I must say, writing these past two scenes has been quite fun. I’ve never written much action before, and I find the tension it creates a great motivation. For those who slogged through Welcome To The Valleys on this blog, the action in Penny Gnomes is helping me work out how the sequel will play out 1. Let’s unpack.
Bug’s new stature
When one leads a successful escape from a deadly ambush it apparently raises one’s stature. Bug has no official rank, but is being treated as an officer. While Bug does have military experience, he’s finding the ease with which he’s transitioning into his new role quite surprising. Bug’s become accustomed to being Nobody’s assistant, or Sindy’s verbal punching bag. Typically he’s tolerated, now he’s been accepted.
No one knows what the “Do not press” button would have done had Nobody pressed it. Perhaps it’s best we don’t find out.
Incidentally, its the random appearance of ominous objects such as this button which lead to the rejection of a large scale roll out of satire shields. The Governors thought it would create too many random dangers.
There are, indeed, six contingencies which are to be implemented in the case of a Firewall collapse. These are all centered on the assumption Contingency One, the Penny Ore Detonator, is carried out. Each of the contingencies was meant to offer a chance of survival to some portion of The Realm’s population. The others are listed below. Contingency One, by the way, is not the actual detonation of the Penny Ore, but the decision to do so. Once contingency one is enacted, there is a five day window of preparation for the other contingencies to be followed. Nor do the other contingencies require contingency one to be enacted in order to be put into effect.
Most people don’t know what the contingencies are. Oscar knows about them because he had to code the government archives in Wizgate.
The civilian government is split into three groups, and shelters underground. Group one moves to the city of Wizgate, in Silica Mountains. Group two retreats to an underwater complex in the Bay of Rinse. Group three takes shelter in Boarsblemish.
This contingency was enacted after the attack on the Governors, which is why the civilian government is functioning in a skeleton capacity.
Boarsblemish, being the site most likely to survive the detonation of the Penny Ore, pulls most of it’s population into the city shelter.
The inhabitants of the Forest of Classics draw deep into the forest. Even though they are closest to the blast, the forest itself is likely to repel such a violent release of imaginative energy. Their ideas have, after all, withstood the test of time itself.
The Realm’s military forces do their best to draw the entirety of The Horde’s forces into battle. This will ensure the most possible damage will be done when the ore is detonated.
An Ultimatum is issued, “Depart or be destroyed.” The rejection of the ultimatum triggers the detonation of the Penny Ore.
After his briefing, Bug now sees what Will saw last week. Any attempt to reach Firewall control is doomed to failure. While Bug has no desire to abandon his Father-In-Law, or give up hope for The Realm’s survival, he also feels responsible for dragging Will into an impossible situation. Reaching Great Roll before all the contingencies are enacted may not be possible, and even if they managed to reach the gates there’s no guarantee they’d be let in, but Bug wanted to give Will the opportunity to try.
- There you go, Miss Peg, Jeremy hasn’t been forgotten. ↩