Raising Steam (Discworld)
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Steam is rising over Discworld. . . .
Mister Simnel has produced a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all the elements—earth, air, fire, and water—and it’s soon drawing astonished crowds. To the consternation of Ankh-Morpork’s formidable Patrician, Lord Vetinari, no one is in charge of this new invention. Who better to take the lead than the man he has already appointed master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank?
Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work—unless it is dependent on words, which are not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. He does enjoy being alive, however, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs, and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all from going off the rails.
now both lots are heading for the Tanty where the dark clerks will be engaging them in important discussions. Let’s hope the news doesn’t get out to the grag command just yet.” It was going to be a long haul to Zemphis. And after Zemphis they’d be launching on to the new track, which no passenger train had yet traveled. Time enough to worry about that when they got there, Moist told himself firmly. For now disguise was crucial; he must be the engineer, the lucky man who got to ride the latest
in testing, I don’t mind telling thee! But now, sir, we’ve got it right, sir. Safety valves! That’s the ticket! Safety valves made out of lead, bungs that melt if the firebox gets too hot so the water comes down and extinguishes the fire before the boiler blows.” Simnel carried on, “Live steam is very dangerous, of course, to them that don’t have the knowing of it, but to me, well, gaffer, it’s as playful as a puppy. Sir Harry has allowed me to build a demonstration track, sir,” and he gestured
building the railway, quite at home. Moist looked across the first class carriage to where Lord Vetinari was seated. He had openly commended Effie on her part in the planning and design, and given his usual urbane, anodyne answers to journalists looking for a quote, but Moist couldn’t help but notice that the Patrician was smiling, like a granddad at a newborn grandchild. Moist caught his eye and thought he saw his lordship wink with the speed of a cyclone. Moist nodded and that was that, but he
here in Quirm, where you didn’t normally see dwarfs. This meant he had been followed, and that almost surely meant more than one person. During his misspent youth and, not to put too fine a point on it, his largely misspent early middle age, he’d reckoned to be conversant with the methodology of spying, and one person alone couldn’t ensure reasonable tracking of the target. What was the dwarf doing there? Where had he come from? And, more important, where did he go? His reverie was interrupted
everywhere, always ahead of something, and in the great cloud of unknowing nothing yearns to become something, to break out, to move, to feel, to change, to dance and to experience—in short, to be something. And now it found its chance as it drifted in the ether. Nothing, of course, knew about something, but this something was different, oh yes, and so nothing slid silently into something and floated down with everything in mind and, fortunately, landed on the back of a turtle, a very large one,