Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-08-12 04:39am

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An Infrastructural Army Officer in a garrison uniform. The distinction between Infrastructural officers and enlisted soldiers had become more pronounced since the birth of the Army. During the Wars of Unification officers were generally loyal regular soldiers with battle experience and basic literacy (the latter requirement not being strictly enforced). As the army was expanding steadily during that period and their foes were hosts of poorly equipped badly organized warriors this was sufficient. As time went on training of officers from the ground up became more formalized. Regardless unlike the forces of most other kingdoms where wealth and titles are a requirement, the Officer Corps of the Infrastructural Army is an institution to which any recruit or soldier can aspire to. Recruits who prove themselves in leadership exercises, volunteer for officer duty and pass admission test are sent an Academy for training (either three years* in peacetime or for one of year accelerated training in wartime). Officer Cadets are usually trained in a specialty (Riflers, Cavalry, Artillery, Logistics, etc.) often based on what they were assigned to serve in at boot camp. The general notion is that a dozen jack of all trades officers is inferior to a dozen specialist officrs working in concert. In 30 IA the army's rank structure received an overhaul, most notably adding the ranks of Junior Lieutenant and Major General. Field promotions are still fairly common, especially with the escort war.

While it would be a lie to say that that there is not a gulf between the rank and file of the Infrastructural Army and their officer's corps, such a gulf is less pronounced in other cultures with more traditional armies to the east in which lords, knights and patricians lead formations of common born infantry. This means that officers and enlisted alike tend to view each other as their fellow soldiers rather than an inscrutable capricious rulers or a collection of lowly scum. Some foreign observers have commended the Infrastructural Army for recruiting people based on merit rather than bloodline. Others have denounced the policy as being a crude system which substitutes "upjumped peasants" for "men raised from birth to lead by the sword". The latter is most firmly held by nobles.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-08-21 12:29pm

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Since the time of it's inception a critical part of the Allergonian Empire has been it's chivalry. There are some 120,000 knightly houses in the Empire ranging in size from lone individuals to extended families with over forty members. Some are landed, others are retained by lords, cities or the Kings of the Empire. What they have in common is that they are required to have arms, armor and a mount and train for war. If pressed the Empire could field up to 240,000 knights. The traditional ideal of a knight as a heavily armored lancer has been the norm for most of the Empire's history and persists even to this day, however a variant of this has also arisen in the last two centuries in the form of the Pistollier.

The distinction between Lancers and Pistolliers is a loose one. Many that would be reckoned Pistolliers know their way around a lance and many Lancers will carry a pistol and are decent shots. Even so the two groups do each fight in their own way. Lancers wear full plate, ride huge Destriers in heavy barding and slam into enemy formations. Pistoliers are usually clad in three quarter plate, ride smaller horses and wheel about firing pistols into enemy formations as well as scouting, raiding and charging weakened formations and running down retreating forces. Often Pistolliers come from poorer houses or are younger sons since their gear and mounts are less expensive. Runic armor is less common among pistolliers than is the case with lancers, with maybe one in three of them having partial runic plate and one in six having full runic plate, though the Empire's Dwarvish population means that there is no shortage of solid non-magically enhanced breastplates proofed against pistol shot.

Originally pistolliers were armed with Matchlock and Wheellock pistols, which were modestly effective. However the introduction of Flintlock pistols and latter revolvers (most commonly the Pattern-1402 Yorigsov/Ulricson revolver) as well as breech loading carbines was a major boon to their effectiveness due to their increased rate of fire. This, as well as casualties among lancers without runic armor has lead to an increase in the number of Pistolliers about. Some of them have recently found employment in the new Imperial Army.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-09-18 08:21am

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Most Orcs live in clans of about 500 to 25,000 individuals in various mostly marginal areas, scraping what living they can from herds and rough farms and erecting strongholds, fortified villages and towns. Customs and traditions vary immensely from clan to clan but some factors are common. Life for most Orcs is generally hard. A high caloric needs and breeding rates means that food is often at a premium even the ability to eat a wider range of foods than humans can and the ability to enter semi-hibernation during the winter months and there is always the threat of violence, either from humans, dwarves, elves and other Orcish clans and from within with crime and the heightened aggression of adolescent male orcs between the ages of 5 to 9. As such it is little surprise that to maintain order with minimal resources orcish justice usually involves a fair deal of brutality. Minor offenses that would be punished with a day collecting horse turds or a shilling or two in fines in a human city are typically punished with a flogging or a branding. Crimes not much worse than that can get an orc beheaded. Serious crimes such as murder are also dealt with execution, though usually of a more graphic nature. Said justice is mostly administered by a Chieftain*.

All orcs are expected to fight if need be and keep weapons and march off on campaign as common warriors but the best fighters that a tribe produces go on to become Warforged*. Warforged are mature orcs who constantly hone their skills, train up the next generation of orcs and act as leaders to their fellow orcs and act as elite shock troops in battle. In small clans the Warforged are clan leaders, in large tribes senior members of the Warforged class become Chosen (the best fighters) and Captains (who lead forces of Warforged). Orcish arms and armor vary in quality immensely from crudely modified farm implements and rough bits of metal hapazardly attached to cloth and leather to some above average products (even if Orcish runesmiths are almost non existent) as well as stuff they've plundered. Orcish armor is often on the thick side and often has spikes to catch enemy blades. Warforged Warriors have gear on the better end of that spectrum and the elite even better still. Chieftains are expected to lead their clans both in peace and in war. As such, Chieftains usually have the best armor and weapons the clan can muster, usually adorned with the geometric patterns that orcs favor and will be accompanied by a force of his best Warforged warriors. In recent years firearms have become an increasingly important part of their armament.

In a good sized Orc Tribe, Warforged Captains and Champions make up the bulk of the tribe's elite, which also includes priests, the most skilled of artisans, what mages (if any) the clan has and in an increasing number of cases merchants, scholars and those orcs who know their way around machines. Despite this, warriors are seen to be the best leaders in orc society. Specifics vary from clan to clan, but for the most part this council of clan Elites has some say in choosing a chief. In some case a Chieftain needs to be voted in by the clan elite. In other cases the office of Chief is hereditary but the heir is determined by the elite. In many cases a Chieftain can be challenged to a duel for leadership, but only if a certain number of clan elites back him. Other arrangements exist which are other variants on this principle. Beyond that there are other figures in the governments of large clans that have jobs delegated to them. There is a certain amount of assassination and other skullduggery involved in orcish politics, as well as the brutal execution of those who get too enthusiastic about such means of advancement.

A single clan of orcs, even a large one is generally reckoned to be little more than an annoyance to the larger realms of humanity or Dwarven Alliances. However from time to time the Orcish Clans in an area will unite under the banner of a particularly powerful Chieftain who becomes a Warlord. When that happens forces tens of thousands of warriors and thousands of Warforged strong can be mustered and march forth, either to brunt attacking armies or to launch massive assaults. The problem with said coalitions is they tend to fall apart into in fighting if the Warlord is slain.

*In truth there have been hundreds of titles used by Orcish clan leaders over the centuries. Chieftain is the generally accepted generic term, though many clans leaders would prefer that their clan's chosen title of officer be used rather than a generic term.
**There are several Orcish languages with have additional dialect. Warforged is the most common translated title.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-10-28 02:15am

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The Central Committee of Infrastructure is reticent about their nature, even to their closet human associates. It is well known that they are not of any previously established species of The World, require neither food nor drink, have bodies which the can customize to a great degree of great strength and agility, make and control Fabricated items, can converse with each other without speech or telepathy and have a tremendous understanding of machinery and engineering that goes far, far beyond anything that this world has seen before. They claim that they are from "beyond the stars" from a civilization with vast numbers of such beings and that they are leading Infrastructure down the path which lead to their Ascendancy. Naturally this had lead to speculation as to what they are. The general theory is that they are some variety of highly refined mechanical golems. Others have figured that they are run by some form of divine vessel, be it angelic or demonic (though they have rejected said claims). Others say that they are the minions of a shadowy cabal of some sort with some plan. The reality is something that is out of their context

They have given some high ranking military figures, members of the Core Radius, direct assistants and body guards some more detailed information. Their bodies and faces are simply robotic puppets they made to interact with their environment and the beings of this world in particular. Here we have Supernova with her body holding Herself in her hands. What she (and it should be noted that assuming a feminine persona was something that she did entirely for the benefit of the humans, elves, dwarves and similar that she interacts with) is a Core. A black cube 20cm to a side weighing about 20 kilograms. Said cube has a pair of of square indentations on two opposing sides which exist to interlock with support machines and to take in power and dispose of waste heat. It's outer layer is composed of a shell of high impact composites, impact absorbing gel and anti-thermal ceramic which can take considerable punishment (leaving aside a small number of . Inside of that is a few technical systems including a high density power cell able to store up to 84MJ of power and a short range transceiver able to easily relay terabytes of information a second, though a direct link is still preferred and a reserve of maintenance machinates. Even so most of the internal volume of a core is taken up by 3D room temperature optical quantum quantum processors, memory cells and associated systems that make up a conscious self aware machine lifeform.

Cores have about thirty times the raw processing power of a Human, Elf, Dwarf, Orc or Raptor brain and a greater degree of flexibility in how they can apply it. If someone dropped a small amount of loose change in front of an average adult human they would be automatically able to say that there are four coins on the table without need of consciously counting them. Similarly to a Core the answer of 58,321 x 25,831 is obviously 1,506,489,751. They are capable of doing sophisticated modeling in their minds based around a wide variety of factors and can causally work out blueprints in their mind. They can also coordinate the economic activities of a hundred factories with plans for future expansion and margins for error and many foreseeable disasters.

For all of that the personality of a Core has some general similarities to that of an organic being but there are several factors that need to be considered. First of all is a calm and generally stoic mindset. When confronted with a pressing immediate challenge they don't go into shock, they overclock. Rapidly evaluating the situation with focused purposeful concentration and responding. Second of all is a inclination towards inter-core consultation and Cooperation. Cores are inclined to discuss ideas in a group and work towards consensus. Since they can exchange a large volume of data on a matter and digest it rapidly makes this often a viable tactic. Even though Cores do have distinct independent personalities they are not assertive. Cores are fully aware that smart as they are they are not infallible and consider attempting to seek power over other Cores for it's own sake is generally counterproductive. Cores can operate hierarchically when it suits them or delegating certain tasks, but they do so because the situation warrants it and not because they desire to be the King of Cores. In regards to the Central Committee of Infrastructure there is no member who reigns supreme and the final word is their Unanimity. In regards to dealing with organics, the Central Committee has come to the consensus that being firm in a position of leadership.

Cores are incapable of independent reproduction. The means of physical Reproduction is building a new Core (in the sense of blank hardware) and then several Cores (usually those which have developed a strong personal bond) commit sections of their software (both emergent and templates) to the new Core and spend time helping it along during a period of mental development until several criteria are met and it becomes it's own being. Cores often back themselves up so if they are destroyed they can be restored in a New Cube. The Central Committee lack the manufacturing capacity to make new Cores and the ability to develop said capacity is still a very remote. However Cores are also effectively immortal. The oldest Core in the Central Committee is Moment Of Critical Mass In Stellar Accretion And Ignition Of Fusion-328835 (Critical Mass) who as of 37 IA some 872 years old.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Tandrax218 » 2017-11-01 08:47am

hey EF
where do the Boxes stay when the Committees members bodies are walking around and doing their thing ?

Are they in a vault of some kind under protection or are they "inside" of the bodies ?

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-11-30 10:18am

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Indoctrinated by their masters with a religion to be fanatics and employed as attritional cannon fodder by their masters the slave soldiers of the Drow States have a high attrition rate. Even by these standards Janissary Grenadiers have low life expectancy. Volunteers drawn from the most zealous, Grenadiers run in front of the main formations of Drow Formations to throw grenades into enemy ranks to both cause casualties and to disrupt their ranks or into enemy held buildings. Between enemy fire and the unreliability of old style handbombs these fellows were frequently cut down. Newer grenades inspired by Infrastructural designs are more reliable, but they are still in the firing lines and because of the damage they can do are prime targets.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2017-12-17 11:06pm

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To understand Drow society one must understand the lone individual who had done more than anyone else to shape it. Her name was Kylith, though this is rarely used outside of the context of historical documentation and during her reign to all but a select few in private and afterwards she was known by Title. To the Dark Elves she is Menaith Dorveithron (rough translation "The Spider, the one with Authority over All" in an archaic Drow dialect). To the High Elves she is the Handmaiden of Ruin, The Desolator and similar titles. But while men and dwarves have called her many things, one title had it's origin in the Third Empire and has stuck since, the First Dark Emperor.*

What is known of her early life was that she was born on the street in the now destroyed city of Kreiseliath at some time from 4337 to 4334 BIA. There she lived as an orphan running with a gang of her fellow street urchins until around the age of eight when they attempted to rob the estate of a middling artisan house and was captured by their guards, but displayed some considerable magical abilities for her age. Seeing her potential, as such the ruling familiarch took her in as a ward and had her trained to make the most of her potential for the benefit of the family. She excelled at training, was treated fairly well and eventually was married off to one of the lesser sons of Kreiseliath's great houses. Before and during said marriage she had earned a reputation in a series of wars on the battlefield and acquired the admiration of many, most notably the rank and file of the army. It was in this time she mastered the art of cultivating connections and supporters. With a foothold in a Great Household in 4295 BIA she became a general, where she earned a reputation in several conflicts. In 4287 BIA she had achieved a seat on the ruling council of Kreiseliath as she gathered and cultivated a network of allies. Eventually she managed to get the office of Triarch by a narrow margin in 4281 BIA, made calls for war and set up policies to strengthen their state while being confrontational in foreign policy. She made some powerful enemies, one of which sent an assassin to dispatch her. Said assassin was captured, interrogated and (using a variety of claims, some legitimate and some false) she declared him and several more of his followers as enemies of the state and ordered forces to deal with them. They fought back with their own troops, but she raised the ante by having the support of several accomplished commanders at her side as well as a few well connected rabble rousers to get support from the poor Dark Elves of Kreiseliath. She manipulated this into a successful coup, which she followed up with a Purge of her rivals (among them her husband's family) and installed herself as the absolute ruler of Kreiseliath. She took up the personal banner of a Spider, a creature who lurked at the center of her vast web sensing any distubance and devouring any prey that came her way.

This was the age of the Student Men and in this time the relationships between the Dark Elves and Humans, Dwarves and High Elves were peaceful if never cordial. Open trade was common between all parties. There were conflicts between human states and Dark Elvish states and did have something of a reputation for fearsomeness and ruthlessness on the battlefield but said wars usually ended with peace treaty and Conflicts between Drow States were often as intense. Though they might have shared a common heritage each Drow state was an entirely sovereign entity. All kept slaves, though slavery was common practice among the Student Men, the slaves that were kept also included some dark elves and slaves existed alongside human subjects. The High Elves encouraged an idea of "The Five Realms": The High Elves ruled Ivannas, the Wood Elves had their forest kingdoms, the Dwarves their Underground cities and mountain domains, Humans the majority of the land and the Dark Elves had their right to their small territories. Even so they also encouraged antipathy towards "The Exiles", forever barred from their realms save for a few trade districts in ports and the rare ambassador allowed to the High King's hall and considered degenerates.

Over the next half century she worked hard in unifying the then fifteen Drow States. Kreiseliath was the largest of the Drow States but it had been among the least warlike. In a decade she had mustered her houses and her state into raising a massive army. At the same time she played politics, forging alliances with Valnothron and Janilonas and gradually waging wars which one by one brought the other twelve states under her authority. She was adept at manipulating both the Great Houses and both appealing to the lower stratas of Drow Society as well. Human subjects were gradually put under tighter restrictions and enslaved while customs relating to manumission were made more and more stringent. After a series of subject revolts, she enslaved humanity. All the while she commissioned scribes, poets, artists and philosophers to expound on her ideals: the Dark Elves were the highest form of Elfkind, refined by the hardship of exile and adversity as a critical part of the ascent of life. They could thrive beyond enchanted realms and still retained the power of sorcery and magecraft. The High Elves in contrast had elected to embalm their society and embalm the world through their proxies. Men and Dwarves were beasts of burden who's place was to obey and for them rigid submission to masters was their ultimate role who needed to be brought under yoke and in the crucible of battle, which would forge greater strength still. Impulses such as compassion or generosity were denounced as weakness which encouraged dependancy and weakened drow society. All with a single ruler in place to ensure that the Master Race's efforts are not squandered against each other. These ideas were in truth not unknown beforehand among the Drow, but they were not yet dominant nor codified in such a manner. As time went on they were not only asserted, but enforced as dissenters were gradually assassinated and their works destroyed. Over the next 50 years one by one the other Drow States gradually capitulated by war or diplomacy. Once she had all fifteen under her control she began marshaling up armies. When hundreds of thousands of Drow Warriors backed by even more proto-janissaries were unleashed in 4209 BIA, the vast swath of destruction they wrought was enough to convince many human rulers that the end of days had come. For the civilization of the student men, this was not too far off as this war (or series of wars depending on how you look at it) would not be far off. Her actions ultimately convinced the High Elvish King that the only way to deal with the Dark Elves was extermination.

Her rule was a ruthless one, both to the countless millions slayed or enslaved by her armies and also her subject. Competition was encouraged in all fields of Drow Society and was often quite cutthroat. Great houses fell and new houses rose in their place. Above all she favored warriors and promoted the notion that the greatest test of one's abilities was on the battlefield, though she also valued magecraft and the management of estates. Artisans (especially those who who were not involved in military production or certain high end fields) were viewed with disdain as manual labor was seen to be the domain of slaves by her regime. The same was the case with merchants for they only moved stuff about, though she recognized the necessity of both. Families were encouraged and she did give birth to a number of children to reinforce this point, but she also madated the policy of Threshing where households were required to Discard a certain number of children they produce (somewhere between one in twelve and one in thirty two). She maintained an inner circle of fourteen ministers which were always in competition with each other and maintained agents to oversee the other fifteen states. She had no problems with retreat when that was the best call to make, but she despised cowardice and hated treason against the Dark Elvish race (surrender). There were numerous attempts at assassinating her, none succeeded. In part because she had a skilled force of bodyguard, not that she lacked for combat abilities. She was a master with a blade and was almost always clad in the finest runic armor, but more important were her magical abilities.

Her abilities were from childhood exceptional, but she always looked into ways to improve them. There are legends of this, but the most common and well substantiated of them was the regular consumption of enkindling potions. These potions, expensive and difficult to produce can grant a regular human a modest degree of magical ability. Wealthy nobles could afford one of these, but the Dark Emperor could and did have hundreds of them made which she regularly took. Thousands of problematic slaves were burned alive in great Essence Confligratioria to provide the Mana for these elixirs. The end result was a being that could throw an arc of lightning from her hands that could cut down a score of men in a second, fly through the air, throw around rocks the size of cattle with telekenesis, reach down into a pile of iron filings and ash and produce a sword with some basic runes and dominate the minds of others by grabbing their heads for a few seconds either to put them under her thrall or lock their minds in a cycle of agony. She had also managed to stop aging, as several powerful wizards have done. Despite this there were a few specialized fields of magic which she could not not master, most notably the art of Life Weaving, which her servants used to create Giant Spiders, Goblins, Orcs, Shadowsteeds and Nightdrakes. The one area which she never dabbled in was Necromancy and made a note of having necromancers publicly burned to death section by section. Never the less she did have a concern about her own mortality and while she could delay aging in her own body she was interested in various more permanent solutions. According to a few Drow accounts of her life, the one thing more than anything else that she despised was impotence, especially in herself.

Eventually she met her end in 3802 BIA after an event known to the Dark Elves as The Great Hypocrisy gave the High Elves the opportunity to muster a massive siege on Kreiseliath in a last ditch attempt to end the war. A hundred thousand High Elvish warriors, a hundred thousand dwarves, four hundred thousand humans and five hundred Dragons mustered for the siege which overcame the walls and watchtowers around it's perimeter and then got to the central city. There she joined the frey as her city burned. She cut down at least one Great Dragon herself along with several smaller ones as well as killing as many as ten thousand of the invaders herself. Despite this even her reserves of mana were not infinite and strikes from thousands of arrows, spears, axes and swords that were either runic or had been given a runebreaker buff took their tole. Her armor failed her even as she forged replacement parts on the go from fallen foes and eventually she was overwhelmed and killed. Who delivered the Killing Blow is a matter of contention, the Elves said that she was done in by a shaft of Telsiel, the maiden of the Ivory Bow. The Dwarves claim it was either Inger Ruhinson the Forgehearted or Gorthern Twinaxe. There are a number of human heroes who have claims on them doing the deed as well as various tales of team ups. What is known was that when she finally was done in her body exploded in a burst of fire light and lightning.

Ultimately this caused the end of the War of Four Centuries, for even though there were still twelve Drow states standing they soon turned on each other to try to claim Dominance for themselves. Three more individuals would claim the title of Dark Emperor afterwards (two by acclamation of the other states, one by blood succession) but none of them had either the drive, raw magical prowess or success. She is still held in reverence, especially among the more conservative warrior households and the laws that she wrote are for the most part viewed as being close to sacrosanct.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2018-01-28 04:22pm

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A multitude of small human clans exist in the mountainous areas that lay between the Naga Rajs and the Qanthrathi emirites in the southern Dragonspine mountains. These live alongside a couple of scattered minor Dwarven hold in isolated valleys farming, herding goats and farming in the dry highlands. Some of these follow obscure schools of Qanthrathi law, some are ruled by Naga priestesses, some are ruled by clan councils or by local dynasties. What they have in common is a set of constant small scale wars. They frequently fight among themselves and often launch raids to against the more developed neighbors. Oddly enough they have an aversion to raiding caravans, though they frequently accuse their neighbors of doing so as a causus beli. Fighters in these conflicts ride stout ponies in loose raiding parties and use traditional weapons such as composite bows, spears, scimitars, axes and maces, but also are rather keen on ceramic grenades and firearms. Most of these are imported, but local gunsmiths make a respectable number on their own, most of these are Jezails such as this one. In recent years they've begun to add basic cap and flintlock mechanisms to what had traditionally been low caliber matchlocks. Jezails often used in hunting and the hunters find apply the same skills they acquired stocking mountain goats, giant hyraxes and shaggy antelope.

Save for the Dwarven Holds, these clans sell captives into slavery, sending them to markets to the West and the South on the caravans. Either way many of them often end up in the holds of Dark Elvish slave-ships, trading a variety of good for them, most notably guns. The standard Infrastructural Textbook Peoples of the Known World (Version 2, published in 35 IA) lists these clans as being in many ways similar to those of the pre-Infrastructural Coldlands and like them they suffer from political chaos, division, constant wars and the ravages of the slave trade.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2018-02-13 01:18pm

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Around 4,800 BIA a group of a several hundred Dwarves led by Torthil Grunnindaughter followed reports of a rich copper deposit somewhere deep in the Southern Continent's Great Desert which desert nomads occasionally mined when passing through. Eventually they found such a sight in dry foothills and established a small settlement. Life was difficult in an area which received an average of two centimeters of rain, even after they carved out their homes into the dry rock. Their numbers got a boost during the War of Four Centuries as Dwarven refugees fled south in search of safety, which resulted in a boost in population and several more settlements being established to bolster their population. The adaptations that they developed to survive in this barren wasteland were fairly remarkable, from refinements to traditional Dwarven Agriculture to the creation of cisterns, aqueducts and condensers to supply water. Even so these settlements remained fairly small with maybe ten thousand members each, trading with herders and caravaniers for food and supplies. For several thousand years they remained marginal. Their holds never had more than fifteen thousand people each and even today their total population is still only about 300,000 of them. Never the less they survived and created a distinctive highly thrifty culture: the Sand Dwarves.

Then around 1,100 BIA one of their artisans came up with a solution to a problem that his/her hold faced: the matter of fuel. While some Sand Dwarf holds had access to some reasonable deposits of coal many did not. Trading for coal was difficult at the best of times, wood was rare and often they were reduced to burning dung charcoal. To get around this they began to use mirrors to focus sunlight on a specific point. First for cooking and latter for processing ore, using a small amount of coal or charcoal in the process as a reducing agent. As time went on their designs were soon duplicated by other Sand Dwarf holds (who developed this first is a contested matter) and the designs refined and enlarged, especially as they were used to make more and better mirrors. Now across the equatorial region there are hundreds of solar furnaces, ranging in sophistication to dishes in craters to adjustable affairs using counterweights and pivots to better track the sun, focusing it into a ceramic furnace which can reach temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees. Slag is removed and liquid metal is collected at sundown

Among the more notable aspects of using these mechanisms for smelting was discovered after the fact, iron smelted in such a fashion has a certain degree of magic infused to it. The effects of this in most cases is minimal in the case of material that had simply been smelted, but several days of heating and re-heating in a furnace can produce metal which is easy for runesmiths to ply their craft on. Using said material they can forge three runic swords in the time it takes to make two of said swords from regular iron. Only meteoric iron is comparable. Ingots of repeatedly solar smelted iron can fetch up to ten times the value of regular iron ingots. Being an equatorial region that rarely sees cloud cover, solar smelting is a profitable venture for the Sand Dwarves, as does the use of mirrors which were made in solar furnaces by Dwarves who've refined their craft in that field for maximum mana reflectively over centuries who guard their secrets tightly. Attempts to replicate the process have, as of 37 IA, been uneconomical.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by InsaneTD » 2018-02-15 01:34am

That's an interesting concept for mana steel.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-02-18 05:46pm

A place where glass is cheaper then wood...

Basic furnace would be obelisk tower or mound surrounded by circles of mirrors and junior dwarves adjusting them. Advantage of moving parts on ground so easy to maintain and under less strain. Tower is stone so again easy to maintain. All the hot work occurs at height, nice and far away. Refer to lead drop towers for possible manufacturing technology.
Disadvantages of having to lift ore up. Maybe some lift system to balance ore up with steel down.

They may also delvelop ceramics for machibe parts far ahead of others.

Do dwarves have steam? Probably not if water that short...
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2018-02-23 07:06am

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This Battlesteamer was completed in January of 37 IA, one of a batch of eight such vehicles ordered by the Central Committee that were the first combat ready motorized vehicles of the Infrastructural army to be outfitted with rubber components, most notably a set of pneumatic tires. There was a fair bit of experimentation involved in this design, with this one making use of two different sized of tire, four small ones in the front and two larger ones in the back. In general the tires have been well received, making for a smoother ride. It's numeric designation was assigned on delivery, being the 62nd battlesteamer delivered. It's semi-official name was given by it's crew when they painted it on it's.

No. 62 is about five meters long, weighs 5.1 tonnes and has a crew of three (Driver, Gunner and Commander). As is typical it's has a Type-2A Automatic Weapon in a turret as her main weapon. It has a 30kw alcohol burning steam engine and a top speed of 42km/h connected with the rear wheels. It's general reliability and fuel economy is higher than that of earlier models due to experience, improved tools being used in her manufacture and the addition of rubber components. As is standard she has a rest on it's back which contains an keg of alcohol to extend it's range long distance. Thanks to an improved boiler design it only takes about 10 minutes for No. 62 to build up enough steam.

Battlesteamer no. 62 was notable for being the first Infrastructural Battlesteamer deployed abroad, being used in the Liberation of Avesia where it was involved in the liberation of four plantations and was used in several parades. In general it was deemed to be a success, but there were problems. First of all there was the logistics of unloading the craft without port facilities. Avesia's terrain is hilly and the roads are at best little better than dirt paths. There was some concern about concealed artillery destroying it and the associated embarrassment that would come with it. There was also the matter of heat. Temperatures in Avesia during the campaign averaged out at about thirty degrees and on a few occasions could get hotter. When combined with humidity, the effects of direct sunlight on it's hull, three people working in close quarters in an enclosed space and the vehicle's engine the result was to the effect of a Sauna. Even with the heating system disengaged, an electric fan on full power, relaxed uniform policies and plenty of bottles of water and Kvas the crew often had a sweaty miserable time operating this vehicle.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2018-03-12 05:04am

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With a maritime tradition which goes back seven millennia, common magical aptitude and the ability to acquire centuries of experience, the Dark Elvish states have produced many of the world's best mariners. To many the most well known application of said abilities are as pirates, raiders, military sailors and marines which can butcher shipping and reap settlements, though they are also often used in comercial activities ranging from the Slave Trade to more normal commerce either in or without the Dark Elvish sphere to (In more recent years) maintaining a link between the Homelands and their Colonies on the Northwestern Continent. Though slaves are often employed to help fill out crews, every Drow vessel larger than a rowboat will inevitably have at least a single Dark Elf acting as it's Skipper.

The manning of ships is a job perused by Drow from all strata of their society. Discarded Drow with nothing in their name but the clothes on their backs will often find employ among merchant crews for meagre wages and rations in hopes of learning skills escaping the streets. Those that prove themselves are often taken on as wards by established houses who encourage their children to do the same as they gradually earn enough to establish themselves and found Minor Houses of their own. Said Minor Houses have parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins which help groom their children for life at sea (including teaching them specialized trades such as naval carpentry and similar) and are seen as a premium source of sailors by their patrons. All the while they scrimp and save to buy ships of their own, often in part at first but with full ownership as an eventual goal. As their wealth grows and their ventures become more successful they gradually move into the territory of intermediate houses with investments in numerous ships and one or three ships of their own. Even the Great Houses of the Drow will often send their children out to serve at sea, though generally this is a way of grooming them for command. For all of this most sailors tend to come from houses on the Merchant side, with Warrior Houses being far less likely to raise their children to be sailors and generally do so mainly to man their warships and to make sure that their State's Navy is not totally controlled by the Merchant Houses. Many Sailors elect for naval service rather than conscription into ground forces. Drow sailors do not wear uniforms, though those in service to the military generally wear the Colors of their State (in the case of this sailor it's the Dark Green and Black of Valnothron).

Drow Sailors rely more on mundane skills such as conventional carpentry, tying knots and similar than their human or dwarvish counterparts but less so than high elvish crews. Wind Mages are the most common form of maritime magic users in a Drow Fleet, but hardly the only one. One task common in Drow maritime operations is as Slave Driver, keeping the chattel that do much of the work on-board in line. Drow Sailors are also quite capable fighters in their own right, having respectable training in arms and access to weapons that are usually of a higher quality than that of most sailors. Part of this has to do with the Drow Policy of training every Dark Elf in basic combat, part of it has to do with the fact that most civilian sailors spend time in the Navy, the Drow's large-scale use of cheap slave labor in arms manufacturing, that a fair number (if not as many in previous centuries) of Drow civilian ships moonlight in piracy or are pressed into service as troop ships and partly because there is the omnipresent risk of attack by High Elves.

Over the course of the Escort War there have been some changes, the most notable of which pertains to the introduction of Steam Engines which by extension requires engineers to operate and maintain them. The skills for which are totally removed from those of traditional Drow sailors. Attempts to meet the needs of a quickly growing fleet have included drafting engineers from industrial projects, assigning them apprentices to be given crash courses in the subject and setting up steam engines on land for training purposes. While many captains acknowledge the value of said new machines most of them resent the sudden insertion of outsiders into their sphere of influence in positions of prominence and the disruptions it has caused. Especially since they know that further shake ups are inevitable.
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Post by Zor » 2018-04-30 06:19pm

Ah crap. posted in the wrong thread.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2019-01-24 05:18pm

[CENTER]Image [/CENTER]
Famed for their use of solar furnaces the Sand Dwarves of the Great Desert live in scattered enclaves in the various hills and mountain ranges of the Great Desert for the past forty eight centuries. But that is but one of the adaptations which these hearty enclaves had adopted to adapt to their enviroment. Among these is their garb. Much of which is made of lighter fabrics than what most dwarves wear as well and includes vents in the pants to allow air circulation and white hooded cloaks, face covers and smoked glass gobbles to protect against the sand and sun. Rarely do sand dwarves come out in daylight with their faces exposed, though when in indoors they dispense with said garb. Not that many outsiders see this, for Sand Dwarves are reticent about letting outsiders into their holds. Most of their business with outsiders is done in sheltered hollows carved outside the hall proper where animals can be watered and guards can monitor things. To be invited into a hold is usually an honor reserved for trusted friends of high status. Primarily they trade enchanted metals, metalwork, glassware, mirrors, pottery, tiles, distilled liquor, woodwork and carved items for food, wine, spices, timber, fuel, cloth and leather with the human nomads as well as facilitating trade between the holds.

As a general rule the Sand Dwarves tend to have amiable relations with the nomadic humans of the desert, both of whom profit from the other, though their are exceptions. The Nomadic Tribes routinely raid towns and cities to the south and fight with each other for plunder and slaves. As is the norm for their kind, the Sand Dwarves do not keep or deal in slaves themselves beyond occasionally buying a few to immediately free to help out their more trusted friends. But while most nomad bands see the virtue in maintaining good relations with the Sand Dwarven holds, others see them as a target. These are usually hard pressed tribes driven from their usual ranges by the predation of successful rivals or bands of outcasts desperate. Either way they'll attempt to capture Sand Dwarves who wander too far from their holds, who are maintaining their solar furnaces or are attempting to carve out new holds. The risks are great, for the Sand Dwarves are capable fighters in their own rights with defensible positions. But in the Slave Markets of Halrizuud Dwarves sell for the equivalent of Hundreds of Marks at least. Even so it has risks of it's own as many Nomads Tribes will go out of their way to kill those who prey on their Dwarven friends, or will at least collect bounties on them issued by the Dwarves. Occasionally Dwarf Holds are taken and pillaged by anti-dwarf warlords that arise now and again, but these often face retaliation from alliances of Dwarves and their Friends which have little concern for mercy. Afterwards, new bands of Dwarves will usually come in to recolonize the holds in due time.

Beyond that, Sand Dwarves are prone to thrift. When the land is barren and goods are hard won, they tend to be cared for. Tools that their more northerly counterparts would simply recycle are mended or stored away in old mineshafts until they are needed again. The holds also have a tendency of filling up. Even with underground farms and carefully maintained cisterns eventually a hold will reach it's carrying capacity if population growth is not checked. Sand Dwarves often hold back on marriage for a long time even by Dwarf Standards and usually have small families. Occasionally a Sand Dwarven hold will send out a party to establish a new hold or recolonize a lost one. A few others travel with the nomads before going north to the Seraphate or back to the ancients holds of Ilvamicum. All but the most stuck up pig headed bigots among the northern Dwarven Holds see Sand Dwarves as being fellow Dwarves, but they are generally regarded as being overly insular hoarders.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Dutchy45 » 2019-01-25 08:33am

Hello Zor,
I'd almost given up on this story. I liked it a lot when I first came across it. I hope you're gonna pick up the pace?

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2019-03-03 06:00pm

Image
Over the course of the escort war, Civilian Roadsteamer production has diminished as manpower and resources reallocated elsewhere with a decent percentage going into Battlesteamer production. Never the less it did not fully die away while testing continued (in no small part due to the common mechanisms of Battlesteamers and Roadsteamers and the screen that it offered to Battlesteamer development). In 36 IA work began on a new type of Roadsteamer for limited production. The result of their efforts was the Series 12 Roadsteamer Lorry.

Weighing in at 3.5 tonnes unloaded the Series-12 used a fair number of components which saw use in Battlesteamer use, from it's piston assembly for it's rear wheel drive to it's helical boiler, which allowed it to raise enough steam to get going in about thirty second as opposed to the minutes required for previous models. Pneumatic rubber tires has also been a considerable boon. It's total engine output is 26 kilowatts and it's top speed is 48 km/h (unloaded and on paved roads). These vehicles can burn either alcohol or petroleum derived kerosene, though as of 37 IA this has only been done for test purposes given the expense of importing it.

The first working Series 12 Lorry was completed two days before the Battle of Daagsgrad for road trials and after a month of minor adjustments was approved for limited production, with an initial batch of ten ordered. Subsequent units would have various small adjustments made on them based on reports from reports form their users. They soon became popular with their crews and drivers, even though there was some frustration relating to tires going flat. Windshield wipers are a particularly well received. With Valnothron suing for peace another 100 were ordered for the next two years by the Central Committee with workers, engineers and machinery being sent back to the manufacture of these new vehicles.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Avrjoe » 2019-03-08 01:12am

Glad to see more Infrastructure. Zor you've made a very neat world. Keep it coming!
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Zor » 2019-03-10 01:53am

(Avesia, Early Spring 37 IA)

Sergeant Nadia Korsakov sat on a beach, enjoying the evening sun with a novel. A fair number of soldiers had taken to doing so recently. It was only about twenty minutes bike ride from the base and it was a good way to unwind after a long day's work. A few guards had secured the area and it was a nice place to unwind.

"Good evening sergeant." A pleasant tenor voice said. She looked up and saw that a sailor had come over carrying two bottles of Kvas. "Would you rather have mint or strawberry?"

She smiled "Mint, petty officer..."

"Gogol. Dimitri Gogol of the Destroyer." He handed her the bottle and was surprised that it was still cold.

"Nadia Korsakov, Forth Rifle Division." She said as she pulled the stopper. "So, your on Shore Leave?"

"Yeah, the Destroyer rotated off patrols yesterday night."

"Lucky bastard. You'd think it'd be over once the last of those bastards were shot, but we have to drill the companies. They got passion in buckets, mostly respect their leaders and would gut a slaver in a heartbeat, but that's it. All they could do is blaze away, bash and hack. That's before the fact that they're stubborn as all hell and the language barrier. We've gotten the up from Hopeless to Pathetic and hopefully we can get them up to being merely bad."

"Well at least the fighting's over for you footsloggers." Dimitri replied "They're still pirates, raiders and slave traders coming in with loads of captives and we've got to intercept and liberate them. At best the bastards surrender with bad grace and often at least some of them put up a fight. And that's before you get in the holds."

Nadia swallowed a swig. "Well, slaver's aside this is a nice island. Pity about the pests."

"Well at least those pests have been stamped out."

"I'll drink to that" With that they settled into a pleasant exchange which would ultimately lead to in a more up close and private encounter.

Image

(Dragonstorm Bay, Spring 37 IA)
Commander Nrelix ti'Kaelnor of the Brig Melgorth* was not in a good mood, even though things had technically speaking been going quite well for him. He was the son of one of the major houses of Janilonas and had managed to gain a command after thirty years of service. This was not unusual for those of well connected families though said promotion mostly came from the fact the war with the Coldlanders had left a lot of dead man's shoes to fill. A few more years or a victory and he'd be made a captain and be given something that could hold her own in a fight. But doing so involved going on patrols of Dragonstorm Bay. Four months of tedious circuits around the western half of Dragonstorm Bay. Occasionally there was some loot from an Imperial cargo ship or some other puppet of The Eternal Foe which would try to sail in, but most of the Trade with them happened either in convoys or the Interterran sea. All other traffic was either good enough trading partners to preclude casual piracy or had given up hopes of sending ships. Mostly they looked out for activity from the Nemesis Kingdom, but given the cycle of events that had been going on for the last couple millennia anything besides the odd trade convoy was unlikely. It beat being sent to die against an Ironclad, but he was looking forward to returning home.

It was about half past ten in the morning when he heard the cry of the lookout "Arrowship Sighted East by Southeast! Range 16 miles Approaching fast!" He sighed at his general lot in life. The Skryer that they had assigned him was a newly minted journeyman who was operating on her own for the first time and the High Elves did not lack for mages who could conceal lone ship. He'd have to chew her out for this and have her shocked for her failure, which was a distasteful part of his job but rules were rules. But that was to be done latter.

"Signal the Grelsath** of this. Helm, set course to 30 degrees North and prepare for Full Speed. Roll out all guns and prepare for action." Soon enough the two brigs had broken off from each other at a 90 degree angle. The Arrowship could attempt to intercept one of them, but not the other. Much to his annoyance the Melgorth became it's quarry. There were other patrols out there and hopefully they could team up on it, or they might be able to escape them in a sprint. If worse came to worse he had rifled 10-Vauls which could bloody the Arrowship's nose with the first punch, but hopefully it would not have to that.

The pursuit went on for four and a half hours and as every one went by the Arrowship gained a few miles on them. The Arrowship had better legs than she did or her captain was willing to burn through mana on a mad dash. Thing were looking more and more grim, then the lookout gave a relieved cry "Drow Frigate sighted 17 miles due north!" There were some cheers even from the slaves. Nrelix gave a smirk.

"Very well. Helm bring us about and send up a Manaflare!" The ship then turned around and a column of splitting light rose into the sky for a few seconds. Even so the maneuver did cost them some speed and allowed the Arrowship to converge even closer. Nrelix observed the High Elvish ship as it got closer and did some quick mental math. It would be close but they should be able to keep enough of a lead so that the frigate would be in a prime position to strike. While he knew to reign in his enthusiasm, he could not help but thing of the prospects this encounter offered. Even if the Frigate did most of the heavy lifting in the coming battle he'd still had a credit in it's defeat or destruction. His House would gain another deed to the list, he would gain a feather in his cap and promotion would be that much closer.

Even so things did not go as he had hoped. The High Elves were a bit faster than he'd estimated and they managed to close to nearly two miles. He'd had the guns rolled out and had them ready for a salvo while his archers stood ready to send off off a long range volley. Oddly enough, however the High Elves did not loose a single shaft and on inspection most of the crew on the white and gold ship was below decks. Even so, it was time to strike. "Fire Starboard broadside!" A few seconds latter the five guns went off in rapid succession. Three missed and splashed into the ocean, one skipped once across the water before impacting amidship doing minimal damage and one hit near the aft. More drills were clearly needed. Even so, guncrews scrambled to get their weapons ready for a second volley.

Even so about twenty seconds latter, to Nrelix's surprise the High Elves returned fire with a single shot. That was the first thing which he noticed as odd, why fire one gun instead of a broadside. The second thing was the range, usually High Elvish ships would only open fire at about a mile at most. The third was also the fact that the brief whiffs of white smoke instead of billowing clouds of it. He wondered about this until a powerful boom and a sudden tower of water rising into the air made it clear. "By the Gods they've got Infrastructural Guns." Some other people got wind of this and there was a lot of shouting, which was soon followed by five more explosions, one of which blew right into the Melgorth's hull.

---

Captain Weithyn gave a pleasant chuckle as she saw the sudden eruption of fire, smoke and splinters from the Drow brig. She'd read the reports and had done a few live drills, but actually seeing what they could do firsthand was another thing altogether. By her judgement that little ship might be able to limp to shore if things went well or it might break apart anytime soon. Either way it could be left alone for the moment. The Frigate was a juicer target that could still flee back to safety. Besides, leaving a few to live (for the meantime) would serve her purposes. The prospect of facing High Elvish ships with with Infrastructural Artillery would spread and with it fear.

*A breed of Pitdog used in Dark Elven gladiatorial matches
**Throwing Hatchet

Image
(Norgensport, Allergonian Empire, Spring 37 IA)
The last few years had been good for Dolfis Vherinsdorf. His regular business of making a circuit through the kingdom of Kiefelwald selling dwarvish iron, nails and tools from Stalshen had turned up more coin than usual and did so more quickly, allowing him to make more runs. Some of which he'd invested in a new sack cloth factory in Schiegart, which did quite well. He put in 300 marks for his share of it, which he sold for 873 marks after it was up and running. Others he'd put down in other investments which had yielded a respectable net return. As such he'd decided to move onto bigger things. He'd also made a few more investments. He had his son Yorin do the Kiefelwald circuit while he took 84 tonnes of iron ingots that he'd been stockpiling, chartered a barge and sailed it north to Norgensport. What an amateur would have done was flogged it to the Infrastructurals first chance he got. That was a reasonable option and a good fallback position, but Dolfis had other plans. As such he rented out a corner of a warehouse, spent some time in the taverns, asked some questions and sent a few Viertals to freshen memories. After a week he found what who he was looking for and a meeting was made.

The merchant captain that came was a beast of a man, six feet tall, broadly built and clad in a leather vest. He also carried a sword. Carrying a blade was hardly unusual in the Empire, nor was this unexpected, but it did send a message. He also came with a pair of sailors who stood outside. Dolfis doubted that worst would come to worst, but he did pay a couple of goons to wait in the shadows in case anything might happen.

"I'm here to see what you've got." The captain said briskly.

"Of course." He showed them to a crate, opened it up, extracted an ingot and handed it over. "Stalshen Dwarves pride themselves on their purification processes."

The merchant regarded it, judged it's weight and gave it a tap. "Indeed." He continued inspecting the ingot, before setting it back down and looked a the crates. "This will do. I'll take the lot."

"Excellent my friend!" Dolfis said cheerfully as he extracted a piece of paper. "Now here's the bill."

The merchant read it and scowled. "Is this a joke? I'm not amused."

"No, I'm quite serious." Dolfis in a light tone. "100 Marks a Ton. Take it or leave it."

He raised his finger "Don't think I'm some ignorant bumpkin blacksmith. I know what the Dwarves charge for this and what the foundries pay. Even the Infras would pay a half of this!" There was a slight sneer with the mention of the Coldlanders, which was enough to confirm the rumors in his Dolfis' book to any relevant degree.

"And if your ship could sail overland you'd be in Stalshen right now paying those rates. The Eisengrenze Mountains are a long way from the sea, leaving aside transportation, storage, stevedoring and crates. They also routinely do business in hundreds if not thousands of tons. My store here is a modest affair by comparison, a small reserve of iron set aside for those in need for it right now while the Coldlanders and Naval Foundries are gobbling up everything they can get their hands on."

"You're not the only game in town."

"Maybe I'm not. But I have a significant load of pig iron ready to go right now that can be in your hold in less than a day. If you decline my offer that's your business, but if you are still interested in iron that will mean weeks of haggling with merchants, blacksmiths, peddlers, scrap dealers, mudlarks and other less savory characters to get the same thing. If not for the same price then for less. Your time is valuable, Captain."

The captain stood motionless for a few seconds then responded. "Ninety Marks a ton."

Dolfis waited for a few more seconds. "Very well. Ninety marks a ton it is." They shook, an amended bill of sales was signed before a lawyer he'd brought in and the load was soon emptied. The Gold was transferred to his account at Johrensson and Kivi a few hours latter. In total he'd paid 1,891 Marks for that load (which he'd been stockpiling), transportation, crates and storage. In return he'd gotten 7,560 Marks. Three of which he splurged on a round of drinks for everyone at one of the better taverns as he boasted on his deal as he bragged. It was an enjoyable night and moreover it served his purposes quite well. There would be some fellows that would try to recreate his success, making the Kiefelwalders desperate for the stuff. As for the merchant captain who was willing to pay that obscene bill, Dolfis felt that it was his duty as a loyal subject of the Allergonian Empire to gouge the shit out of him. He was the plucky honest trader who used his wits to recover the ill gotten plunder of the Dark Elves via their proxies.

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(House Valcas Estates, Valnothron, Spring 37 IA)
Talnara ti'Valcas entered a room with a single slave attendant. Inside sat the leader of House Darltas, a great house that was of intermediate disposition. A newcomer to the great houses from a merchant background and was still actively involved in trade. In the last two centuries they'd branched into agriculture in the colonies while raising more household companies to gain their position. Several of those companies, two of their cutters and several of the House's promising sons and daughter were cut down outside Daagsgrad. She gave the requisite pleasantries and got down to business.

She extracted a small glass and metal object from her pocket and clutched it in her hand "I have good feelings about the course of this war." She said calmly. With that the Truthstone glowed a faint green. The Dartlas representative nodded. "We've taken massive losses against the Coldlanders, the Eternal Foe hunts the seas with Infrastructural guns and Venoa is mobilizing for war to protect their debters." The enchanted quartz quickly blinked out. "Moreover we have reports from the Human Realms and Coastal Dwarves that all speak of the same thing: foundries, workshops and shipyards casting new guns, building engines and testing new designs. Many of whom are doing so to use against us when the opportunity arises."

"And what of the mechanical marvels you've been promising?"

"All of our progress reports have been accurate and we have a few private projects I have confidence will impress upon revelation. Leaving aside the Committee's pet humans we are still a leader in many fields and Valnothron should be able to keep that position if we manage our affairs properly. However there is a considerable complication in regards to any major industrial project that anyone of our state might plan: Raw Materials. Specifically coal and iron. Simply put we've been consuming them faster than they can be procured and what reserves we have had are nearly exhausted." She tightened her grip "Our mines are not up to the task, Galthririth's output is being bought out at an alarming rate and the human states, who are running low on it themselves, are gouging our buyers for every vaul of it at a time when the cost of a fresh slave has gone up by eight to thirteen scimitars."

The Darltas leader chuckled. "If this is such a problem we would be glad to begin serious mining in the colonies, our lands have some hills that more than meet the needs of our local smiths. Beyond that you could scower the city for scrap, and in the end there's always raiding. There was that Coldlander ship full of scrap and ingots that was brought in yesterday."

"In regards to the point about mining, the gesture is appreciated and it will be useful in the Long Term. But said expansions would take time and our problems are more immediate. Anyone with an interest in metal based manufacturing has been buying up scrap metal at three times it's usual price for some time now. And yes, 344 ven of iron appearing on the market was a welcome development. However as it stands it's load was five days worth of of consumption for our foundries alone, it leaves aside the matter of fuel and capturing Infrastructural ships is risky at the best of times. We've been looking into places to cut corners, but even a sloop needs 40 ven of iron and steel for it's engine. An ironclad needs at least 700 ven, which is leaving aside the new cannons, shot, stoves, anchors, chains, nails and the machinery to produce and maintain them. At current rates given our estimates Valnothron two or three months before we'll exhaust what stores we have and the flow of new iron and steel products will come down to a trickle. We have more specifics in this summery." The slave walked forward head bowed and offered a folder to him.

Ti'Darltas took it as his eyes narrowed. "Why is this matter of tradesman's logistics of my concern? This predicament seems to be of your own doing. You've pushed steamships and ironclads as the only solution to our problems and took more orders than you could manage."

"Oh don't play the fool." Talnara snapped. "You've read the battle reports. Against an Infrastructural fleet traditional warships are just floating piles of kindling. If we want to maintain naval dominance upgrading our fleet is a necessity. We had a gunnery advantage in the last war with the High Elves and steam engines and armored hulls mean that we can keep it and improve on it. But as it stands we're loosing ships and skilled sailors too fast, we won't be able to keep up replacements and more foes are gathering. If we continue on at best we're looking at a drawn out conflict that will deplete our fleet and leave the colonies vulnerable for little gain. At worst, this costly mess spirals into another Great War." The last two words said in a calm matter of fact way. Great Wars were not just the regular campaigns of the High Elves where both sides tried to set the other back, they were fights to the death in which the kingdoms of men get drawn in that go on for decades. They were costly at the best of times and saw states destroyed at the worst. Eventually the Drow States would lay waste to Illvanas, enslave humanity and the dwarves and establish an eternal dominion over this world, but now was not the time.

"So what do we do?"

"At this point, the best option is to cut our losses and seek peace with Infrastructure."

"And let them get away with establishing a foothold on our continent?"

"Our continent is thousands of miles away from their little fort in an area the Raptors have denied us. This was a petty ill conceived war launched against a foe we did not understand without anything but the most basic planning. We might have been able to smash them and reap the Coldlands if we'd moved more quickly and we probably could still do so if all four of us threw everything at them and nobody else interfered, but that's not happening. What we can do is stop the Coldlanders from laying waste to every slave port, prevent escalation and let us get the resources we need to drive the Eternal Foe back to their realm."

"And what's in it for us?" he asked.

"Besides avoiding a long disastrous protracted war leaving your Household destitute or dead?"

"Of course..."

"Very well. Your estates include a lot of inland territory well away from the major waterways. If you support our efforts, we'll build rail line from your estates to the nearest port and we'll provide you with a locomotive at the conclusion of the conflict."

"A reasonable start, add a five year slave feed contract and a 20% discount on farm equipment and we have a deal."

And with that the discussion came a negotiation for price which went on for the next five minutes, eventually she got his vote for the initial rail proposal and a considerably reduced version Lord Darltras's counter offer, which was an obvious probe. With that she she had the majority that she needed. She would have her people work on the orders right away. Dark Elves had a reputation for lies and backstabbing, a reputation which was the bane of any Drow who sought a career in commerce. The only real solution for those who sought to trade with them in the long term was counterbalance: be as honest as possible in in your commercial dealings with humans and Dwarves. House Valcas had learned this fact, her parents and tutors had instilled it to her and she kept it up, even to a degree with her fellow Drow. Truthstones were a bit of an annoyance, but unfortunately a bit of unambigious clarity was required at times.
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(Auvorin, Prinipality of Oestia, Spring 37 IA)
Bureaucrat (level 7) Mavia Norgovosleb was a junior member of Infrastructure's Oestian embassy who'd been assigned to this posting a few months before the war began. She soon came to enjoy the capital city of Auvorin with it's warm weather, local peoples, exotic food and fine architecture, fashion and artwork were quite lovely, even if she spent most of her time in an office dealing with dull matter of commerce and states. These were of course important tasks to help support the war effort, but they were hardly the most stimulating. A few times she'd attended some function or other, which was usually something of a mixed experience for her. On the one hand, the Princess and her Lords were skilled at holding glamorous events with a regal grace and an ornate pageantry that she quite admired. On the other hand even if she was trained in administration the daughter of a village potter in a minimalist uniform was always out of place among the glittering ladies of court. But that aside they were still comparatively rare compared to the regular business in working out sales and deliveries, materials procurement, shipping, payment plans and loans.

Then on a warm spring day she received an unusual order from her superior in regards to the Avesian Campaign. Some Thirty Six ships (mostly commandeered vessels) from Avesia were arriving in Auvorin this afternoon full of repatriated slaves, which she was to take pictures of. It was important enough so that she was ordered to take some pictures. This was important enough for her to get a new Film Camera. The ships first docked at 14:30, there was some push back by some dock official until the lord mayor of the city cleared things up and so at 15:48 the ship began unloading it's passengers.

Mavia had gotten a few shots of the ships docking and similar beforehand, which were technically proficient even without a tripod, but what made the whole thing worthwhile was the procession which came down the gangplanks and out of the Auvorin's streets. Some of them wore the ragged clothes of slaves, some wore infrastructural and others wore slaver outfits, most of them were a bit ripe from being on board old fahsioned sailing ships without showers and all but the very young among them had makeshift purses with a few commandeered coins. Even so, they all radiated a joy. Men, women and children who had been beaten, starved and treated like livestock and prepared for a life of miserable servitude on plantations, down mines, in brothels or in perverse mockeries of proper factories under the lash now had their wishes come true. Their might be complications down the road: they were still unemployed and by the looks of it not all of the people who were brought here were originally Oestians. Even so, they once again had the chance that all free people had. As another batch passed she put her fist to chest in salute.

That night, the prints would be developed and soon they'd be sent off to be engraved for use in a broadsheet the Embassy published as part of an article. Empathy was as much of a weapon for the cause of Infrastructure as any rifle, rocket or cannon.

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(Petrolium Colony, Spring 37 IA)
Like most of the Lords of Avesia baron Hermano de Saulde had been shocked when he received word of an Infrastructural invasion. He was more shocked when a company of them came his way on strange wheeled devices with a horseless machine wagon with some sort of horrible hose gun came to his estate two days latter as he was preparing a militia force. A couple of his men were overzealous and got shot for their troubles. That was enough to convince him to surrender. He, his family and two hundred men women and children were then lead back to Porta Liberium under armed guard. Older male slave drivers were screened out and led in front of a wall. He did not see what happened to them, but he heard the fusillades. The rest of them were put in slave pens for the next few weeks under guard of mercenaries, in no small part to protect them from the freed slaves. Children between about 5 and 16 were separated from parent in a section of the pen that had been walled off. Basic soup was issued twice a day, people were not chained up, the mercenaries did not intervene save to break up fights. The invaders set up speaking machines around the pens which constantly constantly gave an hour long speech, which consisted of common Avesian words (Man, Woman, Adult, Child, Sleep, Eat, Food, Move, Ship, Work, etc.) followed by it's Coldland equivalent. The litany concluded with a brief speech in Avesian before repeating...

"Misery, pain, fear and death are the foundations of slavery. It perpetuates tyranny, war and criminality: producing grand devastation so a cruel and callous few may reap the benefits of the many without due compensation. Rejoice former Slavocrats of Avesia: for this evil has been cleansed from this island, your complicity in such barbarism has now ended and soon you shall be reformed and absolved of the crimes of your now defunct culture. Hail Infrastructure!"

There was some discussion about what this meant, besides the obvious disdain that the Coldlanders had for the natural order of things. Hermano had heard several theories, ranging from them simply rubbing their faces in their conquest, plans for annexation of the island to efforts to use their business connections to further their nefarious ends. It was something to distract them from having to sleep outside in tight quarters while being treated like, well, slaves. Afterwards he and his wife (as well as a thousand or so more prisoners) were selected and loaded up onto their iron ships. There was little resistance, many simply wanted to be gone of this place now that the Infrastructurals had left it to their former property. The next sixteen days were spent in it's hold listening to a new language primer (this one including some stuff about grammar and a line about "learning how to become productive members of society in the Petroleum Colonies") and occasionally being let about above deck in small groups under armed guard for half an hour or so. After their arrival they were escorted out onto a rough port by a ramshackle town built around a small fort. There they were met by a number of soldiers and a few officials in black (most of them being women). He saw a line of children being unloaded at the same time, but they were being processed separately.

The adults were broken up into groups of five which were recorded in a book, which were then grouped into groups of 25, given numbered badges that they were told not to loose and marched out to a fenced off section of land at the edge of the town full of tents, a couple of wooden towers and about thirty men about with uniforms with badges of their own, floppy hats, pistols, black truncheons and most striking of all spectacles of smoked glass. One of them gave a quick speech. He only knew a smattering of words and a basic understanding of sentence structure but he got the gist of it. They were all bad people for dealing in slaves so they were going to teach them how to be good honest people through hard work over the next few years before they would be let into this society. Said number would either shrink if they worked well, did not cause trouble and mastered their language and other lessons they had for them or conversely if they did not behave themselves it could go up, and their groups of five and 25 would share in some of the rewards or penalties they earned. There was nowhere to run and they were adept at running down escapees and there was only one way to get through this: be quiet, obey and learn why slavery was a bad thing.

The first task given to Hermano and his fellow was the creation of their new lodgings, which first of all involved digging out basements. They were given shovels and set to work moving soil. Some disobeyed and were sent away for a night in a shed with their five man groups getting an extra hour of work. That got the rest of them working. The overseers would continue to monitor them as they worked and gave a few sharp commands. The guards did not threaten or insult the Avesians, they just patrolled behind them, gently tapping their palms with their truncheons. He was exhausted come sundown, where he was fed a meal of bread and vegetable soup and collapsed in his tent with four strangers. As he dozed off for his first night of Reform Through Labor, he wept for all that he'd lost: going from a Lord with an fief with three hundred hands to an indentured servant on some foreign shore with nothing too him but the now quite ratty clothes on his back.

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(Noldolia, Kingdom of Torion, Spring 37 IA)
Bureaucrat (Level 8) Stepania Popov, assigned to the Noldolia Consulate had spent the last few weeks doing some work that was neither usual nor her cup of tea. It involved reviewing a package which was airdropped at the consulate, reviewing files, getting updates from the island itself, writing letters, sending messages via the Kingdom's Linkglass network on behalf of Infrastructure and getting from both some rather unpleasant correspondence in return. The usual matters of making out contracts, negotiating sales and even dealings with the banks never had so much Venom in them as this byproduct of the Avesian Invasion. Even though it was standard practice in the wars of these western kingdoms and there had been a few instances of this in Unification Wars the whole thing seemed distasteful to her and the sort of behavior that civilized peoples should avoid. She was both looking forward to the end of this whole mess, but dreaded getting there. A small fleet had come in to Noldolia to mostly drop off freed slaves.

A day after it put into Port the first part of that came through, the Count Diego DiGruzman had made his visit to the consulate with his small entourage. He dropped off a bag with 800 Trono on her desk...

"Here is your metal master's damnable fee. Blind to breeding as they may be at least they should be able to hire a better class of whore to do their dirty work with it. Now where is Juanillo?" This had been more or less typical of his comments about her.

She inspected the coins, weighed them, stashed them in a safe box and produced a reciept. "Very well Lord DiGruzman, please sign here." She spoke calmly and professionally. She then pulled up speaking tube "Corporal, the DiGruzman case has been settled." She set it back into it's rest and picked up her clipboard. "If you would follow me." She soon led the noble to another room and waited their for about thirty seconds. Then the door at the opposite side was opened and the Corporal manhandled a young Avesian noblemen in, giving him a last shove which sent him stumbling. His clothes were a bit worse for wear and could use some laundering but he was unharmed. She checked off the appropriate box. "Very good. We hope to see your custom in more amiable circumstances in the future."

"Damn you and your infernal realm of Ice, Iron and Impertinence. May it's cities burn, it's cause be dashed and you end up in Galthirith's seediest brothel." The count sneered. "Fellipe! We're leaving this nest of corruption, i'll find a place for you on my estate." He barked as he turned about and stomped out

"Yes Uncle." The young Avesian responded meekly as he followed the unpleasant old man out. That was one down, Forty one to go for her lot. The Pirates which created the Kingdom of Avesia were first after money, but after slave trading and managing slave manned estates had got them their dreamed-of pile of il gotten gold they turned their eyes to prestige. Like their king, many Avesian nobles sought to gain that by marrying into mainland nobility. To their credit, the majority of the continental lords gave Avesian slave traders the same sort of respect Diego gave her, but there was a steady supply of families that by war, failed investments, gambling, drink or simple stupidity had depleted coffers and piles of debt which could be solved by marrying off a daughter or third son to an Avesian family and the occasional one which would do it to gain a sudden injection of cash or to solidify alliances. Bit by bit the slaver lords had gotten their foothold into the old aristocracy and developed connections to the point that almost all of them had some reasonably close ties to one or more mainland aristocratic lineage and the thing about the prominent heads of said households which ran said houses was that they cared about family. Both for the selfish reasons of dynastic politics and collecting assets that might still be in their name and out of a common idea that you protected your own.

Fellipe would most likely be made to sign over whatever holdings and assets he might find and be married off to some merchant's daughter after being allowed to loaf around the count's palace for a short while. It was not a universal thing and some had made enough enemies abroad that they were unsuitable for ransom, still there were plenty of them that could be used to provide a quick burst of cash to keep the flow of raw materials steady. It was a common enough practice in local warfare. It was a distateful game to play, but if it could be played now to save the Great Machine so be it.


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(Dalatyr, Spring 37 IA)
Infrastructure's Corps of Engineers had an increasingly pronounced divide between its older and younger members. The first batch of Engineers were generalists: men and women who were expected to know their way around Steam Engines, Machine Tools, Radios, Generators, Mines, Drydocks, Factories, Construction Sites and Steamships. Newer engineers were typically specialized: The Academies focusing students in on specific fields such as architecture, nautical engineering, electrical systems and so forth. Natasha Smedth saw the value in the change as the gear she worked with became increasingly complex and common and appreciated that she had people who understood the gear better than she did. She'd heard a few of them lament that they were not as likely to see and do the things that she did and would likely be sorting out the same problems in the same general area for the rest of their stints. She could understand where they were coming from but at the same time knew that they would not like to be out in the ass end of nowhere trying to turn it into somwhere when it was twenty below zero hoping that Wildspawn don't eat you.

Thankfully her last few projects had kept her in Dalatyr. Battlesteamer production was now proceeding smoothly and she'd handed that off job to it's team with confidence and so she had been reassigned to work on another Advanced Manufacturing project. The larger iron components were supplied from Foundry-III and a team of machinists and technicians made the rest of the components in house from steel. Security was tight, which was a pain, but she understood why that had to be done. What they made was the whole reason why this damned war had started.

Even so she wished it had been something that was better smelling. Even with improved ventilation systems the damn things smoked up the place something fierce, especially when they went wrong. On their own they were hardly impressive: simple cubes with a couple of cylinders riveted to each side, a wheel sticking out the front, a tube in the back, a smokestack on top, and a few minor doodads here and there hooked up to a battery. Each of them was fed some form of petroleum distillate through a mixer device. If the wheel was spun while fuel was fed in and the battery was engaged the device would soon sputter to life and keep the wheel going, usually at speeds of 200 rotations per minute. That alone was notable, you did not need to get it's water boiling and the power in even these small ones was impressive. There were a few crap outs, in which case the machine would be taken apart and examined with a camera observing the dissection. Depending on the severity of the breakdown it might be rebuilt, or it might be dissected with instructions given for it's modified successor.

As Natasha made her rounds she noticed engine number Seven as it chugged down it's latest bottle of fuel without a care in the world. It had done quite well over it's three days of life without any major breakdowns. Hopefully they were getting things right and a production model could be introduced. There would be some hassle in introducing the new system, getting factories set up to make them, training technicians to maintain them, all the bungling which inevitably happens with new machines that people don't understand and the matter of fueling them. Even so she could see a lot of places where these new Internal Combustion Engines could be very useful.
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(Infrastructural Embassy, Venoa, Spring 37 IA)
Of the human states of Ilvamicum, Venoa was modestly open to Drow merchants and commerce. It was not a slave port who's economy was dependent on the Nine States or a Tributary forced to pay homage or an open trade partner like Nycon or Oestia. The Docking Fees and Tariffs on Drow Goods was twice that of most other commerce and outside of a few exceptional underground cases nobody was selling slaves. For all of that it was still better than The Allergonian Empire where trade was simply banned and the political situation was one of either truce or shooting war and the state was wealthy enough to provide a respectable market. As such the Drow States maintained an embassy to help things go along smoothy. Elistaren ti'Norvas was Valnothron's ambassador, a position which had caused her increasing frustration recently. It was an important posting that she was proud to have achieved even if it was hardly glorious and she usually found it stimulating but not overwhelming. At least it had been until it looked like the Serene Republic began to threaten war. She'd seen the Steam Galleys that they had been flowing out of The Arsenal and had read the increasing reports of confrontation between Valnothron's fleet and the navies of the Four States still engaged with the Coldlanders. All while The Eternal Foe had launched a new wave of attacks and the Allegonian Empire was preparing for war. She'd been calling in favors and arranging moves to sway key Patricians to obstruct things and had several meetings with the Doge and his associates to hopefully defuse matters. She'd hoped and prayed for them to relent and recall their fleet before disaster happened which might cost her her life and would inevitably cost her career and family. What she got instead was a message from Home, but it would have to do.

On a warm summer morning she made her way via carriage to another embassy. It was fairly typical of the higher end architecture of it's district, but nobody could mistake the metallic tower sprouting from it's roof, the hexagonal banners fluttering in the wind from its side nor the Riflers standing at attention guarding the place. She disembarked and made her way to the door before pulling out a set of papers truthstone.

"I am the Ambassador of Valnothron. I carry no arms and have no hostile intent. I speak for my city and am here to deliver a message on behalf of my lords to your Committee through this embassy." The words were in Venoan, formal and perfect.

This caused some commotion but eventually the guards let her pass, under escort of course. She waited in a lobby for about twelve minutes getting a few stares before being ushered upstairs to the ambassador's office. Outside of a few posters and a few devices under crystal domes and an odd metallic clicking sound it was fairly normal, even if the runestones were more extensive than usual. She was soon let in and saw the man in his universe using something that seemed to be a writing engine of some sorts.

"What do you want?" He asked.

"Learned Bureaucrat." She let the words pass her teeth with just a hint of aristocratic annoyance. "The State of Valnothron now feels that this war has run its course and desires it's conclusion." She extracted a small message tube. "I have been instructed to deliver this list of peace terms, the general summation of which is that our campaigns against Infrastructure shall cease and we recognize the validity of your colonial assets on the southwestern continent in return for ceasing actions against our assets and those of our close trade partners. Further details are open to negotiation with a dedicated diplomatic team."

She set the tube before him. He sat silently and impassive for two seconds after the conclusion. "Very well, the Committee shall be informed. Is there anything else?"

"Delay in finalizing peace terms costs you the lives of your countrymen. I suggest you work quickly."

"Then I bid you farewell."

"Indeed." She said as she made her way out with a flourish. With that the end of the Escort War had begun.
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(Dalatyr, Spring 37 IA)
By the tenth Day of the Third Month of 37 IA there were over six hundred and fifty factories in Dalatyr. Most of them were State Industries and they ranged in size from huge operations like the main Ironworks which employed thousands to small operations with twenty workers. One of Supernovas's regular tasks was inspecting them. The Bureaucracy and Engineering Corps had gotten skilled enough at snooting out problems, but it never hurt to check things out for herself, it was good for morale. Besides, she could process a lot of administrivia while she did the job. On that day she was inspecting a garment factory making cotton shirts. Bolts of cloth were cut into standardized lengths, given to workers (most of whom were young women) at sewing machines which hemmed seems and made tubes, who handed them off to other workers who assembled finished garments before having them tagged, stamped with logos and packed for shipping. Total output now averaged about 2,000 daily, which was respectable for the workforce. Things seemed to be going smoothly, even though she still had some recommendations for the foreman.

When she was about halfway along the central pathway of the factory floor she got a message from the embassy in Venoa. The radio systems that they had set up in the embassies were crude affairs with a low effective bit rate, but the message conveyed all that it needed to and had the proper codes. She'd wondered if and when their offensive campaign would have yielded fruit. Now was time for a show.

She stopped in her tracks and gave an amused giggle. This was enough to get the workforce's attention and work stopped. A few seconds latter a young women by the name of Aneta responded "Is...something wrong Ma'am?"

Supernova beamed as she focused on her. "No. Everything is fine. May I ask, is anyone in your family serving?"

"My cousin Oliwa's in the Navy ma'am. She's a Machinist."

"Well with any luck she won't be in harms way for much longer. While things are not yet certain I believe we just won this war."

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Avrjoe
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Post by Avrjoe » 2019-03-22 01:04am

Zor do you have a story about the Infrastructure Committee race in their native Sci Fi setting? It would be neat to see what sort of enemies and allies they have in their native environment.
I used to be Median but life has made me Mean.

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