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29 January 2018 @ 11:35 am
The re-re-write . . .  
It's getting better, and I think I just need one more scene, then oyu guys can get your teeth into the whole thing.


A careful peek around that corner to his left showed bare metal stairs going up and further down the corridor, stairs going down, beneath the upper staircase. Xen maneuvered the bubble around to look down the corridor to the right . . . three men, a bank of monitors.

Guards? I'm surprised they think they need them . . . and who are they monitoring? Their own people? I wonder . . . if they occasionally have problems from merging? Just scrambled brains, or the other personality persisting?

He eyed the men. Talking. Hot drinks. Tossing occasional glances at the monitors. Not expecting trouble. Not alert.

I'll try the stairs.

Flexed his hand. Getting stiff. Ridiculous way to travel. Once I'm around the corner, I'll warp light and get out of the bubble.

Around the corner and off . . . feeling . . . odd, hair on the back of his neck up . . . in fact all of his hair . . . Static? He maneuvered awkwardly . . . spotted the cam at the top of the down staircase. If he was across the corridor, right up in that corner, it might not pickup any little blips as he exited the bubble . . .

Through the open lattice of the metal stairs he could see the guards, one of them waving expansively as he talked.

Xen finger walked across, toward the back wall, possibly the wall of the ring containment . . . Warped light hard and smooth and eased out of the bubble. It zipped away instead of the usual float.

Didn't notice that, last time I was sabotaging a mag center . . . but then I don't think I released a bubble, then, either.

Xen eyed the wall.

What the hell is it made out of? Not very dense, nearly three feet thick. Then a gap . . . and a metal wall . . . no it’s curved. That’ll be the pressure vessel, with a near vacuum inside. So this outer wall is . . . blast containment? Or is it to keep foreign material away once the shadow zone encompasses the building? How do they deal with that problem . . . or does that explain the size of the containment? If they took ring material in a very fine powder over to the world they finally end up merging with . . . and placed it where the pressure vessel would over-lap . . . the oversized pressure vessel might cover the range of error in placement of whatever equipment is in there to . . . maybe spray ring power at the ring?

I can feel the magnetic field . . . so, how about one bomb shoved through this wall right here? It can sit in between this heavy wall and the pressure vessel, and the explosion will knock holes in the pressure vessel, warm up the rings . . .

He plucked one bubbled bomb off his arm, keeping a solid grip on it. Shoved it most of the way into the wall . . . attached it to the material of the wall deep inside and shoved it all the way in. Mentally shoved it deeper. Halfway. Just a little more . . .

The bubble popped.

The wall bulged out, a glowing hot bump three feet across.

Xen threw himself away and to the side.

Crap, a hundred kilos of metal and chemicals trying to coexist with the stone or whatever of the wall! Good thing solids are mostly empty space . . . probably there weren't any atomic nuclei close enough to fuse . . . Otherwise I've just irradiated the hell out of myself . . .

And those are fire alarms. And I need to get out of the way of the guards running this way . . .

Xen jumped and grabbed the tread of the upper stairs and swung his body up out of the way got the ball of one foot on another tread.

The guard grabbed the support post and swung around to head down . . . Put on the brakes, scrambled to stay on his feet and turned around to gawp at the bulging wall. Not really glowing hot, but . . .

His calls to the other guards and their yelled replies and exclamations when they spotted the wall exceeded Xen's rusty knowledge of their language. Dismay and cursing, a call for a techno—technician or scientist—was clear enough.

Xen shifted his grip and reached to his right. Got a grip on the upper stairs, and a foot down on the rail of the lower and eased out . . . More running feet . . . and no way he could slide by them. He muscled over the upper stair rail and trotted up to check out the upper floor. No one in sight, closed doors.

No time for exploring. I think I need to leave. He felt the location . . . couldn't quite . . . I'd better get further away from the magnetic field.

He trotted back to the stairs, where everyone was getting out of the way of some new people, firefighters, perhaps . . . Except the techo exclaiming in horror and waving his arms . . . trying to stop them . . .

Xen decided to believe him and bolted down the stairs, turned into the main hallway and ran, weaving through spectators. Shields up!

The splash of water, the hiss of steam.

The crack of the weakened wall as the sudden cooling fractured the material. A muffled whomp and a gust of air toward the back hallway. A shrill hissing. Had they holed the pressure vessel? It’s nearly half the volume of the building!

Xen dodged running men, shouting orders. The people in the hall turned and ran, half for the control rooms, half for the front doors. Xen bounced off one, kept to his feet and sprinted for the front doors as the super cooled spinning ring shattered . . . and was almost contained within its damaged walls. The near vacuum of the ring room sucked air from the building in a hard gust. The Helaos rushing the front doors shoved them in vain.

Several explosions, the sounds oddly dim in the thinner air.

A blast of arctic air shoved everyone against the outer doors, blowing them open. Xen staggered through and away, gasping for breath . . . Gas? Or maybe something unfortunate just happened to a whole bunch of liquid nitrogen? Helium?

Maybe I should go back to college, engineering or something, before I try sabotaging any more high tech installations.

He stopped to feel the location, the tower lookout room, the teleportation spell, power . . . and stepped out into the dark room and tripped over a soft thing that yelped indignantly.

"Sorry, Pig." He released the light warp and shields. Blinked and focused on Rael, lowering her rifle, Barracuda jumping up from beside her. "Well, that was fun. But I think we should go home now."

***

He dropped Rael at her ute, Hustled back to Embassy and got private with a bottle of wine and a speed bubble. Just in case there was radiation, or something other than a lack of oxygen in the gas I breathed back there.

 
 
 
ekuah on January 29th, 2018 09:27 pm (UTC)
Scientifically correct, but...
...it's a notable deviation from your usual story telling style.
It reads now a little bit like hard SF.

Normally you keep most technical descriptions somewhat vague. (At least that is my memory of your stories)
I think this practice is quite good, because it keeps the story flowing without drowning it with details.

Xen sounds here too much like an engineer not like a medieval magical being.
I know, he has probably a deeper insight into the matter around him than most of us (with his magical view and so on). But I don't remember him having a scientific degree. So him describing thing in engineering terms, and guessing the functions of parts sounds off.

I would like to suggest to simplify most descriptions and scratch most of Xen's hypotheses.
You must remember, Xen knows less of the story than you the writer.
So the observations should come before potential guesses.

So I had the gall to tinker with you story again.
Sorry Pam if I perturb you with my nagging.
If you feel my input is uncalled for, I will remove this message and keep away from the discussion.
ekuah on January 29th, 2018 09:27 pm (UTC)
Comment Part two:
------------------------------------------------------
Legend:
... skipped stuff kept untouched
+++ added or changes stuff
--- removed larger parts
() my comments
------------------------------------------------------
...
Didn't notice that, last time I was sabotaging a mag center . . . but then I don't think I released a bubble, then, either.

Xen eyed the wall +++plastered with warning signs+++. (Why else should he know that this is the right spot to do harm?)

---+++He felt it out. Not very dense, nearly three feet thick. Then a gap . . . and a curved metal wall . . . with a hard vacuum behind. 'Must be some kind of huge pressure vessel'.+++ (to keep it less scientific, and establish that it is huge for later)
+++So what is this thick wall for . . . to keep stuff in or foreign material out?+++
--- (keeping it simple, not over-thinking or over-describing it)
I can feel the magnetic field . . . so, how about one bomb shoved through this wall right here? It can sit in between this heavy wall and the pressure vessel, and the explosion +++will damage both walls, wreaking havoc with whatever they needing the vacuum for.+++ (again, keep it simple, the vacuum will be there for a reason, and removing it will be bad)

He plucked one bubbled bomb
...
Xen threw himself away and to the side.

Crap, a hundred kilos of +++whatever stuff that bomb was made of trying to coexist with matter of the wall!+++ (Xen is no chemist so are most of the readers) Good thing solids are mostly empty space . . . probably there weren't any atomic nuclei close enough to fuse . . . Otherwise I've just irradiated the hell out of myself . . .

And those are fire alarms.
...
He muscled over the upper stair rail and trotted up to check out the upper floor. No one in sight, closed doors.

+++Rows and rows of gas cylinders with frozen pipes behind.+++ (to set the scene for later)
No time for exploring. I think I need to leave. He felt the location . . . couldn't quite . . . I'd better get further away from the magnetic field.
...
The crack of the weakened wall as the sudden cooling fractured the material. A muffled whomp and a gust of air toward the back hallway. A shrill hissing. Had they +++damaged+++ (He can't know what happened) the pressure vessel? --- (he cant know the approx. size of the vessel without having explored the whole building. It was described as 'huge' and that should do it)

Xen dodged running men, shouting orders. The people in the hall turned and ran, half for the control rooms, half for the front doors. Xen bounced off one, kept to his feet and sprinted for the front doors as +++he heard something big shattering+++ (He can't know what have gone boom) --- +++The magnetic field was gone+++ (to hint the reader that something important has gone boom) and the near vacuum of the ring room sucked air from the building in a hard gust. The Helaos rushing the front doors shoved them in vain.

Several explosions, the sounds oddly dim in the thinner air.

Then a blast of arctic air shoved everyone against the outer doors, blowing them open. Xen staggered through and away, gasping for breath . . .
Gas? Maybe something unfortunate just happened to +++ the bunch of gas cylinders.+++ (Xen is no engineer, and does it matter what kind of gas?)

Maybe I should go back to college, engineering or something, before I try sabotaging any more high tech installations.
...
-----------------------------------------------------
I know most of the rewrite was triggered by our nagging about "why is something possible and why something else is not".
But as I said before, the point was to discuss offscript "what is possible or likely", not to persuade you to include the "why something is happening" in the story.

In my humble opinion, I think it is perfectly okay when you omit the "why is something happening as it does" as long as the "what is happening" is possible or probable.
1stew1stew on January 30th, 2018 02:50 am (UTC)
looking good
I liked it.
You write science fiction that explains away Fantasy (Magic). If as Ekuah says its a little heavy handed with science for Xen oh well. He does have a laptop or two by now and has likely done a wee bit of studying of modern this and that. No he can't build a TV from scratch but neither can I. By adding some science explanations (very few) you tighten the focus on what is possible making the outcomes more readily logical and believable. Great work.
(Anonymous) on January 30th, 2018 03:47 am (UTC)
RE: looking good
I also like it. Xen grew up with the Old Gods. He might not get all the science and technology, but he ought to have a rough grasp. And that's what he's got. He isn't sure if he got radiation exposure or not: pre-emptive wine.

Holly
(Anonymous) on January 30th, 2018 09:42 pm (UTC)
Heirs of Crown and Spear
Holly,
Thanks also for pointing out my missing Heirs of Crown and Spear. Near the beginning Q and Xen talk about their educations and degrees. The subtle gist was that they learned more from the Gods old library books (or at least in a more informed historically or better developed Physics way) about science and History but were out of synch with the learning that was taught by the Comet Fall schools that had lost knowledge due to War, Calamity, and ignorance. If I had not read that part I would have a different opinon of Q and Xen's knowledge base and general education. Thanks again.

1Stew
ekuah on January 30th, 2018 07:10 am (UTC)
Re: looking good
'He does have a laptop or two by now'
More like a bunch of them.
One from the Empire of the One.
One from Warmonger Earth.
One from Bogata Nuke Earth.
One from British Empire Earth.
...