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Official HFQ Snippet #10

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:42 am

First Space Lord

Posts: 2425
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

I'm in a Mahntee Paithon sort of mood today, so "Oh, stop groveling, man!" :P :lol:

BTW: the next one's likely to be delayed, since Sharon and I will be in Europe for two weeks. (Sorry we're not getting far enough east for a face-to-face, Dilandu! ;))


Even with their training, it would have been difficult or impossible for the new Imperial Charisian Army to have put this many men into the field this far north at this time of year without the manufactories of Old Charis. The Chisholmian experts had designed the necessary equipment, but their designs —tweaked here and there without their knowledge by an AI named Owl — had been built by Rhaiyan Mychail’s textile manufactories and Ehdwyrd Howsmyn’s foundries. Green Valley suspected that many of those foundry and manufactory workers in semi-tropical Charis hadn’t quite been able to believe in weather conditions severe enough to require the items they’d been making, but that hadn’t stopped them from churning them out in quantities no one on the Church of God Awaiting’s side could possibly have matched.

The column of marching infantry swung along on their snowshoes with the practiced gait of men who’d spent the last several five-days regaining and sharpening their skills. It was unlikely many Army of God patrols would be out and about in the snow and cold (in fact, Green Valley knew from the SNARCs that none of them were), yet the scout sniper battalions ranged well out in front of the main column on cross-country skis. He couldn’t exactly tell them there was no one in the vicinity, and he wouldn’t have even if he could. There were limits to how many “inspired guesses” he could make, and however readily he could talk with the other members of the inner circle, he was limited to more mundane methods of communication with his subunit commanders . . .none of whom had the SNARC access he did. Even when the SNARCs told him exactly what they might be walking into, it wouldn’t do any good unless he had some way to tell them, which all too often he would not. They needed the sort of reconnaissance which was the scout snipers’ speciality, and it was best that they stay in the habit of making certain they had it.

Behind the infantry, caribou and snow lizards hauled heavy cargo sleds, loaded with food, fuel, forage, and ammunition. Each infantry support squad was accompanied by its assigned caribou, pulling its mortars and ammunition on dedicated sleds, and each twelve-man squad of infantry towed two sleds of its own. One normally carried the men’s packs, sparing them that sixty-pound load, at least, while the other was loaded with the arctic tent assigned to that squad. The tent’s outer layer was steel thistle silk — light, strong, and so tightly woven it was virtually impervious to wind. The inner layer was woven cotton, quilted with eiderdown, and when the tent was erected there was an insulating two-inch airspace between the layers. The same sled also carried a lightweight steel chimney and a relatively small but highly efficient oil-fired stove. In a worst-case scenario, a smoke hood could be rigged at the base of the chimney to permit other fuels to be used in an open fire pit, although that would be very much a second — or third — choice for the tent’s occupants. It also would have posed a small problem for the tightly rolled caribou-hide sleeping mats strapped to the sleds to provide an insulating floor inside the tents.

Sleeping bags had been provided, as well, made in three layers — an inner removable liner, once again of steel thistle silk, followed by a thickly quilted insulating layer of eiderdown, followed by an outer layer of additional, insulated wind resistant steel thistle silk. The liberal use of thistle silk was expensive, even for the Charisian textile industry, but it was no longer prohibitively expensive, and it also meant they were light enough to carry rolled and lashed to the top of a riefleman’s pack. They were undeniably bulky, however, and because they made awkward loads, they were normally stowed on the sleds with the tents.

The men themselves wore white snow smocks over fleece-lined outer parkas and trousers of supple, well-tanned caribou hide. Inside that came inner parkas of steel thistle silk-lined, triple-knit wool over woolen shirts and corduroy trousers, and more steel thistle silk had been expended on each man’s long-sleeved and legged underwear. That “layered” effect was essential for arctic clothing, and the silk served as a barrier against the menace of water vapor. Arctic air could accept less water as vapor, so moisture like sweat quickly condensed out of it. The steel thistle silk prevented perspiration from saturating the layers outside it, which would quickly have destroyed their insulating capacity.

To protect his hands, each man wore heavy, multilayered mittens or thick fleece-lined gloves over an inner glove of knitted wool and a separate liner of steel thistle silk. The mittens were warmer than gloves because they gathered and held the heat of the entire hand, not individual fingers, but they were clumsy, to say the least, and the gloves allowed greater manual dexterity when it was required.

Boots had been as carefully considered as the rest of the troops’ gear. Made of sealskin and lined with fleece, they had double soles and an inner, moccasin-like liner which could be removed to dry, or worn as a sort of house shoe inside one of the tents.

The weight of all those garments was a significant burden, but one which allowed them to move and operate in temperatures far below freezing. Nature had provided the caribou and snow lizards with their own formidable insulation, and the High Hallows had been bred by centuries of Chisholmian breeders for conditions very similar to these. Nonetheless, arctic rugs had been provided for the horses as additional protection if the temperature plunged still lower.

The snow made marching difficult, even with snowshoes, but it provided easy going for the sleds which followed in the broad, beaten down lanes the infantry’s snowshoes provided. In many ways, conditions were actually less difficult than they might have been for dragons pulling conventional wagons cross-country in mid-summer.

And best of all, Green Valley thought, no one on the other side has a clue of just how winter-mobile we are.

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:01 am


Posts: 2512
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Wow! Thank you for new snippet, RFC!

Sorry we're not getting far enough east for a face-to-face, Dilandu!

Well, maybe someday in future! ;)

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by therealorang   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:03 am


Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:02 pm

Thanks RFC - have a great trip!
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by ErikM   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:05 am

Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:44 am
Location: The Netherlands

:D Snippet! (summarily devoured before the hordes arrive)

So this is where the increased steel thistle production has (partially) gone. I wonder if we'll see some very surprised AOG/COGA people aghast at just what the heretics are using as clothing and tent material and at the quantities involved.

I presume the stove runs on sea dragon or kraken oil?

We'll just have to wait and see who has the misfortune to run into these troops. 'They'll never see it coming' seems apt.

Have a pleasant vacation RFC. Where in europe are you headed?
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by Duckk   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:09 am

Site Admin

Posts: 4191
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:29 pm

If you want, you can send me the next snippet and the date you want it posted.
Shields at 50%, taunting at 100%! - Tom Pope
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by BarryKirk   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:22 am

Captain of the List

Posts: 403
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:27 pm
Location: York, PA

Thanks for the snippet RFC!!!

I feel the urge to grovel for another subsiding... For a little while.

Have a great trip to Europe.
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by kbus888   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:23 am

Vice Admiral

Posts: 1980
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 10:58 pm
Location: Eastern Canada


Mr and Mrs Weber

Lise and I wish you and yours a safe, exiting, and interesting European trip.

L & R
..//* *\\

Love is a condition in which
the happiness of another
is essential to your own. - R Heinlein
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:45 am


Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

Hey! I'm the snippet poster for the MWW!!!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Duckk wrote:If you want, you can send me the next snippet and the date you want it posted.
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by Duckk   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:55 am

Site Admin

Posts: 4191
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:29 pm


Shields at 50%, taunting at 100%! - Tom Pope
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #10
Post by pokermind   » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:10 pm

Fleet Admiral

Posts: 4002
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:58 am
Location: Jerome, Idaho, USA

Actually RFC is having too much fun posting his own, so neither one of you gets to read Hells Foundation Quiver early :lol:

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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