by Max Barry

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by The Kraterocracy of Uvoan. . 13 reads.

A Shell's Flight

The heavy guns of the battlecruiser roared- Slinging shells through the night which roared. Each shell had been intended for this purpose- To deliver a wallop which would put most other ships onto the oceans floor in a single hit.

Each shell had been polished to perfection, and packed with enough H-12 explosive filler to level three city blocks with a single detonation. One particular shell had a few words scrawled in red paint over it- 'Uvoan Ramos Nazis' Uvoan Murders Nazis, roughly. The tip of the shell had yellow and black hazard stripes, with the rest being a dull, grey, polished metallic shine.

The iron for the shell itself had come out of the Gleigh Fa'arkey Mines- Being pulled up from the ground after untold millennium buried underground. Mining equipment digging into the vein it had inhabited for so long, and dumping it into mine-carts which dragged it into the light of day. The minecarts had dumped the iron ore into far larger train-cars, which then whisked it down the miles of track to Gorale itself. A rough, jostling journey where a hundred tons of iron-ore had filled each hopper car. The train-cars had dumped thousands of tons of raw ore and coal into the burning foundries. Foundries had melted the raw ore into a far stronger form- Then poured it from huge, molten vats, into mixing pots. Raw iron became polished, and was poured into molds. Molds which were then whisked away by train to Voroan, where the ammo factories lay, churning out fuel for the war-machine which was busy fighting a war.

The explosive filler had come from the deep-sea mining efforts which New Asan sponsored. The actual chemical had been harvested from a deep-sea vent by a specially made class of submarine- Transferred onto a freight barge, dried, and moved directly into chemical factories. The compound had been forged within huge mixing vats, and then packed with extreme care. Gentle hands had stamped each crate full of explosive powder with an approved stamp, and then the train had whisked it's deadly cargo away from New Asan like a stampeding herd of cattle- Nothing stopped it, not even the highest express. The train had by-passed everything that might have been put in place to slow it.

The crates of chemicals had rolled smoothly over asphalt roads, carried by trucks into the ammo plants where the union of Shell and Filler happened. It wasn't a careful process- Each shell was packed with propellant, filler, and then sealed. Metal encasing the dangerous powder, as some wit with a paint-brush scrawled the words upon the shell, then it had been whisked away by truck back to the train that had brought it into Voroan. Workers loading the shell into crates, and then into sealed boxcars. And then the train had raced away, it's path cleared by an armored train, whistle blasting throughout the night as it raced for Expolia, the home of the Grand Fleet. The train had come to a gentle stop, and then burst into motion. Hundreds of workers, moving thousands of crates into warehouses, supply ships, planes, and wherever they were needed. Then the shell had spent months- years, in some dingy warehouse- Wasting away, before its crate was suddenly moved. Cranes loading it onto a ship, before it was unpacked and loaded into storage racks with care, with hundreds of it's brethren. Then it had been in a rough, tossing, turning, sea. Shells being picked out of the storage racks, as thunderous explosions roared above, and far away.

And then the shell had been rolled onto the lift, and risen up to the gun-battery. Hydraulic rams shoving it into the barrel, and then there was a kick. Fire whelmed up behind the shell, and then it was thundering through darkened air, lightning flashing and thunder roaring. Flashes of light illuminating the fleet-battle, as RADAR and Star-Shells painted the fleet in a clear image to any who could watch. The shell punched the deck of the battleship it had been flung at, and slid through inches of armor with the ease of a shell designed for this. The shell landed within a magazine, a perfect shot by the gunnery crew, as two of it's brethren slammed home with it.

There was a split second, a small tick- Before the explosion split the night-time sky. A mushroom cloud billowing up, up, up, as the battleship gave it's last, contested, gasp. Metal yelling in agony, as it was torn apart. Shrieks, screams, yells of fear, pain, terror, agony from it's human crew filling the air as they were sent flying. Debris going flying, as the guns fell silent across the battle-lines. Not a single face wasn't turned to the fire which now raged- Oil spilling across the seas, and illuminating the night like day.

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