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ATST Snippet #6 (I think)

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ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:27 am

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This one's a little shorter, but it is in order, and I think you may find it . . . interesting. :twisted:

Of course, I've posted enough out of order snippets that I may have this one's number wrong. :D

___________________________________________
“True, and I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about the transport problems once they realize what it means to them,” Kynt Clareyk put in from Camp Mahrtyn Taisyn. “That look down from above will be huge for our forward observers, especially given what Runwyng’s done with their fortifications. And if we manage to turn it back into an open field battle, it may be even more important. For one thing, it’ll be a relief not to have to rely on ‘hunches’ and ‘guesses’ I can’t explain to anyone about what’s happening on the other side of the next hill! For that matter, we’ll be able to give Ruhsyl and the others some of the same edge without needing seijins to turn up fortuitously with critical information just when they need it. And God knows we’re going to need every edge we can get against Rainbow Waters.”

“Amen to that,” Cayleb agreed fervently.

“At any rate, all the first-wave aeronaut detachments should reach Transhar within another three or four five-days,” Delthak continued, still gazing at the barrel shop. “I’d really prefer for them to be able to go on training — hydrogen doesn’t respond well to sparks, and I worry about safety precautions that get rusty — but I suppose that’s out of the question?”

“I’m afraid so,” Merlin replied. “Oh, they can train in the basic procedures, but they can’t deploy for real field training until it’s actually time to use them. This isn’t something we could hide from the casual observer — like anyone within, oh, twenty or thirty miles —and somebody like Rainbow Waters would recognize the implications of it just as quickly as anyone on our side. I don’t know how much good that would do him, but if it would do anyone any good, he’d be the one. So the detachments will just have to stay undercover until it’s time to move up to the front. I know you’re worried about accidents during the inflation phase, but we’ll be generating the hydrogen on demand, not hauling around huge pressurized tanks of it, and it’s a lot more likely to just burn — violently as hell, I’ll grant you — if it catches fire when it’s not pressurized. And given the way it rises, it won’t hang around at ground level even if they have a major leak. Those sparks you’re worried about are a lot less likely to ignite it than you might think just because they can’t catch it before it gets out of range!”

“Which I’m sure will be a great comfort to the survivors if one of them does catch it!” Delthak said a bit tartly. But then he inhaled and shook his head.

“I don’t like it, but that may be because I’ve been extra skittish about potential accidents — and especially ones that involve things like flammable gasses — since our fire. It’s only been about four months, and a thing like that . . . tends to stick in a man’s mind.” He grimaced and swiveled his chair back around, looking away from the nearly completed replacement barrel finishing shop. “And I may have done just a little too much reading about Lakehurst, I suppose. Either way, I can’t argue with the ‘military logic.’ Merlin. And I have to admit I’m looking forward to the Temple Boys’ reaction when they see it for the first time!”

“I think you can safely assume all of us are,” Cayleb observed dryly. “When you come down to it, it’s probably our biggest hole card for this summer’s entire campaign. Timing or no, though, I’m not really looking forward to explaining to Hauwerd Breygart why he didn’t get any of them.”

“I’m sure he’ll forgive you . . . eventually,” Merlin said soothingly. “He understands the value of surprise better than most. Besides, Ehdwyrd’s gotten him all that splendid new artillery, and he’s doing just fine the way things are.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Cayleb said approvingly. “In fact, he’s doing well enough I think it’s time to start the process of elevating Hanth to a duchy.”

“Seems to be a lot of that going around lately,” Merlin observed with something suspiciously like a chuckle, and Delthak’s image made a rude gesture in his direction.

“That’s because as nasty as this campaign’s looking, we’re not worried about whether or not we’re going to survive it.” Cayleb’s tone was considerably more sober. “When you’re confident you’ll still be here at the end of the year, you’ve got a lot more leisure to think about handing out tokens of appreciation to the people who’ve made sure you will. People like you, Ehdwyrd”

“It’s been a joint effort, Cayleb,” Duke Delthak replied with a hint of embarrassment. “I won’t pretend I haven’t worked my arse off, but so have a lot of other people. And at least no one’sbeen shooting at me.”

“True, but there’s not a single man in uniform who doesn’t realize this war will be won just as much on the manufactory floor as any battlefield,” Merlin said. “And the truth is that beating the Group of Four’s the easy part. You and your people are what may let us win the war against the Proscriptions in the end.”

“But winning the war against the Group of Four has to come first,” Nahrmahn put in from his computer in Nimue’s Cave. “And I think our little psychological warfare campaign is starting to wear on friend Zhaspahr’s nerves. His agents inquisitor are spending an awful lot of time tearing all those broadsheets off of walls all over the Temple Lands, and they seem to be getting just a bit frustrated by it.” The portly little prince smiled seraphically. “The word’s getting out, too. None of his city and borough bishops inquisitor can pretend they’re only a local phenomenon anymore.”

“No, they can’t,” Nynian Rychtyr agreed in tones of profound satisfaction, and Merlin smiled across the breakfast table at her.

It must be driving Clyntahn and Rayno to frothing madness, he thought. For the better part of two years, they’d managed to prevent the majority of the Temple’s supporters from realizing how broadly Owl’s remotes had been distributing their broadsheets. To be fair, Nahrmahn and Nynian had been careful about ramping up that distribution. Clyntahn was going to blame it on demons in the end, whatever they did, but they’d wanted awareness of the bulletins posted on walls and doors to seep into people’s awareness slowly. To become an accepted part of their world gradually, giving them time to get over the “demonic” novelty of them as familiarity wore away the taint. To help that along, they’d strictly limited the number of “bombshell” revelations in each issue, filling out at least half — and more often two-thirds — of the space with homey local news items. News items people could check. Whose accuracy they could verify for themselves and which tended to validate the items they couldn’t check by a process of association.

Once they’d pushed them into their readers’ awareness as an alternate source of information, they’d started broadening their attacks on Clyntahn’s version of events. In the last year or so they’d even started carrying statements from the Fist of God, including devastating lists of the crimes for which the Fist had struck down literally dozens of vicars and archbishops, almost all of whom had been Clyntahn allies or toadies. The damage that had done to the Grand Inquisitor’s credibility would be almost impossible to overestimate, and in the last five or six months, Owl’s remotes had begun distributing them even more widely. They were everywhere now, and little though anyone in the Inquisition’s reach would admit it, many of their readers had decided they were telling the truth . . . and that Clyntahn wasn’t.

Another consequence of that greater saturation, however, was that people had become aware the same sorts of broadsheets were appearing everywhere. Despite the communication limitations of a pre-electronic civilization, the Inquisition could no longer pretend even to the average man in the street, much less to their own agents inquisitor, that they were restricted only to a single locale, or perhaps to one or two of the Temple Lands’ greater cities. Nor could they hide the fact that they were appearing despite everything Clyntahn’s minions could do to prevent it, which ground relentlessly away at the Inquisition’s aura of invincibility. Zhaspahrn Clyntahn’s cloak of authority and power was growing progressively more tattered, and when it came completely apart . . . .

“ ‘The moral is to the physical as three to one,’” he quoted. “Napoleon didn’t get everything right, but he nailed that one. The more we’ve got Clyntahn’s bastards — and everyone in the Army of God and the Mighty Host, for that matter — looking over their shoulders, the shakier they’ll be when the hammer comes down.”

“Yes, but I’ve been thinking we might want to look at a few ways to further improve our own people’s morale, as well as grinding away at the Temple Loyalists’ confidence,” Nahrmahn said.

“I know that tone,” Cayleb said warily. “What have you been up to this time?”

“Oh, I haven’t been up to anything . . . yet, Your Majesty. I do have a . . . call it a prototype morale booster for Ehdwyrd’s manufactories, though.”

“My manufactories are just a bit busy with other things at the moment, Nahrmahn,” Delthak observed. “Like, oh, balloons, bayonets, hand grenades, angle-guns, armor plate, shell production, rifle ammunition, steam engines — you know, little things like that.”

“Oh, I know that! And it won’t cut into your military production at all. In fact, you may want to farm it out to one of the plumbing manufactories. Or possibly to one of the ceramics works.”

“What in the world are you talking about, Nahrmahn?” Nynian demanded with a smile. She’d had more experience than most of how the devious little Emeraldian’s mind worked.

“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but back when I had to waste all that time breathing, I did some of my most profound thinking when I was enthroned in the privacy of my water clost,” Nahrmahn said with his most serious and profound expression. “The isolation, the quiet — the ability to focus upon my reflections secure from any interruptions or distractions — were always rather soothing.”

“Should I assume this is going somewhere? Besides into the crapper — you should pardon the expression — anyway?” Cayleb seemed torn between laughter and exasperation, and Nahrmahn grinned at him. But then the prince’s expression sobered once more — a bit, anyway.

“It is, actually,” he said, “and it goes back to what Merlin just said about morale. Our people have plenty of determination, Cayleb, but sometimes they need a little laughter, too, and there are times mockery can be more deadly than any amount of reasoned argument. So I got to thinking about how we might provide that laughter, especially in a way that gave another kick to Clyntahn’s image, and it occurred to me that indoor plumbing isn’t really all that widespread, especially in rural Siddarmark or places like Delferahk and Zebediah. For that matter, it damned well doesn’t exist in North Harchong or anywhere in Desnair outside a palace! And that suggested this to me.”

He held out an empty left hand and waved his right hand above it like a stage conjurer. Unlike the conjurer, however, Nahrmahn Baytz truly could work “magic” — within the confines of his virtual reality, at least — and an object appeared on his palm. It was a largish white, bowl-shaped ceramic vessel with a handle and a cover, and Merlin frowned as he recognized the chamber pot.

That’s your magic morale weapon?” he asked skeptically, and Nahrmahn glanced down at it.

“Oh, excuse me! I didn’t quite finish it.”

He snapped his fingers, and the plain white chamber pot’s sides were abruptly decorated with a tasteful pattern of intertwined leaves and vines. Then he held it up at an angle and removed the lid with a flourish, allowing the others to see down into its interior.

“Oh, Nahrmahn! That’s perfect!” Nynian exclaimed before a chorus of laughter swamped the com net, and Nahrmahn’s smile became an enormous grin.

The bottom of the chamber pot was decorated with the jowly, readily recognizable face of a man in the orange-cockaded white priest cap of a vicar. His mouth was open and his eyes were wide in an expression of pure outrage, and a six-word label ran around its rim.

“A salute to the Grand Fornicator,” it said.









.V.
Earl Thirsk’s Townhouse,
City of Gorath,
Kingdom of Dohlar.


“Thank you for coming, My Lord,” Earl Thirsk said as Bishop Staiphan Maik followed Paiair Sahbrahan into his library. He climbed out of his chair — a bit of a struggle with his left arm still immobilized — despite Maik’s quick, abortive wave for him to stay seated. The earl smiled faintly at the bishop’s distressed expression and bent to kiss Maik’s ruby-set ring.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by marcus   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:40 am

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Thanks for the snippet will be chuckling all day
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by Dilandu   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:02 am

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A bit too... childish, IMHO. Clearly, Narhmann should study old Earth World War II propaganda more.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by blackjack217   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:08 am

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Okay, that was funny. Also, this bit might be slightly related:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx86xPHCAuI
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by ksandgren   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:11 am

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Thanks for the snippet, rfc! My morale has been boosted.
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by Captain Igloo   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:51 am

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To quote Nappy:

God is on the side with the best artillery

I have destroyed the enemy merely by marches

In war, everything depends on morale; and morale and public opinion comprise the better part of reality
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by EdThomas   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:01 pm

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Nahrmann seems to have created the latest must-have status item. I wonder if those with indoor plumbing will be racing to upgrade their commodes to match the chamber pot? :D :D
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by EdThomas   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:05 pm

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Dilandu wrote:A bit too... childish, IMHO.
Dilandu, your english is superb but your reply reveals that you're not a native speaker. I suggest the proper term would be "sophomoric". :)
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by Dilandu   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:12 pm

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EdThomas wrote:
Dilandu wrote:A bit too... childish, IMHO.
Dilandu, your english is superb but your reply reveals that you're not a native speaker. I suggest the proper term would be "sophomoric". :)


Thanks for the tip)
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: ATST Snippet #6 (I think)
Post by isaac_newton   » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:30 pm

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EdThomas wrote:
Dilandu wrote:A bit too... childish, IMHO.
Dilandu, your english is superb but your reply reveals that you're not a native speaker. I suggest the proper term would be "sophomoric". :)


Hmmm - think I agree with Dilandu on this one. I certainly would have said/written 'childish' :-)

On the other hand I love the image of inquisitors hunting down the guilty chamber pots... :twisted:
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