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HFQ Official Snippet #16

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HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:31 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

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Location: South Carolina

This one's running late because I've had some internet problems. :roll:

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Lieutenant Ahrnahld Bryahnsyn stopped rubbing his hands together in a vain attempt to convince them they were warm and looked up, his expression baleful as he tried to identify the anonymous voice. It sounded like Corporal Kaillyt, who damned well ought to know better than to say something like that without identifying who was speaking.

That was his first thought. The second thought was that as reports went, it was a pretty piss poor excuse.

“Who said that?” Bryahnsyn snapped. “And what the hell are you talking about? What’s ‘what’ and where did you see it?”

“Uh, sorry, Sir.” Yes, it was Kaillyt. “It was me. And I don’t know what it was. Something moved down there in the water — moved upstream, not down.”

“What?”

Bryahnsyn climbed to his feet, careful of his footing in the icy darkness, and made his way towards Kaillyt’s position. The corporal was perched on the muddy riverbank above the sunken river barge closest to the western edge of the Seridahn River, and slithering down the slick slope into the water wasn’t high on Bryahnsyn’s list of priorities. South March winters were considerably milder than those farther north, but the temperature hovered barely above freezing, and that gave the damp night a bone-gnawing chill. The current around the half-submerged hulk made soft chuckling and bubbling noises that seemed incongruously gay and cheerful under the circumstances. There were over a dozen more barges out there, stretching across the river in a more or less straight line, most of them in deeper water, where they’d been scuttled to block the navigable channel for reasons Bryahnsyn really didn’t want to think about too closely. The last thing the Army of the Seridahn needed was for the demon-spawned armored ship reported at Thesmar to come upriver to support an infantry attack on its new positions the way it had ravaged the Army of the Sylmahn’s rear areas last summer.

“Show me,” he hissed, crouching beside Kaillyt.

“Don’t see it now, Sir,” the noncom said apologetically. “It was right about there, whatever it was.”

The corporal was difficult to see in the darkness. The waning moon which had been visible earlier through the scudding overcast had all but set, but there was still enough light to burnish the low-lying river mist with silver, and Bryahnsyn jockeyed around behind Kaillyt until he could pick up the corporal’s arm and pointing hand against the dim glimmer. That at least allowed him to orient himself and he peered in the indicated direction, straining his eyes.

“Out there by the third barge?” he asked.

“Yes, Sir. Well, more between there an’ number two, maybe. A bit closer in than that.”

“Describe what you saw.”

“Didn’t rightly see anything, Sir. Not clear, if you know what I mean. There was something black, an’ I thought it was a stick or a piece of driftwood. But then I realized it was movin’ the wrong direction. It was goin’ against the current.”

Bryahnsyn glowered at the inoffensive river, staring until his eyes ached, but he saw no sign of anything Kaillyt might have seen, or thought he’d seen, or imagined, or whatever. He’d never thought of the corporal as a particularly imaginative individual, but the miserable light, the moving river, the thickening mist, the eyestrain, and the gnawing uncertainty were more than enough to make anyone start seeing things if he looked long enough.

“There was only the one of whatever it was?” he asked after a minute.

“Only saw one, yes, Sir. Might’a been more of ’em, I guess. If there really was one of ’em to begin with, that is.”

At least Kaillyt was honest, Bryahnsyn reflected. And it was better to have someone report things he thought he’d seen when he hadn’t than keep his mouth shut when he truly had.

“Well, keep an eye peeled,” he said finally.

“Yes, Sir.”

The corporal watched the lieutenant disappear back into the shadows, then settled back down on his haunches, peering at the river. Had he seen anything? He truly didn’t know, but he found himself hoping he hadn’t. The longer things stayed quiet and unremarkable, the better he’d like it.

The heretics had punched a column out of the “besieged” port of Thesmar last month and driven southwest to take Somyr, cutting all overland connection between the Desnairian Empire and East Haven. Almost simultaneously, another column had stormed Cheryk without even slowing. True, the Cheryk garrison had been significantly reduced when the Army of Shiloh’s primary supply line shifted to the St. Alyk River, but the defensive works had been formidable and there were ugly rumors the garrison had panicked when the surprise attack rolled in, supported by a hurricane bombardment from the small, mobile angle-guns no one had suspected Hanth had.

With Cheryk lost, General Rychtyr had ordered the batteries at Yairdyn on the Seridahn withdrawn and pulled all but a token delaying force back from his main position at Trevyr. The Yairdyn commander had been unable to block the entire river, but he’d scuttled a handful of barges in the deepest channel, which had been enough to prevent the heretic ironclad’s passage at least briefly. There’d been another, heavier barricade twenty miles north of Yairdyn, as well, but the terrain at that point was flat as a table, totally unsuited to a serious defense even if there’d been some way to get enough men and guns there in time. The Yairdyn CO had kept right on retreating past it, using it to delay any riverborne pursuit, and it seemed to have worked.

But now Hanth’s troops had moved up the Seridahn’s western bank from the south, closing on General Rychtyr’s new position, and there were reports they’d barged their artillery upriver with them. If barges could get that far upriver, could the ironclad be far behind?

Combined with what had happened at Cheryk and the disaster which had overwhelmed the Army of Shiloh, that possibility was more than enough to give anyone a few disquieting thoughts


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by bigrunt   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:37 am

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Lieutenant Commander

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Yea, thank you very much
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I am the runt of the litter (Granted it was a litter of really big pups)
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by pokermind   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:39 am

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Ah the plot thickens, thanks for the Snippet, RFC.

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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: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by dobriennm   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:42 am

dobriennm
Commander

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I bet this is where the snippet

03/30: Tiny 2: Hahlcahm Bahrns is up to something interesting that will go BOOM!►

comes in. Bahrns explosives team is about to lay charges and blow the barge obstacles out of the way so he can steam further upriver.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by Undercover Fat Kid   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:14 am

Undercover Fat Kid
Commander

Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:20 pm

I love it! Charisian frog men coming to call, it sounds like :D
.
.
Death is as a feather,
Duty is as a mountain
This life is a dream
From which we all
Must wake
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by USMA74   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:15 am

USMA74
Commander

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Location: Leavenworth, KS, USA

Thank you so much RFC/MWW. Three checks of the website this morning pays off bigtime. :lol:
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by 6L6   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:17 am

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Thanks RFC for another great snippit.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by isaac_newton   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:25 am

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Ahhhhhh, rubs hands, consults map with great interest

Rychtyr is not going to be flavour of the month back at Zion! On the other hand, there might be much bigger contenders for that title :-)
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by isaac_newton   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:26 am

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dobriennm wrote:I bet this is where the snippet

03/30: Tiny 2: Hahlcahm Bahrns is up to something interesting that will go BOOM!►

comes in. Bahrns explosives team is about to lay charges and blow the barge obstacles out of the way so he can steam further upriver.


Sounds very likely!
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #16
Post by evilauthor   » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:19 pm

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Undercover Fat Kid wrote:I love it! Charisian frog men coming to call, it sounds like :D


I;m kinda curious to see what Charis is using for wetsuits that have insulation good enough to keep men from freezing to death in freezing cold water.
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