A Spark of Insanity
The official historical records of Antiford states that the Technocratic Revolution rose organically from the will of the people stretched beyond their breaking point. A war weary public had come to believe that the monarchy had become hapless and indifferent to their needs. Indeed, public opinion had grown like dry wood surrounded by ample kindling waiting for one good spark. Yet notably absent in the official records is what lit the flame of revolution.
The Airship Majestic Mirage
Past Dawn on the 10th of Moghs, 1883
Antiford’s Technocratic Revolution.
Gilbert Melker Wrathchild stood up and looked across the bow of his ship, The Majestic Mirage. He had set out for the capital from his home of Mistfell in secret with haste. Indeed, most travel had been suspended in wake of the frozen weather. Thus to leave suddenly only meant that this man had an objective to achieve.
The Wrathchilds were the minds behind Mistfell’s industry. If wasn’t from Mistfell then Gilbert’s family had a hand in the transport of the rest of Antiford’s raw wood and paper products. With so much business in a core industry, the family were an influential member of the House of Engineers. From detractors, it was said that The Wrathchilds were Antiford’s paper pushers.
A cold wind blew across the port and she leaned with the wind. Gilbert turned to his pilot and called out,
“Steady The Mirage, Mr. Ivers!”
Ivers responded back, “Ye, Captain. Tis a brisk frozen wind this morning.”
Mr. Zebulon Theobald Ivers had in the service of the Mistfell Guards honed his trade as an expert airship pilot. This skill had not gone unnoticed and soon he found himself in the service of the Wrathchild family directly. While his years of flying showed on his face, it was clear more so that the time in the service of the House instead of the Guards themselves showed around his waist. Ivers, now with distinguished grays speckled in his hair had become a portly fellow yet still strong as a boxen moose.
Now Ivers found himself at the helm of the Majestic Mirage, a newly constructed airship prototype that he himself had directly helped to refine the design of. The Mirage, as she was called by her crew, featured new types of automations built into the ship that reduced the normal operating crew size to as low as 12. Yet on this morning the skeleton crew on board were much less numerous but operating the ship with ease. The Mirage out performed ships of similar size with superior speed and maneuverability. The ship’s name suggested to her purpose to leave those opposing it disoriented, mislead, and in a worse place off than before perhaps even on the brink of death. And as such, she was designed not with the usual silhouette of a typical airship. Thus, essentially, Ivers had help build a ship for the thrill seeking pilot.
Gilbert turned to his navigator and got his attention.
”M, It’s time for you to take over. I’ll heading down to check on Frankie and the crucible pots. It was fueled well. But now that we have turned towards the Capital they will need special attention. I will call back once I get there.”
“Gil. Hold a second. We’ve had extra frost on the hull this morning. You’ll be needing these.”
The man addressed as only M turned to his side grabbed a pair of goggles. He tossed them over in a arc and landed them in Gilbert’s hand.
Gilbert quickly nodded to M before putting the goggles on. He quickly moved across the deck and disappeared to the deck below by sliding down the stairs only by holding the rails in his hands. M quickly turned back to his maps and checked them and the surroundings around the ship before yelling back to Ivers,
“Prepare for adjustment three points starboard on my mark.”
The first thing all notice of Mr. M is how he equally to both sexes “easy on the eyes”. With a tall and slender frame, this younger version of the man featured his distinctively flowing brown hair. However at this age, the man sported a fashionable full beard in the style if the time instead of the goatee he would later be known for.
“Aye. three points starboard.”
Ivers had acknowledged what M had requested. It had been a very small adjustment, but correcting the lean the ship took earlier. While M’s family was known for timekeeping and precision, M’s style of thinking was one step further beyond. If you didn’t know him better, you’d think it was obsession.
Ivers responded in kind.
“Perhaps in the next iteration, we should consider using a water wheel for steering to get all the notches you want on it.”
M glared first back at Ivers. It however turned quickly into a grin.
“Indeed, Ivers, Indeed we could. But before we change the design once more again, it would be sensible to first try to improve your wrist control beyond holding a fork and knife.”
Ivers chuckled at the retort and in response slapped the side of his belly. It jiggled as it formed waves as if one threw rocks into water. M looked back to his maps in disgust at the crude physical gesture. He snorted and then retorted,
“Steady as she goes, Ivers. It shouldn’t be stated that I must insist that you use both hands on the wheel and not with your or anyone’s gut.”
Ivers laughed as he directed his attention to the ship's wheel. He looked over to the horizon and paused. In the distance he began to recognize the unmistakable visage of the capital’s primary aqueduct. He took in the moment with the knowledge that the objective for their voyage was ahead of them. And in these moments of this cold brisk morning, the jolly demeanor drained from Ivers face and turned to a sharp focus honed in experience. It was time to earn his keep once more. Turning to M, he spoke formally in an august and crisp manner.
“I have been around the Wrathchilds long enough to see first hand to see the family’s nack. Particularly of concern, sir, Gilbert’s particular style as you well know first hand.”
“Indeed, Ivers. The Wrathchilds are Anitfords’ premier family of mad engineers.”
M chuckled. His back was to Ivers. So he had not yet seen his change in mannerisms yet.
“That is my concern exactly, Sir. This ship for example. There’s systems and means put in place on this ship which escape comprehension to how or even why they work. And admittedly seeing them work is why I’m here. Yet on top of it all, Master Wrathchild has in secret installed his new desert flame… ”
Among the flying corps desert flame was is the catch-all term for any weapon that is intended to cause damage through fire created by overheating an element. Over time exotic mixes of tar sand and other elements made their way into these weapons. It in turn made them nearly impossible to extinguish. Officers considered it a weapon of a coward. The enlisted spoke of in hushed tones in the night as nightmares. Ivers gulped after saying the word “desert flame” and continued.
“... and sees fit to use it. It boggle the mind is that he would use it untested on the capital no less. Sir, you know this and yet you are here this morning putting your own life and name on line. Any typical reasonable man would consider pure insanity. Tenfold so, considering it’s a Wrathchild who dreamed this up. But you are cold and collected like a frozen crust over the desert, Master Merigold.”
Specifically, our mysterious M was no other than a young Mordecai Merigold, Antiford’s First Prime Minister.
Gilbert and Mordecai had been intellectual equals since formation school. It was during this time, both had become members of The Brass Bees. Admittedly, Mordecai had joined first. It was his persistence and well placed goading which brought Gilbert into the fold. While known still today as a social group having technocratic leanings, this fact it obscured The Brass Bee’s true purpose from the eyes of the public as a chapter of the Technocratic Liberation Front.
“True be told, Ivers, is that Gilbert would not have devised this plan of action if anyone buy myself had requested him to do so. So given my hand in the matter and this particular Wrathchild, how can I not see this out personally!”
Mordecai’s demeanor had had turned much more devious than even Ivers understood. He stood shocked and froze in place as he saw Mordecai’s grin grow to the size a crescent moon across his face. Ivers now realized that he was not dealing with one but two technocrats together in purpose as conspirators of the highest order.
He whispered under his breath,
“By Skret, what have I gotten myself into this time?”