Excerpt from Moving The Pieces

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Our takeoff roll was barely twenty ifourths before Ghent gave me the signal that meant we'd achieved the speed necessary for flight, and I pulled back on the yoke. The plane's nose lifted in response, and we were airborne. Since we had no particular reason to climb high I levelled her off at a height of a thousand paces or so and headed for the area of the Yalskarr Gate. Once I eased off the throttles, it was possible once again to shout above the noise of the engines.

There were pretty much always a few demons around the Gate, manesi and likaans and similar nuisances. They'd try to sneak through, eat a few humans and livestock, or maybe kidnap them for slaves and eventual meat, and run back through. I was hoping to find some live targets. The Guard kept a permanent presence in the area of about two sixty-fours, and the local residents had a reputation that would have compared favorably to most Texans and southerners back home. They stayed alert and kept weapons ready. The major difference was nobody barbequed manesi or any other demons - there was no way to make the meat palatable.

It took about half an Earth hour - neither the Swass, Nhadragh, or the C-130 they were based on were fast airplanes. Their usefulness was in other areas. Ghent tried checking in via radio with the local Guard contingent, but received no response. Not too out of the ordinary, even if everything were all sweetness and light near the Gate. Radio was vacuum tube-based here on Calmena, and much less reliable than anyone would like.

Meanwhile, I spotted what looked like a whole squad of manesi - Eight of the big ugly blue beasts. Maybe more hidden in the vegetation. The original Spectre had the guns controlled by the pilot, but developing the automation would have taken time and people we didn't have, so the Nhadragh's weapons were manned. I gave the crew a yellow light, and ten seconds later they sent back the 'ready' signal. I pointed the left wing at the area and got ready for the fireworks.

It took them a few seconds to find the targets, but then the area around the demons began erupting, explosions sprouting all around the ugly misshapen brutes. We'd never introduced tracers here in Calmena, precisely because tracers didn't have the same flight path as 'ordinary' ammunition. Earth had fought two world wars and smaller wars for decades thereafter before someone actually figured out that tracers were a good way to insure that your fire wasn't going where you really wanted it to. Not repeating that mistake had been a no-brainer.

In the Nhadragh, our gunners had the feedback of watching where their bullets and grenades hit. If their first rounds missed, they could 'walk' the aiming point on to where they wanted it, which was what happened here. That was what happened here. The first few rounds failed to compensate for the motion of the plane, but they rapidly figured out where to point the guns to achieve the desired effect, and the manesi disintegrated in a hail of bullet and grenade fire. "Not bad," Ghent admitted.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM.

End of Childhood and Moving The Pieces was the previous entry in this blog.

The Locale of Aescalon, the Connected Realms and Major Characters is the next entry in this blog.

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