with shock and blood loss, but he knew that much. Still, he would have liked to say good-bye. To Jesse . . . most of all, to Sharon.

He watched the thirty-gun ship growing before him, but he didn't really see it. Not any more. All he saw was a dark-skinned face, smiling at him, and he smiled back.
--I'm crying while typing this, and I'm too old to be crying...

"The only reason they seem to twinkle," she murmured, "is because the air gets in the way. The stars themselves are pure and bright and simple. Don't confuse what you see with what there is, Jesse. Hans Richter was our bright shining star. And that's all there is to say. Now, and forever more."

*****

"I could tell by your face. You understand very little, Michael Stearns. Someday you may come to understand the difference between sorrow and despair. But I hope not. I would like to think my young boys did not live and die in vain."

****
When they showed him, James felt his spirits lift. Not much, but some. Stoner and his boys had already set up the receptacles for the flowers—two very large terra-cotta pots, placed on either side of a little walkway. The walkway led to the trailer complex where, in the days after the Ring of Fire, Jeff Higgins and Jimmy Andersen and Eddie Cantrell and Larry Wild had taken into their home and hearts a man named Hans Richter and his family.

It was fitting, he decided. That somewhat ramshackle trailer complex was perhaps the truest symbol of what those courageous youngsters had died for. And, somehow, an old hippie had figured out the perfect memoriam to paint on the flowerpots.

One read: Gone but not forgotten.

The other: We remain.
--Rememberances of Hans Richter

Torstensson had indeed withdrawn all Swedish troops from the area, except a bodyguard remaining inside the palace for Princess Kristina. Who was herself leaning out of a window, smiling and waving cheerfully at the crowd. Many people in the crowd were now waving back.

God bless smart little girls. And I think that one's a genius.
--As we begin to see the coming role of the Princess in this saga-and even in our timeline, she was a pretty interesting character.

The Saxon troops John George had summoned to the city were also nowhere in evidence. Torstensson had taken most of his Swedish troops out to meet them beyond the city's limits, and explain the facts of life. Given Torstensson, Mike could just imagine the terse manner in which he'd do it.

Fact one. We whipped Emperor Ferdinand at Breitenfeld.

Fact two. You ran like dogs.

Fact three. You've got ten minutes to get out of here. Five, if I don't see your tails between your legs. Now.
--I don't know why Eric Flint and the MWW decided that Torstensson would become the major player instead of any of the other Swedish generals, but they've sure made him a memorable character.

That evening, in Edinburgh, Robert Mackay gazed down on the sleeping form of his daughter-in-law. She had brought his grandchild to him, once the fever finally broke and it was certain Alexi would survive. This disease, at least. Then, exhausted by her own travails over the past days, Julie had fallen asleep herself, lying on the bed next to Robert and cradling Alexi in her arms.

It was a large enough bed, so Robert had made no attempt to rouse her. Nor, truth be told, had he had desire to.

"She must have struck you like a thunderbolt, the first time you saw her."

Sitting on a chair next to the bed, his hand caressing Julie's hip, Alex smiled. "Oh, father, aye and she did. I could not keep my eyes from her. 'Twas a bit awkward, given the circumstances. What with her people standing about with those frightening guns of theirs."

"Life is an awkwardness, son. Why should its most precious moments be otherwise?"

The infant was beginning to stir. Ignoring the pain, Robert leaned over and plucked her out of her mother's arms. Then, cradled her in his own.

"You've still got your first winter ahead of you, babe," he murmured. "But we've a fire, and you've a spirit. So I think God will wait, for the pleasure of your company. For a time, at least."
--Gone weepy again.

" 'Hell on wheels,' " echoed the prisoner, smiling faintly. "There are times, Darryl McCarthy, when I find myself fearing for your soul. Of course, 'tis true—as an Irishman you're most likely damned anyway."

Darryl jeered. "You wish!" Again, he shifted uncomfortably. "And that's something else. I want a promise from you."

"Aye?"

"You don't ever go to Ireland without me coming along. In an of-fi-cial capacity, that is. I checked with Tom—he knows this stuff—and he tells me the Russkies even got a name for it. It's called 'political commissar.' "

The prisoner's smile was no longer faint. "An Irish watchdog, is it, set to keep the demon on a leash?"

"Yeah, pretty much. Promise me, Ironsides."

"Done, Darryl McCarthy. My word of honor."

"Good enough for me." Darryl gave him a little clap on the shoulder and rose to his feet.

Then, seeing the prisoner's eyes drop again, he uttered a protest. "Hey, I'm telling you, it really is a terrible picture."

The prisoner didn't even seem to hear him. Watching the way he studied the photograph, Darryl winced again. Like most men his age, he didn't like to think he'd someday be afflicted by that dread disease.

" 'Tis a strong face," the prisoner murmured. "I like the lines of it."

Darryl fled, as if from the plague itself.
--Darryl and Cromwell and a picture of Gayle Mason...

Everyone still in the room stared at the baby. The infant returned their scrutiny with one of his own. He seemed a bit puzzled by it all.

Which would not be surprising, of course, since the adults were more than simply puzzled. As the minutes went by, in fact, and the enormity of the event came into clear focus, they were downright aghast.

"We can't let this happen, buddy," muttered Jimmy. "I mean . . . it's like a crime against nature, or something."

"You got that right," said Jeff firmly. He reached over and lifted the baby out of his wife's arms. Then, holding him up, gave the little boy a look of stern resolve.

"Don't worry, kid. We'll protect you. Think of us as your uncles, or something."

"First thing we do is get him a little Caterpillar hat," opined Jimmy. "Then—fast as possible—teach him D&D."

Jeff nodded. "And I'll tell you what, Jimmy. I actually tried to read the Ethics once. Got through the first chapter. This kid is gonna make a great dungeon master."

"You idiots," growled Gretchen. "Think big for once, can't you? If the boy can write great metaphysics, sure as hell he can write great political tracts."

"Teach him to ride a horse, maybe," chipped in Heinrich, ever the practical man.

"Naw, screw that," countered Jeff. "I've still got my dirt bike, y'know. Get this kid up on it—fast as possible, before he's totally ruined. Betcha I can take up a collection and have a little leather jacket made up for him. Then—"

"Oh, yeah!" exclaimed Jimmy. "That's perfect! I even got a spare one at home!"

"—put a Harley-Davidson decal on it. Plastered right across his little chest. For the arms, maybe—"

That was as far as he got. Rebecca, moving in her usual light-footed and graceful manner now, had come back into the room. Just in time to hear the last exchange.

"Hillbillies!" she shrieked. Snatching Baruch from Jeff's hands, she retreated into a corner; clutching the baby to her chest and bestowing upon everyone in the room the glare of a mother determined to save her child from the Devil's horned and cloven-hoofed minions. "You have no respect!"
--As the eventual fate of Baruch Spinoza is put up for debate....

—CANTRELL CLAIMS FORGOT SERIAL NUMBER. WE ARE MOST SUSPICIOUS. WILL KEEP HIM AS PRISONER, FOLLOWING WHAT HE CLAIMS ARE YOUR RULES. BUT MUST INSIST HIS SERIAL NUMBER BE GIVEN TO US. ABSOLUTELY INSIST.

CHRISTIAN IV, KING OF DENMARK



"Of course," chuckled Simpson, "he's just covering the Old Bastard's ass. Navy takes care of its own. He didn't forget his serial number. I never thought to provide people with any."

Mike stared at him. Simpson shrugged. "What can I say? I screwed up. Guess we'll have to figure out a serial number system. Can't use social security numbers, of course, the way the old Navy wound up doing."

"To hell with a 'system,' " proclaimed Mike. "Later for that. Right now, we'll just have to wing it. Eddie needs a number right away."

The cheering crowd in the ballroom was starting to spill into the hallway. Mike knew he'd be surrounded by well-wishers in seconds, burying him.

Think quick.

He did. But—

Is Eddie bright enough? Stupid question.

Will he get reckless? That's the real problem. Ah, what the hell. He's lost a leg, what can he do?

Um. Eddie? Stupid question.

Piss on it, Mike. Go with the ones who got you here.

Just do it.

Pulling his ever-present notepad and pen from the inside pocket of his fancy clothing—another reason he'd insisted on his own modifications—Mike hastily scrawled a message. He just had time to hand it to Simpson before the mob swept him back into the ballroom. Dignitas be damned. Let's have a party!



Simpson didn't read the message for perhaps half a minute, until he was sure he had himself back under control. When he did read the message, however, he promptly burst into laughter again.



LT CANTRELL DECORATED NAVY CROSS. CONGRATULATIONS. LT CANTRELL REPRIMANDED FORGETTING SERIAL NUMBER. INSIST REPRIMAND BE GIVEN HIM. WITH SERIAL NUMBER. THUS NO EXCUSE REPETITION OF INCIDENT.

LT CANTRELL SERIAL NUMBER 007
--And once again, an memorable ending to what is probably my favortie book in series--and that is saying something.
Last edited by Hutch on Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Quoteables from the Ring of Fire
Post by Hutch   » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:16 pm

Hutch
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

And onward to 1634: The Baltic War. The first half of the book pretty much sets the stage, but then things get interesting....

"Well . . . it would mean a great deal more to you if you had seen one of their airplanes come down from the sky onto the ground. I watched myself, when Stearns came to Amsterdam. For the entire last part, I was holding my breath. The term is 'soft landing.' I think it's a very good description of what we are attempting here. A soft landing for the future. Foolish to stand against that future, yes. But I see no reason we need to submissively accept every particular in it. No reason, to name just one matter, that we need French and German troops—English, too—marching back and forth across our Low Countries once every generation, it seems."
--Rubens sums up the Netherlands' stance

There was only one ugly moment, at the very end.

"It has been most pleasant," she said, when they rose to leave. "I would ask you to visit again, but . . ." She sighed, half-caressing the arms of her wheeled chair. "It's not likely I'll be alive long enough to do so."

Richter's face turned to stone. A very pretty young woman—almost beautiful, actually, and Pieter had certainly been right about that magnificent bosom—transformed, in a instant, into something so harsh it was almost cruel.

"You are what? Sixty-five?" she demanded.

Startled, Isabella replied: "Ah . . . no. Sixty-seven."

"My grandmother is not so much younger. Do you know my history?"

"Ah . . . yes. Basically."

"Do you know hers?"

"Ah . . ." Isabella had never even considered the possibility that someone like Richter would have a grandmother in the first place. "No."

"When the soldiers came, she was too old to be raped. So she was able to protect my younger sister while they murdered her son in front of her eyes and raped me. In the two years that followed, she lived through torments that you have never seen outside of paintings."

Like an ancient heathen idol, that face was now.

"Many times I've heard her complain about her age. Bores everyone to tears, sometimes, going on and on about her aches and pains. But I've never once heard her sighing like a stupid sheep and whining about her inevitable imminent death. Stop it, woman. I despise cowardice—and you have no excuse at all."

With that, she turned and left. On his way out, following her, the young husband paused at the door and looked back. With that same sweet smile with which he'd entered.

"Yeah, I know, she's rougher than a cob, sometimes. Sorry 'bout that. But she's still right."

And he was gone, too. Isabella gaped at the empty doorway. No one had spoken like that to her . . .

Ever, so far as she could recall. Not even her father. And he had been the ruler of the world's mightiest empire!

"The impudence! I can't believe—!"

For a moment, she considered summoning the guards.

But . . . Well, she had promised safe conduct. And as quickly as she imagined the Richter creature was striding, she'd probably reach her room before the guards could catch up with her. With that horrid pistol in it, which Isabella had no doubt at all the monstrous creature would use before letting herself be arrested.

Her husband's shotgun, too, which might well be worse. Isabella had heard tales of the destruction those up-time weapons could deliver, at close quarters. Higgins himself was even famous for it, apparently. But it hardly mattered. Albrecht had been but an indifferent armsman, but had anyone ever come for Isabella they would only have reached her over her husband's corpse.

So, she let it pass. But she was livid for the rest of the day, furious for three, and sour and disgruntled for a week thereafter.


That night in the chapel, though, when he said his evening prayers, Bartolomé de los Rios y Alarcon added a prayer for the soul of Gretchen Richter. She was Catholic herself, after all, even if mostly a lapsed one. But Bartolomé would have prayed for her soul even had she been an outright heathen. He was quite sure the ogress had just added five years—three, for sure—to the lifespan of the archduchess.

The bolded part always makes me grin.

On their way to the house where the crew was staying—the Mackays had rented quarters on the other side of the theater district—Julie was full of complaints.

"Jesus, that theater stinks. If that was Shakespeare, you can have it. The audience were pigs. And since when"—her voice got a bit shrill—"does Juliet get played by a guy?"

Alex cleared his throat. "I did try to warn you, love."

"I thought you were pulling my leg. Juliet—played by a guy? So was every so-called woman in the play—including the nun! Jesus! Why don't they just call it the Drag Queen Palace and quit pretending they're doing legitimate theater? It's disgusting!"

Thankfully, the skies were overcast and it was quite dark. So Harry didn't think Julie could see his smile. "Well, tell me. Did you find out the truth? Did Balthazar have it right? Shakespeare wasn't actually written by Shakespeare?"

"Who cares?" Julie hissed. "Whoever the hell wrote that play, he was a f****** pervert. Juliet—played by a guy."
--A Julie MacKay discovers the realities of 17th Century plays (and yes, men were used for women's roles at that time)

"What do you want to do?" asked Andrew. He gave his older kin a look that was quite hard itself.

"Can't see where it's any of our business, any longer," said Hamilton. "Seeing as how our superiors have not seen fit to trust us."

Andrew nodded. "The way I see it too." His gaze went back to the wall of the kitchen that faced St. Thomas' Tower and, after a moment, softened a great deal.

"This speaks well of my future brother-in-law, I'm thinking."

Hamilton could feel the latch closing, and knew that he'd come to his decision. Somewhere in that bleak and savage wasteland within the Warder captain that other men would call a soul, a young American had just completed a journey. He'd passed over from one of them to one of mine.

"Oh, yes," said Hamilton softly. "It speaks very well of him indeed."
--I keep trying to imagine who I would have playing Stephen Hamilton in a movie/TV show--and I'm still stumpted--but what a character!

"The situation in Hamburg hasn't changed a bit in months, John. And we can't postpone deciding on a policy any longer. So—it is his decision to make—I had a long radio exchange on the matter with the emperor last night. As it happens, he's been reading a history of the United States—the one you used to have, I mean, the one up-time—in his spare moments. He instructed me to tell you one thing and ask you two questions."

"Yes, sir?"

"What he wanted me to tell you is that he is prepared to make the decision himself. But, for a variety of reasons, would much prefer it if he did not have to. The diplomatic repercussions, you understand."

Simpson nodded. "Yes, I understand. And the questions were?"

"The first question. Are you familiar with the history of your country? Especially its military history."

Simpson nodded again. "Fairly well, to the first. Very well, to the second."

"Good. The emperor told me that you needed to be able to answer 'yes' to that question, or the next one would be meaningless."

By now, John was intrigued. It was quite unlike Gustav Adolf to play games like this. The fact that he was doing so made it clear just how severe the "diplomatic repercussions" might be. He was not a man to shilly-shally and dance around a subject.

"And that question?"

Torstensson turned his head to look John. "The question makes no sense at all to me. But it's quite simple. The emperor wanted me to ask you if you were willing to take Florida for him?"

After a couple of seconds, Simpson began laughing softly. He even slipped into informality. "I have to tell you, Lennart, that's got to be the first time anyone ever compared me to that no-good class-baiting rabble-rousing bank-busting son of a bitch. But, yes. You can tell Gustav Adolf that I will be his Andy Jackson. I'll give him Florida on a plate, and if he needs to he can wash his hands of the whole thing and swear up and down he had no idea I was going to do it. Of course, just like Monroe did, he'll keep Florida. A fait accompli is what it is."
--Google Andrew Jackson and Florida--talk about a man reading his orders broadly....

Simpson rose and returned the nod. "Thank you, sir. One favor, though."

"Yes?"

"Whatever happens, please don't tell my wife about this conversation. My opinion of Andy Jackson is pallid compared to Mary's. On this subject, her blood runs as blue as the Danube is supposed to and doesn't."

"Ah. This Andy Jackson fellow was not favored by proper folk, I take it?"

"To put it mildly."

Quizzically, Torstensson cocked his head. "Yet . . . your own opinion of him is not so severe. Why is that?"

Simpson smiled. "The son of a bitch got us Florida, didn't he?"


OK, more in a bit. Lunchtime here.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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