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The Mercury Device (The unbotched version)

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  • The Mercury Device (The unbotched version)

    ++ Fire and Water ++

    Arturus, the Minister of Science, was making a few last minute adjustments on the Mercury Device as his audience entered the laboratory. The Device, which sat upon a stainless steel table in the middle of the room, was unlike anything that these men and women had seen.

    The Device was made mostly of metal. Several gears were linked together by thin metal strands, and a long tube extended from a metal container that was situated at one end of the machine. Each visitor glanced at it with the most puzzled look on his or her faces. Arturus was busy pouring water into the metal container.

    The audience, although small, was the most intimidating that the professor had ever seen. He half expected Emperor Davidius himself to walk through the door. But even without the emperor, the credentials of his guests were impressive. General Trajan, commander in chief of the land armies, Grand Admiral Darius, Minister Valarion of the Foreign Ministry cabinet, and Doctor Starius of the Geological Survey department were in attendance each with their own aids. All in total about 12 of the worlds most important people were in attendance.

    Dr. Arturus began to speak. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I bid you welcome to the University of Palmyra. I know that many of you are busy, so I shall begin without further adieu.” The guests in the room shuffled for only a few seconds as they got situated, and then focused intently on the doctor, each with a stern face bearing the stress of running their own little corner of an empire.

    “Before you I stand today bearing news of one of the most profound scientific breakthroughs the world has ever known. I give you, the Mercury Device.” The Doctor stood aside as he revealed this rather crude metallic contraption to his audience. They all appeared confused.

    “For centuries, we have traveled the world under the power of wind and horse. Our navy sails under the power of sail. We traverse this great land of ours in horse drawn carriages or even by foot. This Device, ladies and gentlemen, shall put an end to this. This Device can allow our ships to continue their voyages even on the calmest of days. This Device can power great machines that can carry tons of cargo over great distances with little effort and in twice the time…”

    “Excuse me doctor, but how exactly does that thing carry anyone?” General Trajan interrupted.

    “Well, General, allow me to demonstrate.” Arturus began to smile like a child.

    Arturus lit a candle. After lit, he opened a door on the metal container, and placed the candle inside. Within a minute, steam began to come from the pipe. A few minutes later, the gears began to turn. The noise in the enclosed chamber soon became quite loud.

    “As you can see…” the doctor shouted “ …with the addition of water and fire, we can create an ‘engine’ that can run for as long as fuel is provided.”

    Arturus continued. “About 6 years ago, we discovered that the force the steam generates when water is boiled could be harnessed into energy. The steam causes the gears here…” The doctor pointed to a set of sprockets “…to turn, which in turn could be used to power wheels, propellers, and so forth. “

    “Propellers? “ The Admiral inquired.

    “Yes, Propellers. When affixed to the hull of a ship, these propellers could be used to power the ship at speeds comparable or greater than that attained by our frigates today! Also, they generate more power. This means that we can make heavier ships with stronger armor and bigger guns than our conventional navy.”

    Darius seemed please. He sat back and nodded his head.

    “Now, it will take a much larger engine and a lot more fuel to power this vessel, but it is definitely possible."

    “How will this machine be able to transport heavy loads great distances?” Minister Valarion pointed out. “I don’t see how this could work.”

    “My dear lady, I understand your concerns. That is why I have prepared more of a demonstration for you.” Arturus responded, with a smile that was almost too big for his face. “People, would you be so kind to accompany me?” Arturus and his assistance lead his audience out of the room, down the hall and into a large garage.

    The room had a large door to the left, which several of Dr. Arturus’s aids where opening. On the ground, they noticed a curious patchwork of wooden beams fastened by long, metallic rails. Sitting upon this ‘railroad’ was a carriage. It featured huge, iron wheels that where fitted into grooves on the iron rails. A larger version of the Mercury Device sat on this carriage. Dr. Arturus stood on this carriage as well, and was inviting his guest to join him.

    “Gentlepeople, we shall take a ride” the doctor said with a smile. With his audience on board, Arturus gave the order, and his new vehicle was set into motion. His guests became the first Romans to have ‘ridden the rail’.

    ++ A New Age ++

    “You should have seen it, your highness!” Valarion explained. “It was quite incredible. This ‘railroad’ has boundless applications! We could lay down track to connect our cities across our great Nation. A journey that once took days could now occur within a few hours. From Rome to Butos would only be a day and a half travel!”

    Emperor Davidius looked concerned, as he always did. “What is the catch? There is always a catch, isn’t there.”

    Starius of the Geological Survey department stood forward. “Yes, my lord. As always your wisdom shines forth. There is a catch. These engines are powered by fires that burn very hot, in order to generate enough steam to power them. Wood burns too inefficiently for these engines. Dr. Arturus used a rare mineral he found, known as coal, to generate the needed heat. It seems this mineral burns very hot, and burns for a lot longer than wood. “

    “And?” The emperor inquired.

    “And, my lord, we have insufficient deposits of this mineral to use this technology in any broad plans. We could make maybe one or two ships, and maybe one ‘train’ outfitted with the engine, but little more. A novelty and a convenience, but without sufficient supplies of coal it will do little to change our infrastructure.”

    “Is coal that rare to where it is not found anywhere on our planet.?”

    “Well, no. Coal is fairly common in other parts of the world, but unfortunately, not in Rome, your Highness.”

    “You mean to tell me that in all of our great empire, we have do not have sufficient resources to implement this invention?”

    “Yes sir. That is exactly what I am telling you.”

    “Does anyone else know of this technology?”

    “No sir.” Valarion responded. “We are certain that our glorious scientists are the first to invent such an engine.”

    The emperor sat back in deep thought. “Our army is still the greatest on the planet. Our navy still rules the seas. We have existed for centuries without such technology, I see no reason that it would be a necessity at this time.”

    “I ask you to consider this, Emperor. “ Valarion advised. “What if other nations discover these secrets? If our scientist are able to come up with such knowledge, what will prevent others? Our Egyptian neighbors could build a trade network to surpass our own. Zulu warriors could ship supplies and men to the front as quickly as they are trained, leaving them to conquer the whole of their own continent. Germans could build ships of iron that could out match our own navy. Your highness, we are indeed the grandest nation on earth. However, if we cannot implement these secrets, I cannot say for how much longer we will be. “

    Davidius stared at his foreign advisor intently. He knew that she was right. But for now, it was only the Romans who knew of the power of steam. If the glory of Rome will continue to shine brighter than any others nation, then they would need to be the first to install a railroad infrastructure.

    Grand Admiral Darius placed a scroll on his emperor’s desk. He unraveled it to reveal what appears to be schematics.

    “Sir, with the help of Arturus and his scholars, we have constructed this prototype warship that will use a steamed powered engine. This ship would be the terror of the seas, and will insure Roman naval superiority for ages to come. “ The admiral began to explain the details of the warship…how many guns it could bring to bear, it maneuverability, its speed and armor. Davidius was impressed.

    “Sir.” Starius inquired. “we will need to send geologist to find if there are any sources of coal for us to secure. “

    “Yes, please do so. However, make sure that you alert NOBODY to the nature of your visit. This secret shall remain ours. Once we find it, we will work from there. Valarion, make the necessary arrangements with our neighbors. Tell them we are sending in archeologists or something of the sort. We cannot let other countries know how valuable this resource actually is. “

    “Understood, my lord. “ She responded.

    “We shall convene a forum in a year’s time to discuss further options.”

    A few days later, geologists set sail for the corners of the world.
    'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."

  • #2
    ++ Options ++

    It was a familiar setting. General Trajan and Admiral Darius sat in the lavishly decorated conference room along with other high ranking government officials, including Foreign Minister Valarion, Dr Starius, and the emperor himself.

    “So, tell me. How are the affairs of the Glorious roman empire.?” The emperor began.

    “Your highness, we have news concerning the Mercury Device.” Dr. Starius explained.

    “Ah, yes, our steam engine. I trust the news is that we have found great supplies of the needed materials to begin the construction of our great rail system?”

    “Have we found great supplies of coal, yes. “ Dr. Starius continued. “However, we are NOT ready to begin refitting our ships and building a great rail network.”

    “And why is that?”

    “Well, as I am sure you remember, my lord, we have no coal deposits anywhere in our country, or even on this continent. However, we have discovered rich deposits located in Germany, England, and Persia.” The geologist unrolled a map on the table and began to point to several locations. “Here, near the city of Bumpur in Persia the hills are thick with coal veins. Also, we found sufficient supplies just outside of Bremen in the surrounding Jungles, and also near Newcastle in England.”

    The emperor looked at the map, and appeared deep in thought. “Have we begun mining in these locations?”

    Valarion jumped in to the conversation. “Uh, my lord, we just can’t start sinking mines in other countries. International law forbids it. What if Egypt started building mines in the gold rich hills outside of Syracuse?”

    “Well, Valarion, I guess we will have to negotiate with these countries.” Davidius replied.

    “Its not quite that simple. As you know, England and Germany have been bitter enemies for ages…a perpetual state of war exists in these countries. If we trade with one, we very well may enter in a state of war with the other. Persia is half a world away, and Xerxes is intolerable to deal with. IF he gets any wind at how valuable the city of Bumpur is, he will exact an impossibly high price…diplomatically speaking of course.”

    “But once our infrastructure and fleet are upgraded, won’t our economy soar? We could agree to his outrageous commands...and make the money back three fold!?”

    “Well, there are other issues as well. No country has mastered this technology yet. No doubt if we are to trade for coal with the Persians, they will want to know what they are trading for, and soon discover its ‘value’. Persia is on of the largest countries in the world. What if they upgrade their trade infrastructure before ours? Pretty soon the world will be buying Persian goods instead of Roman.”

    “How can we utilize this technology before anyone else?” Davidius inquired.

    “Let me speak with Xerxes. We could offer incredible wealth to him in exchange for him handing control of Bumpur over to us.”

    “Incredible wealth?” Davidius questioned?

    “Sir, we would make up anything we lost in no time at all. Xerxes does share a border with the rampaging Zulu’s. Our diplomats indicate he fears an invasion from them. We could also show him how we make our breech loading rifles. Their army still uses front loading muskets.”

    “Is this not dangerous? Why give them such an advantage!?”

    “Sir” The general interrupted, “it won’t be that much of an advantage. We are already field testing the latest and greatest at the Pompeii Proving grounds. You should see the Mark3 lancer! It has a rate of fire of…”

    “It has a rate of fire of whatever, General. I care not about the specifics. In a worst case scenario, need we fear an invasion from Persia?”

    “No sir. They have the Zulu’s to deal with, and they are half a world away. Our forces are superior, and Persia has made no aggressive moves toward us in the past.” Trajan answered.

    Davidius once again drifted back into a state of deep thought. After a few moments he spoke. “Very Well. Valarion, arrange meetings with Xerxes. Also contact Bismarck and Elizabeth. We could use the others as leverage in our negotiations. I want you to negotiate control of these cites…Bremen, Bumpur, or Newcastle. Explain how we need these cities for important strategic purposes…to set up trading posts on other continents, and that their cooperation shall be rewarded handsomely. Offer how ever much gold that they require. Offer knowledge that they have yet to discover. Offer anything but this ‘steam power’ technology. I would even be willing to turn over control of some of our frontier cities as compensation.”

    “Yes, your highness.” Valarion replied. She quickly left the chamber to set about her duties. Her plate just became quite full.

    ++ Diplomatic Breakdowns ++

    “What? They said no!?” Davidius exclaimed?

    “Yes, your excellency.” Valarion acknowledged. “They refused all offers. Elizabeth and Germany for obvious reasons…they need their cities for strategic importance. However, Xerxes said that ‘no amount of gold would persuade him to turn over his citizens under the rule of the Roman Dictatorship.’.”

    Davidius, looking quite disturbed, sat down in his office charge, deflated. “Is this it, then. I suppose we will have to share the knowledge of this invention with the Persians, and compete against them in the open market.”

    “Sir, this may lead to the economic downfall of our empire.” Valarion said, somberly.

    “Have you no skills to negotiate appropriate trade terms with the Persians?”

    “Sir, they can dictate whatever terms they want. There is no avoiding this. However…” Her voice trailed off.

    “However?” The emperor appeared impatient.

    She glanced at Trajan who had been standing beside her. “However, there are other solutions. It just matters how far you are willing to go.”

    Davidius sat back up in his chair. His face displayed a person with the gears of thought beginning to turn. Davidius seemed to understand that Valarion and Trajan had a back up plan, and he had an idea of what it was. “I’m listening.”

    As if on queue, Trajan stepped forward and unfolded a map on the desk. On it was the western coast of Rome, and across the great ocean, the continent of Germany and England. He began to speak. “Sir, Newcastle is only a week’s sail away, and we have confirmed that the hills surrounding Newcastle are rich with coal. We could land a task force, secure the city and the coal mines with lightning speed. Before Elizabeth could powder her face we would have control of Newcastle, have the mines garrisoned, and negotiate occupation terms as we see fit.”

    “Go to war with England?” Davidius replied in a tone that was more questioning than surprised. “The Island of Gordion is just miles off the English coast..”

    “And well Garrisoned, my lord” The general responded. “England, like I mentioned before, is at war with Germany. She could not handle pro longed wars with us in addition to Bismarck. She will agree to peace in short order.”

    “What if she does not?”

    “We are prepared for that as well. Our eastern fleet is prepared to engage at a moment’s notice. We have Several Battalions of riflemen and 3 artillery batteries stationed to this invasion fleet. They will be on English soil in a matter of weeks. If by some miracle England is able to land troops on our soil, I can assure you they will not be there for long. “ the general smiled.

    “Why not Bremen?” Davidius wondered “Or Bumpur? Didn’t the doctor say that the hills of Bumpur are overflowing with coal?”

    “Bremen is landlocked, sire. “ The general explained “In order to engage the Germans, we will have to march many miles inland. We would loose any surprise. Bumpur is too far, sire. Although it would be a very valuable city, we would have to sail for many months to reach the city, and our troops would have to fight a battle on foreign shores, far away from supplies and reinforcements. Plus, Persia is not at war with anyone. They would besiege this city relentlessly if they wanted to. Newcastle, however, is only right across the sea. We could land reinforcements on a regular basis, and support our ground troops easily with our navy. It is the obvious choice.”

    “Newcastle”. Davidius said. He sat looking off into space. “We have not had any military engagements since the ‘unification wars’ that our ancestor fought many years ago.”

    “Emperor, our army is the mightiest in the world. Would you not agree that from time to time, one would have to ‘flex their muscle’ to show that are not to be trifled with? Don’t you think the rest of the world would see how fast we disable England? Don’t you think that would be on the forefront of anyone’s mind when you sit down at the bargaining table?”

    Davidius continued to stare. “General, gather the troops. I want this task underway.”

    With little hesitation, the General saluted. As he left the chambers, Davidius turned to his Foreign Minister. “So tell me, my dear. Just how rich will this ‘railroad’ make us?” The emperor smiled greedily…as did Valarion.

    ++ War Maneuvers ++

    “This ain’t no drill” Anthony turned to his buddy on the bunk next to him. Marcus and Anthony went through battle training together, and had been close ever since. Joined when they were just teenagers, these young men were thrilled at the aspect of travelling the world, playing with really cool military toys, and getting an ‘army check’ for the rest of their lives. Besides, chicks really digged the uniform.

    “Shut up, Tony” Marcus replied. He was busy cleaning the barrel of his rifle. Sargent Keops was known for his brutal ‘surprise inspections’. “You never know when that old Egyptian bastard is going pop one of those inspections on us.”

    “Well, I think it’s a drill. We have not had any military conflict for centuries. What do we care about England or Germany? They only pick on each other.”

    “Tony, would you just shut up.” Marcus always put on a tough guy front. However, he always was a stickler to details. His uniform always pressed, his bunk always neat, and his rifle always clean. One chewing of butt from the sarge insured the best behavior from him.

    The door of the cabin swung open violently. As if speaking of the devil summoned him directly, Sargent Keops burst into the room.

    “Listen up, ladies.” He began, as usual “Report to the topside deck, immediately! MOVE IT! MOVE IT!”

    Marcus and Anthony immediately hustled to their feet, and double timed it topside. They fell in line with everyone else from the regiment.

    At the rear of the Galleon, Captain Titus stood forward and began to address the men.

    “As you all know, we set sail yesterday from Antium under orders of strict silence. Today, gentlemen, your purpose is to be revealed. We are about to invade England.”

    Marcus and Anthony looked at each other. They were going to war.

    ++ The Battle ++

    The waters were dead still. A light fog blanketed the area with an eerie haze. The groan of the wooden ships was about all that could be heard.

    Cargo nets were thrown over the side as each man descended into their landing boats. Although you could not see them, Frigates were positioning themselves to commence their deadly barrage of cannon fire. As each landing boat filled, it made its way to shore under the power of oar. Once on the shore, each company began to muster into the appropriate formation. It was strange that with so many people around, you could barely hear a sound. Silence did not last long, however. After a few hours, when the expeditionary force was assembled, the thunderous boom of cannon fire awakened the world.

    The people of Newcastle were unfortunate witnesses to the brutalities of war. The city has shifted possession between Germany and England several times over the past 100 years. Being such, the citizens learned to live under the strain of conflict. The blacksmiths went about their daily duties, the bakers set about baking bread, and fishermen set out seeking their bounty. The people have seen soldiers run their swords through each other. The nuns in the local temple have tended to arrow wounds, and amputated limbs. Today, however, they would be introduced to combat of the likes they have never witnessed.

    Soldiers in the local barracks maintained a tight garrison. Newcastle was on the German front, and often prone to attacks by the Germans. Towers on the outskirts of town contained some of England’s finest archers, and sturdy pike men held the town against invasion. Although their military had recently learned the secrets of gunpowder, muskets were a rare commodity, and they had yet to upgrade most of their standing army to the new technology.

    Recent months had been peaceful for the town of Newcastle. Yet this peace would not remain. The morning was interrupted abruptly by the echoing sound of gunfire. From the harbor, people could see the great ships in the distance, and the flashes of explosions as the roman cannons sent their projectiles toward Newcastle. Explosive bombs hit, and destroyed everything in the area of impact. Screams erupted, and soldiers scrambled to gain their bearings, and to find the source of the danger. A rider was dispatched to inform London of the situation.

    The rider bolted out of town as fast as his horse would carry him, still hearing the screams of people that followed the devastating explosions. After about 300 yards outside of town, he saw the shapes of marching soldiers move out of the fog, marching toward Newcastle. He stopped and got his bearing of the situation. Stretched as far as he could see from left to right were these distinctive shapes. He also recognized that these were not German. Straining to see who these attackers were, he finally was able to see the intricate design of the flag. These were Romans.

    “Oh my god!” He thought to himself. There was only one way to go, back to town.

    Riding back into the maelstrom of explosions and cannon fire, the rider jumped of his horse as fast as he could and reported to the garrision's Colonel. “Sir! Sir!”

    “I thought I gave you dispatches! Explain yourself!” The rugged colonel replied.

    “The Romans…The Romans…they are at the gate!” The rider was breathing quite heavily.

    “Romans!?” The Colonel looked very confused. Suddenly, the cannon fire stopped. Whoever it was that was attacking, they had to face. There was no time for explanations. He ordered his troops into position, preparing for the upcoming battle.

    The battle did not last long. The Romans positioned themselves just outside of town. What damage the ship cannons did not do was done by the mortars and artillery that the infantry had brought with them. After several furious volleys, most of the solid defensive positions of Newcastle were destroyed. The Romans marched into the town itself, and engaged the standing garrison. The English stood no chance. All that resisted were shot immediately. After a battle that lasted only a few hours, the city of Newcastle was firmly in control of Davidius.

    Anthony and Marcus’s regiment was one of the first to enter Newcastle. The devastation was unlike anything they could ever had prepared for. Buildings were destroyed, and the dead were in the street. It was quite obvious that all the casualties were not English soldiers. The fighting went from building to building, as the Romans were clearing out any last pockets of resting soldiers, but most of the English had surrendered.

    “Hey Marcus!” Anthony yelled. He looked around. Tony was excited. Combat, although terrifying, was also exhilarating. Even with their technological advantages over these backwards people, they still put up a fight. Archers had been sniping the infantry from second story windows and other concealed locations. Swordsmen and pike men had laid careful ambushes to slow the infantry advance. Tony still looked around for his friend. “HEY MARCUS!”

    He walked over to a group of soldiers who had just sat down. With reserves coming in, the front line was being given a rest. He recognized a the group to be from his own regiment. “Any of you seen Marcus?”

    “Yeah, he was a few blocks over, I think. Check over there” One of the soldiers pointed down a street.

    “Thanks”. Anthony ran down the street to find his friend.

    ++ Without a Hitch ++

    “Newcastle is secure?” Davidius asked his general.

    “Yes, it is. We suffered minimal losses. Our engineers are now beginning to set up mining operations in the hills. In a few months, coal should start arriving here in Rome. “ The General was obviously pleased.

    “Excellent. And how is our Friend, Elizabeth, Doing?” Davidius asked Valarion.

    “She is understandably upset, your honor.” She replied, also smiling.

    “My poor friend. She has agreed to the terms, yes?”

    “Yes. And I must admit, sir, that you have been most generous.”

    “Not as generous as I would have been if she had simply agreed to the terms we offered earlier. What I have offered to her is simple ‘reparations’ for any damage that may have been caused. That should also help smooth over our international reputation.”

    “Yes, It should” She agreed. “You are most wise, my lord.”

    ++ The Value of Coal ++

    Anthony stood over the body of his slain friend, Marcus. The arrow was still protruding from his chest. Usually talkative, Anthony said nothing. A tear drop, barely visible, began to form in the corner of his eye.

    “He was a brave soldier, son” Sargent Keops said, trying to console his soldier. “He will be honored.”

    Anthony looked at him, and said nothing. In the background, the engineer corps could be seen loading equipment into carriages to be taken to the mining site. They moved with seemingly no regard for their surroundings, as if it is all in a day’s work. Further down the street piles of bodies where being ‘processed’ by roman doctors. These dead not only included the soldiers that fought in the battle, but innocent people who did nothing but live their lives day to day. On the corner, a little girl stood by a post, gripping a raggedy doll under her arm. She seemed to be staring at the pile of covered corpses in the street.

    “Well, sir. “ Anthony finally spoke. “I guess your right. I don’t feel to honorable right now, though”

    It was the Sargent’s turn to be silent.
    'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."


    • #3
      Thanks for another great read.
      Keep up the good work!!
      To each his own...

      Carpe Diem


      • #4
        Excellent Read!

        This is by far one of the best stories I have read. You have my vote!
        "Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do."


        • #5
          Thank you very much for your kind words I hoep that maybe my stories might inspire you guys to come up with your own stories, or at least help you enjoy playing the game a little more.

          But, in any rate, thank you again.
          'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."


          • #6

            I wrote a breif story last night called the Bloody War and posted it in the story forums but it pales in comparison to your stories. I feel inspired however to write something else now. wish me luck.
            "Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do."


            • #7

              I just added a vote for you. Great story!

              Now to nit-pick just a little. Study up on grammar and word-usage a little more. (Or maybe just don't type too fast. ) You've got the story flowing well, the reader's emotions are engaged, and then... wham! Jarred out of the story by a word or phrase that is just ... wrong. For instance, they were
              thrilled at the aspect of travelling the world
              should read
              thrilled at the PROSPECT of travelling the world.
              Yes, I admitted up front it was a nit-pic, and maybe I'm too much of a grammar nazi . But I've studied philology for many years, and it simply grates to hear/read people using language poorly.

              FWIW, you are certainly no worse than anyone else on these forums. Better than most I've run across, especially in the Stories. So take this for constructive criticism. I wouldnt have voted for you if you weren't the best.
              Civfanatics Forum Co-Administrator


              • #8
                We have a winner here!

                This is an excellent story, and it unfolds even to the one that has not made himself so acquainted with the game Civilization 3 by actually purchasing it.
                Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Padma

                  I just added a vote for you. Great story!

                  Now to nit-pick just a little. Study up on grammar and word-usage a little more. (Or maybe just don't type too fast. ) You've got the story flowing well, the reader's emotions are engaged, and then... wham! Jarred out of the story by a word or phrase that is just ... wrong. For instance, they were should read

                  Yes, I admitted up front it was a nit-pic, and maybe I'm too much of a grammar nazi . But I've studied philology for many years, and it simply grates to hear/read people using language poorly.

                  FWIW, you are certainly no worse than anyone else on these forums. Better than most I've run across, especially in the Stories. So take this for constructive criticism. I wouldnt have voted for you if you weren't the best.
                  Thanks for the advice. I usually write when I can't play (on business trips and such). I use the generic word processor that comes with windows (word pad, I beleive). It has a spell checker, but thats about it. I try to read and reread my posts to make sure that they make sense, but my knowledge of grammar is somewhat limited. If it sounds right, I usually let it go.

                  Thank you for the vote I hope you enjoy my next story
                  'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."


                  • #10
                    Great story. It reads better than some of the novels I've read lately. You have my vote for story of the week.


                    • #11
                      Excellent story, keep it up!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Padma

                        Now to nit-pick just a little. Study up on grammar and word-usage a little more. (Or maybe just don't type too fast. ) You've got the story flowing well, the reader's emotions are engaged, and then... wham! Jarred out of the story by a word or phrase that is just ... wrong. For instance, they were should read
                        Give the guy a break! The man writes for the enjoyment of writing and for the enjoyment of others who play CivIII. Then here you come critiquing his work. First, before you "nit-pick" try writing one of your own stories and entering it in the forum to see if it gets selected for the weekly contest or even better, have a good chance at winning the darn thing.
                        "Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do."


                        • #13
                          Thanks for sticking up for me, ike, but its ok. I beleive that anyone should be open to constructive criticism...that is one way we can better ourselves. Besides, his 'nit picking' was worded in such a way that I took no offense. Furthermore, I was more flattered by the fact that he did vote for my story

                          On a totally different note...

                          I, for the life of me, can't get the stupid screen prints to work...which I feel may enhance some of these stories and to validate that these events did occur while playing CIv3. So I wanted to ask a favor to some people:

                          would anyone be willing to allow me to email my screen prints to them and THEY could post them in a reply thread?

                          Again, thanks for the positive feedback My next story may not be out for a few more days. I finished the game, but I am trying to do detailed story about a small part of it.
                          'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."


                          • #14
                            Since others have already posted in your story thread proper, I had to add my two cents! Mark this one down as a must read! Bravo!

                            The list of published books grows. If you're curious to see what sort of stories I weave out, head to and do an author search for "Christopher Hartpence." Help support Candle'Bre, a game created by gamers FOR gamers. All proceeds from my published works go directly to the project.


                            • #15
                              Thank you. Coming from you, Vel, I take this as a high compliment. BTW, your story ain't too shabby
                              'Ice cream makes computers work better! Just spoon it in..."