We fell into the companionable silence of veteran watchstanders. The sun slowly set behind the vast mountain peaks, casting long shadows that lengthened into dusk and night. Once, a single Aery loomed out of the darkness, steel frame and bright lights rising up out of the snow-covered slopes like it was breaking away from the cold mountain. Their heliograph stuttered rapidly, but briefly as we already had the bulk of waiting messages.
I traced down the message – the signal watchstander would have his own copy, but it was important for the officers to be able to receive a heliograph too.
BEGIN LOCAL NEWS STOP
BANDIT WARNING BETHAS/TRUNNION/IRWELL STOP
HEAVY SNOW TORRENTIAL RAIN TRUNNION/LOCAS/RENNAL STOP
COMBAT ZONE TRUNNION/LOCAS/TRYPTAS SCAVENGERS ABROAD STOP
END MESSAGES STOP
Bertram, although fairly inebriated, managed to look lively while I copied the transmission down. He seemed interested in a dark object to the north for a moment, but shrugged and gave up on whatever it was he had seen.