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The strongmen strained against the giant wheels, sweat dripping and hearts pumping.

Gaining purchase in the loun-wood decking, their steel-spiked boots could break a man’s leg clean in two. As the horizontal wheels began to slowly turn, a keen eye would barely perceive the five hundred metre long bridge begin to separate in the middle, above the great tracks below.

Stragglers with business on the other side of the gulch hastily made their way across the widening gap, some on foot, some urging reluctant and finicky horses dragging carts full of wares onwards. Many had plunged into the gulch below here, the lust for commerce and profit overcoming rational fear. And if the fall didn’t kill them, then what was soon to follow most assuredly would.

The strongmen paused to catch their breath, but briefly as any longer would bring catastrophe. They were presently heaving again.

Latecomers stood at the widening gap, debating whether they could still make the jump. Most turned back, resigned to the fact that it would be several hours before they could resume their business, whatever it may be. But one man did not. Steeling himself for the jump, his pack of wares tied firmly to his back, he ran towards the edge. The two halves of the bridge were no longer in direct alignment, as they were swinging apart, approaching their own mutual sides of the chasm. He veered sideways, attempting to transfer his momentum into the vector required for his leap.

At the last second he lost his footing, a look of panic passed across his face as he realised his error before plunging to the tracks below. Such was the lack of friction on the metal that his remains didn’t lose what momentum they possessed until they crashed into the far wall, and then they still retained enough to bounce back and forth between the girders of the track. They would soon be destroyed beyond all recognition.

On both sides of the tethergulch lazy workers stared out of their office and shop windows at the slowly moving bridge. Many did this every single day, mesmerised by the sheer elbow grease necessary to move such a gigantic structure. Many, also, wished for it to fail. To be destroyed by an infinitely greater structure.

Midday noon drew close. Humans, fruit-vampires and big-heads gaped in anticipation. Only strongmen continued work during these crucial moments. The bridge was separated. The strongmen collapsed to the decking, unable to breathe. But they would recover quickly.

The tether appeared in the distance, a shiny filament reaching up towards the sun. It grew quickly, and in minutes could be identified as consisting of huge chain links, two hundred metres tall and a hundred wide.

The countdown to noon started…

Five… Four…

The true majesty of the tether became apparent, the size staggering to any who

haven’t seen it before.

Three… Two…

A brief wind blew, though not as strong as one might expect.

One… Zero.

The tether flew past at one thousand one hundred miles per hour, with a barely discernible whoosh.

The strongmen picked themselves off the floor, and prepared the turn the bridge back.


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