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28 July 2009 @ 06:38 pm

*Steam Century: Kaposia*

**Call for Cast & Crew**

You may have found us online, or played one of our mystery games. Perhaps you watched our Steampunk Fashion Exposition at CONvergence earlier this month. And you thought to yourself 'how cool!' You did, didn't you? Well, here's your chance to get involved, to make on of those awesome events happen to bring a whole new steampunk world to life, right here in the Twin Cities!

This is an open call for anybody interested in acting as cast and crew for the very first Steam Century: Kaposia mystery game! There will be an introductory meeting on Wednesday August 5, 2009 at 7:00pm. We'll meet at the Wilde Roast Cafe (518 Hennepin Ave. E. Minneapolis, located on the corner of Hennepin and Central Avenues; check out their website at http://www.wilderoastcafe.com/index.php)

I know several of you are coming from rather far away, and several of you would be highly interested in ride-sharing....organize yourselves here: http://www.hmabadger.com/forums/index.php?topic=301.new;boardseen#new

Come to learn more about Steam Century, our vision of a steampunk world, and how to get involved!
Questions? Can't make it, but still interested in getting involved? Contact Sarah at TrumpetDiva13@gmail.com.

 
 
19 November 2008 @ 01:53 pm
From the personal journal of Nora Hester Moberly.

November 19, 1900
Yahara, Wisconsin Territory


Captain Brennan has ordered me to chart a course to Stevens Point, which is nearly directly north of Yahara. We have received word that one Doctor Kittson has gone missing from his laboratory there. Evidently, he had something to do with the device that has been the center of so much attention here, of late. I have not been privy to the specifics of the device, but I do know that it was brought to us by Mister Jeffries and the crew of the Halifax Bonaventure around the same time we found out about Commander Townsend's betrayal. During all of the uproar over that, it went missing again. What Kittson has to do with the device I do not know. But it is telling that the Captain all but gasped when she received the news.

The crew is still reeling from the Townsend incident. Suspicions have cooled, somewhat, between the rest of us. But there is still a certain amount of tension permeating the ship. Even that damn cat seems to be more on edge than usual; it has been an increasing challenge to remove him from my bunk when I have found him there.

The Badger does not yet have a new executive officer, leaving a substantial gap in the command structure. The captain and the COB have been filling in as best as they can with some slack being taken up by the rest of those of us who typically crew the bridge. But we have received no word as yet from the RAS command on the prospects of replacement. This has led to questions as to whether or not someone from the crew will be promoted or if we will have a new crewmate.

I hear the final check of the engines, now. I will need to be on the bridge as we get under way, so I should end my writings soon. From the sound of it, we will be traveling best-speed to Stevens Point. The urgency surrounding this mysterious device is most distressing. I can only pray the innocent lives are not in danger because of it. I sense that if the need is great enough, the Marines will be sent in with guns blazing without a second thought. Could this device really be as dangerous as that?

Supplemental

I heard from a precious friend, today. His complicated situation is growing ever more stressful. It breaks my heart that there is so little I may do from here to help him. I am sening word to a mutual acquaintance of ours in Kaposia, an old friend of my mother's, who may be able to aid him better than I. I can only hope, for the sake of my precious friend, that a path may be found out of his dark and dangerous world.
 
 
 
 
From the personal journal of Nora Hester Moberly

September 28th, 1900
Yahara, Wisconsin Territory

I am shocked by what I have witnessed this day! Commander Townsend, the Executive Officer of the Badger is a Werewolf, and worse, a traitor to the crown and the Empire!

I must admit that I can scarcely believe it. Commander Townsend did not impress me greatly when I first arrived aboard-ship. He seemed to me then to be a man ill-suited to the service and too often in his cups. But his bravery seemed above reproach after the Badger's journey to Tekamthi a number of months ago. An operative for the Empire's enemies, a werewolf by the name of Boden, stole aboard ship and tampered with the documents that Lord Tiree was carrying on behalf of Her Majesty and nearly ended those delicate negotiations in disaster. If not for Townsend single-handedly fighting Boden off at great personal risk, the Empire and Tekamthi might now be on the brink of war.

Rough and tumble he may have been, but he earned my respect that day and was to my eyes a hero of the Empire.

But today it was revealed that he had made some sort of a deal with Boden, though the nature of it is still unknown. Yesterday, while I was in services and enjoying one of the Padre's sermons, the ship gave a great lurch and the engines puttered to a grinding halt. The crew discovered quickly that it was sabotage (Harry was quite dismayed that her latest crop of charms and wards had failed to save her precious engines from the malice of mankind, mind you). Luckily, as we were dead in the air, the saboteur was trapped aboard and a massive shipwide investigation began.

When it was revealed to be Townsend, the traitor was dealt with accordingly. He attempted to flee, breaking into the weapons locker and arming himself. However, Lieutenant Roberts and his team prevailed as one might expect and dispatched him with their usual skill. God save the Queen!

Harry has been able to repair the Badger's engines, now, and we are returning to port in Yahara to undergo further maintenance and investigation into this awful affair. Luckily, we were but a few miles from the port and neither the navigational instruments nor the helm controls were damaged.

This is a very different sort of land than I am accustomed to, where a hero may turn into a wretched beast of a villain seemingly in a matter of moments. Rumors about the rest of the crew are flying about, now; whispers of ancestry and past conduct. It is hard to separate the credible from the incredible. I'm proud to say that my service record and my family's history are beyond reproach, but I can only imagine what others are now saying about "that rich, navy-bred brat from Cheshire." I doubt I will sleep soundly tonight.

There is another matter that weighs on my mind. Shortly before Townsend sabotaged the ship, Captain Brennan ordered me to chart a course to Port Chicago, best speed. This was shortly after a rendezvous with Mister Jeffries and the Halifax Bonaventure. Some have said that something was brought aboard from the Privateers. We did not proceed to Port Chicago after the Townsend Incident and I can tell from the tight tenor of her voice that something about this is still troubling the Captain. She has, of course, handled the entire situation with grace and poise, as one would expect from an officer who served aboard the Sea Eagle. The fact that she is allowing any concern to show at all has me very ill at ease. I fear there may be more to this situation than any of us realize.
 
 
27 June 2008 @ 03:36 pm
From the personal journal of Nora Hester Moberly.

June 25th, 1900
Yahara, Wisconsin Territory

The weather in this place is simply beastly. The snows and cold of winter rather abruptly gave way to the heat of summer. Spring, as short-seeming as it was, was dominated by rain; more rain than you could possibly imagine. I have only seen its like during monsoon season in southeast Asia, while I was stationed aboard the Endymion. Several inches of water in only a few hours fell on Yahara and several of its neighboring towns and villages.

Evidently, this is a very unusual amount of rain to have because the Yahara river and many of its tributaries and neighboring bodies of water have overflowed their banks. Whole towns were underwater and a few still are. To the north, only about forty-five minutes of travel by airship, a dam project that was to have created a small lake was overwhelmed and broken by mother nature's mighty onslaught.

The Badger will be heading north in just a few days time, to visit the boarder with Tekamthi. Sir Leland, a diplomat for Her Majesty the Queen, will be aboard-ship, carrying a treaty that will help to ensure the Empire's boarders. I was looking forward to the mission, but I, alas, will not be accompanying the Badger north. A portion of the crew will be remaining behind to assist some of the towns beleaguered by the recent flooding and I will be remaining with them. Captain Brennan decided that my experience with monsoon season flooding in Hong Kong and its environs would be an invaluable asset here in Yahara. I would prefer to navigate for the Badger myself for such an important mission, but I have gotten to know my staff well in the past few months and I trust in their skill to see the ship there and back without incident. And if they do not, they will answer to me after they have answered to the Captain and the Commander.

I will welcome the respite from the attentions of Edward, the ship's cat. I swear the furry terror is aware that I am allergic to him and revels in rubbing his scent all over my pillow during the day. Thankfully, Cass Blackwell, the ship's Quartermaster, has taken pity on me and allowed me an extra pillow case for my pillow. I am thus able to wash one at the end of the day, hang it over a pipe to dry while I sleep on a fresh one, and switch them the next day. It seems to have helped, somewhat.

Of late, the Badger has been having some dealings with one Captain Jeffries and his airship crew. They call themselves privateers and they do, indeed, carry a letter of mark from Her Majesty. But I must say, there is something about the man that I do not find entirely seemly. Though he acts the perfect gentleman, some of the rumors about him that have made their way across the region are less than savory, to say the least. If it were left to me to describe him, I daresay I could sum him up in one word; pirate. Whether or not his kind are a necessary evil in this day and age has yet to be seen. I suspect we will be learning the answer to that question at some point in the near future.
 
 
 
 
04 April 2008 @ 11:59 am
From the personal journal of Nora Hester Moberly.

February 11, 1900

It has been the most maddening couple of days.

Following the storm that struck the area two days ago, it was discovered that ice and snow had felled a number of trees along the train lines that ran from Chicago to Milwaukee and Yahara. Even with the storm over, I was still stranded at the port. This beastly weather is already beginning to wear on me.

Unable to delay any longer, lest the Badger leave me behind, I resolved to find passage by airship to Yahara. While wandering the port, I met a curious and somewhat rough-hewn man by the name of John Dewyer. He was traveling to Yahara as well and, like myself, needed to get there quickly. He offered to assist me in finding an airship and as I was unfamiliar with the port, I agreed.

However, it soon became evident to me that Mister Dewyer was intent on giving me a hard time. We first came to a suitable-looking ship called the Rouge. She was well made and comfortable enough for a trip north, offering all the comforts one could need on such a trip and private cabins well-insulated from the weather. But Mister Dewyer insisted that she was not a suitable ship for reasons that pass my understanding. Instead, he directed us to a small, dilapidated, open air gondola called the Winterwind. To be perfectly frank, she looked to me as if she had seen too many winter winds. Nonetheless, Mister Dewyer booked passage aboard her with the individual who can only generously be called her captain before I could object.

The captain and only crewman of the Winterwind is an old, gnarled hermit who prefers to spend his time alone and only took us on as passengers because he needed funds for helium. When we boarded, he passed us each a ragged, smelly, wool blanket and made mention of a pot of hot coffee. To my abject horror, he warmed the coffee on the steam boiler that drove his propellers. If not for the blowing wind and the freezing cold air stream blowing on my neck from the leak in the Winterwind's helium envelope, I would not have had any. But the bitter, vile sludge was necessary to keep warm.

The captain of the Winterwind kept to himself during the journey, preferring to tend to his engines rather than afford us any common courtesy. Mother had made mention once on the failure to recruit such old sky rats into the RAS. I can now understand why such efforts failed; no such individual would ever last on a proper airship. I was left, then, with Mister Dewyer for company and, in the moments when we were not gripping the rails of the ship for dear life, learned that he has been a ground-pounder in Her Majesty's military for some time and was now serving as a scout on the boarders. He kept going on and on about a battle in which he had taken part at Fort Mackinac and how airships had fouled everything up. What he means by that, I'm not certain, because according to what I understand from accounts of that battle, it was the airships that were credited with defeating the French ground forces in that battle. He is a strange, strange man indeed.

When we at last landed in Yahara, I was more than happy to debark and eagerly made my way to the RAS airstrip nearby in search of the Badger. I first had to check in with the depot to ensure that shipping arrangements were in order for the rest of my belongings that would not fit aboard the tiny Winterwind. And after that, I made my way at last to the Badger.

The first crewman I encountered was not, in fact, a crewman, per se. Rather, it was a large, fluffy cat in goggles and a flight jacket, carrying the remains of a mouse in its mouth. He stopped in the dead center of the gangplank and looked at me with that look that cats always have when they are deciding whether or not you are allergic to them and thus a prime target for their affections. And sure enough, as I attempted to pass him on the gangplank, he chose to discard his trophy in favor of rubbing against my legs in a figure-eight that scarcely allowed me to walk. Luckily the cat, Edward it turned out his name was, was snatched up by the Chief of the Boat who was able to direct me to Captain Brennan so that I could report in for duty.

Captain Brennan is the first woman that I have ever served under and I look forward to experiencing the differences in command that it might bring. Even in spite of the Great Reform Act of 1832, I find that many of the old guard in the military are still somewhat leery of having women aboard ship. It is good to see that the relatively young RAS has already come along far enough that women are serving in the upper-echelons of the service.

Just as things were beginning to look up and as I was heading inward of the ship in order to settle into my quarters, who should I stumble upon but Mister John Dewyer. I now know the reason he was in as much of a hurry to reach Yahara as I was; he has also been assigned to the Badger as a detachment of the ground forces. It would seem that he and I will not be rid of each other for some time.
 
 
 
30 March 2008 @ 09:18 am

Personal Journal of Cassandra Blackwell 

January 3, 1900

 

 

The routine of shipboard life reminds me of our farm and how everything has a time and place. Early morning wakeup, feed and milk the animals, fieldwork, sorting and picking fruits and vegetables, bee and honey production, pressing fruit in the fall and the final fermentation and bottling. Then, of course, there is the eating, baking, and canning of the fruits and vegetables, and the tasting of the ciders and meads. Fall is the very best with its smells and tastes and the gradual winding down of the year.

 

When my great, great grandparents first came here they brought the beginnings of the vast orchards that we are caretakers of today. They brought seeds and cuttings to be grafted onto native stock for weather and disease resistance. They were lucky enough to have a few of the local crabapple trees on the land to graft to and begin their cider and eating stock. Unfortunately my family began with mostly French style apples, which caused some bad feelings when the war truly began. There were a few from England and Russia along with some native varieties as well but the French apples are some of the best tasting and very prolific. The McIntosh variety in fact, was a trade made directly with French Canada. Not wanting to cut off a revenue stream, trading continued for mead and cider, which cost us dearly in fines and near social and business ruination in subsequent years when it was discovered. My grandfather was jailed for a time and we nearly lost our land and holdings. All trade with Canada was halted and we negotiated military contracts at only slightly above cost. It was a difficult bargain to swallow, but better than the alternative.

 

Later generations added fruit from New England and New York as well as more local varieties. Plans were laid to have a nice cross section of eating, baking and cider apples as well as pears and other fruits.

 

Apples-

Summer Rambo – (France 1530) Large fruit with good winter hardiness. It is excellent for eating and baking.

Lady – (France 1600) A very aromatic apple, which is great for eating and ciders.

Calville Blanc – (France 1600) Unique shape and wonderful taste. Good for eating and cider making.

Roxbury Russet – (Massachusetts 1600) A lovely all around apple, which is good for eating and cider making.

Duchess of Oldenburg – (Russia 1700) Fruit is medium to large with excellent flavor for eating and baking.

Newtown Pippin – (New York 1760) Apples are great for eating and cider making.

Baldwin – (Massachusetts 1790) Great for pies and cider.

McIntosh – (Ontario, Canada 1790) Good for eating and cider making.

Bramley’s Seedling – (England 1813) Apples are great for sauces and general cooking.

Kingston Black – (England 1820) Apples have a bitter sharp taste for use in cider only.

Northern Spy – (New York 1800) An all around apple, which is good for eating and cider making.

Winesap- (Colonies 1817) Apples have a wine flavor and aroma, which is good for eating and cider making.

Tolman Sweet – (Colonies 1800) A very hardy apple that is good for eating and cider.

Golden Russet – (New York 1840) Apples are very sweet and are good for eating and cider.

Wolf River – (Wisconsin 1880) Apples can be up to 1 pound each with good eating and baking qualities.

 

 

Pears-

Bartlett – (England 1700) Pears are very mild and good for eating.

Bosc – (Belgium 1807) This pear is an excellent all around fruit for eating and ciders.

Winter Nelis – (Belgium 1818) Fruit is juicy and sweet with excellent cider making and eating properties.

 

Misc.-

Montmorency (France 1600) Cherries are excellent for cooking.

English Morello (Colonies 1860) – These are tart cherries that are good for eating and cooking.

Moorpark – (England 1760) Apricots are very flavorful and reliable.

 

It is only recently that meads and hard pear ciders have caught on in this area. They have a much more mellow flavor and texture. The general populace is more interested in hard ciders and beers, which are tasty and inexpensive to produce. Fruit and grains are easily grown and fermented; although the quality of the final product can vary widely. Meads themselves have taken a bit to get used to since they can be quite alcoholic and the honey is fairly costly. It is well worth the extra effort to harvest the honey and tend to the bees. In fact, we need the bees to pollinate our orchards so it isn’t a hardship to have them around. I hope to speak to Captain Brennan soon about setting up a small fermentation system on board which will keep us in fresh hard cider. Quite tasty!

 

Cass Blackwell

Crew Quarters – HMA Badger

 
 
30 March 2008 @ 08:50 am

Personal Journal of Cassandra Blackwell 

January 1, 1900

 

My first post as a full ships’ quartermaster has not been without its trials. The HMA Badger is a ship with a most important mission patrolling the treacherous northwest borders of the colonies. While our uneasy alliances with the American Indian Nations holds, it is French Canada that causes us the most trouble and losses. The French seek to control the more temperate lands to the south with their vast abundance of grazing and farming lands for cattle, cotton, corn and wheat. Coal and timber are also of great interest I suspect, as well as our vast bounty from the seas. Our skirmishes have ended rather badly for the French so far, with no casualties on the Badger as yet. Other ships in the fleet haven’t fared quite as well, but they did not have Captain Marks or Captain Brennan at the helm.

 

I was stationed to the Badger on January 2nd 1899 with a crew that was tasked to a yearlong trial mission aboard the newest vessel in the fleet. Captain Marks was assigned to her as his final triumphant voyage before retirement. He has had a very impressive career and has survived some of the worst battles against the French. He also has a reputation of great care for his crewmembers, which was most important to me. I was welcomed into his command crew and they have been most helpful in my acclimation to the airship life. It was gratifying to see how smoothly the transition went when we welcomed Captain Brennan on board. She had a commendable record from her previous posts and seems calm and decisive when at her duties. We will soon see how she reacts under the near weekly barrage of attack and retreat that the French employ.

 

Most of my military career has been spent on the ground at the Great Lakes Airship Command Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I worked as a general assistant in the Quartermaster offices, endlessly writing and filing paperwork as well as acquiring, transporting and storing goods. It was a wonderful learning experience in some ways, in that I realized the importance of getting foodstuffs to their destination in the most expeditious ways possible. I have managed to gather many local contacts that produce items the military is in need of. It necessitates a more hands on approach to organize it all, but quality items are well worth the effort. Indeed, my family has supplied many tons of fresh produce over the years as well as the more bracing ciders and meads. Nepotism isn’t always a bad thing!

 

Tomorrow will be here soon and we have much to accomplish before we start another patrol. Captain Brennan wants a full inspection after breakfast and we must be ready!

 

Cass Blackwell

Crew Quarters – HMA Badger

 

 

 
 
09 March 2008 @ 06:07 pm

Military Log – January 1st, 1900

Quartermaster Cassandra Blackwell

HMA Badger



I. News of Note

Captain Brennan assumes command of the HMA Badger.

Retirement ceremony is performed for Captain Marks.


II. Orders

Official documents are opened detailing our mission orders:

New patrols start at the Mississippi river from the northern Iron Mountain area of Wisconsin over to the far eastern edges of Michigan. The Southern boundary extends into Indiana and Illinois. Patrols will vary due to upcoming diplomatic missions into the American Indian Nations to the West.

III. Supply Notes

Food Rations:            The basic daily ration shall include 1 pound (lb.) of beef, or 3/4 lb. of pork, or 1 lb. of salt fish; 1 lb. of bread, 7 oz. potatoes, 6 oz. dried peas, 3 oz. dried beans, 1.5 oz. rice, 1 pint of milk, 2 oz. tea, 3 oz. sugar, .04 oz salt and pepper, 1/3 gill vinegar, ½ oz soap, .25 oz. candle and 1 gill of rum, hard cider or spruce beer.


Extras can be obtained in various ways: traders, foraging/hunting, and packages from home. From these licensed traders, one can buy pickles, cheese, sardines, cakes, candies, cigars, wine, beer, whiskey, champagne, pens, writing paper, needles and thread. Mail from home may consist of butter, cheeses, jams, jellies, cookies, cakes, and other items and must be treated cautiously due to spoilage issues from mail delays.


Clothing Rations:             Each crewman will be issued 2 full uniforms consisting of undergarments, stockings, trousers, shirts, boots, gloves, hat and coat. Officers will be issued 1 full dress uniform as well. Clothing stores shall consist of general use items in varying sizes including: stockings, undergarments, shirts, trousers, gloves, coats and hats. Other items will include all weather gear including: gloves, hats, mufflers, oil cloth coats for rain, winter great coats and boots. 


IV. General Notes


-End of week inventories will commence on Saturday January 6th

-Discussion with kitchens staff regarding available stores and new procurements needed will be performed on January 2nd 1900.                                                                                         

-Full moon on the 15th – we will be on the lookout for any lycanthrope activity.
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
26 February 2008 @ 10:38 pm
Cross-posted from Steam Century community.

From the personal journal of Nora Hester Moberly

February 9, 1900
Port Chicago

My former bunkmate aboard the Endymion, Beatrice Scarbury, is under the impression that what we are doing here in the Royal Air Service will one day be historically significant. As it is, I find that I cannot disagree with her. She has, for some time, kept a personal journal of her day-to-day life in the Air Service as she is able and I have decided to follow suit. I have no idea what significance my writings may one day hold, but I am strangely compelled by this idea and so I write.

I have been transferred from the Endymion to a ship in the American colonies called the HMA Badger, based at an airstrip in Yahara, in Daneshire in the Colony of Wisconsin.

Being so near the boarder with the FRAN, just over the Mississippi River, I suspect the Badger's duties will be largely concerned with guarding the Empire's boarders. I have been assigned as the ship's Navigator, which is a step up from my previous posting as Navigator's Staff.

It is rather cold here, which is a change from the warmer climates around Hong Kong, where the Endymion is based. Instead of winter rains, there is a near mountain of snow everywhere I look. Here in Port Chicago, I have a clear view of Lake Michigan, the southernmost of the Great Lakes, and it is actually frozen solid as far as I can see!

Well, I say "as far as I can see," but today that is not very far at all. There is a raging blizzard outside. It has delayed a number of departures and arrivals at the base here. In fact, I was to have boarded a train earlier that was to take me to my new posting. However, this storm has delayed it. So, I find myself with an unexpected layover. I have wired ahead to the XO of the Badger word of my delay with my apologies. I am anxious to begin my new posting, so I hope that this storm will not delay me overlong.

The other officers here, the ones who have been in the American Colonies for some time, have told me a little about what the area is like. I find it hard to imagine a land that can be so frigidly cold as this in the winter would be as beastly hot as they describe in the summer. I suspect they are holding a bit of a candle to the devil. I will simply have to wait to see for myself how things shake out.