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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Steam Punk Western.

        I dreamed I was the Captain of a large sailing wagon. A two story affair on large wheels that was built to ride across the flats of a very dry world. When moving at high speed the wagon tipped onto the wheels along one side, like an in-line roller skate. Large water filled chambers acted as shock absorbers, and the wheels and counterweights were movable under both sides of the ship, both the angle of the wheels and the distance from the under carriage. This allowed the hull to float and the mass of the wagon to be used to counter-balance the force of the wind, which almost never slacked.

        In the dream we were stopped at a town to water our horses (used to move around town and to haul, in the rare instance that there was no wind) We were also dropping off and picking up passengers and cargo. I was actually running a steam powered crane to unload several large crates of furniture. My every move watched and fussed over by a matron and her brood whose crates they were.

My mate, a large man with a spring powered saw in place of one arm, found himself in the local jail. Hed run afoul of a local law requiring people to be disarmed before entering the saloon. In his case, it would have meant a literal disarming. He hadnt actually been the aggressor in the altercation, but the deputy on duty had run him in to protect him from some of the more violent and fearful locals. Id brought crewmen with me, and wed brought a change of clothing for the mate. We managed to sneak him out and back onto the wagon. Or maybe we didnt really sneak, but were a large enough and rough enough looking group to avoid trouble.

        The saloon sent over a couple of women to apologize, and I suspect he had a much better time than he would have at the saloon itself.

        I reviewed the cargo we were taking on, and reviewed the rules with the passengers. While bandits were rare, they existed, and the wild life could be pretty wild. (Elephants and rhinos mostly, gene engineered for the dry climate.) Everyone was expected to crew a hard point if we were attacked, both for their own safety and for the safety of the rest of the passengers and crew. We would run two drills, the first a dry run at the edge of town before we left proper, and the second when we reached the grazing lands. Each hard point would be responsible for one buffalo.

        There was a group of paying passengers who objected, until I reached into the cash box and ordered my crew to unload their belongings.

        How are we going to get to New Dodge?

        Take the airship. I handed them back their fares.

        They wont take our stuff!

        Sell it, the passage is four times what I charge, youll need the extra scratch.

        We negotiated a bit more in the hot sun, and they agreed to be split up amongst the hard points so they could load or crank. (As their objections seemed to be to actually shooting defenseless animals.) I was surprised there were any vegetarians out here, but there they were. I smiled, picturing them handling the heavy shot cartridges and cranking the greasy spring winders for the turret movements. I debated on whether to tell them to wear pants, and decided not to. Some things its better to learn by experience, I figured.

        One of the things I loved about this dream was the textures of the fabrics and furnishings. Velvets, brocades, leathers, real woods with exotic grain patterns made for a rich visual experience. Even the crews linen work shirts and canvas kilts were very detailed with lots of pockets and double stitched seams.

        As we were getting ready to cast off, the saloon women disembarked, though one asked if I had room on the crew for her. My first mate argued that we could use her. I was thinking that he meant he- could use her, but didnt want an big argument. I could tell she was hoping to run from something, and figured she would run from my first mate at Diego (a large city at the end of our run) and leave me with a blubbering useless mate for the next several weeks.

        I told her wed make a berth for her on the next run, knowing full well that she wouldnt be here when we returned in three weeks. That would give some time for the first mate to get used to her not being around. Hed recover in a week or so, I was sure. Still, the situation ticked me off. My crew were like family and I didnt like having them jerked around.

        I said good bye and thanked the sheriff for having hired smart tactful deputies. I didnt offer to take her on our next month long tour, even though I thought about it.

        Rolling across the flats was not like sailing in water, even with the huge springs and hydro shock absorbers, there was a certain vibration from the under carriage that shook the inner ear, making many of our passengers motion sick, which is part of why we had the hard point drill right away, it took peoples minds off of it, and helped them settle in.

Ad astra per technica,

FF

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