Mirrored from Sythyry.
The two most likely times for a teleport gate disaster to occur are: (1) the first time that it is used, and (2) some time other than the first. We took especial precautions on (1). We wanted to take especial precautions on (2), but, by definition, any precautions we take on (2) will be our normal precautions, so we were semiotically unable to.
Chief among our precautions was our choice of a place to visit. Gawsoch Gawsond is the Wild and Scaly Llezcaryg’s floating palace of glass, conveniently located on the other side of Choinxeia from Kismirth. (And conveniently the original example of several of our favorite technologies.) The W⅋S Llezcaryg is probably more powerful than all of us put together, and has a muddle of friends who are probably our equals or so. And, just as important, there’s not a city there, just a floating palace. Fewer innocents to get massacred if things go terribly!
Kismirth of course has a vast number of innocents to get massacred if things go terribly wrong. For this reason, the teleport gate there was, for that event, on The Count of Mounting Crisco. [The actual name is ruder than I am willing to print. It is a private skyboat of one of Kismirth's more flagrant, and fragrant, members. -bb] The gate back was on the sky-barge Ravelling Jenny. We could still see Kismirth in the distance, at night.
We drew lots for who would open the gate the first time. This is a wee bit of glory, and a wee bit of danger. Unsurprisingly, Phaniet won. (Unsurprising? It wouldn’t have been surprising no matter which of the nine people in the lottery won.)
Very surprisingly, the gate from Crisco to the outward pier of Gawsoch Gawsond opened up just as naturally as if it had been doing it every day from the beginning of the world. The gate from Jenny to the inward pier of Gawsoch Gawsond opened up just as naturally as if the world had always had a quick way from there to there, only somehow nobody had noticed it.
Vae had pre-cast a dozen spells of mutatory investigation. The pillar of purple fire would have instantly become a bear thumping on a huge drum on the slightest sign of injury to the universe. The cauldron of live seven-headed serpents swimming in yogurt broth would, if anyone came to visit from another dimension, instantly become a missile full of considerably larger and more intensely spiced serpents. And so on. No such event happened; the pre-cast spells remained in their latent and comforting state. (“Comforting” if one is a nendrai, I suppose.)
hCevian had few preparations to make. He sparkled blackly along the gate, prodding at the fundamental structure of the universe with his many and orthogonal spikes. Everything seemed solid.
The rest of us inspected the spellcraft with our own senses, much less exotic, and with our assorted devices, also much less exotic. We have spinning crystal lenses to watch. We have ivory wands, which curve increasingly sharply as space is more and more damaged. We have glass tubes of colored fluid, which might boil frantically. We have a huge wooden gong-drum, which will produce massive and resounding thumps should anything be amiss. We have fine wires of gold and of brazinion, in amber bulbs, which writhe and twist in response to even the most minor spatial untowardnesses. And we have abaci and meters which count interesting events, such as people walking across. Everything seemed reasonable.
So we drew lots again, eight of us — Phaniet’s victory having excluded her from the drawing — and Saza won. “Tell all my lovers I thought of them fondly in my last instant!” zie cried, and dived into the gate, rather the way that one dives into a pond which one has been told is pleasantly warm, but which one suspects of actually being icewater if not downright frozen solid.
And of course zie was nowhere to be seen after that.
However, rejoiceful fireworks were to be seen from Ravelling Jenny.
As noted, this story has no plot, conversation, intrigue, alliteration, or even doom. Everything seemed to be going exceedingly well, just as the Space Seminar had calculated at its most optimistic. So we installed the two long-range teleport gates on long piers extending from Kismirth, on opposite sides. (To provide even less doom — I am writing this nearly a year after it happened, and, to date, we have had only one (1) extradimensional intruder of godlike power and transcendant malice, and that wasn’t the gate’s fault.)
Later that afternoon, The W⅋S Llezcaryg personally stopped by, to (1) congratulate us on our amazing construction, and (2) request that we turn it off so that the gangs of delighted and space-crazed youngsters would stop running through it and through zir glass palace. Which we did. We even remembered to turn off the “out”-gate first, and leave the “home”-gate on for a while, so that the D⅋SC youngsters got back to Kismirth.
Talujjan and I enjoyed a rather spectacular night together that night, and by “together” I very much mean “together”. Then he departed for parts unknown the next morning — starting by taking the Talujjan Gate to Vheshrame — and, despite a number of well-written leaves sent his way, has not graced me with more than five sentences in that nearly-a-year-after-it-happened.
Flaenstra’s story is not nearly so cheerful. Or perhaps it is! Perhaps Glikkonen cheerfully realized how horribly unprofessional and inappropriate she was behaving, and the two of them cheerfully agreed that she would no longer work for zir, pursue zir romantically, or encounter zir in any way. It could have been cheerful, pleasant, and morally edifying, for all I know. Flaenstra is currently living in Kismirth, where the Smith’s Guild is easy to join. She does not speak with me. Either she doesn’t much like Zi Ri any more, or she thinks I will write about her again.
The shorter-range but still quite respectable gates are mostly constructed and installed. We are still trying to work out schedules and sites, but lots and lots of people are coming through Kismirth now. This is largely a good thing.
Anyhow, as the fact that I took several years to write this quite important story down, and that I chose to emphasize whatever crumbs of doom I could find more than the serious technical achievements of our gang of deep-mages, suggests that I am going to have to find more doom soon.
Don’t worry! I will!