Monthly archives: August 2006

Heavensent 10.2

Shara had descended to street level, where the action was, and was proceeding down the Straight side door to side door. She had lifted a bag of ammunition from a surprised child and sent him back to his mother. Now she was feeding cartridges into the wound on her upper arm.

The combat telegraph had been strung between buildings through sewers and drain pipes. There was a handset in the lobby of every building. Shara stopped halfway along the Straight to talk into one, getting an update from Aurile.

The destruction squads were moving behind one man tracks, the heavy autoguns of which kept defenders out of the open. The squad would wait until a building’s door and windows were behind the tracks, then smash the door down with charges. As the door fell, a soldier with a portable flamethrower lit up the inside of the building. Further charges and incendiary bombs were then thrown in to complete the job. Another squad mopped up anyone who fled the burning building. The squads were three buildings away from Shara.

An ever growing band of would be defenders was growing in the lobby, stopping on their way to or from the relentless arson to stare at this striking woman with her warrior’s bearing and strange language. Shara returned the handset to its cradle. “Are you ready to fight?” she asked the assembled throng. There were mumbles of assent, growing in volume as she stared at each defender individually. “Then come with me. It is time for you to fight back.”

Heavensent 10.3
Heavensent 10.1
Heavensent 1.1

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Bye bye Airfix

Airfix has gone into administration. They’re blaming the closure on the collapse of Heller earlier this year and the French company’s refusal to hand over certain moulds.

It’s a damn shame. The company was going through something of a revival and had released, or planned to release, quite a few kits I was eager (if too poor) to buy. I did get their TSR-2, but I also wanted the classic cars collection and various of the smaller military models. Wonder what this is going to do to the price of their kits lying around in model shops?

As yet the official Airfix site has nothing to say on the subject.

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Junk Post

UK readers of this blog may have caught the news item yesterday about the postman suspended for advising residents on his walk how to opt out of receiving junk mail.

The BBC News item here has information on the story, plus details on how you can opt out yourself. Note: you will have to register with two services, Royal Mail Opt-Outs, and the Mail Preference Service. The article I caught on the radio stated that the postman had told people to write direct to their local sorting office.

You may also want to consider registering with the Telephone Preference Service and the Fax Preference Service.

Now if only there was a “Door to Door Salesman Preference Service” – it would stop things like this…

Heavensent 10.1

The depleted Wasp squadron flew over Stran island. No defensive guns fired on them. Black smoke from the fires whorled around the ends of their wings as they passed through it. On the ground small figures ran to and from the flames. They would make easy targets for a strafing run, but the Wasp pilots were heading for their moments of glory in the fjord.

There were small boats on the grand lake behind the island, turning in tight fast circles to keep from being easy targets. Spotting the Wasps, they broke from their pattern and started heading into the attack in line abreast. Anti air arced up long before it could be effective.

The Wing split, the incendiary armed Cicciles and half the Wasps going high, the rest diving for water level. The low group hadn’t quite reached zero spans when they came within range of the anti air. A Wasp was hit, one engine flaming briefly the trailing black smoke, as tracer webbed around the planes. At wave height the planes flattened out, so low each trailed its own wake. The closing speed was phenomenal, and at zero elevation the gunners on the boats found their shells sailed over the planes.

Two of the boats turned away from the attack, presenting larger and easier targets. They were sliced by lines of converging gunfire as the planes opened up on them. The others fared better, presenting smaller targets, but the white spray from falling rounds traced toward them.

And then the planes were past the boats. Apart from one Ciccile, which pulled up too late and shattered its propeller on the radio mast of the boat it flew over. The plane dived, like a sea bird after fish, under the water. The rest of the flight didn’t see it pop back to the surface several counts later. The pilot, dazed but not even wet yet, wrestled the canopy open and climbed out.

Only four of the boats could raise fire at the receding planes. The wounded Wasp circled and headed back out to sea as its companions climbed to rejoin the rest of the Wing.

Heavensent 10.2
Heavensent 9.17
Heavensent 1.1

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Post Industrial backgrounds 2

Spinneyhead’s tail grows a little more. The original Post Industrial backgrounds set was popular, so I went out and took some more pictures of decaying Manchester for you to use in the backgrounds of renders. (May require Animotions membership to view.)

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The Manchester blog awards

The first ever Manchester blog awards are to be presented in October at a ceremony in Urbis. I’m sure Spinneyhead can slide into the best arts and culture blog, what with me publishing novel extracts now, and blog of the year as well, maybe even personal blog. Application and voting should start in a few days.

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Heavensent 9.17

Area commander Janssen was getting more information than he could handle. Things were happening all over his city, in no sensible order. He needed his deputy commanders, but they were dead. Or his civilian assistant, but he was in prison.

“Sir. Reports from Stran Island say three of the runways are out of action and half the….”

“Spotters report hundreds of planes from seaward.”

“Spotters?” Janssen was furious, “Can they not see anything with that damnable RADIF!”

“Sir, the RADIF was on Stran.”

“Stran docks report ten coastal craft of forty are operational.”

“Sir, our men outside are being fired on.”

The man next to Janssen realised he was shaking. Rapidly everyone in the room noted their commander’s state. The voices faded as they waited for him to collapse or recover.

“KILL THEM!! Kill them all!”


“Raze all the buildings! From here to the glacier! If they are coming to relieve the city then I shall leave no city for them.”

“Sir, is that the best….”

Janssen had drawn his gun and was pointing it at the young officer. It had always been suggested that the weapon was for show and never loaded. But this was not the time to find out if that were true. “Do you question my orders?”

No sir.”

“Then begin it. Now!”

So the order went out. The assembled troops weren’t to report to defence stations, but should proceed to destroy the old town.

Heavensent 10.1
Heavensent 9.16
Heavensent 1.1

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Wish me luck

I’ve got an interview this morning, so I worried about it all last night and didn’t sleep well.

I also had two conversations yesterday about moving on, salvaging positive things from bad situations, my past, my future and various other things. So when I wasn’t worrying about the interview I was thinking about those, and didn’t sleep very well.

In half an hour I’ve got to catch a bus into town and then a tram to Altrincham and try to convince somebody to give me a job that might be the first step to getting my direction back. And I’m tired and emotional.

Like I said, wish me luck.

Heavensent 9.16

They banked the flying boat away from the smoke of battle, reassessing their route to shore. “They are probably aiming for the same landfall as we were.” Gim pointed to the ships forming a staggered line in the distance.

“We can still be there before them.” Bobb pointed out.

“But we would need a bargaining chip sooner than we had planned.” Sheel added.

“Perhaps some of their people are still in the water. Drop down and head back toward the battleground for a while.”

They banked and dropped height, heading for the oils slick where there had previously been a ship. The debris field was being stretched out along the tidal path, just beginning to arc away from the distant shore. There were barrels, shards of planking, bodies and, finally, a yellow life raft.

The figure in the raft spotted the plane and stood to wave their oar in the air.

They circled the dinghy twice. “She has the same uniform as the fliers earlier,” Gimm decided, “and she expects us to rescue her.”

“Well let’s not disappoint her then.” Bobb flew a distance away then banked to line up a landing. With the flaps down, the plane flying as slowly as possible and the nose pointing upward in near stall, they settled toward the uneven surface of the sea.

The plane landed, and the nose pitched forward and a wave of water washed over it. For a moment the windows were green as it seemed they must continue diving. Then they bobbed up again, wallowing in their own swell until the propellers gained purchase and they began moving.

The woman in the raft shouted greetings as they drew near, but her expression was confused when Sheel opened the side hatch. She took the grappling pole when it was offered her, and accepted Gimm’s helping hand when she was alongside, but obviously knew this was no ordinary rescue party. She knew better than to argue when Sheel lifted the gun from her belt.

“What is your name?” Gimm asked, his accent a jumble.


“We go ashore. Where your people head.” He pointed out of the cockpit window, though there was nothing but grey haze in the direction he indicated. “Sit. We are taking off.”

Jayn belted herself into the indicated seat. Her captors, or her rescuers- she still wasn’t sure, turned their attention to the view ahead as they lined up for take off.

Heavensent 9.17
Heavensent 9.15
Heavensent 1.1

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Chip and Bin

Three local councils are prepared to pilot a scheme that puts microchips in rubbish bins so that the weight of trash thrown out by houses can be recorded. This will help them charge for the amount thrown out and hopefully encourage recycling.

Mr Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s environment board, said charging to collect non-recyclable rubbish would give people ” a real carrot to recycle”.

“Some people say ‘what’s in it for me?’ Well, let’s make it in their interest to recycle by helping them. In that way, we’re encouraging them to recycle more,” he said.

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Heavensent 9.15

The satchel was passed down the ravine and trip grenades set across the widest gaps. By twos, the squad pulled back to the level of Kess’ sniper perch. The young marksman, meanwhile, had been putting sabots through the fuel tanks of the exposed softskins.

The troops down by the road hadn’t noticed the spreading fuel. They had taken up positions in what little cover the drainage ditch afforded them and were holding back until the flanking squad caught Lensman’s men in a cross fire. In all the shooting they hadn’t heard the fire fight in the woods and didn’t yet know they were waiting in vain.

Kess was about out of rounds for his long rifle, he had scattered his spare bag when he was shot. So he was, reluctantly, ready to abandon it. But, before that, he wanted to experiment. There was some tracer ammunition in his bag from a heavy autogun that was almost the same calibre. His original plan had been to experiment and make up a long range incendiary. He would mount them in one digit shell casings and wrap them sabot style so they would seat correctly into the rifling. But he didn’t have the time for that now. He wrapped the shells and casings in thin bandages, knowing it could jam in the barrel and destroy the gun.

“We do not have much time, young man.” Lensman reminded Kess.

“Three shots. I promise to make them count.”

Kess lined up on the fuel tank of the middle truck. He didn’t know exactly how the bullet would fly, but hoped aiming for the middle of the tank would allow him enough margin of error. The sound of the shot was totally different to normal and flaming wadding expelled from the barrel and gave his position away. He cycled another round in as quickly as possible.

Down by the road everyone caught sight of the high speed firefly. They followed its path to the truck where it exploded in a shower of white sparks. The fuel lit, flames rushed away from the truck and its canvas cover darkened and set fire. Another tracer came from the forest, flying high and wide. It didn’t matter. The fire had spread to the other trucks. In the middle truck, ammunition began cooking off. Explosions sent shrapnel and flaming debris flying in all directions. The soldiers huddled deeper into their cover and hoped that it would keep them safe.

Kess examined the remains of his beloved rifle. The second shot had shattered the barrel. He threw it away into the trees. “Well done.” Lensman congratulated him, “But now we really must leave.” Kess was helped up and given a branch to use as a prop. He wasn’t the only injured member of the squad, which dropped its speed to accommodate them.

The gully narrowed even further, forcing them to make their way by hopping from rock to rock. Halfway up this ravine they heard explosions behind them, the first of the trip grenades. They lightened their explosives load by packing satchels full of charges under overhanging rocks and leaving them on timed fuses.

Heavensent 9.16
Heavensent 9.14
Heavensent 1.1

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