from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 7.91.32.[edit | edit source]
It is mentioned frequently as a first glimpse by visitors to the estate, as a symbol of the privacy and inviolability of the estate and the family who live there, and as a setting in itself, in episodes within both domains of the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm devised by author Jonnie Comet.
Design rationale[edit | edit source]
In the design and early construction of the estate, Jonathan Cavaliere is still reeling from numerous attempts by the US government to apprehend and prosecute him for his impassioned efforts to curtail illegal narcotics trade in the southern US, The Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Prime amongst his intentions for Camelot estate is that it should be as impregnable as beautiful. He chooses an island for the main body of the estate, relying on the interceding bay to serve as a protective moat, and plans both a causeway with drawbridge and a secret subterranean tube train to provide himself and his family with access to the amenities of Eden Island and the greater territory. The causeway lands in the midst of an undeveloped parcel of Eden Island, the majority of which he separates as the privately-sponsored, publicly-accessible Baronet’s Tract, and the rest of which he surrounds with a rampart fence and wall bolstered by a state-of-the-art surveillance system.
General arrangement[edit | edit source]
The main gate of the estate, fronting on Devon Road, is furnished with a traditional estate gatehouse, resembling that of a proper defensible castle, made up of twin 4-metre-diameter towers and a connecting chamber above a gateway comprising both a 1-metre-wide pedestrian gate and a 4-metre-wide vehicle gate some 3-1/2 metres high. Through this passes nearly all traffic for access to or egress from the castle on the island including the Cavaliere children on their daily school commutes.
Physical defences[edit | edit source]
An outer barbican, not merely to appear vestigial, is constructed of solid concrete over 3 m thick and 4-1/2 m tall, of which some 3 m are below the surface, and supports the heavy steel fencing above. Between the concrete and the roadway a muddy moat deters the curious from scaling the wall for a look through the fence and can arrest runaway vehicles before they can assume a trajectory steep enough to penetrate the barbican.
The gatehouse as designed includes a heavy steel gate that rolls laterally, off to the left of the entrance, into a recess within the structure. A second gate to the right, only 1 m wide, hinges inward to admit the pedestrian. The column between the two, mounted well off-centre to the right, is of reinforced concrete about 1 m in diameter and buttressed from the far side with additional concrete.
Once inside the gate, the entering vehicle must be guided round the very tight embassy turns, first to the left, then immediately to the right, through over 180 degrees, and then to the left again before proceeding into, or even having a view of, the picturesque lane of the mainland portion of the property. Concrete barriers 1.7 metres tall, topped with pretty flower beds and shrubbery to mitigate their imposing appearance, fringe this route. The concrete walls are slanted at about 10 degrees from vertical (the face is actually concave for the sake of appearance), designed to cause a vehicle making a glancing blow to lose momentum, ride up along the incline, and come almost if not completely to a stop. No part of the approach is straight enough for any vehicle to gain sufficient velocity to deliver more than a superficial impact with the concrete nor to escape the attention of, and apprehension by, security staff detailed to the gatehouse. The heavy concrete walls, bolstered by earthen fill, are believed to be able to resist even grenades fired from launchers located across Devon Road. According to Lord Paradise, any assailant bent on using such methods to gain entry to the estate would find much easier ways, if only by boat or by aircraft, anyway.
The pedestrian, having been admitted, may walk through a gated arcade to his right and out into the side garden, where he follows a pleasant path to rejoin the driveway beyond the end of the embassy maze. The arcade also provides stairway access to the gatehouse’s living quarters and, in addition to a lift, down to the estate’s underground tram.
Procedural defences[edit | edit source]
Whether by foot or by vehicle, all desiring access to the estate must first apply for admission at the call box just outside the gate. Preliminary access being granted, the next stop is the window of the security station, located to the right for convenience of a driver and straight ahead for the pedestrian. Here the visitor’s identity documents are checked, his intentions ascertained and arrangements made, typically by phone, for his reception in the estate.
All visitors are photographed by full-time video-surveillance equipment and their likenesses, statements and copies of their identification recorded in computerised files. In practice, much of this is neglected for known friends, family, vendors and delivery staff; and in fact the main gates are often left wide-open when numerous welcome guests are expected. The procedures of video recording and of taking still photographs of visitors are never curtailed, however, as they are automatically performed by computerised equipment.
Any trespasser gaining admission via the gate, and not knowing the access codes for the shuttle entrances in the gatehouse, Dreamhouse cottage or the Somerset Casino Arcade, would have a very long approach to the palace itself along the mainland lane and over the 2-km-long causeway; so the likelihood of the security staff knowing of such trespassing but being unable to apprehend the trespasser before he reaches the palace itself is highly unlikely.
No-one has ever succeeded in gaining unauthorised admission to the estate by this way (nor to the palace at all).
Gatehouse structure[edit | edit source]
The gatehouse itself comprises two cylindrical 4-metre towers, each rising three common (2.5-m) storeys and topped with a conical roof. The tenant’s stairway is located within the eastern tower, rising to a dining room on the first floor and a bedchamber, half under the conical roof’s rafters, on the second. The lower flights of this stairway descend round the cylindrical lift to a depot for the subterranean shuttle tube, providing discreet transport between the palace and the Knight’s Head Inn, about 3 km inland.
At a half-level between the first and second floors, to allow large loads to enter via lorry below, is the wide, shallow chamber that serves as a sitting room. Three shuttered casements to front and to back provide commanding views to the road and out over the lane towards the causeway. The garret of the eastern annexe, above the security office, holds a toilet room and a small kitchen with eating counter.
In the western tower are first-floor and second-floor bedchambers, with a roomy compartmented bathroom located in the garret of the annexe there. There is no stairway here to the ground-floor tower chamber, where is installed machinery for rolling the gate open and closed and a (secret) magazine for defensive weapons and ammunition. The garret of the western annexe includes a roomy bathroom which serves for the three chambers, one under the sloping conical roof of each tower and the one in the eastern tower’s second storey.
Meant to house a gatekeeper, if only temporarily, the gatehouse has never been used as regular accommodation and remains carpeted but unfurnished and uninhabited through 1995.
Appearances in stories[edit | edit source]
In The Seduction of Susie, Lady Susie drives home naked from Connie Baendegaard’s party and speeds through the gate, which guards have opened for her, hoping they do not have a chance to ogle her. Later she brings Nicole Bonelle in for the toilet and Nicole masturbates for her in the third-floor tower bedchamber; the two subsequently descend for the lift and take the tube out to Dreamhouse.
Author's concept[edit | edit source]
As with many of the structures mentioned throughout the Two Paradises story arcs, the Camelot main-gate facility and gatehouse are the product of actual architectural design work done by the author, to aid in authenticity of the stories.
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