Hey midnight, I think that the ingredient you added directly opposites my first one, or do you think that magic could be used for outer space exploration?
Yeah or super science. Every read "A Colder War" by Charles Stross? Its a short story freely available on the net iirc.
Here's an expert
The moonlit shores of Lake Vostok
The metal pier is dry and cold, the temperature hovering close to zero degrees Fahrenheit. It's oppressively dark in the cavern under the ice, and Roger shivers inside his multiple layers of insulation, shifts from foot to foot to keep warm. He has to swallow to keep his ears clear and he feels slightly dizzy from the pressure in the artificial bubble of air, pumped under the icy ceiling to allow humans to exist here, under the Ross Ice Shelf; they'll all spend more than a day sitting in depressurization chambers on the way back up to the surface.
There is no sound from the waters lapping just below the edge of the pier. The floodlights vanish into the surface and keep going -- the water in the sub-surface Antarctic lake is incredibly clear -- but are swallowed up rapidly, giving an impression of infinite, inky depths.
Roger is here as the colonel's representative, to observe the arrival of the probe, receive the consignment they're carrying, and report back that everything is running smoothly. The others try to ignore him, jittery at the presence of the man from DC. There're a gaggle of engineers and artificers, flown out via McMurdo base to handle the midget sub's operations. A nervous lieutenant supervises a squad of marines with complicated-looking weapons, half gun and half video camera, stationed at the corners of the raft. And there's the usual platform crew, deep-sea rig maintenance types -- but subdued and nervous looking. They're afloat in a bubble of pressurized air wedged against the underside of the Antarctic ice sheet: below them stretch the still, supercooled waters of Lake Vostok.
They're waiting for a rendezvous.
"Five hundred yards,'' reports one of the techs. "Rising on ten.'' His companion nods. They're waiting for the men in the midget sub drilling quietly through three miles of frigid water, intruders in a long-drowned tomb. "Have 'em back on board in no time.'' The sub has been away for nearly a day; it set out with enough battery juice for the journey, and enough air to keep the crew breathing for a long time if there's a system failure, but they've learned the hard way that fail-safe systems aren't. Not out here, at the edge of the human world.
Roger shuffles some more. "I was afraid the battery load on that cell you replaced would trip an undervoltage isolator and we'd be here 'til Hell freezes over,'' the sub driver jokes to his neighbour.
Looking round, Roger sees one of the marines cross himself. "Have you heard anything from Gorman or Suslowicz?'' he asks quietly.
The lieutenant checks his clipboard. "Not since departure, sir,'' he says. "We don't have comms with the sub while it's submerged: too small for ELF, and we don't want to alert anybody who might be, uh, listening.''
"Indeed.'' The yellow hunchback shape of the midget submarine appears at the edge of the radiance shed by the floodlights. Surface waters undulate, oily, as the sub rises.
"Crew transfer vehicle sighted,'' the driver mutters into his mike. He's suddenly very busy adjusting trim settings, blowing bottled air into ballast tanks, discussing ullage levels and blade count with his number two. The crane crew are busy too, running their long boom out over the lake.
The sub's hatch is visible now, bobbing along the top of the water: the lieutenant is suddenly active. "Jones! Civatti! Stake it out, left and centre!'' The crane is already swinging the huge lifting hook over the sub, waiting to bring it aboard. "I want eyeballs on the portholes before you crack this thing!'' It's the tenth run -- seventh manned -- through the eye of the needle on the lake bed, the drowned structure so like an ancient temple, and Roger has a bad feeling about it. We can't get away with this forever, he reasons. Sooner or later ...
The sub comes out of the water like a gigantic yellow bath toy, a cyborg whale designed by a god with a sense of humour. It takes tense minutes to winch it in and manoeuvre it safely onto the platform. Marines take up position, shining torches in through two of the portholes that bulge myopically from the smooth curve of the sub's nose. Up on top someone is talking into a handset plugged into the stubby conning tower; the hatch locking wheel begins to turn.
"Gorman, sir,'' It's the lieutenant. In the light of the sodium floods everything looks sallow and washed-out; the soldier's face is the colour of damp cardboard, slack with relief.
Roger waits while the submariner -- Gorman -- clambers unsteadily down from the top deck. He's a tall, emaciated-looking man, wearing a red thermal suit three sizes too big for him: salt-and-pepper stubble textures his jaw with sandpaper. Right now, he looks like a cholera victim; sallow skin, smell of acrid ketones as his body eats its own protein reserves, a more revolting miasma hovering over him. There's a slim aluminium briefcase chained to his left wrist, a bracelet of bruises darkening the skin above it. Roger steps forward.
"Sir?'' Gorman straightens up for a moment: almost a shadow of military attention. He's unable to sustain it. "We made the pickup. Here's the QA sample; the rest is down below. You have the unlocking code?'' he asks wearily.
Jourgensen nods. "One. Five. Eight. One. Two. Two. Nine.''
Gorman slowly dials it into a combination lock on the briefcase, lets it fall open and unthreads the chain from his wrist. Floodlights glisten on polythene bags stuffed with white powder, five kilos of high-grade heroin from the hills of Afghanistan; there's another quarter of a ton packed in boxes in the crew compartment. The lieutenant inspects it, closes the case and passes it to Jourgensen. "Delivery successful, sir.'' From the ruins on the high plateau of the Taklamakan desert to American territory in Antarctica, by way of a detour through gates linking alien worlds: gates that nobody knows how to create or destroy except the Predecessors -- and they aren't talking.
"What's it like through there?'' Roger demands, shoulders tense. "What did you see?''
Up on top, Suslowicz is sitting in the sub's hatch, half slumping against the crane's attachment post. There's obviously something very wrong with him. Gorman shakes his head and looks away: the wan light makes the razor-sharp creases on his face stand out, like the crackled and shattered surface of a Jovian moon. Crow's feet. Wrinkles. Signs of age. Hair the colour of moonlight. "It took so long,'' he says, almost complaining. Sinks to his knees. "All that time we've been gone ...'' He leans against the side of the sub, a pale shadow, aged beyond his years. "The sun was so bright. And our radiation detectors. Must have been a solar flare or something.'' He doubles over and retches at the edge of the platform.
Roger looks at him for a long, thoughtful minute: Gorman is twenty-five and a fixer for Big Black, early history in the Green Berets. He was in rude good health two days ago, when he set off through the gate to make the pick-up. Roger glances at the lieutenant. "I'd better go and tell the colonel,'' he says. A pause. "Get these two back to Recovery and see they're looked after. I don't expect we'll be sending any more crews through Victor-Tango for a while.''
He turns and walks towards the lift shaft, hands clasped behind his back to keep them from shaking. Behind him, alien moonlight glimmers across the floor of Lake Vostok, three miles and untold light years from home.
So you get steampunk gates or magitek, ancient gates built by whoever...whatever, and dudes in ironman eviornmental suits apparently, but there won't starship, enterprise vs the deathstar type battles occurring, I want to keep it "Hero driven" and not "Crew/Ship" driven.
or do you think that magic could be used for outer space exploration?
Its MAGIC MAN! Defining magic is more about asking what it CAN'T do. So yeah that's how they're getting from place to place.
EDIT: Soon as Risada said "a war against aliens from outerspace" had to add an ingredient to make the Old Magics more relevant. It wasn't meant to oppose you, I'm just steering in a direction as best I can.