This too shall pass.

Osterley took a much more compact submachine gun for herself, slipped it into a leather shoulder bag and then they moved straight to the teleport circle for transport. The watch had changed by now, and a fresh-faced youth who looked like he was barely out of the workshop was setting up for their run. He jumped a little when they entered, started to salute, realised that Newkirk had no military rank and finally settled for standing at attention.

"Sir! Are you taking this, or do I..."

Newkirk sighed and wished for a cigarette.

"I'm running low. You're up. Take it slow, make sure you're clear on the diacritics."

The young apprentice shuffled sheets of carefully transcribed phonetics.

"Um, in the second chorus, there's an uvular plosive..."

"Emphasise it. Surge high, then coast back down with the rest of that sequence."

"It's just..."

"They don't tell you, no. But it's hard to control if you don't push there. Let's begin."

The wizard watched him start - shakily, but with increasing confidence.

Comments (3 so far!)



As mentioned in the comments of "Helen of Bikini" (41641), magicians are not very common. This somewhat explains why an apprentice has been called on to work the night shift on the teleportation circle. There will be an on-call specialist, but it's likely that any fully-qualified wizards who might have been able to supervise are in high demand elsewhere. Hence this poor apprentice has to learn on the job.

There is a technique, probably similar in concept to the International Phonetic Alphabet, that allows incantations to be written down in a completely mundane manner. Commonly used by those still learning spells (as seen here), it is very verbose and intermediate-level magicians will often have learned one of several shorthand methods, but the long-form allows a practiced reader to navigate even unfamiliar and complex spells with reasonable ease. That is, unless there are transcription errors or ambuguity.

  • #3885 Posted 3 years ago
  • 0


Operation Redwing followed Project 56 and tested second-generation nuclear weapons. The third test, Zuni, was of a particular bomb design known as the B-41. The prototype was nicknamed "Bassoon".

  • #3886 Posted 3 years ago
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Robert Quick

Robert Quick

Interesting. Maybe I'm reading too much D&D mechanics into the story but what is Newkirk running low on? Spells? Mana? Something else? And if they are going to use what seems to be a scroll (though maybe one that isn't going to be consumed by the cast) shouldn't there be no loss at all? That being said, I do like the idea that an apprentice is basically learning on the job training during a war AND that we get to see the cause and effect of Newkirk as a teacher.

  • #3890 Posted 3 years ago
  • 0

Inspired by (sequel to):

The preparations were brief and to the point. Broadview insisted that Newkirk take a pistol, which t…

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