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RTH Official Snippet #3

"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 #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:09 pm

runsforcelery
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Okay, so I'm in Minneapolis for Mantycon this weekend and Sharon is making me take it very easy, so I decided to go ahead and post snippets before the convention starts Friday.

On the health front, things are looking pretty good. We will be returning from Minneapolis to Greenville on the 25th, and the pacemaker will be installed on the 27th. After that and a brief period of getting things adjusted I should be fine.

And now for the snippet!

_______________________________________________________

“You’re right.” The division-captain acknowledged chan Isail’s point. “But let’s think about the other side’s situation for a moment. Chimo and I have been giving that some thought, so I’ll let him lay it out for you. Chimo?”

Battalion-Captain Chimo chan Gayrahn was the Third Dragoons’ planning and operations officer, which meant — despite his relatively junior rank — that he was also in charge of chan Geraith’s intelligence assessments. The red-haired, green-eyed Bernithian was substantially younger than the rest of the division-captain’s staff officers, but he had the confidence of competence and his expression was calm as all of the others turned to look at him.

“Of course, Division-Captain,” he said and laid a folder on the map table in front of him. It was quite a fat folder.

“These are the notes I’ve been working on for Division-Captain chan Geraith,” he continued, looking aroundthe other officers’ faces. “They’re based on interviews with Regiment-Captain chan Skrithik, Sunlord Markan, and Fort Salby’s other surviving officers and noncoms. And my assessment based on them, which I’ve already shared with the Division-Captain, is that Regiment-Captain chan Skrithik and his men hurt the Arcanans even more badly than we’d assumed.”

He flipped the folder open and extracted half a dozen sheafs of thin, tightly typed paper, stapled at the corner, and passed them around the table.

“Obviously,” he continued once each of them had a copy, “most of this has to be highly speculative, but at the Division-Captain’s instructions, I’ve tried to speculate as intelligently as possible. Fortunately, I had Master-Armsman chan Vornos available to help speculate and, ah . . . restrain any excessive enthusiasm.”

Most of the others smiled, and Brigade-Captain Renyl chan Quay, First Brigade’s CO, chuckled out loud. Master-Armsman Caryl chan Vornos was close to twice chan Gayrahn’s age, and thirty-odd years ago, Junior-Armsman chan Vornos had taken Under-Captain chan Quay under his wing. He’d been polishing officers in the Imperial Ternathian Army ever since, and it was obvious from chan Gayrahn’s tone that chan Vornos regarded the battalion-captain as yet another work in progress.

“What became apparent as we looked at the combat reports and our interviews,” chan Gayrahn went on more soberly, “is that Regiment-Captain chan Skrithik and his men severely mauled the enemy’s ‘dragons.’ Obviously, the ones killed in the attack, even if we combine the ones picked off in Prince Janaki’s ambush with the ones shot out of the sky here at the fort, represent only a relatively small percentage of the total number of dragons the Regiment-Captain’s men observed. But it seems to have been a significant percentage, judging by their unwillingness to risk additional losses. I think it’s worth noting that in their final attack on the fort, they used their . . . airborne capabilities only as a feint. They sent in the actual assault on the ground, and once that was broken, they declined to risk their remaining dragons in range of our weapons. I realize Windlord Garsal took several more down with his artillery, but that’s almost certainly because they’d underestimated his guns’ range. Everything from the way they approached, to the timing, and — of course — to Prince Janaki’s Glimpse indicates they never intended to expose the creatures to our fire.”

“I agree about their sensitivity to additional losses, Chimo,” Regiment-Captain Urko chan Miera, chan Geraith’s staff cartographer, said after a moment. “On the other hand, they may just’ve decided they weren’t going to be able to take the fort whatever they did and declined to lose more of the beasties in a losing cause.”

“That’s certainly possible, Sir,” chan Gayrahn agreed. “However, the dragons which actually attacked all seem to have been rather smaller than the ones they appear to use for transport purposes.” He grimaced as chan Miera’s eyebrows arched. “I know ‘smaller’ is a purely relative term when we’re talking about creatures that weigh forty tons or more, but Chief-Armsman chan Forcal, Fort Salby’s senior Distance Viewer, Saw them quite clearly. He confirms the size differential, and there’s general agreement that the ones who attacked the fort were all either red or black in coloration. The red ones were the ones who breathed or spat or whatever fire, and the black ones produced the lightning bolts. Chan Forcal and the other Distance Viewers who Saw the remaining dragons during the final attack all agree they Saw less than half a dozen reds and blacks in the diversionary attack. It looks very much like they didn’t have many of the . . . ‘battle dragons,’ let’s call them, to begin with, and they had one hell of a lot less after they tangled with Fort Salby’s machine guns and pedestal guns.”

“There’s another point to consider, too,” chan Geraith put in. The staffers looked at him, and the division-captain shrugged. “Trying to retake Karys, we could only get at them by fighting our way down the Cut on the ground; their godsdamned dragons can literally fly out of the portal any time they want to. Once Lyskar here —” he nodded at Lyskar chan Serahlyk, his chief combat engineer “— finishes digging in the portal defenses, that’ll change. And once Braykhan’s guns get here, we’ll be able to think about pushing them farther back on the approaches, but for now they’ve got damned close to completely free passage. That means they have an open road to attack our line of communication, but they aren’t doing it. Why not? They have to realize we can’t have pedestal guns and heavy Faraikas everywhere, so why aren’t they trying to circle wide around the fort and the fixed defenses to get at the rail line or our fatigue parties?” He looked around the map table. “Any commander with a scrap of initiative would be probing our rear area defenses, if nothing else, and does anyone in this compartment want argue that someone who managed to advance over four thousand miles in twelve days doesn’t have at least a trace of initiative? The fact that this ‘Two Thousand Harshu’ of theirs isn’t doing exactly that suggests to me that he has to be extraordinarily sensitive to additional losses for some reason. And according to young chan Hopyr he appears to have plenty of men, which seems to add point to the theory that it’s his logistics, not manpower, that’s the problem.”

Platoon-Captain Rynai chan Hopyr was the Distance Viewer who’d gone forward with the escort sent to shepherd Olvyr Banchu and his engineers back to Fort Salby. His was a powerful Talent, and he’d used it to good effect scouting the Arcanans’ positions and troop strength. He’d tallied in excess of a hundred and fifty of their dragons and at least six thousand men, twice the 3rd Dragoons’ current strength in Traisum. There was no way to tell what might have lain outside his range, but chan Geraith was certain the Arcanan commander had strength chan Hopyr hadn’t Seen. Not that what he had Seen hadn’t been quite bad enough.

“That’s essentially my own conclusion, Sir,” chan Gayrahn said. “Well, mine and Master-Armsman chan Vornos’. All indications are that Harshu is a determined, ruthless commander — more than ruthless enough to accept casualties and losses as the price of accomplishing his mission. Yet he hasn’t even tried to attack the rail line behind us.”

“Perhaps he simply doesn’t realize how important it is,” chan Isail suggested, and chan Geraith nodded. One of the things he most valued about chan Isail was the chief of staff’s hardheaded pragmatism. Chan Geraith’s own tendency was to think in the most aggressive terms possible. Aggressively enough, in fact, that he sometimes found himself badly in need of chan Isail’s willingness to challenge (or at least critically examine) his underlying assumptions.

“I think it’s entirely possible — even probable — that he doesn’t have a clear grasp of how much we can move, or how quickly we can move it, on rails,” the division-captain conceded now. “In fact, I don’t see how it could be any other way. They had to be as ignorant of our capabilities as we were of theirs when they set out to attack us, and Harshu wouldn’t have been so quick to let Banchu and the work crews go if he’d realized how badly he could hurt us by just hanging on to them.”

“You’re probably right about that, Sir,” chan Kymo said thoughtfully. “I’ve been trying to get some sort of mental picture of how our transport capabilities stack up against theirs, now that we know about these dragon things of theirs.” The quartermaster shrugged. “I can’t be positive they don’t have something like our railroads, obviously, but I agree with you that Harshu would never have let Banchu’s people go so readily — at the very least, he would’ve insisted that all their equipment be left behind or destroyed — if he’d had any real grasp of their importance. In fact, I’m beginning to think it’s important we not let ourselves be so dazzled by how quickly they can move that we overestimate how much they can move.

“Assume a sixty-ton dragon can carry its own weight. Frankly, that seems unlikely as hell for any flying beast, but given how ‘unlikely’ dragons are in the first place, I’m not going to say they can’t. But that’s still only sixty tons per dragon, whereas we can load a hundred and ten tons into a standard freight car, and the heavylift cars can carry almost twice that much. We hauled over ten thousand tons all the way from Sharona in a single train. Assuming their dragons really could haul sixty tons apiece, they’d still need over a hundred and seventy of them to match that total . . . and we currently have two more trains that size following us down the same line. If Harshu had any concept of what that means, he’d be moving heaven and all the Arpathian hells combined to stop us from doing it.”

“Point taken,” chan Isail said after a moment.

“I think Therahk may have an even better point then he realizes,” chan Geraith said. His subordinates looked at him, and he smiled thinly. “We have to remember both sides are dealing with opponents with completely unknown capabilities. I know I just said that, but it bears repeating because it’s something we have to keep in mind. At the moment, Harshu undoubtedly calculates — correctly, by the way — that he has every tactical advantage there is in our current standoff. He can’t know how good our heavy artillery is, and I think it’s obvious that until he hit chan Skrithik here at Fort Salby, none of our people had an opportunity to use their weapons and doctrine effectively against him. He’d’ve been one hell of a lot more cautious about how he went after Salby if they had. But he’s got a better feeling for our capabilities by now, and he’s probably licking his chops thinking about what he can do to any assault we might launch down the Cut, right into his teeth. If nothing else, those damned dragons of his mean he could put explosive charges into the sides of the Cut anywhere he wanted to. We’ve already seen what their equivalent of dynamite can do to a fort’s wall, so there’s no reason to assume they couldn’t do the same things to the Cut’s walls, now is there?”

He looked around their expressions. Most of them looked as if they’d really like to disagree with him; none of them did.

“One thing we have to remember, though,” he continued after a moment, “is that they have had the opportunity to observe our capabilities on their advance from Hell’s Gate. By now, for example, they must realize our draft animals are nowhere near as big or as powerful as theirs are, judging by those cavalry horses of theirs.”

Chan Isail nodded sourly. The ‘horses’ the Arcanans had used in their final assault on Fort Salby were bigger than the largest Chinthai draft horse he’d ever seen, yet according to all of the witnesses, they’d charged the fort’s eastern wall cross-country at a speed few Sharonian thoroughbreds could have matched on a racetrack. Obviously, the Arcanans’ magic — or whatever the hells they called it — had been at work there, as well.

“I think we also have to assume that they’ve captured accurate maps of both the Karys and Kelsayr Chains,” chan Geraith pointed out. “If they have, they probably realize just how unimproved both chains are beyond Karys and Lashai, not to mention the water gap here in Traisum. Where Kelsayr’s concerned, they’ll probably assume — logically — that six thousand miles of ocean and another forty-six hundred miles overland must constitute a pretty severe bottleneck here in Traisum, and they’ll evaluate our mobility beyond the railheads on the basis of piss-poor roads and trails, wagons, and pack animals. By the same token, even if Therahk’s completely correct about Harshu’s not realizing how much we can transport by rail, I’ll guarantee you he does realize we can move one hell of a lot more in a freight car than we could in a six-horse wagon down a dirt trail. So if I were him, and if I could move my entire army four thousand miles in less than two weeks, I wouldn’t be especially worried by the possibility of being flanked on a seventeen thousand-mile march by an enemy restricted to horse-drawn transport. Even if he knows about the shipyard at Renaiyrton and the rail line through Kelsayr and Lashai, he’ll figure he has plenty of defensive depth on that front.”

He paused as if to see if any of his staffers wanted to disagree with him. No one did, and he shrugged.

“So what I’d do,” he said, “is send word however quickly I could to whoever I’d had advancing up the Kelsayr Chain to turn himself around, backtrack to Thermyn, and then move up to support me in Karys as quickly as he could. I’m sure Harshu committed dragons to support the other advance, as well, so by recalling them, he should be able to regenerate at least a little of the dragon strength chan Skrithik and Prince Janaki cost him here. That would strengthen him against any attack we were foolish enough to launch down the Cut, but it might also give him enough strength to actually try cutting or at least damaging the rail line between here and Salym with deep strike raids into our rear. I think he’s expecting to be reinforced — probably pretty damned heavily — as soon as his superiors can get additional men and dragons forward to him. At that point, if I were him, I’d be thinking in terms of using the additional dragons to send a major force through our portal here to drop in somewhere several hundred miles in our rear to cut the rail line and hold it. If I could manage that, then eventually I’d be able to starve out Salbyton and any field force protecting the Cut, and if I could interdict movement from Salym into Traisum. I’d have both the Kelsayr and Karys Chains without having to deal with the water gap between Chernoth and Renaiyrton. I don’t care how ‘magical’ their damned dragons are, they can’t be up to a six thousand-mile flight without stopping, or they’d’ve been one hells of a lot farther up-chain than they are before we even knew they were coming!”

He paused, as if for comments, but once again none of his staffers said anything, and he shrugged.

“Everything makes the advance through Karys the shortest line of advance once he can get past the Cut, and the Cut won’t be anywhere near the terrain obstacle for them that it is for us. A serious obstacle, but not an insurmountable one like crossing the Vandor without ships. Because of that, and because it’s our only present point of contact, he almost has to be calling in his secondary advance to strengthen his position in Karys until those reinforcements he’s expecting arrive. He’ll probably leave pickets along the Kelsayr Chain to cover his back, but I very much doubt he’ll seriously expect anyone to attack them.”

Chan Isail was looking at him very intently indeed now, and the division-captain smiled again, more thinly even than before.

“My mother always used to tell me a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” he said. “And she used to say it’s not what you don’t know is so that hurts you; it’s what you think you know that isn’t so. At the moment, Harshu knows a lot more about us than we know about him, but no Arcanan’s ever so much as heard of a Bison. I realize seventeen thousand miles is a long way, but we’ve got over thirty-five hundred miles of rail line clear across Kelsayr and Lashai and TTE’s already laying track in Resym. For that matter, its advanced work crews are cutting and grading roadbed over a hundred miles down-chain from the current railhead. Since we haven’t lost Voice contact with them yet but we have lost contact with the portal forts in Nairsom and on Lake Wernisk in Resym, I’m inclined to think that’s as far up-chain as they’ve gotten. What it means from our current perspective is that it’s only about seven thousand miles cross-country from the railhead to Hell’s Gate as opposed to four thousand miles going via Karys. For that matter, it’s barely three thousand miles to Thermyn, and at least until Harshu is heavily reinforced, the Cut works both ways as a defensive feature. For that matter,” the division-captain’s already thin smile became a razor, “he may just find it costing him more than he expects to get his dragons through the portal here even after he’s reinforced.”

“That’s true, Sir,” chan Isail said. “But the weather’s going to be a royal pain in the arse in Kelsayr, and Thermyn and Naisom aren’t exactly going to be picnics this time of year, either.”

“At least winter in Serinach will be a change from Salbyton!” chan Geraith retorted, and more than one of his staff officers chuckled again. Serinach, the northernmost state of the Republic of Rendisphar back in Sharona, consisted of most of the vast Serinach Peninsula where New Ternath reached towards the Serinach Strait which separated it from the easternmost tip of Farnalia. For all its stupendous size, Serinach was only lightly inhabited . . . which had quite a lot to do with Serinach winters.

“The good news,” chan Geraith continued, “is that we can move everything by ship and rail all the way from Traisum to Resym, and the construction crews in Resym shifted into high gear the instant TTE heard about Fallen Timbers. Master Banchu’s ready to start moving his crews and their heavy equipment to Resym, as well, and once they get there, they’ll be laying double-tracked line in three shifts. On that basis, they’ll be putting in the next best thing to twenty-five miles of track a day, and Therahk estimates that we’ll need another couple of months to bring up the rest of the division and prep it for the move. That means they’ll have laid another eleven hundred miles across Resym by the time we get there.”

He paused, and chan Isail nodded slowly.

“You’re right that the weather in Thermyn and Naisom will be more of a problem,” chan Geraith conceded, “but the worst leg from that perspective’s going to be in Naisom, and that’s less than six hundred miles. On the basis of our exercises at Fort Emperor Erthain, the Bisons should be able to maintain an average speed of around fifteen miles an hour across the kind of terrain between Kelsayr and Thermyn even in winter. Allowing for the present length of rail, mounted scouts could cover the total distance from Vankaiyar here in Traisum to Fort Ghartoun in about sixteen and a half weeks. Allowing for rail length by the time we could get the Bisons to the railhead, the rest of the division could cover the same distance in about nine weeks, and I guarantee you that’s one hells of a lot sooner than anyone on the other side’s going to be expecting us!”

His staffers were staring at him now. They were silent for a very long moment, then chan Isail cleared his throat.

“Sir, the Bisons have never been tested on that kind of extended advance. I know they’ve done damned well in trials, but there’d be bound to be a lot of breakdowns before we ever got to Thermyn.”

“Agreed. On the other hand, we’ll have to leave a big enough force here at Salbyton to hold the Cut from our side and to make enough noise to keep Harshu looking this way instead of over his shoulder.” Chan Geraith shrugged. “We don’t want him to see the Bisons if he decides to risk a few dragons to fly reconnaissance, anyway, so whoever we leave behind couldn’t make very much use of them here at the Cut. That being the case, we strip the brigade that stands in place and use its Bisons to supplement the flank column’s organic transports. And the Army’s shipping additional Bisons and Steel Mules forward after us as quickly as it can procure them, along with every steam dray it can get its hands on. Our engineers will improve the roads as we go, so anything coming down the route behind us should be able to move much faster than our main column. Banchu’s crews will go right on laying track behind us — and extending the kerosene pipeline, too. They ought to make another six or seven hundred miles good between the time we leave the railhead and the time we reach Thermyn, which will effectively shorten the distance any new Bisons or drays will have to cover.”

“And those pickets they may’ve left behind, Sir?” the chief of staff asked.

“I’ll grant you they may have all sorts of ‘magic powers,’ Merkan,” chan Geraith said. “And given the way they’ve managed to shut down the Voice network as they advanced, they must’ve gotten at least some knowledge of our Talents. But we’re the Third Dragoons. If there’s anyone this side of Arpathia who’s as good as we are at scouting an enemy position without being spotted, I’ve never met them. We send a battalion or so down the chain on horseback with enough Voices to maintain constant communication with us. We’ll need to get them off as quickly as we can, because it’ll take them so much longer to cross the unimproved universes, but there’s not a portal in the chain that isn’t at least twenty-five miles across. Ask the PAAF how easy it is to ‘picket’ a portal that size even with a fort right in the middle of it! We send along a full recon section, complete with a Mapper, a half-dozen Plotters to keep an eye on the sky for dragons, and a good Distance Viewer or two to make it harder than hell for the Arcanans to see them coming even if they’re mounting standing patrols of dragons around the portals. And we make sure they’ve got an extra weapons company with mortars and heavy machine guns. They’ll have a hell of a lot better chance of spotting a picket on one of those portals than the picket will of spotting them when no one on the other side’s going to believe there could possibly be Ternathian dragoons anywhere near them.”

“And if they do spot a picket, Sir?” chan Isail asked quietly.

“That’s why we’ll be sending the mortars and the machine guns, Merkan, because if there are any pickets out there, it’ll be our turn to shut down their warning network the same way they shut down the Voice network.” No one could possibly have mistaken Arlos chan Geraith’s expression for a smile this time.

Exactly the way they shut down our Voices,” he said very, very softly.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by John Prigent   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:38 pm

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Thank you! Enjoy the Con :D :).

Cheers

John
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by SCC   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:54 pm

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What's this about a kerosene pipeline? And I'm guessing the Steel Mules are what the Bison's pull?
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by PeterZ   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:26 pm

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SCC wrote:What's this about a kerosene pipeline? And I'm guessing the Steel Mules are what the Bison's pull?


Kerosene, preferred fuel for steam engines? Bison sounds like a steam tank and steel mules sound like a team truck. This quote suggests that Bison are not primarily transports and might be used at the Cut for something other than transport. Could be wrong but sounds like the 3rd Dragoons are mechanized cavalry or heavy mechanized infantry. Like the Third isn't horse mounted infantry with trucks.

RTH Official Snippet #3 wrote: “We don’t want him to see the Bisons if he decides to risk a few dragons to fly reconnaissance, anyway, so whoever we leave behind couldn’t make very much use of them here at the Cut. That being the case, we strip the brigade that stands in place and use its Bisons to supplement the flank column’s organic transports. And the Army’s shipping additional Bisons and Steel Mules forward after us as quickly as it can procure them, along with every steam dray it can get its hands on. Our engineers will improve the roads as we go, so anything coming down the route behind us should be able to move much faster than our main column. Banchu’s crews will go right on laying track behind us — and extending the kerosene pipeline, too. They ought to make another six or seven hundred miles good between the time we leave the railhead and the time we reach Thermyn, which will effectively shorten the distance any new Bisons or drays will have to cover.”
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 6:19 pm

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Thank You!

Chan Geraith is really really aggressive. I did not see the Sharonans being confident enough to try this type of offensive this fast. I almost find myself wondering if a Calirath glimpse didn't put Chan Geraith in this position, there can't be many officers who would take this risk. The willingness to try this is a surprise to me.

The other thing that jumps out at me is Chan Geraith's suggestion that the best Arcanan strategy is to "send a major force through our portal here to drop in somewhere several hundred miles in our rear to cut the rail line and hold it." I suspect this is an expert confirmation that if the Arcanans can't hold part of a rail line against Sharona, they can't really stop supplies from getting through.

Nicholas
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by SCC   » Wed May 20, 2015 6:28 pm

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Um, PeterZ, we already KNEW that Bision's where steam truck, and their COAL powered, with wood as a back up, I think.

And the only mentions I can find for kerosene involve lighting and starting a forest fire
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by PeterZ   » Wed May 20, 2015 7:31 pm

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SCC wrote:Um, PeterZ, we already KNEW that Bision's where steam truck, and their COAL powered, with wood as a back up, I think.

And the only mentions I can find for kerosene involve lighting and starting a forest fire


Dang! Must have forgot or never knew. Where did this bit of datum come from?
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 7:38 pm

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For those wondering about the Bisons. We got an pair of small infodumps in Hell's Gate as the Third Dragoons was moving out. I will quote it below. The Iron Mules are new though.

Hells Gate says:

For the last two years, Fifth Corps in general—and the Third Dragoon Division, in particular—
had been experimenting with a radically new approach to military logistics. The basic concept had
suggested itself following the improvements in heavy construction equipment produced by the Trans-
Temporal Express's insatiably expanding rail net. There were those who believed the newfangled
"internal combustion engine" was going to be the powerplant of the future because it was so much
lighter and more efficient than steam, and chan Geraith wasn't prepared to tell them they were wrong.
But those noisy, oil- and gasoline-burning contraptions were still taking the first, hesitant steps of
infancy, and out in the field, where the TTE did most of its heavy construction work (and where the
army might be called upon to maneuver), refined oil products might not be available. So TTE had
specialized in developing ever more efficient steam-powered excavators, bulldozers, and tractors.
Designed to burn just about any fuel which could be shoveled into their fire boxes, they'd grown
steadily more powerful, lighter, and more reliable for over fifty years now.
In fact, they'd grown reliable enough for the Imperial Army to take a very close look at them.
Chan Geraith was one of the general officers who continued to nurse serious reservations about their
maintainability in the field, but he'd seen enough over the past twenty-odd months to become
convinced they were, indeed, the future of military transport.
Plans had called for the entire Fifth Corps to be provided with the new personnel carriers and
freight haulers, but as was always the case (especially with peacetime budgets) procurement rates had
run far behind schedule. Third Dragoons, tasked as Fifth Corps's quick-response division, was the
smallest of the three divisions (horsed units always had lower manpower totals than infantry units), as
well as the most mobile. It was also the only one which had received anything like its full allotted
transport, although even it was still a good twenty percent below the intended establishment. On the
other hand, chan Geraith's mounted troopers wouldn't require anywhere near the personnel lift one of
the infantry divisions would have demanded.

Division-Captain chan Geraith stood with his hands on his hips, watching as one of his Bisons
snorted up the loading ramp onto the massive flatcar under a floating banner of black smoke and the
careful direction of the loadmaster. The Bison—technically, the Transport Tractor, Mark I, Model B
—was based on the same powerplant as the next to largest of the Trans-Temporal Express's
bulldozers, although its suspension and caterpillar tracks had been substantially modified in an effort
to allow for greater speed over even rougher terrain. It wasn't an actual transport unit itself, but rather
designed to tow a capacious wheeled or tracked trailer, and despite its funnel, it was sleek, lowslung,
and powerful looking.
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by brnicholas   » Wed May 20, 2015 8:07 pm

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One question that is bouncing around in my head. How does chan Geraith have such up to date information on the situation in Lashai?

There is a 6,000 mile water gap between him and Lashai. In Hell's Gate all messages were delayed by a week in order to cross water gaps. If they hadn't looped voice chains around those water gaps surely they haven't put one around the Traisum water gap. I suppose it is possible there are enough voices (with survey teams?) on ships traveling across the gap to improvise a chain across it but it seems unlikely. So how does he have up to date information on the status of the Lashai portals?

Nicholas
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Re: RTH Official Snippet #3
Post by SCC   » Wed May 20, 2015 8:17 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Dang! Must have forgot or never knew. Where did this bit of datum come from?

The kerosene? I've got one of the library discs which have HTML versions of the books, so it's pretty easy to do a search with find in files.

Or do you mean the wood as back-up fuel? Well that's the back-up fuel for the trains, in fact it's the reason they still uses coal fired steamers, if you run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere you can simply chop down a tree to get back going. This leads me to suspect that many people are going to get a NASTY surprise when they find out how advanced Sharona is in combustion power plants

And it's STEEL Mules.

brnicholas, the Voice Net wasn't COMPLETELY cut, there's that kid who survived, and I think the water gap in Trisum is behind him
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