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  • Heavensent 2.4

    Mov had taken his team farthest forward. Both guards on the ground were moving away from them. When the autogunner in the near tower dropped from view, Mov signalled and his team set off in a crouching run for the bridge. Lensman followed a couple of counts later.

    The first squad went right, pausing under the guard tower to strap charges to two wooden legs and throw incendiaries onto the platform. Then they crossed to the fuel tanks. The gauge read quarter full. They left one man to open the taps and plant the charges that would flood the assembly area with flaming oil.

    With one squad member to either side of the door, Lensman held out his mini auto and turned the handle. The door swung open after a hard push. Lensman ducked down and swept left to right. There was no one in this room, but there were sounds from the one beyond. Lensman was halfway to the next door when it opened. He fired a three shot burst at the level of the handle, then raised his aim and fired again at the head of the silhouette in the door frame. He rushed through the door, firing a long burst at the confused officer behind a desk. “I’m out.” His seconds crashed through to the next room as he changed magazines.

    Mov heard the shooting. There was no need, or time, for subtlety any more. He kicked the armoury door open and ducked in. There was no one inside, he made his way to the far door. The support gunners had opened up on the barracks. Out of the armoury, by a corner of the barracks, was a body- a fifth guard taken out by Kess.

    There were more shots from the canteen, then Lensman’s squad appeared at the rear door. The support gunners stopped firing, folded up their guns and made their way to the bridge. Charges were thrown through windows on every building, alternating explosive and incendiary, and the guards bodies brought into the barracks. There were pack donkeys in a pen behind the barracks. The few that hadn’t been killed in the strafing were loaded with two bomb lobbers, two stonks and as much ammunition as possible. Kess found a baby long rifle and claimed it for himself. Then shells were primed with timer fuses and packed around with explosive.

    The whole encounter had taken less than a thousand counts. They took the hard packed trail to the far side of the valley and were in a vantage point to watch the destruction. First the tower platforms caught fire, before explosions buckled their legs and toppled them. The fuel on the assembly area caught flame as explosions rocked the buildings. Then the armoury went up, a blossom of red and yellow sending debris hundreds of spans into the air and levelling trees in the surrounding forests.

    “I think that will be quite convincing.” Rey told Lensman.

    Heavensent 2.5
    Heavensent 2.3
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 2.3

    Kess had filled two small canvas bags with fine gravel and settled his rifle on them. The wind had picked up, so he clicked the scope offset up two. Squeezing the front bag shifted the target back into view. The autogunner in the far guard tower could strafe the whole assembly area, and had become the first target. There was another tower by the gate, target two, and two guards walking the perimeter. They were closer and presented easier shots.

    Lensman had made position and signalled that Kess was gun free. He centred the scope dot on the autogunner’s head, exhaled slowly and began applying pressure to the trigger. Before the last of his breath had gone, he bought the trigger home. The report seemed so loud up close, but there were trees to deaden the sound, and the river would cover it as well. He brought the scope back into line and counted. On the second count, the autogunner’s head disappeared in a haze and his body slumped away.

    Kess had ever seen the effect of any bullet on a human body, let alone one of his monstrous one digit shells. He put the disgust aside, fed another round into the breech and brought the second guard tower into view. He clicked the gravity adjust back up a couple and centred on this guard’s chest. Another breath out and the shot was away. He didn’t wait to see the effects of this round, shifting quickly to the nearer of the guards.

    Heavensent 2.4
    Heavensent 2.2
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 2.2

    Rey handed the field glasses to Lensman. “Some kind of camp. There are firing ranges, an assault course. And look at all the pitons and ropes on those cliffs. I think they are trying to turn flatlanders into real troops.”

    Troops and soft skins milled around the assembly area near the gates, readying a clean up squad for the collapsed tunnel down the road. “They are not leaving many guards.” Lensman commented.

    “What are you thinking of?”

    “They have an artillery range. We have no heavy weapons.”

    “You want to steal their guns? That would give us away, you know?”

    “Not if we do it properly. There has already been one aerial raid. What if we can convince them there was another?”

    Rey took back the glasses. The work crew was pulling out, crossing the small river that ran along the near boundary of the camp. He counted the soldiers left behind. “I will get Kess up here. He can pick off the guards before we go in. If we put a fire crew there,” he pointed at the bluff above a curve in the river, “they can strafe the barracks while I lead a squad against admin and the canteen and Mov takes the armoury. Then we plant enough charges to suggest bombs.”

    “A good plan. But one change. I shall lead your squad, you guide the covering fire.”

    “Sir?”

    “There is only yourself and Mov who have seen action in this squad. Everyone else, including myself, needs the experience. And where better than against a soft target such as this?”

    Heavensent 2.3
    Heavensent 2.1
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 2.1

    None of them had slept well. They had taken turns at sentry duty, though there was little to guard against.

    Sheel stripped to the waist. She passed the rope through a belt loop on her shorts and Bobb tied a knot to secure it. “I’ll try to do this on my own power, but if I start tugging pull me back in right away.” She dived over the edge before they could acknowledge.

    Away from the shore, the water was clear, with sunlight penetrating deep before beginning to diffuse. Closer in, a soup of algae swallowed the light and restricted the view. Sheel swam into the thick green water. She passed under the shadow of the shore and the temperature dropped.

    Groping around, she found something firmly anchored. Tugging on it brought her in close to a thin root, with another just beyond. Pulling herself from root to root, Sheel worked further under the floating island. Up ahead, the roots became thicker, wrapping and twining together in a criss cross pattern. Small fish swam through the gaps, feasting on the algae. Something dark trailed into the depths. There was no way she could get close enough to examine it.

    There was a movement, just at the edge of view to the left. Sheel turned her head to see a large dark shape leaping at her. It was as long and thick as her arm with teeth upon teeth and tiny eyes ringing its mouth. The fish ran up against the net of roots, jamming part way through one of the larger gaps. Now it was trapped. It thrashed and thrashed, becoming sluggish as water stopped flowing through its gills. Smaller fish darted in to take nibbles out of the predator. Chunks of flesh floated off to be wrapped in algae.

    Sheel kicked away, aware of the pain in her lungs. She broke the surface with the opposite of a cry, the painful sound of great gasps of air. She lay on her back in the water, revelling in the sun, as Gim and Bobb dragged her in.

    Under the tree, with the first of the purified water at her lips, Sheel explained what she had seen. “We’re sitting on an ecosystem growing on a giant plant. There is a root, from the tree, trailing into the depths. I don’t know whether it’s attached to the bottom, maybe it’s just a trailing anchor. There are smaller roots branching off near the surface, and the algae has coated itself to these. The dead stuff’s building up over time to make this, ‘soil’. The roots drape down below, knitting together to make a net of sorts. The net catches larger fish, smaller fish feed on the corpses, breaking them down for the algae and plankton, and the tree feeds on the nutrients provided by the single celled animals.”

    “But can the system support humans?” Bobb wondered.

    “I guess we’re going to find out.”

    Heavensent 2.2
    Heavensent 1.7
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.7

    The orgy had lasted four full days. It hadn’t been the greatest the citadel had ever seen- only three of the older monks had expired- but the Lang had tried to impregnate all the nubiles from the surrounding villages and the Yin had taken her pick of the men. Now both gurus had all their fleshly desires satisfied, they could be prepared to enter the world.

    As the grounds were cleared and the joyously deceased monks laid to rest, the gurus went into isolation. Their bodies were steamed and their loins salved and oiled. Pampered, powdered and in pressed clothes, they reappeared two days later.

    They went down to the lake one last time, to look at the island- glowing in the
    morning sunlight- then walked back along the tree lined path to the temple. Trees gave way to mud huts, wattle and daub, stone, half timbered and finally glazed brick. The gate had been dismantled and moved down the valley so a new extension could be marked out. A missionary had returned with news of a material- a powder and water mix which cured hard as sandstone and could be strengthened with ferrous bars.

    The dark wood doors, over a span thick, had been re-hung for the occasion. A lazy traveller could walk around the gates, but the Lang and Yin put all their strength into pushing them open. Neither had passed beyond the threshold before, though both knew more about the world than anyone outside the temple. “We should take names.” The Yin suggested.

    “Mine shall be from the first person I meet, I think.”

    “I shall be Dana. After one of the goddesses of the Northern countries, as that is where I am headed.”

    “I am heading down the river. From what I hear, there are many down there I could help.”

    They stood for a while, staring up at the mountains and down at the river. In all probability they would never meet again. They touched fingers.

    “Farewell Dana.”

    “Farewell.”

    Heavensent 2.1
    Heavensent 1.6
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.6

    The waves didn’t break upon the shore. Indeed, the island seemed to be lifted and propelled along by the rollers. Gim planted his feet as far apart as possible, side on to the tide. “This foot’s rising, only slightly, but… And there, it’s under me….. And now this foot. The whole island moves as the wave goes by.”

    “That’s a relief. There’s only a small rise above sea level, I thought we were going to flood at high tide.” Sheel ran a hand through the green slime that passed for soil, studied the substance, then shook it off. “Where’s Bobb?”

    “He went to the North shore, thought he’d seen something to build with.”

    Bobb returned some time later. The setting sun cast a long shadow. “I thought you said he had gone North?”

    “He did.”

    “So why’s he coming back from the West?”

    “Could have done a part circuit.”

    “Or our island’s rotating in the current.”

    Bobb set down a sack. “There was a camp of some sort back there. I think I have enough stuff to make a solar still. What have you found out?”

    Gim took the sack and emptied it. He started sorting through the contents. “Our island’s not very solidly planted.”

    “Did you notice the way it moved with the waves?” Sheel asked.

    “Yeah. It’s more pronounced toward the edges.”

    “Well, I started scooping away at the surface, think it’s algae of some sort. I found a way through the roots of that,” she pointed at the island’s one and only tree, centrally located, “and got so deep,” halfway up her upper arm, “before breaking through to water.”

    Gim had assembled a frame for the solar still from the remnants of a parasol. He had shaped the wires to rest on the edge of a large basin, so the vapour rising from a cup of salt water in the middle could condense and run down purified. “There was some rope in that sack. If one of us ties it around our waist we can go over the edge and explore what is under our island.” He had found a smaller cup and was using this to bring water up from Sheel’s hole. It was thick with algae, and there was the occasional tiny fish. Gim strained it through the canvas of the sack before feeding the still. “In the morning, I think.”

    Heavensent 1.7
    Heavensent 1.5
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.5

    Nil Garran was paying tithe to the hidden army. It was his way of resisting, easier and safer than taking up a weapon. He went about his business as usual, letting the occupying armies take his products at their starvation level prices and demand the occasional tribute.

    They didn’t know just how fertile the land was, so could not tell that the fields never yielded all the soil fruit they should. Some of the trees in the wild orchard were half bare before harvest began. The land fowl were free to roam, so he could not know how many nested where he did not look, and the water fowl were not his to worry about.

    Somewhere in the forests the soldiers had their hidden communities. They guarded the tracks, guns, bomb lobbers and stonks that the Southerners could not account for despite the supposed rout of the Northern armies. They all waited, biding their time, ready to rise up when the time was right. Just like the god king sleeping in his silver tower in the far North. But Gorran didn’t believe in the god king. The god king didn’t steal his tubers.

    Heavensent 1.6
    Heavensent 1.4
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.4

    The sun between the spinning blades cast shadows on the plastiglass bubble in patterns of interference. Boran tried not to think about the stresses the machinery was under, but could still see drives shearing and the Madfly hoverer plummeting to the ice below.

    At high sun, the light played off the glacier, sparkling on the melting ice. Boran was up here to watch his engineers as they marked fire points and laid remote mines. If there was time, he would head for the southern side of the fjord and check the rail marshalling yards before returning to his office.

    With a gentle jiggle of his fingers, the pilot set the hoverer rotating slowly about the shaft of its twin rotors, giving Boran a panoramic view of the glacier, twin cities of Cora and Munss and the only bridges on the great fjord which split the continent west of the mountains. Common wisdom held that if the North were to attempt liberation, troops would stream down the glacier in tracks and powered sleds. They had come that way before, aiding the cities’ the last time they had been invaded from the South.

    They scooted beyond the work groups, up the white expanse that thrust northeast, dipping closer to the ice. As they drew lower, the featureless surface made it harder to gauge the craft’s height. Just as Boran was envisioning a crushing death of brief flame and eternal cold, the pilot pulled up the descent. The downdraft raised its own blizzard, uncovering a metal frame covered by fabric. “One of ours or one of theirs?” he asked.

    “It is so hard to tell after all these years. We shall send a squad out to check for bodies.”

    Boran had been too young to remember the Glacier war. He did recall the smiling uncle who would take him up on the ice and keep him safe whilst they scoured the surface for wreckage such as this. One time, when they had dared travel further than usual, they had come upon the truncated fuselage of a heavy bomber. The aeroplane had buried itself on impact, but the flow had finally thrust it back into the open. In the half enclosed cockpit the crew were crumpled over the controls. Uncle Hian had made the sign of the Silver Tower and flagged the wreck for recovery. Not long after, Boran’s favourite uncle had died trying to save the boy’s mother from a house fire. Within days his father had everything in order and they had moved to the family home in the South.

    But now he was back. The military had sought out the young engineer shortly before the cities were due to be attacked, and drafted him. It would have been a pleasure to be back in his old home, if there weren’t such a risk of being knifed or thrown over the cliffs should he stray out of the militarised areas.

    Boran took a weighted marker from the door pocket and slid the window open. As the hoverer climbed and circled he released it. The tail of fabric fluttered behind it as it fell to within a few spans of the wreck. The pilot headed back to the teams. When he reached them he did a little dance, turning the hoverer and bobbing it up the glacier like an extension of his own nodding head. The team leader nodded recognition and detached some of his crew for the search.

    “Ready for this?” the pilot asked.

    “I am never ready for this.”

    They shot forward and over the edge of the glacier. Through the plastiglass below his feet, Boran stared down the thousands of spans to the cloud bank where cold air from the glacier met warm air channelled up the fjord from the sea. There was a small break in the cloud, through which Boran could make out tiny ice marshallers, nudging blocks of glacier ice into the southern channel that would take them safely past the shipping. With a twist of the controls, the pilot had the hoverer dropping toward the gap.

    The marshallers were working in conjunction with a hoarder, the larger ship netting prize bergs and dropping them in its flat bed, ready for distribution to the meat packing district. The fjord narrowed beyond the ice bowl and the cloud cleared on the other side. The hoverer dragged wisps of vapour in its wake as it passed under the twin cities’ bridges, then climbed as the walls spread further apart and they entered the main water lanes. Airship cranes lifted cargo up to the industrial district, whilst more conventional ones clung to staging steps carved into the fjord wall.

    The hoverer pulled up behind and above one of the sky cranes. Boran didn’t look at the pilot, would not play to the tease. Two hover jockeys had already been suspended for landing atop the ungainly flying cigars. It took a special kind of lunacy to drop onto such a huge payload of flammable gas- these industrial airships did not have the triple walls and inert gas baffles of their military cousins. When he knew his passenger wasn’t rising to the bait, the pilot lifted up and continued on his way.

    Heavensent 1.5
    Heavensent 1.3
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.3

    The lead plane waggled its wings as it passed over the marker. The team collecting the canvas up waved back.

    There were four crates, two of weapons and ammunition, two of food and supplies. The crates were wooden, to be burnt later. Everything went into the canvas bags and was carried to the cave that had been their home for the last two nights.

    Squad chief Lensman was viewing the wreckage down the valley through field glasses. “That was too large for a patrol. They were garrisonning something.” He handed the glasses to Rey, his sub.

    “Target opportunity?”

    “Let’s head there. It’s on the way.”

    There were complaints at the increased loads after the light mountain kit they had carried on the way over. “We should of brought mules.”

    “You are half mule Mov.” He was also the most experienced mountaineer of a group made up almost entirely of mountaineers. As such, he was First Scout and blessed with a lighter load. Lensman pointed to the head of the valley. “We shall go and see where they were heading, eh? Pick a trail with good vantage and cover.”

    “Aye. Right y’are.” Mov tightened the straps on his pack and picked a new half digit auto rifle from the pile. He headed down to the tree line, grabbing a shoulder bag of magazines that was tossed to him.

    Young Kess, meanwhile, had fallen in love. At ten spans, the one digit long rifle was nearly as tall as its new owner. Lensman watched the squad’s youngest member assemble the monster sniper rifle. The blue banded bullets were anti personnel, capable of one shot kills at extreme ranges, red bands were armour piercing sabots. “How are you with that gun, Kess?”

    “I put three hundred rounds through one in training sir. Best in my class.” They were all best in their class. They needed to be. The twenty man squad (all men, the air army’s equality hadn’t yet extended to the infantry) had to appear an army.

    The packs were filled. Mov was up ahead on a vantage point, awaiting the squad. Lensman took the lead.

    Heavensent 1.4
    Heavensent 1.2
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.2

    The Watney Slender Wasp was a fine mountain aeroplane. Far more manoeuvrable than its asymmetric silhouette suggested, it could be thrown around with ease. The tri-motor they were escorting, on the other hand, was a fat ugly beast of a bird. Reed kept glancing back to check it was still lumbering up behind them. “Kenan’s gap in thirty counts.” his navigator/ bombardier told him. Jayn looked nervous, it was her first combat mission.

    As they approached the turn she began counting down. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, now.” Reed banked hard right, flattened and throttled up for the climb. “Horse is still with us”, Jayn reassured him.

    They joined the road at the head of the valley. It clung to the cliff face, curving away from them. “Horse here. We are heading for our drop.” the cargo plane announced.

    “Affirmative Horse. We’re going to cause some chaos.”

    They couldn’t see the target yet, but no doubt the target could hear them. “Guns live, rockets live, glide bomb ready.” Jayn pre-empted the command.

    The valley straightened and ahead of them was the target. The convoy had positioned itself perfectly to be attacked. Most of the vehicles were still in a short covered section built to protect the road from the avalanches that swept down the gully above. Outside the tunnel two vehicles jostled for position, an armoured track and a soft-skin eight wheeler with anti air gun in its bed.

    “Two and three with me, four, five, six around and take the rear. Let’s seal this at
    each end.” The rear three planes peeled off. “You have the plane.” Reed told Jayn. He kept his hands close to the controls, ready to take them back, but he had to trust her.

    They needed a long straight run in to line up the glide bomb, to set up the inertial guidance before it could be released. They would be approaching at an angle to the mouth of the tunnel, but a direct hit would still be effective. Only Reed’s plane carried the experimental weapon. Jayn could put it through a gap scarcely wider than its wings on the test range, how would she- and the bomb- fare under combat conditions?

    Lights on the panel between them blinked on one by one. “Gyroscope to speed.” Jayn announced. “Ready.” She flipped the cover off the release button. “Gone.” Between the crew boom and engine boom locks released. The glide bomb’s own wings flexed against mounting poles and pushed it away from the plane. The inertial system compensated and the bomb wiggled as it found its new level.

    Jayn banked toward the cliff wall and levelled out, two and three followed line astern. The plane nosed up slightly as she checked the targeting scope. A few more counts and the anti air gun would come to bear. Were they closing fast enough to cut them off?

    “Rockets away.” Jayn announced. Four projectiles jumped from the wing to the right of the crew boom. They were little more than fireworks with shaped charges on the end, but placed correctly they could be devastating.

    The plane dipped and Jayn let off a two count burst from the guns under their cabin. The bullets reached the eight wheeler ahead of the rockets, bouncing off the anti air’s armour and decapitating a loader. Gravity had taken hold of the rockets and brought their trajectory down toward the gun. Two shaped charges punched through the armour and destroyed the mechanism beyond. One lifted the gun off its mount and the last found an ammunition crate. The explosion split the eight wheeler, sending the rear bouncing down the mountain, and rocked the armoured track.

    The plane pulled away, as four smoke trails passed below. The mouth of the tunnel lit up yellow as the projectiles found a fuel truck.

    As Reed took back control, Jayn checked on the glide bomb’s trajectory. Two and three had pulled out of their bomb run to avoid its blast. The little grey glider sailed into the tunnel and was swallowed by the flames from the tanker. A shockwave shook the ground above the tunnel mouth and pushed flames and smoke up the road. The tunnel entrance collapsed.

    At the far end of the tunnel anti air guns had been brought to bear. The convoy was longer than they had thought. Four, five and six had dropped their bombs and were coming back up the valley three abreast to deliver a volley of rockets and bullets.

    Reed brought the plane around in time to see a ripple of explosions along the road. Both anti airs, a number of soft skins and another fuel tanker took hits. Infantry spilled out of carriers to find cover. Not a vehicle was undamaged. One eight wheeler had driven over the edge in the confusion and was sliding sideways down the cliff wall.

    “Horse here. Drop done.” came the message over the radio. That had been the primary mission, the chance to carry out this hit and run was just an added benefit.

    “Okay. Flight, form on me and let’s go home.”

    Heavensent 1.3
    Heavensent 1.1

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  • Heavensent 1.1

    The silver wing reflected the sky, blending into the perfect blue at the edges. Harren could only tell where his aeroplane ended by spotting the wingtip aerial. He rotated the turret and gazed down the expanse of wing on the other side. It was all wing, this impossibility of a flyer, pushed through the upper atmosphere by a combination of propellers and turbo jets. So ugly on the ground, up here it was a slice of light high above the occupied territories.

    Harren unhooked his feet from the stirrups and lowered himself into the main cabin. Jenss, the bearded, miserable top gunner nodded at him as he commented, “You have one of the finest views in the aerial military up there.”

    “And none of the Northern Countries can fly anything high enough for me to shoot at.” Jenss didn’t return to his post, merely reached up and locked the turret into its aerodynamic rest position.

    There was so much space in the main cabin of the flying wing. Harren had flown his first combat missions in the single engine, two seat ‘Stumps’ which still saw service with the Defector Brigades. They were solid, slow and stable, but the engines died too easily and there was no space to move in the cabin. Each of the wing’s bomb bays could hold the fuselage of a Stumpy and the crew of eight- it could comfortably hold twelve in gun platform mode- could move around the pressurised cabin.

    Harren plugged his remote talker into a panel above the navigator’s position. “About time to come around Mister Karn.”

    “Coming around to…. three five two?”

    The navigator nodded. “Three five two.” Harren unplugged and walked forward as the wing began to bank.

    “I can’t understand why we fly these missions. It would better suit the cause to go over the damn mountains and take the fight to what’s left of the Northern Countries. Or we could block the Arril pass for good.”

    “Good time, Karn, good time. They believe there is a whole army scattered over the plains and in the forests. It is hoped we can find some of it and rain down fire upon them.”

    The black tower of smoke over the factory city of Reff came into view and the wing stabilised. Light glinted off the great river Mall as it lazily wound its way past Reff, having just as lazily sneaked out of the forested mountains of the unexplored far North.

    “You have no need to lecture me. I am merely impatient and posing a rhetor…..” Karn craned forward as he trailed off, staring at something far above.

    Harren strained for a moment before he spotted them. Twin trails of white vapour, almost vertical, inclined ever so slightly toward the far side of the mountains. The trails started and ended far above the wing’s upper limits, though the bottoms were coming ever lower. Harren plugged his RT in. “Navigator come forward.”

    The navigator spotted the vapour trails without requiring a prompt. He did some quick calculations on a wipe clean map. “They shall fall well short of Reff.”

    “Really? What about now?” Karn asked, pointing. The trajectories were shallower.

    “If they keep changing direction at that rate, maybe the great oil store, possibly Reff itself.”

    “Comms. Flash traffic to Reff aerial defence. Tell them to expect an attack. Gunnery, see if you can get me those things in the focals.”

    The screen above and to the left of Harren made a low Punnnn sound as it turned on. In gun platform mode the optics and electronic imaging device under the nose turret would feed images for the pilot and gunner to target the recoilless cannons slung below the bomb bays. The image resolved and zoomed in. At maximum magnification the picture was fuzzy, but Harren could swear he was looking at a sleeker brother of his own wing- as if it had folded up at great speed. He pushed the throttles far forward, and brought the turbojets up from idle to full combat power. The plane surged forward as the jets’ whine became a rolling boom. Still they would not reach Reff before these falling arrows.

    “The Northerners are experimenting with rockets to send their artillery further.” Karn repeated an officers’ club rumour. The trajectories were now almost flat, these were no dumb shells.

    The objects, wing or bomb, were almost horizontal as they crossed Reff. Every aerial defence gun and rocket – and there were a great many- loosed several salvos. The air over the polluted city became darker still. The slave workers would have the threat of a shrapnel rain to add to the noxious fumes they breathed.

    Both flying things entered the cloud, they could hardly avoid it. “Nothing could survive that.” opined Karn. The viewer zoomed out, just in time to see two objects, each trailing flame and smoke, burst out of the cloud. One shot high and to the South, the other low toward the ocean. “Rockets.” Karn repeated as they disappeared from view faster than anything had the right to travel.

    I’ve serialised this story before, but it’s hidden somewhere in the archives that I’m having so much trouble republishing. Plus, I write more of it every time I do this and I think I may be able to finish it this time.

    Heavensent 1.2

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  • Hangar 7

    This was originally a Heavensent post, but I like the subject so much I’ve copied it over here as well-

    Carlton Hibbert has a link over to Dusso, a matte painter who has worked on Lord of the Rings and other big movies. He has also made Hangar 7, a short propeller-punk film set on Peenemunde with lots of Luft 46 style aircraft. Sadly, the QuickTime movie has been heavily compressed and is quite pixellated, but take a look at the production images for a clue of the quality of work this guy does for fun.

    (And one other thing. It seems the Nazis drove Austin 1300s/ Maxis. In the whole of LA they couldn’t find one Beetle?)


  • Pykrete

    I’ve had a lot of hits in the last two days from searches for Pykrete. Someone must have a class project going on. So another quick recap on this wierd stuff is due.

    Pykrete is made by mixing water and sawdust or wood pulp and then freezing it. A rather eccentric British inventor called Geoffrey Pyke dreamt it up as a material to build super huge ships from, based upon an idea of Churchill’s to create floating airbases. A 60 foot long test model was created in a Canadian lake, but the project never went any further than this, except in fiction.

    The number of Pykrete resources on the web have increased since my first posts about the stuff in relation to Heavensent. Cabinet magazine fills out some biographical details of Pyke in their overview of the project, the story has been adapted for kids’ science TV, there’s been a radio play about it (I haven’t read the full text yet) and the Guardian has the obituary of Max Perutz, who also worked on the project.


  • Luft '46

    I’ve probably mentioned this site before, but it’s a cool ‘what if?’ trip, and one of the inspirations for the tech level of Heavensent. It’s also back up and working again after a period of broken links and dropped images. Today’s visit unearthed details of two dirt cheap pulse jet powered fighters, the Junkers Ju EF126 “Elli” and Blohm & Voss BV P.213. They have such an air of desperation and resourcefulness about them that I have to incorporate them into the story at some point. In fact, I think the air corps of the Hidden Army (see chapter 6) should have some.

    I’m collecting Luft ’46 style planes and equipment for a large diorama. Anyone who wants to contribute to the collection can find all sorts of cool kits at Hannants. I should start a Wants List.


  • Battle of the Big Lazy

    Another piece of Heavensent art. This is a snippet from the Battle of the Big Lazy, alluded to in an earlier chapter. I’m going to keep coming back to it and adding details, because it’s nowhere near as hectic as a real battle would get and there aren’t any ships involved yet.

    The lake is Crummock Water from the North end. Crashed plane a dirt cheap Spitfire model, mangled and then photographed on a sand bank in the stream at home. Running pilot a free Poser model from Renderosity. Attack plane another free model from Renderosity, this time a P-38 Lightning. Explosions and dogfight planes bootlegged from the battle in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.


  • Flying Bomb

    I caught the end of a History Channel programme about Kamikaze pilots last night and quickly scribbled a little picture based upon the rocket propelled piloted bomb they developed toward the end of the war. I don’t foresee anything similar for Heavensent, but this is about the tech level of the period I’m setting it in.

    Click the image for the full picture

    Click on image for full picture