This too shall pass.

Shrapnel pounded the heavy workbench and zinged its way overhead. Beckton popped up to assess the situation and saw something standing in the wreckage of the doors. Humanoid but not human, easily eight feet tall, wreathed in the colours of dying embers. There was the suggestion of a hood, but no face within, just two jewelled pinpricks of malevolence. Djinn? Elemental? He had no idea what the distinctive features were.

It leaned forwards and pointed imperiously at him with an arm that burned suddenly brighter. Beckton caught a hold of himself and ducked back down just before a blast of heat slammed into the workbench, shunting the heavy timber-and-steel construction back an inch.

Newkirk looked up, some trick of ventriloquy enabling him to chant and speak at the same time.

"Getting interesting?"

"One of the heavies came through the doors. If I don't make it, the challenge is Amatol and the response is Torpex."

Newkirk took it calmly, returning to his spell after a nod of acknowledgement.

Comments (3 so far!)



After doing some research, I came to the conclusion that it is very unlikely that a workbench can stop a (rifle-calibre) bullet, regardless of wooden or steel construction, so I had to abandon my initial idea of a machine-gun-wielding golem (which also didn't work for other, magical theory reasons).

Djinn and elementals are both fire spirits, the former being divine in origin and the latter being elemental. What significance either would have is not stated.

Generally speaking it is not advisable to stop a spell once started, especially higher-level spells with complex and multi-layered setups. There are multiple ways to get around this, but Newkirk (in keeping with his character) chose the most effective and difficult method.

Amatol was a popular wartime explosive that was cheaper and more effective than TNT, composed of slightly cheaper materials while being chemically more efficient. It was the primary explosive of choice for the German V2 rockets.

  • #3111 Posted 4 years ago
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Torpex was one successor to Amatol. It was superior by being both significantly more powerful and much safer (wartime explosives were very prone to accidental explosion), but it was prohibitively expensive and so only used in the most important munitions such as the Tallboy and Grand Slam bunker-buster bombs.

It is a common (and effective, if slightly crude) military security practice to have a challenge-and-response pair that is changed regularly. One party shouts the challenge, and the other shouts the response. If one is incorrect then they are not friendly. The words are not always linked, but I like them to be to demonstrate various obscure facts.

Tuller-Ullam is the name of the implosion-based design that is used in all currently-known themonuclear fusion weapons ("H-bombs"), and was tested in principle during the "Greenhouse" series of nuclear tests, particularly the "George" test. That device was not in itself weaponisable (it was far too large), but paved the way for viable designs.

  • #3112 Posted 4 years ago
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Robert Quick

Robert Quick

But but but machine gun wielding golems! Awwww. Still, the description of the fire-being is pretty cool. Glad to see this is till percolating inside you!

  • #3119 Posted 4 years ago
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Inspired by (sequel to):

Beckton felt Newkirk slip a handful of bullets for the Springfield into his pocket.

"Were you expec…

Frenchman Flat
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