Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Story: Steam-Pack Part 1

"How's it going over there?" Sir Walton asked as he entered the lab. Looking up from blueprints and piles of ratty looking paper, Jed answered the man "Not entirely awful, I need to condense the steam tank down to increase the pressure output."
"I'm confident you'll find the answer. Never have a seen such a promising young man as yourself taking to feats of engineering with such zeal" Sir Walton commended. "Well, thank you kindly Sir Walton, but this problem is quite perplexing." Jed responded and turned his eyes back down to the blueprints then he studied the steam pack on the back of the metal torso model. Sir Walton adjusted his tie, reached for a stained lab coat, and put it on. He strolled over to Jed with his hands behind his back, extending his long legs and bouncing with each step. Jed didn't hear as Sir Walton approached, soon he stood directly behind the young man sitting at the lab bench. "Do you mind if I have a look?" Sir Walton asked. Startled, Jed sat up straight. He then quickly scooted off his seat and bounded for the window. "Sure, have a look, I can't figure out this one. I need to take my mind off this debacle of a project. If I could just join the other ones up there, in the great beyond, maybe I could get the same thrill."

Jed looked out the sunny window and watched as many others traversed the blue sky. The celestial sphere was filled with dirigibles, zeppelins, propeller mounted flying machines, and large steam powered floating houses. Children held ribbons out the house windows and dirigibles floated by. The occupants waved and smiled. Everyone smiled, everyone except Jed. He grew up with very few luxuries in life. His father was a blacksmith and his mother didn’t work. She raised the boys herself while her husband worked all day and most of the evening. He came home late, but Jed stayed awake just to catch a glimpse of him. The whole family worked hard and saved for Jed and his brother Sal’s apprenticeships. Sal studied under the electrical engineer Duke Castor and Jed studied under Sir Walton the accomplished mechanical engineer. The boys’ parents were proud; they knew the boys could accomplish their dreams.

Jed was always a dreamer. Staring out into the sky, wishing he could join the upper-class, whirling around in their flying machines, viewing land from so high above it, feeling the thinning air and the sense of triumph. He turned away from the window and sat in front of his analog computer. He turned gold dials until the dimensions of the pack were inputted. He waited until the computer responded with four protruding knobs, each representing a number. He jotted the information down and made his way to the bench. Sir Walton rose from the seat and gave Jed a slight nod. “I believe you’d like to resume your work.” Walton said. “I need to tinker a little longer. Do not inquire about dinner; I’ll eat when I’m hungry.” Jed responded. Sir Walton walked to the other end of the lab and began working on his many projects.

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