Role Play Serial Story from The Messdeck Part II

Sunday, March 29, 2015 0 comments

A visitor arrives

Here is the second part of the serial tale from our Role Play group.

Part I is here.

Frozen Sky
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part II
Collected and edited by Kevin Jepson

Feb 1
*After an uneventful, but very cold, trip following the railway lines up to York, the Doris is tied up to the top of a commercial mooring tower on the edge of town. Below her on the tower is a very sleek looking Navy Airship, her hull is flat black with no markings visible at all.*

The very cold and cramped control car
of HMAS Doris*
Simpson climbs down from the keelwalk and says "Mooring is secure Sir!"

"Very good, well done Simpson."

"Thank you Sir"

Max sets the engine telegraph to "finished with engine" and then taking the voice tube he yells into it "Watkins! Secure the engines and get yerself forward we are going ashore."

*A tinny "Aye aye Sir!" comes back and soon the steady thumping of the old engine stops. Max then knocks on the door of the single cabin at the back of the control car before entering.*

"We are moored and it's time to get off this icy balloon and have us some warm food by a fire eh?"

*Miss BB and Iveta are seated on either side of a table top, which Iveta's charts and Miss BB's Aetherwave set are vainly trying to share. Iveta is wearing her uniform greatcoat and cap but seems unperturbed by the cold, the only concession to comfort being her half gloves. Miss BB, however; is swathed head to toe in a bizarre and very colourful mix of scarves, sweaters, and cloaks, with only her face and uniform cap to mark her as an airship officer.*

"Will you be able to climb down the mooring tower in all that Lieutenant?"

"Oh, I will take them off before I do." then almost as an afterthought "Sir".

Turning to the Navigator Max says "How long will it take to plot a course North from here? The railway lines don't go where we are heading."

"I have it already Sir, also the diversion is plotted too if the weather permits Sir."

"Very good, now let us be about getting warm shall we?"

"Aye aye Sir!"

*A dockyard worker unrolls a rope bridge like structure from the tower out to the control car. The crew start to carefully cross the windswept gap to the platform on the tower. As the Sun is setting it is getting increasingly cold. Already the ground below is in darkness. Max is the last to leave and as he makes his way carefully across he sees Sgt Fraser and Cpl Cooke engaged in an intense bout of Rock Paper Scissors. Sgt Fraser soundly beats the Corporal and with a wide grin waits at the end of the bridge as Max comes across.*

"And what was all that about Sergeant?"

"Sir, we were deciding who gets to stay up here on ship watch Sir. I won Sir, so I get to stay."

"Ah, however 'rank hath its privileges' Sgt and no you don't!"


"We is a hundred feet in the freezing Yorkshire sky Sergeant, and the dockyard tells me they haven't got a lift so I will be staying on ship watch, you go get yerself some hot food and warm drink. Send Cooke back up with something hot."

"Aye aye Sir!" and with a salute Fraser turns and heads toward the tower ladder.

*Watkins and Simpson are busy helping Miss BB negotiate the top of the ladder. Iveta watches for a moment and then with a slight smile simply swings herself out over the side of the tower and disappears into the darkness down the OUTSIDE.*

Cooke shakes his head "Jeezus Sergeant did ya see that!"

"Aye I did, that one is happier on the outside of an airship than she is on the inside."

*Max waits till everyone has begun the long descent and then crosses back to the control car. The wind has strengthened so he carefully checks the mooring lines and then climbs laboriously up to the open keelwalk and goes back to check on the cargo and the engine. By the time he returns to the control car he is very cold and is having trouble holding the rungs of the ladder when he climbs back down into the control car.*

Well Max, you'll be solid ice in an hour if you don't get out of this wind!

*Max goes into the little cabin and taking up some of the scarves and blankets from Miss BB's pile he sits in her chair at the table. Soon he is dozing off as he gets slightly warmer. An hour or so later Max is startled awake by a change in the feel of the control car.*

Ah we got a visitor must be Cooke with a toddy. That'll go down well about now.

A strange voice calls out "Ahoy the Doris! Permission to come aboard."


Part III is here.

*The painting is of the control car of a WWI German Zeppelin painted by Felix Schwormstadt in 1917

Role Play Serial Story from The Messdeck

Sunday, March 22, 2015 0 comments

Frozen Sky Part 1

Our Role Play Group, the Airship's Messdeck, is on a bit of a hiatus while we try to sort out how our main story will carry on into the future.

I'm going to serialize three of the side stories that came up during this time to give you a bit of a feel for the World in which we are playing. The parts of the story are presented here pretty much as they appeared in our role play.

Note that Max (me) tends to talk to himself, which is useful in the RP as a way to give out some more info.  Sections that begin and end with an '*' are descriptive.  I'll try to clarify history and details from previous roleplay as footnotes when necessary.

A special thanks to my fellow shipmates and partners in adventure:
Jayne Barnard
Stewart MacPhee
Monica Willard
Andrew Nadon
Karen Seimens
Jossana Justine
Christie Vanderloh
Sandor Sanchez
Thank you for your wit, your sense of fun, and your willingness to help create this wonderful world.

I hope you enjoy it.

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced

Frozen Sky
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part 1
Collected and edited by Kevin Jepson


While our fine ship, the HMAS Velvet Brush, is in the Airdock for her much needed refit, the crew is dispersed to other duties.  Her Chief Engineer Lt Cmdr(E) Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe aka Max, is ordered to take an old airship, HMAS Doris, up to the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow. He is to begin testing a new device known as the Chirper, that can determine elevations and depths, much like a modern sonar depth scan.

With him he has several members of the Velvet Brush's crew. Two members of his Black Gang, John Watkins and Philip Simpson who invented the Chirper, the Navigator Lt Iveta Baleva, the communications officer Lt Beulah Bueckert, aka Miss BB, and two of the Marine contingent, Sgt Kade Fraser and Cpl Ellis Cooke.

It is winter and the old Doris has seen better days.

Jan 28
Airdock 6 at the Experimental Airship Division yard near London

*Max is standing at the side of the airdock surveying his new command. Having received her from the hands of the Airdock Boffins only a few minutes before, he now watches as the last of the dockyard workers file away and his ship sits alone with her new crew*

Well Max me lad, she's all yours now. This will be an interesting junket and no mistake.

*HMAS Doris is a smallish, hydrogen filled, cargo carrying airship. Until recently she was a commercial tramp carrier called "The Matilda" on contract to the Navy supplying remote light houses along the Northern coasts of Scotland. The Doris is small, she could fit entirely inside the Velvet Brush between the forward accommodation and engineering, with room to spare! The outer cover of her hull is dirty grey and streaked with coal dust. Bright white squares show where her old threadbare cover has been repaired.*

Well yer no stranger to the North at least.

Max spots the bright crimson uniform of Sgt Fraser approaching "Ah Sergeant, all secure?"

Sgt Fraser snaps to attention and salutes sharply "Aye Sir, ship is cleared of all dock workers Sir!"

"Very good, please maintain ship watch. I expect the last of our supplies will be arriving shortly, make sure they get squared away as soon as possible."

"Aye aye Sir!" Another quick salute and Fraser turns and takes up his post beside the entrance to the control car of the airship.

Well, no luxury on this trip Max, be nice to sleep in a hammock again while aloft though, like sleeping on a cloud, if a bit noisy and breezy.

*Max walks aft past the control car under the belly of the airship his cane making tapping sounds that seem oddly loud in the cavernous space of the airdock. He walks past the cargo car in which the Chirper is safely installed, to the third car that houses the engine. There is an open triangular keelwalk connecting the three cars that hang below the hull like rowboats suspended from a bridge. Using the keelwalk while in flight will be an adventure in itself. As he approaches the third car he sees Watkins climbing down from it, he is covered in soot and his coveralls are all greasy.*

"Well Watkins, will she fly?"

"Aye Sir she will, but not fast. She'll be lucky to make 20 knots and against any kind of wind we'll be sitting still. Don't know how them fellows kept station in the North Sea Sir."

"Well if they could do it we can. Were you able to get something setup for Comms and the Navigator in the control car?"

"Aye Sir, we took that little box they called your cabin and set it up for them, at least they won't have the wind whistling past 'em."

*The control car and the engine car are open with no glass in the windows to save weight.*

"Well we best make sure they have some warm woolies just in case eh?"

Watkins smiles "Aye Sir, but I think Miss BB has that handled Sir."

"How's that?"

"Well Sir, she arrived this morning with a Jessus big trunk and had a couple of the dock yard blokes stash it in the back of the cabin Sir. When I asked her about it she said it were warm rough weather clothes for all of us Sir."

"Hah! Well she is resourceful that one, probably won it all off the Quartermaster at poker if I know her!"

Watkins laughs, "Aye Sir, probably Sir."

"Well I'm off for my final report to Admiral Wilcox, get her ready to go as best you can I don't want anything left adrift when we leave."

"Aye aye Sir!" and with the touch of his cap Watkins heads back up the ladder.

*Max heads toward the gate, past the control car returning Sgt Fraser's salute as he passes.*

Well now maybe I can find out more about what we are supposed to be doing all the way up in Scapa Flow...

But Mary will be there too and I don't dare even say hello, blast and damn!

*At the gate of the airdock, Max turns and looks at his new command one more time trying to imagine here puffing her way through the winter skies on her way to Scotland.*

Well you're no beauty, but I'll wager yer a tough old girl and all.

Part II is here

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