1636 The Kremlin Games – Snippet 21

Chapter 18

May, 1632

Bernie missed the progress meeting where Andrei Korisov announced the AK1. He was still in Moscow. Andrei didn’t let Bernie’s absence slow him down in the least. He didn’t believe that Bernie either needed, or deserved, much of the credit. “There is some loss of force from the gap between the firing chamber and the barrel, but surprisingly little. And a shield to protect the stock from out-gassing must be installed. There is some danger from out-gassing, but, again, the shield, plus moderate care, should avoid any serious problems. ”

Natasha didn’t scream at the man. Four of the servants in the Dacha had been debilitated by the squirts of gas from the gap between firing chamber and the barrel, and one poor lad had been killed when the firing chamber had broken though the stock and hit him in the head. What she really wanted to do was have Andrei Korisov shot with his own gun, but she couldn’t. He was a deti boyar, and one of Fedor Ivanovich Sheremetev’s at that. It was early days yet, but Sheremetev was starting to get interested in the Dacha and what it was producing.

She wanted Andrei Korisov out of the Dacha, but she couldn’t do it by punishing him for the people his experiments had hurt. Suddenly, she knew what to do. Vladimir had friends in the army and so did Boris. Fedor Ivanovich Sheremetev was arguing that the arming of Russia shouldn’t be left in the Dacha, and he probably already had the full particulars about Andrei Korisov’s cut up gun. In a few weeks, she would make a trip to Moscow, visit some of Vladimir’s friends in the army and, perhaps, Boris. Meanwhile, she held her face steady while Andrei Korisov gloated over his new toy.

Then she went on to the next person.

“I’ve produced electrical sparks, miniature lightnings,” Lazar Smirnov said. “But I can’t tell yet if they are producing the electro-magnetic waves the papers talk about. I’ve made a crystal radio set, but I have no way of telling if it works. Certainly, one of them doesn’t, because the sparks aren’t making the crystal set make noise, which, if I’m reading all this right, it should.”

“What about the heating units?” Natasha asked.

“I think they’re too big for the batteries, Princess,” Lazar said. “I’ll know more when Bernie gets back and translates these pamphlets for me.”

The princess looked over at Filip, knowing what he was going to say.

“We had a boiler blow up,” Filip said. “We had used a copper pot and had a coppersmith weld the lid on. We had a steam pipe going from it to a bellows, the idea being to use the steam to expand the bellows. Using pressure to get work rather than work to get pressure, as it were. But we did something wrong. I’m not entirely sure what, but I think we had a valve in backwards.

“We put the fire under it, we waited for the bellows to lift but it didn’t. We added more wood, and then the pot split. We had injuries, Princess. The coppersmith’s apprentice was standing too close when it split. But we had no warning. Nothing at all to indicate what was going to happen. There must be a way to tell that sort of thing, but I don’t know. I won’t even know what to look for until Bernie gets back. I’ve written to your brother, asking for more information. Maybe internal combustion is safer.” Filip shrugged. “We just don’t know enough.”

“I know and I am sorry, Filip,” Natasha said. “I went by and saw the boy. He is doing well.” She took a deep breath and continued, “Some good news to end the meeting. The plows and scrapers we sent to Murom are in use and our road preparation and plowing are well ahead of schedule. We’ll meet again when Bernie gets back. But know, my friends, that the Dacha is producing good results in the wider world.”