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RTH Official Snippet #4

"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!
Re: RTH Official Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:59 pm

First Space Lord

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Okay, guys, about the numbers of dragons available to Toralk.

As near as I can figure things out, this is what happened. Bear in mind that it’s been something like ten years since Linda and I wrote the first book in this series and that my notes have been through three different computers in that time frame, completely irrespective of any revising that was done to them while we were actually writing (and editing) the published novels. In other words, I’m having to do quite a bit of reconstruction here to figure out exactly where we are and what we have.

The shortened version is that when the I was writing the scene RTH in which Toralk is evaluating his strength, I forgot that the 2029th Strike had been involved in the attack on Fort Salby. That means that I wasn’t allowing for its casualties when tallying up the battle dragon strength available to Toralk in the aftermath of the successful defense of Fort Salby.

By my calculations, he should actually have come up with the 3 survivors of the 3012th, 1 survivor from the 2029th Strike, plus the 6 of the 5001st Strike. In other words, there should be a total of 10, not 20. I am correcting the manuscript to reflect that and sending it in.

As far as the reference in Chapter 52 of Hell’s Gate to “two complete Air Force talons, but he’d even come up with an additional four-dragon flight of the rare yellows.” There are a couple of things going on here. One is that I apparently used the noun “talons” where I meant to say “strikes,” and the other is that the use of the adverb “complete” was . . . maladroit on my part. What I meant was that there were 2 strikes worth of battle dragons plus 4 yellows.

Two complete strikes would consist of 24 dragons, plus the 4 yellows. That would give us a total of 28, and the actual strength was divided between 3 strike headquarters (2 of which were understrength) as follows:

3012th = 12 (8 reds and 4 yellows)
2029th = 10 (6 reds and 4 blacks)
5001st = 6 (3 reds and 3 blacks.)

All but 4 of the 3012th and 2029th were wiped out at Fort Salby (remembering that when I wrote the section in this snippet I’d forgotten the 2029th’s casualties), and they — combined with the undamaged (but half strength) 5001st — give us the total of 10 remaining battle dragons as per my amended text.

Also, on the flight times. The problem here is that I went back to my original tech bible on the series, and not the one which was modified as we wrote the first two books. (Remember what I said about going through three computers in the interim?) At any rate, in the original tech bible I had given a transport dragon an average flight speed of 80 miles per hour. That was subsequently increased to 100 miles per hour, but that wasn’t noted in the original tech bible. In fact, a transport dragon is good for approximately 1,500 miles per day, but it can’t fly that entire 1,500 miles without rest stops. Average speed for a transport, allowing for periodic rests, is around 100 mph over the space of approximately 15 hours, allowing 9 hours per day for feeding, “maintenance,” and extended (as opposed to periodic stops) rest. So, prodded by your questions, I went back and took another look at that passage and reworked the math for the upgraded version 1.2 transport dragon.

For what it’s worth, battle dragons are faster than transports but they have less endurance, requiring more frequent rests, and actually slowing a transport formation to something much closer to my 80 miles per hour number, but that isn’t really operative here because Toralk is thinking specifically about transports and not battle dragons.

I hope this helps unscrew the inscrutable to at least some extent.

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Re: RTH Official Snippet #4
Post by Keith_w   » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:04 pm


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Location: Ontario, Canada

Thank you for that enlightenment RFC.
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Re: X-Refs to other snippets re: RTH Official Snippet #4
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:33 am

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Location: Mesa, Arizona

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:No one has cross-referenced prior
snippets to this thread yet.

Snippet #1 is at

Snippet #3 is at


If you check out the sticky post at the top of the forum, you will see that there is a index to all of the snippets so far.


The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln

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