inside ammunition

Supermarine Spitfire

RJ Mitchell decided to use the elliptical wing to house the retractable landing gear along with guns and ammunition inside a wing that had to be thin. Aerodynamically, the Spitfire’s chosen elliptical planform was the most efficient but it was difficult to manufacture.

At some point in the long night he’d dozed off on the couch, but he’s awakened by the same lights.


For days they’ve been circling the lake further out, past where Lockport used to be. Now they’re almost overhead, glaring down on the roof of a deserted house just a half-mile down the road.

And then he hears the engines. He remembers the last time, that endless scream, the ice cracking under their feet. It won’t happen again.

He takes the stairs to the basement two at a time and crouches beside Scully’s mattress.

“They’re coming,” he says, his voice hoarse with sleep. “Scully. Scully.” He shakes her hard and she blinks at him, then comes suddenly awake.


“You have to go,” he says. “It’s time.”

She moves through the shadows to where Will is sleeping. He hears her whispering, hears the mattress squeaking as she kneels on it.

And then she turns to him. “He’s gone,” she breathes.

Without a second’s hesitation Mulder runs upstairs to the back room, searching the horizon for his son’s silhouette. He’s not there, he’s not anywhere – and the bag Mulder packed for him is gone.

“Where did he go?” Scully from behind him, somewhere near the front door. “Mulder, where did he go?”

He’s shaking his head, trying to clear it. It’s impossible. There must have been some sign, something that happened over the last days or weeks, some clue. But he can’t remember, not anything. The last conversation he had with his son was about how sick they both were of black beans. Please don’t let that be the last thing I said to my son, Mulder thinks, desperate, and he doesn’t know who he’s praying to.

Her voice is barely a whisper. “He took your gun.”

“I didn’t hear him leave,” Mulder says. His voice seems to echo in the empty house, in the dark. He’s turning over couch cushions and pulling books off the shelves when he sees it: a page from Scully’s notebook, torn out and tucked underneath a glass of water on the coffee table. He yanks it out, collapsing to the couch as he squints to read it in the dark.

“What the fuck,” he says, disbelieving.

Scully takes it from his hands. Her blue eyes bright, exactly the same shade as Will’s, as she scans the letter. It doesn’t take long. Will didn’t bother to write much.

Mulder had run away from home once, when he was around Will’s age. In his backpack he’d stuffed two pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, and not nearly enough underwear; he put his dog-eared copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and a picture of his sister in the front pocket. He’d made it as far as the ferry terminal, where a bunch of his neighbors pleasantly inquired where he was going, with a clear undercurrent of because we’ll tell your parents if we need to. So instead he snuck through his best friend’s bedroom window and spent the night on her floor.

Now, all these years later, he remembers his mother’s face when he came back the next morning. Mascara smudged around her bloodshot eyes; crescent moons on her palms from twelve hours clenching her fists. She thought she had lost him, too. He hadn’t even left a note.

Mulder finally believes in karma.

“It’s the middle of the night. He can’t have gotten far.” Scully says it with such confidence that Mulder almost believes her. “We can catch up to him. We can take the bikes, they won’t make any more noise than we will on foot.”

But Mulder doesn’t move. Scully puts the note back down on the table. She says, “Come on.”

He’s sitting on the edge of the couch, feet flat on the floor in front of him. He rests his head on his hand.


“I told you,” he says, his voice muffled.

“That’s bullshit, Mulder. You know I can’t let you—“

“It’s not up to you.” He looks up at her then. “They’re here, Scully. It’s too late. If we run, they’ll catch us.”

She says his name again, one more time, and her voice breaks on the second syllable. He stands and gathers her to him, his chin on the top of her head.

“Let me keep you safe,” he whispers, jaw gritted, and it sounds like begging. “You have to find him. He’s alone, Scully. I can hold them off. You have to go. You have to.”

He is begging. He’s not better than that, has never been better than that.

Scully shudders. Against the fabric of his shirt she whispers, “I didn’t want it to end like this.”

“I know.” He pulls away just far enough to kiss her, just once. “It’ll be okay, Scully.”

The sound of engines, getting closer.

“You have to go,” he says. “Find Will. Find Skinner. I’ll follow you when it’s safe.”

Her eyes are shining and they both know he’s a liar. He takes her bag from the door and feels for the weight of her pistol inside, the extra ammunition he packed. He hopes Will took some, too, but there’s nothing he can do about that now. She puts the backpack on and it dwarfs her frame.

Scully, who has always been made of steel and lately she’s tempered herself into a weapon, and he loves her and loves her and she is so brave and if this is the last time he ever sees her, he’ll remember this.

“I love you,” she says.

The lights sweep through the room, across the planes of her face. He is not afraid.

He says, “Run.”


Soissons - Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes by Martin
Via Flickr:
The Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes was founded by Hughes Le Blanc for a community of Augustinian Canons in 1076. The Romanesque structures of the early years got replaced by buildings erected in Gothic style from the 13th century on. During the Hundred Year´s War, the abbey got heavily fortified. The town was looted and burned down by the troops of Charles VI of France (aka “Charles the Mad”) in 1415. About a century later the town suffered severely, when it was under siege of the armees during the Wars of Religion. Prussian troops conquered Soisson in 1814. The Franco-Prussian War (1870/71) creating a lot of damage, shell fire in WWI destroyed again most of the Soissons. The towers of the Abbey were not hit at that time. The abbey was already ruined earlier. After the French Revolution the nave of the church was used as a quarry. Other buildings of the former convent got converted into barracks. An explosion inside the ammunition dump in 1815 left the facade in the state seen (from east) today. To the left are the ruins of the cloister - and the undamaged refectory.

Nerigal Savant

“The enemy is only another algorithm. Simplify it, solve it, and set it in its place.”

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I’m waiting for my Ghost to feed me location telemetry from the scouting party deeper in the Dreadnaught.

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Regarding the understatements post.

As stated, british admiral Beatty said “there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today” during the Battle of Jutland, this was because he had just lost two of his battlecruisers, the HMS Indefatigable

and the HMS Queen Mary

And was lead to believe he also had lost the HMS Princess Royal (another battlecruiser), all in less that 30 minutes. Sadly a few hours latter, he would actually lose a third battlecruiser, the HMS Invincible

All due to catastrophic magazine explosions, this for two reasons: 1. British battlecruisers were simply too lightly armored, with too much emphasis on speed, in practice they should have never faced the German High Seas fleet (which conversely, had battlecruisers with much better armor, only losing one, the SMS Lützow, in the battle, which was sunk by the germans themselves as she was heavily damaged), and 2. British crews had a knack for keeping ammunition inside the turrets, which made it extremely vulnerable to flash fires.

The ghost of these design flaws would follow the british after WWI with the loss of HMS Hood, another battlecruiser, at the hands of the Bismark, yet again due to a catastrophic magazine explosion after a shell completely penetrated her (thin) deck armor.