Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Titanic Tale

[My friend, the eminent scientist Dr. Tesla Steampunk, decided that he would investigate a sea voyage, having had some recent unpleasantness involving his neighbors, some late-night flashes of light seen in his laboratory, and a sudden outbreak of two-headed farm animals. (The chickens were the worst: the heads often had contradictory notions, and the animal attempted to move in two directions at once.) This is the dispatch he sent. - RJ]

A crossing seemed like just the thing: the bracing sea air, some convivial companions, and, most of all, distance from the angry mob that seemed to form every time I left the mansion. Neighbors! Mine are not overly unpleasant much of the time - imbiciles, of course, but what can one expect? - but such Luddites! If they had their way, they would light their caves and mud hovels with torches dipped in whale oil, instead of being able to light their comfortable houses with electricity and save the torches for assaulting kindly scientists.

I had heard of a new ship - large, sturdily built, virtually unsinkable - dubbed Titanic. I ventured to port to see her myself.

The Grand Staircase was grand indeed.

I appreciated the fine detail on such things as the clock. Clearly, no expense was spared for her first-class passengers.

I inspected the lifeboats. By gum! I said to myself, these look sturdy enough. And there are plenty for the paying customers. Might be a little dicey if the blokes in steerage got loose, though...

I was nearly ready to book my passage when I encountered this room:

It appeared to be an account of this very ship's maiden voyage, and how the vessel came to an unpleasant end. Surely this must be fiction, I thought, yet the authors provide abundant detail on the ship's construction, her crew, the fate of her passengers. The exhibit left me feeling quite uneasy. I departed the ship, and headed for a nearby park to think in solitude.

There I encountered another shock: a memorial for the "victims" of the "sinking" of the Titanic. Someone must be playing out a cruel but elaborate hoax, I thought.

Then it came to me: of course! This was no hoax, but a disruption in the space-time continuum. Somehow the present-day Titanic shared space with a latter-day memorial to the great ship! That was the only explanation that made logical sense. Comforted by my brilliant deduction, I understood the fate that awaited me should I book passage on the vessel, and returned home - dodging a barrage of rotten vegetables en route - to plan my next move.


Mako Magellan said...

Many moons past I had a shop on this vessel. I thought it prudent to leave at some point; I know not why. However, it seems that since those distant days the shipwrights have continued to improve her. Jolly good job, I say.

Rhianon Jameson said...

Judging by the traffic while, ah, Dr. Steampunk was on board, your decision might have been wise from a business standpoint. The build is beautiful, however.