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RTH Official Snippet #2

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by runsforcelery   » Sun May 10, 2015 11:31 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 1889
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

People —

As some of you may have heard, things have been a little . . . hectic around Casa del Weber the last few days. I more or less collapsed Thursday morning when by a pulse rate bottomed out at around 34 beats per minute. Now, I've always had a relatively low pulse rate, but that was just a tab low even for me. As it happened, two of our close friends who also happened to be EMTs were at the house when this happened, so they hauled out their magic bags, took my pulse, check my blood pressure, listen to my lungs, and then ratted me out to my GP. And he (not too surprisingly, I suppose [he said grudgingly]) sent me to the ER and the ER stuck me in a hospital bed overnight.

They let me go home Friday afternoon, but with a portable cardio monitor that I have to wear 24-hours a day. We have conventions in Canada and Minneapolis coming up over the next two weekends, and we are scheduled to leave for Canada this Thursday. My newly acquired cardiologist understands that it's important for me to make the trip, and he's promised to work with us on that, but he's also made it plain that if the stress tests I'll be undergoing in the next couple of days and the readout from this portable monitor don't make him happy, he's not going to let me go. In which case, these will be the first two scheduled conventions I've missed in 25 years. I am hoping very much to keep my record intact, but things are sort of out of my hands in a lot of ways. For example, Sharon has informed me that she has a hammer and I have kneecaps and they could find themselves enjoying a close relationship if I tried to get on the plane after Doctor Stewart tells me I can't go.

Anyway, here's the next snippet.

______________________________________________

Of course, it was always hot in Fort Salby for someone born on Yanohan Bay on the west coast of the green and misty island from which the Ternathian Empire took its name. Back home, they stood on the very lip of winter — not the icy, snowy winters of the 3rd Dragoon Division’s winters at Fort Emperor Erthain in Karmalia, perhaps, but winter — and theoreticall y it was almost winter here, as well. To be fair, temperatures at this time of the year were usually quite moderate for the Kingdom of Shurkhal; unfortunately, today wasn’t part of that “usually.” The temperature hovered in the upper nineties during the day and had been almost eighty even at night for the last freakishly hot two weeks. Fortunately, it was also nearly winter in Arpathia, which meant the stiff, unending breeze blowing through the portal looming above the fort carried a cooler edge between universes, especially at night. Unfortunately, during the day, the local weather seemed rather confused about the season.

Still, Division-Captain Arlos chan Geraith reflected bleakly as he swiped yet again at the film of sweat on his forehead, at least the humidity was blessedly low. And hot as it might be today, it was cooler than it had been last week . . . in far too many ways.

The division-captain lacked even a trace of Talent, which meant he’d been unable to directly experience any of the Voice reports and images of the Arcanan attack on Fort Salby, but he had a keen imagination and there was more than enough physical evidence of what had happened. The carcasses of flying creatures which could only be described as dragons from the most fearsome fairy tales had littered the landscape. The Trans-Temporal Express’s work crews had used steam shovels and bulldozers to bury them, but the damned things were so enormous — estimates ran to over forty tons, and he believed them — that the work crews had been forced to cut (and blast) them into smaller pieces they could handle. Then there’d been the bodies of the “eagle-lions” strewn across the fort’s burned and blasted parade ground, the enormous horses — like no horse chan Geraith had ever seen before — which had been killed in the assault on the fort’s eastern wall, and the charred ruin of a solid brick and adobe tower which had been pulverized by one of the plummeting dragons.

And there were the row upon row of graves, including, he thought with a pang which had become familiar without becoming one bit less agonizing, the imperial crown prince who’d stayed to fight beside the fort’s defenders, knowing he would die, to warn them of what was coming.

It was Arlos chan Geraith’s duty to see that none of those men had died in vain. Janaki chan Calirath had entrusted him with that responsibility, and he intended to meet it.

“According to Lisar here,” he said, looking up from the map and nodding in the direction of Company-Captain Lisar chan Korthal, his staff Voice, “your heavy artillery should to be arriving by mid-week, Braykhan.”

“Yes, Sir,” Regiment-Captain Braykhan chan Sayro replied with a small grimace. “I wish we were in a better position to make use of it.”

“Patience, Braykhan. Patience!” Chan Geraith smiled grimly at his staff artillerist. “Your ‘cannon-cockers’ will have their chance. I promise.”

Chan Sayro nodded, and chan Geraith turned his attention to Regiment-Captain Therahk chan Kymo, his staff quartermaster. Chan Kymo was considerably taller and fifteen years younger than his division-captain, with a pronounced Delkrathian accent and the dark hair and eyes common to the majority of the Narhathan Peninsula’s people. He was also good at his job, which was handy, given that the 3rd Dragoons were at the far end of a thirty thousand-mile supply chain.

“Lisar also tells me Brigade-Captain chan Khartan will be arriving along with Braykhan’s guns,” the division-captain said.

“Yes, Sir. I already had that information,” chan Kymo acknowledged. “Exactly where I’m going to park them all’s going to be something of a puzzle, though, I’m afraid.”

Chan Geraith snorted. Shodan chan Khartan commanded the 3rd Dragoons’ 2nd Brigade, which would add better than three thousand men to his current troop strength when it arrived. An infantry brigade was almost twice that size, but an infantry division had only two brigades, whereas a dragoon division had three, for a nominal total of just over ten thousand men, not counting the inevitable attachments. True, no unit was ever fully up to the numbers in its official table of organization. That was certainly true in the Third Dragoons’ case, at least! But moving even a slightly understrength division was a mammoth task, and a staggering total of locomotives and rolling stock would be required to move chan Geraith’s entire command down the Trans-Temporal Express’ rail line from Sharona.

“I realize space is more than a little tight,” he told chan Kymo with massive understatement. “That would be true under any circumstances, and having Engineer Banchu’s work trains parked all over the sidings doesn’t help.”

“We were lucky to have the sidings to park them on, Sir,” chan Kymo pointed out, and chan Geraith nodded.

The Traisum Cut’s narrow slot had been blasted through the heart of a three thousand-foot sheer cliff to connect the universes of Traisum and Karys, which had cost well over four billion Ternathian falcons and taken more thousands of man-hours — and tons of explosives — than the division-captain cared to think about. In the process, Fort Salby and Salbyton, the town spreading out beyond the fort, had been heavily built up as thousands of construction workers and hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies and machinery had been shipped in for the task. TTE had since removed the temporary housing which had been thrown up for those workers, but the miles upon miles of rail sidings remained.

Under other circumstances, those sidings would have provided ample space in which to park the train which had delivered chan Geraith’s First Brigade to Fort Salby. Under the circumstances which actually obtained, however, space was once again at a premium. Gahlreen Taymish, TTE’s First Director, had sent his senior engineer, Olvyr Banchu, forward to push the railhead across Karys as rapidly as possible as soon as word of the Chalgyn Consortium’s survey team’s disastrous first contact with the Arcanans reached Sharona. Banchu had been with his work crews when the Arcanan invasion bypassed them on its way to Fort Salby, but the Arcanan commander had been more than willing to exchange Banchu and his civilian workers — over two thousand of them — and the bulk of their heavy equipment for the prisoners Regiment-Captain chan Skrithik’s men had taken during their successful defense of the fort. Chan Geraith very much doubted Two Thousand Harshu had any clear idea of just how valuable all that equipment and all those trained workers were going to prove, and he was delighted to get them back. Yet happy as he was, the massive work trains Banchu had brought back from Karys had already packed much of the sidings’ available room solid.

And they’d go right on using up that parking space . . . unless someone found them something else to do.

“I think we’ll be able to do a little something about the congestion,” the division-captain said now. “First, of course, we don’t have much choice but to send our own train back. We’re lucky TTE had already allocated so much heavy lift capability to Traisum, but Director Tyamish didn’t know we were going to need to supply a major military deployment this far from home. He’s building up for it as quickly as he can, but it’s not as if he can just turn off the tap on TTE’s other needs, especially if he’s going to build up the nodal infrastructure the Army needs out here. It’s going to be two months — at least — before we can get enough rolling stock this side of the Salym water gap to meet our requirement anything near what I’d call adequately. Until we do, we’re going to have to make the best use we can of what we have, which means getting the men unloaded and under canvas as quickly as we can.”

“That will help, Sir,” chan Kymo agreed, “but we’re still going to be putting fifty pounds of manure into a twenty-pound bag, if you’ll pardon my saying so.”

“Nonsense!” chan Geraith said bracingly. “It can’t possibly be much worse than trying to put fifty pounds of manure into a forty-pound bag! And unless I miss my guess, we should be able to clear out a little more space, as well.”

His staff looked at him, and Regiment-Captain Merkan chan Isail, his chief of staff, raised one eyebrow silently. It wasn’t much of a change in expression, but chan Isail had been with chan Geraith a long time — certainly long enough for the division-captain to recognize a silently shouted question when he saw one.

“I’m seriously considering pushing an advance down the Kelsayr Chain,” he said. Chan Isail’s other eyebrow rose, and chan Geraith snorted again.

“I’m fully aware of the potential problems, Merkan.” The division-captain’s tone was almost as dry as the hot, motionless air outside his headquarters car. “All of them combined, however, can’t hold a candle to the problem of getting through the Cut against active resistance, and this entire portal’s so damned small — and the approach terrain’s so godsdamned bad — that the only option we’d have would be to bash straight down the Cut. Even with Braykhan’s heavy guns in support, that’d be a frigging nightmare.”

“That’s true, Sir,” chan Isail agreed after a moment. “But given these people’s ability to move troops and supplies by air, they’ll have an enormous mobility advantage whichever way we finally go at them. That’s going to be especially true in unimproved terrain without any road net or rail lines, and they’ve obviously been coming up the Kelsayr Chain as well as this one.”

Chan Geraith nodded, his eyes dark. Traisum was one of the half-dozen or so “triples” the Portal Authority had explored — universes which possessed three portals rather than the customary two. The Chernoth portal, linking Traisum and Kelsayr, and the Salbyton Portal, linking Traisum and Karys, had been discovered within a year of each other. Unfortunately, Chernoth lay in the heart of New Ternath on the far side of the Vandor Ocean, which had made getting to it just a tad difficult. By the same token, however, the Salbyton portal (only there hadn’t been a Salbyton then, of course) had been one of the most inaccessible ones ever discovered, lying as it did in the heart of the Narshathan Mountains. Given their sheer distance from home and all the manifold difficulties inherent in their development, the PA and TTE had given both of them relatively low priority, at least initially.

When the Powers That Be finally got around to them, the outlay in infrastructure had been enormous. Since the journey between Vankaiyar, the Ricathian city closest to the portal linking Traisum and Salym, and New Ternath included a water gap of over six thousand miles — practically the entire length of the Mbisi and the width of the Vandor — TTE had built a shipyard from the ground up at Renaiyrton, on the same site as the Ricathian Mbisian seaport of Nymara. The yard — established simultaneously with the enormous railhead at Salbyton — had gone up fairly quickly. It was a bare-bones operation, with a work force of only a few thousand, but that was quite enough to assemble the prefabricated ships required to transport its work crews and heavy equipment across the Vandor. Once that was accomplished, exploration of Kelsayr had gone on apace, and the portal from that universe to Lashai had been discovered within another several months.

In the meantime, work had begun on the Traisum Cut, which had soaked up well over three quarters of the TTE’s freight capacity down the line from Salym. The line through Kelsayr had been given a lower priority than work on the Cut, but the railhead had moved steadily, if slowly, forward toward Lashai. It had been anticipated that construction priority would shift back to the Kelsayr Chain once the Cut was completed, and that was exactly what had happened . . . until the Chalgyn Consortium’s push forward through the newly opened Failcham had reordered everything. Chalgyn had surveyed portals in Failcham, Thermyn (yet another triple), New Uromathia, and Nairsom before they hit Hell’s Gate, and the Portal Authority had been astounded to discover that Nairsom connected directly to Resym in the Kelsayr Chain.

It was the first time anyone had ever encountered two universe chains which intersected one another. No one had expected it, for obvious reasons, and Kelsayr and Karys had been considered completely separate chains. No one was certain exactly how to designate them now — chan Geraith suspected one of them would end up being dubbed a “loop” or something of the sort — but the unique configuration made for some interesting logistic considerations.

If the TTE had expected the two chains would merge, it might well have simply abandoned the hugely expensive Traisum Cut entirely. The route from Fort Salby to Hell’s Gate, the original point of contact with the Arcanans, along the Kelsayr Chain was better than four times as long as the one along the Karys Chain, but over ten thousand miles of it lay in Traisum, and at least it wouldn’t have required the removal of so many tons of drilled and blasted rock. For that matter, the cost to cross Kelsayr, even allowing for the Renaiyrton shipyard, had been little more than two billion falcons.

As it was, since TTE and the PAAF had both operated on the reasonable assumption that the two chains would never link back up, Kelsayr and Lashai were both more heavily inhabited and had better road and rail development than anything down-chain from Traisum in the Karys Chain. The route from Lashai to Thermyn, on the other hand, was almost totally unimproved. There were trails, and the future route of the TTE’s roadbed had been surveyed almost all the way to Nairsom, but as chan Isail had just pointed out, there was nothing remotely like an adequate road net to support the advance of thousands of men with all of their weapons and supplies beyond Lashai. And while it was still a bit difficult for a Sharonian to wrap his mind around all the advantages the Arcanans’ “dragons” bestowed upon them, one thing was abundantly clear: they could project force much farther — and much more rapidly — than Sharona could, even through totally undeveloped terrain.

And the total, ominous silence of the Voices beyond Resym was grim evidence that Sharona’s enemies had been advancing along both axes.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Down Under   » Mon May 11, 2015 12:43 am

Down Under
Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:54 am
Location: New Zealand

Thank you RFC
and praying for you
DownUnder
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Mon May 11, 2015 12:43 am

Bruno Behrends
Captain of the List

Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:33 am
Location: Berlin

runsforcelery wrote:People —

As some of you may have heard, things have been a little . . . hectic around Casa del Weber the last few days. I more or less collapsed Thursday morning when by a pulse rate bottomed out at around 34 beats per minute. Now, I've always had a relatively low pulse rate, but that was just a tab low even for me. As it happened, two of our close friends who also happened to be EMTs were at the house when this happened, so they hauled out their magic bags, took my pulse, check my blood pressure, listen to my lungs, and then ratted me out to my GP. And he (not too surprisingly, I suppose [he said grudgingly]) sent me to the ER and the ER stuck me in a hospital bed overnight.

They let me go home Friday afternoon, but with a portable cardio monitor that I have to wear 24-hours a day. We have conventions in Canada and Minneapolis coming up over the next two weekends, and we are scheduled to leave for Canada this Thursday. My newly acquired cardiologist understands that it's important for me to make the trip, and he's promised to work with us on that, but he's also made it plain that if the stress tests I'll be undergoing in the next couple of days and the readout from this portable monitor don't make him happy, he's not going to let me go. In which case, these will be the first two scheduled conventions I've missed in 25 years. I am hoping very much to keep my record intact, but things are sort of out of my hands in a lot of ways. For example, Sharon has informed me that she has a hammer and I have kneecaps and they could find themselves enjoying a close relationship if I tried to get on the plane after Doctor Stewart tells me I can't go.



Awww - I hope you get better soon! Thank you for telling us!
And I think we are all on Sharon's and Dr. Stewart's side.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Randallw   » Mon May 11, 2015 7:02 am

Randallw
Ensign

Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:11 am

There's something about the traisum cut I've never been able to figure out. Excuse me if I come off a bit slow but I have a hard time understanding the description. Is it a large tunnel leading from the heart of the mountain the portal appeared in, or did the portal appear on the side of the mountain and the cut is made into, and along the edge of the mountain, till it reaches the bottom of the mountain?

Edit: that phrase "heart of the mountain". Was the portal a solid face of stone, or does it mean an open portal in the mountains, like a deep valley or something?

I hope RFC gets better.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by jeremyr   » Mon May 11, 2015 9:53 am

jeremyr
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:33 pm
Location: Corinth, TX

Hope you feel better soon.
Guess it's time to reread the first two books. Can't wait for RTH.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon May 11, 2015 11:58 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 1889
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Randallw wrote:There's something about the traisum cut I've never been able to figure out. Excuse me if I come off a bit slow but I have a hard time understanding the description. Is it a large tunnel leading from the heart of the mountain the portal appeared in, or did the portal appear on the side of the mountain and the cut is made into, and along the edge of the mountain, till it reaches the bottom of the mountain?

Edit: that phrase "heart of the mountain". Was the portal a solid face of stone, or does it mean an open portal in the mountains, like a deep valley or something?

I hope RFC gets better.


From the Fort Salby side, the approach is a standard mountainside and slope. From the OTHER side, it's a sheer cliff --- the exposed "heart of the mountain" --- and the cut is just that: a straight sided cut, open at the top, and not a tunnel. The cut itself is wide enough to double-track a heavy freight line with extra width cars AND the equivalent of a 2-lane roadway.

That help?


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Randallw   » Mon May 11, 2015 6:45 pm

Randallw
Ensign

Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:11 am

I think so. Thanks.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by tonyz   » Mon May 11, 2015 8:54 pm

tonyz
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 124
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Riverside, CA

And now I'm wondering if there are any loops in the Arcanan zone of the multiverse.

(I think there must be, or it would have been commented on more when Harshu split off some of his forces to explore the other line of the loop.)
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Sharidann   » Tue May 12, 2015 2:46 am

Sharidann
Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:29 am

Get well David!

If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything.

P.S.: I am sure plenty of People would lend a Hand or two to restrain you to your house so that Sharon's friendship with the hammer doesn't blossom. :)
runsforcelery wrote:People —

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Re: RTH Official Snippet #2
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Tue May 12, 2015 1:08 pm

Howard T. Map-addict
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1392
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:47 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Why are TTE's work trains still at Salbyton?
Why haven't they already been sent to build more
tracks between Salym's Fort Tharkoma and Salbyton?

Sharona needs to redouble the tracks on the entire route!

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1673
for chart of Outworlds.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6957
for RtH snippet #1

HTM

runsforcelery wrote:______________________________________________
{big snips - htm}
"... having Engineer Banchu’s work trains
parked all over the sidings doesn’t help.”

the massive work trains Banchu had brought back
from Karys had already packed much of the
sidings’ available room solid.

And they’d go right on using up that parking space . .
. **unless someone found them something else to do.**
{snip - htm}
[/size]
Last edited by Howard T. Map-addict on Tue May 19, 2015 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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