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Author Topic: One Expensive Song  (Read 1232 times)
Agito Novus
Snr. Officer
United States United States

Captain of the CSS Setzer

« on: July 21, 2008, 05:31:51 am »

This is my first attempt at a Steampunk story. For now, the introductory passage of it. More alter, but tell me what you think so far:

“Four-of-a-kind! Beat that, you ugly son of a whore,” growled a man from a rickety chair.
“You crazy bastard, you’ve got two ace of spades! Get this mad git out of here,” snapped back a clean-looking dealer. As he snapped his words, he snapped his fingers, and a pair of women stepped out from behind the door.
“Wait! Just one more hand! I need that record!” protested the cheater. From the looks on their faces, it was clear that the ladies had understood his every word. The taller one, a brunette, reached towards a table and grabbed a record. Her companion, a prim dame with a green Mohawk, dragged the unfortunate man out the door.
“Now, we ain’t sick or twisted or no such, but this is business, that’s what it is. Your business is to stuff those cards in those silly contraptions of yers, and ours is to convince you not to. We diplomatic, we is,” spoke the brunette. “But seeing as we’s all colleagues and what not, let’s engage in a first name basis. I’m Tore, on account of being christened Victoria, and my junior partner is called Mangel. I hear it’s Prussian or some such. Let’s see your name, now.”
Tore rummaged through his pockets, looking for a badge of some sort. Finally, she found a crumpled bit of cloth in his coat pocket. With some straightening, the cloth because a handkerchief, and then a hat. “Wot? An officer of a ship, playing poker in the East End?”
“Aye! I play for prizes I like, and that record looks plenty good to me. Now let’s be sensible. I have a good five pounds on me, and it’s yours for the record and we can all three walk away unbruised.”
The silent partner, Mangel, perked her head up at his words.
“Now, you sir, are speaking like a madman. If we were after your money, we would have broken your nose and pulled it from your purse strings. We’re doing business here. But we are reasonable ladies, and the record is yours.”
She put the records in the man’s arms. He embraced it tenderly, and when Mangel’s booted foot shattered the record, he embraced its paper wrappings twice as tenderly.
“Please don’t cheat sir. We’d much rather the dealers pay us to sit and sip their whiskey.”
The man laid there in the gutter for a few more seconds, before adjusting his coat and the mechanical bird’s nest that held his spare cards.
“Fifty two cards from fifty-two different decks, and not a one could’ve been…” his words were interrupted by a hiss of steam from a broken pipe “the winning one?” He tossed the shattered record on the ground. “Fine lot of good being here got me.”
He adjusted his grey fedora on his bald head. From a distance, First Mate Beasley would look like a stylish man. He wore his fedora at a jaunty angle, and he walked with a swagger. However, on closer observation, his hand was angled because he is missing an ear. His face was scared from too many fights and evenings like this.
The disgraced man walked back towards the harbor.

Herbert Beasley’s boots clanged up the gangplank towards the Setzer. She was docked low, with the sailing ships. As he passed the Setzer’s figurehead, he slapped the figurehead loudly.
“Agh,” he grumbled through his teeth.”
A hunched-over man swung down from a harness and laughed at him. His hair was tied back in a long red ponytail, and it threatened to tangle in the pulleys on his way down.
“Serves you bloody right for hurting Fortuna here. She brings us luck when we needs it most. She’s a good girl, ain’t she?”
“You will address me as sir, Stradi, and after addressing me properly, you can stow it. Don’t you have a hull to keep watertight or a mast to replace?”
“We don’t gots sails, and we never touch the water. Now tell me how the game went. Did you get the Aria? The captain’s birthday is in a week, and we weigh anchor in three days.”
“I’ll tell you from the surgeon’s bed. I think these were the prettiest girls who’ve ever broken a rib.” Herbert Beasley crumpled to the wooden planks. His red-haired companion lowered the harness around his body and rode the harness and body up to the plank, perched like a gargoyle with mutton-chops.

Silencius Vel Nex
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 02:43:11 pm »

I'm intrigued already.  Keep it coming.

(I also misread the title as 'an expensive snog', which probably says more about me than anything...)
Cheery Rayne
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 03:25:34 am »

Very nice, I would like to see more.
You do good work.
Agito Novus
Snr. Officer
United States United States

Captain of the CSS Setzer

« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2008, 06:06:18 am »

Next Installment:

   Herbert Beasley woke up on a meticulously clean bed, covered with white sheets. His first thought was to how cold the room was. His second was voiced as:
   “Doc! You thieving bastard! Give me back my pants.”
   A middle aged man with thick rimmed goggles leaned into the wooden doorway. In his hands were a roll of bandages and a bottle of painkillers.
   “I gave them to the quartermaster. It seems that while you were getting beat-up by pretty girls, you managed to bleed on your dress uniform. We were out of extra clothing, so you’re wearing one of the medical gowns.”
   “Just tell me when I can be walking again,” growled Beasley.
   “Well,” replied Dr. Hammonds, “with the multiple lacerations you sustained, along with the hairline fractures, contusions, and slight blood loss, I’d usually recommend bed rest for the next two weeks. However, I discerned from Stradivarius’s banter that you had business to undertake for our good Captain, so I’ve decided to release you from my care, as long as you promise to take care not to get victimized by young women. Your clothes are folded in your bunk.”
   The first mate took his leave of the surgeon and headed to his room. As he walked, he alternated limping on one leg and then another. At first, the pain seemed to reside on his left side, and then his right.
   After getting dressed, Beasley strode towards the gangplank, shouting “Strad” at the top of his lungs. Finally, the carpenter dropped into view, and the two headed back into town.

   Their search for the record began in the business district. The two men approached a small shop, Madame Elektra’s Imports. An attractive woman in full mourning wear emerged at the open window.
   “Good Day to you, Madame. We are here in search of a recording of the soprano Lucia Galbani. Could we take a look inside?”
   The voluptuous woman at the door did not glorify the two men with a response, but simply pointed towards a sign, reading “No Drunks, No Pets, No Sailors”. Stradivarius opened his mouth to protest, but at the same instant, Madame Elektra pointed her finger away from the shop.
   The two men trudged away in disappointment. They followed their next lead, towards a slim building in the poorer part of the city.
   “Tower of Tesla Recordings and Galvanics?” muttered Stradivarius skeptically.
   “Shut your mouth and walk, boy. There’s a chance that there’s going to be a record in there, and we’re taking it.”
   Beasley opened the door and was immediately greeted by the sound of hundreds of small dolls, singing various folk tunes. Most insidious was a little ragdoll in a bonnet, singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. At the counter was a white bearded man with a jeweler’s lens on.
   “Good afternoon to you. Would you be Master Tesla?”
   “What? Tesla? Oh, that’s. Uh. That’s the company name. My business is a subsidiary of the regional office of Tesla international. Let me show you around. Are you interested in dolls? This is our newest model, with clay records designed to emulate the intricacies of human speech.
   “We can skip the dolls, I think,” replied Stradivarius hastily, “We’re here for a record.”
   “Well, let me take you to the back room.”
   The shopkeeper led Beasley and Stradivarius into a back room, laden with thousands of records hanging on the walls. There was a single, battered phonograph, currently being sampled by a short, plain looking woman in an ivory gown.
   Beasley and Stradivarius began digging through the records. They leafed through hundreds of arias, sonatas, librettos, and symphonies, searching for Lucia Galbani’s rendition of anything at all. Finally, after figuring out the organization system, the two men realized that the music wasn’t organized alphabetically or chronologically, but by an obscure serial number, rendering searching practically impossible. Beasley sat down loudly on the floor, and as he did, a record tumbled into his lap.
   “Adagio in C Minor, by Lucia Galbani!” he whispered excitedly to his companion.
   Stradivarius did not reply at first, but stared at the photo.
   “Come, lad, we’ve got to get-“
   “Wait! Look at-“
   “Stop interrupting boy, we need to pay-“
   “Look at the picture. The woman at the phonograph is Lucia Galbani!” he finally managed to say.
Agito Novus
Snr. Officer
United States United States

Captain of the CSS Setzer

« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2008, 04:52:43 am »

Is it wrong to bump for great justice?

I've put a lot of work into this, and I think it's worth a read.
Cheery Rayne
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2008, 11:44:00 pm »

I second that motion.
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