Bern , Swiss Confederacy, Midwinter, 1634 The Inn of the Sleeping Mule

"Thomas, are you sure this'll work? Those illustrated magazines of yours may have been explicit enough for you, but I've never seen a cannon with two open ends before. How does it fire and what are we going to do with it?" Giuseppe Benito-Fransoni asked.

"I checked them myself, against the magazines." Thomas "Boom-Boom" Cahil chuckled. "I'll show the Americans that firing me for experimenting was a bad move. That I will."

Giuseppe knew that "I" meant "we" again. Sometimes the half-Irishman irritated him immensely, but other times Thomas amazed him with his wealth of knowledge from the future.

Thomas had the magazines and formulas to support his claims, but he didn't look like the type one would want assisting in an alchemist's lab or even blowing things up. Thomas' build was that of a born laborer, one only fit for grunt work, something Giuseppe was definitely allergic to, unless it involved cannons.

The two of them seemed to have a mutual fascination with the idea of blowing things up, and in the comics Thomas had lots of things got blown up. Including a pass filled with an attacking company of infantry covering a line of twelve tanks. Giuseppe had wanted a tank for himself, but he knew that was well beyond anyone's means.

But this "bazooka" in the comics—yes, that they could get built. The other, darker, comics about the vigilante with a skull on his body armor even had pages with detailed explanations about a similar weapon and a cutout drawing of the device. Those were Giuseppe's favorites, when he could pry them away from his partner.

Thomas had made the decision to simplify the design until they had something that could be built and that they could afford. The rocket parts hadn't been as easy. No cut outs, no formulas, just what Thomas said he knew and learned before he was invited to leave Grantville.

Thomas winked at Giuseppe. "Everything I learned in Grantville is still up here." He tapped his battle-scarred forehead.

Giuseppe mentally counted the months since Thomas had said he'd been discharged from the USE Army. It didn't leave him much time at the explosives factory that he went on and on about. Or with their dynamite and the magical RDX they had just started producing either, but apparently he'd been there long enough to copy the formulas and take note of the methods used to produce the explosives.

With the right alchemist, maybe we can do this, Giuseppe thought.

"What about the tasks I set you, Giuseppe?"

"That Austrian smith you had me find can build the 'zooka-tube.' It's not much more than a long pipe with a smaller tube for a sighting mechanism, and the other side has a latch and catch in the rear for this 'rocket-round' you've mentioned. And a lever-trigger for activating the battery."

"I've heard of batteries being made in Lucerne from passing merchants. Can we build one of those here?" Thomas asked, as if this were just another minor detail. Details that usually cost them money or another midnight shopping expedition.

Giuseppe calculated his own wealth. He had exactly twelve Italian copper pesetas and two silver crowns. It wouldn't last long, not the way his partner was spending money. At least Thomas was an adequate thief when he needed to be.

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- The Grantville Gazette Staff