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The Voyage 030: Raymond

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Raymond sat in his seat and scowled at his weak tea.  He hated the voyage already and they had barely left the ground.  He could feel the massive turbines spinning through the thin plates of the deck and up his feet.  The vibration was driving him mad.  He had to get out for a bit of air.  The little theatre was too close, too full.  Even if he wasn’t a rich man, he refused to travel to England packed in like a canned sardine.  He drained the tin cup and rose.  When he reached the door he found it locked.

The Voyage 029: Magda

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Magda thought of The Indomitable as a sort of colossal, unpleasant sandwich.  All of the beautiful parts were either on the top or the bottom.  Above her there was the majestic bulk of the envelope.  Below were the first class accommodations of polished metal and spotless glass.
She was here in the middle, serving watery tea and biscuits in the Third Class Sitting Room.  The low, windowless room somewhat resembled a theatre, which it occasionally became in the evenings.  The First Class passengers had the run of their decks, but the cheaper births were confined during ascension, ‘for their safety.’

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The Voyage 028: Lucien

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The girl looked at him like he was an insect she’d found in her flute of champagne.
“Perpetually,” she said.  She didn’t upset by this.
Lucien found this intolerable.  Women were soft, vulnerable creatures He couldn’t bear to see one like her, solitary, independent and standing apart.  It was a waste.
“How tragic.”  He said, and sipped his own drink.  “You are surely in need of a knight to protect you.”
“I don’t think so,” she said, looping her arm through the safety strap.  The ship bumped, and Lucien spilled his drink across his shirt and face as he stumbled.

The Voyage 027: Garnet

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An elegantly dressed woman sauntered over and took a glass of champagne.  She barely looked at it, or him.  The bubbly was merely ceremonial, in any case.  It was barely morning, after all.  But the transatlantic voyage took six days, and this was a part of beginning properly.  She stood to one side as Trevor bustled about, taking glasses.  She seemed to be taking in the guests as much as the view from behind smoke-lensed glasses.  A man, in his forties and thus at least a decade older than her, leaned in close.
“Are you here alone?” he asked

The Voyage 026: Clyde

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Clyde poured champagne and watched the upper crust file in.  It was nearly cosmopolitan mix of those who earned their fortunes through the blood and  sweat of their employees’ brows and those who inherited their money.  They all looked so carefree in their finery, spending their money, but he could see that they merely wore masks.
Bartenders like him knew the truth, usually after the third or fourth double.  Men were destroyed by money and power, and it did worse to women.  Every one of them was doomed to despair.  And before The HMS Indomitable landed, he’d hear their stories.

The Voyage 025: Etta

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As she slid demurely into the room behind the first-class passengers, Etta allowed herself a hint of a smile.  It was satisfying to see Lord Wentworth jam his cigar case back into his jacket pocket.  Solid gold, of course.
Her smile faded when she noticed him admire the curves of her dress while his wife was taken in by the view.  Wentworth had expensive taste, but he liked to slum it when he philandered.  She sat primly at the piano and began a concerto for launch.
She prayed Trevor would keep the Lord occupied.  She’d deal with him later.

The Voyage 024: Horace

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“I’m sorry dear,” his wife said as Lord Horace guided her gently by the elbow to one of the blue velvet sofas.  Not for the first time, he regretted his marriage to the younger woman.  The girl was certainly a beauty, but she was flighty, and two years into their relationship still hadn’t produced him an heir.  His third marriage was shaping up to be as fruitless as the others.  With a sigh, he reached into his pocket for a cigar.  The servant put a gentle hand on his arm.  “I’m afraid there is no smoking in the lounge, sir”

The Voyage 023: Caroline

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“Oh my, how perfectly astonishing,” gasped Lady Caroline Wentworth as she drank in the finely appointed lounge.  Velvet couches lined the wall, with a stocked bar and a piano tucked into one corner.  Cocktail tables with immaculate white tablecloths line the seats, which all faced the grand windows on the far wall, giving the passengers a commanding view of the ground below.  In a few minutes, they would be rising through the air, and the city of York would be spread out before them.  It thrilled her to even imagine it.
“Come along darling,” said her husband at her elbow.

The Voyage 022: Trevor

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At the other end of the ship, Trevor finished preparations in the first class lounge.  He adjusted the tablecloths, made certain that the bar was secure, and locked the shutters.  Only a few minutes before launch.  As he glanced out the panoramic canopy at the handlers scrambling below, it struck him how nearly upside-down the ship was.  Only on an airship would the luxury accommodations be on the lowest deck, afforded both breathtaking views and the greatest distance from the hydrogen gas bags which kept the vessel afloat.  He straightened as a line of ladies and gentlemen sauntered in.

The Voyage 021: Jesse

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“Engine room ready for launch, captain.”
“Thank you, Miss Pilgrim  Notify the signalers.”  Isaac threw the second lever and waited.  There was a slight shudder as the pullers unlocked their guidelines.  The Indomitable rose almost imperceptibly under the buoyancy of the hydrogen in the envelope.  The captain nodded, satisfied.
“Mister Thomas, take us up to five hundred feet.”
“Aye,”  The pilot muttered.
“What was that, Pilot?”
“Aye aye, Captain!”  He repeated.
“Excellent.”  He angled the propellers downward and the watched the altitude gage, trying not to think about the sailors’ tales about ships with female captains, and their cursed fates.

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