The wizard was shaken out of his reverie by Ellesmere, who led them into a large room filled with teleprinters. The rapid-fire rattle of inked metal on paper was everywhere, though it faded a little as they made their way over to a large map table further in.
It was quieter here, though no less busy - uniformed officers of Ellesmere's kin (and, like him, also lacking any rank) stood around a grand map of the continent. Atop the map were laid a large number of painted wooden figures, which women in somber uniforms were constantly adjusting. Ellesmere pointed out a particular group of figures - six of them, surrounding the hangar where Beckton had found him.
"We got word of the operation only an hour ago. Their codes are getting harder to crack - someone's getting suspicious."
The art of long-range magical communication was a particularly esoteric subject. Newkirk grimaced at the officer.
"I presume you messaged."
"We couldn't. The nature of Ultra, you understand."
Comments (4 so far!)
In earlier drafts I thought through lots of explanations for how magic might interact with (or obsolete) the use of radio. However, its complexity and the pressures of keeping a good narrative flow have reduced it to the single line seen between dialogue here. I will leave the exact mechanics unstated.
- #3867 Posted 6 months ago
Ultra is the name given to Allied code-breaking efforts during World War 2 - including but not exclusively the Enigma decrypts. In earlier drafts I referred to Boniface, who is a historical fictional spymaster created by the Allies to explain their sudden intelligence success - but that is not the name of any fast transit station name and so stands out among the other individuals of this particular universe.
The British intelligence service, particularly, took many measures to maintain the secrecy of their decryption success. In this case, Ellesmere decided not to act on the intelligence of the incoming attack on Beckton and Newkirk. Whether this indicates that Newkirk is considered expendable or highly capable is not stated.
- #3868 Posted 6 months ago
Operation Castle followed Operation Upshot-Knothole. As a series of high-yield tests, results were expected to be dramatic. The first, "Bravo" shot, was particularly so. The calculation of the expected yield was based on incorrect assumptions about the interactions of its lithium deuteride configuration, and as a result was considerably lower than was actually observed. Radioactive material dispersed into the atmosphere by the increased blast contaminated over 7,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean.
- #3869 Posted 6 months ago
As long as you know how the magic works and stick to your own internal logic, then it should show up in the story, not on its own exactly but you know what I mean? It'll come out, bleeding through the edges. Shoot, I wish Hollywood writers cared as much as you do.
On a different note, the audio story from I Love Bees (it was a Halo 2 ARG but was distilled down to a pretty riveting and sometimes horrifying story) talks about the decision on not acting on a broken code until the time is right as being a "terrible calculus."
- #3877 Posted 6 months ago
Author's prompt text:
Inspired by (sequel to):
The duty watchman waved them out of the circle sharply. It flashed white, the challenge and counters…Grable
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