Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NEW RCAF 's 1ST Week out- Of Air Kraken and Scoundrel Pirates- A Fair Assessment

I was resting comfortably against the side of my ship, the ironclad RCAF Shutterclunk , when I realized this was a wonderful opportunity to stop, take stock of this past week of successes and failures, and appreciate how far we have come in the 1st week since the RCAF Reorganization in Caledon. If you do not do such, I might recommend it! Clearing the head and re-establishing your goals, and appreciating what you have done,, for good and bad, is very healthy. And, no better time than when you are resting on the very bottom, back against your ship, feeling the warm currents flow though your wool uniform,, and waiting,, waiting...

The sun set last night on Oxbridge Village,  the sky and the sea in tune with their hue, warm lofty winds prevailed, and the orange pekoe was the perfect temperature. We must never forget to acknowledge these moments when they appear, because like tea, life does not stay the perfect temperature for long. Having the use of my new human vehicle, I have been learning so much, but when in the human (she would detest called a vehicle, or rather I would, when I am in her body), everything seems to be from the subjective perception- "why is this happening to me" and "I hope it gets better", is a constant mental swelling place for my human brain,, such a waste of time and energy. Though "she" did go through a vampire attack, capture by slavers, brainwashing and three jobs overturning in a month, "why" is a research tool, and hope is not a plan. She (I) even despises returning to my clockwork abode, but seems compelled to do so. She is incapable of surmounting her raging tempest of emotions and near-lethal levels of hormones, let alone make a plan for her life,, let alone make a plan for the good of Caledon! And we have a plan- the reorganization of the Royal Caledon Air and Sea Forces, timed with the capture of the dread Scoundrel Pirates plaguing the Blake Sea! I think best when I am in my balloon, aloft,, so ...

After stoking the coal, and setting the steam valves, I got the chance to run our first patrol with the new vessel! The RCAF Merlin, Long Range Patrol Airship! I must confess I find its rhythmic "pocka-pocka-pocka" very comforting! Oxbridge was quiet as the sun sank into the western sea.

 The Merlin floats so effortlessly, less affected by updrafts and downdrafts than the shorter dirigibles. Though if someone did attack Port Caledon (seen below), they would hope the RCAF got to them. Dame Ember has her scientific laboratory and factory of experimental craft there, and is always in need of test subjects. Poor souls would not have a chance . . .

  AIR KRAKEN! TEN-O'CLOCK BEARING 090 AND RUNNING FAST! What was making them so aggressive and single minded that they were avoiding me? Coal was stoked, Steam was turned up to full,  and both cannons loaded. True I may have been overreacting, but  someone was probably in distress, and with an Air Kraken, you only get one chance. 
And there was two of them...

There! Master Geoffrey Xenobuilder! The Merlin handled elegantly, pulling alongside him as he made repairs, and I told him of his plight. below him on the ground was the carcasses of a dozen  Air Kraken.

"Miss Charisma! I can take care of those beasties but I need time to finish the repair,, can you lure them after you, and buy me ten minutes?"

Did your dolls ever say no or let you down when you were in a moment  of dire need and ultimate distress?

Neither did I.



 I leaked from my eyes and other places,  shaking with fear, but managed one good shot  which slowed them enough to lift  away too high for them to withstand.
Later I refueled and took on water at the Iron Cloud, and of course stopped in for a waltz at the ballroom on board. Truly The Iron Cloud is a wonder and marvel of modern Victorian engineering!
 Back at Oxbridge I closed up the recruiting shop, and headed for...

 Crab Key! Commander Cornelius Fanshaw seemed less than pleased, but the rest of us were very excited! Hope did have some issues with her uniform as she was so short, and Thomas did to, since he is so tall. But we worked it all out, then received our briefing on  our new vessels-

The ironclads! The sun was rising fast and we wanted to hit those pirates before our shapes were clear on the horizons,, how hard can it be to operate, anyways?

 As it turned out,, very hard! We were unfamiliar with its gunnery mechanism, and we had 1 gun in a turret, they had 3 guns each side in fixed ports. If we had known the strategy involved and practiced, we might have avoided their broadsides, stayed in their beam and popped them into submission! But instead,, our ships were each one sunk  and our new recruits taken hostage by pirates!

 I followed at a distance as the pirates took their captives back to the secret Scoundrel Island,  and landed on the far side to watch them closely. Cornelius was there already planning the next move, so I snuck forward to observe for him.

 I hid behind their marksmanship training dolls and took notes as they played numerous seafaring games, partied and played music,, it looked like so much fun! And the pirates were such snappy dressers too,, I could almost see myself as one of them, but i am not. I am the XO of the RCAF! I ran terrified, back to Commander Fanshaw!

 Sidney Arctor, Ceejay Writer, Vernden , and many other hideous Scoundrels laughed at the Commander as he warned them about taking RCAF prisoners. We would make them sorry for that! But how?

 The plan was simple,,  Cornelius would attack them with the Da Vinci Clockwork Attack Craft, Experimental. I would steam in and help scatter them, and sink one in the harbor's bottle neck, blocking them from returning to the island as the Commander rescued the prisoners! Then away we would go, back home. My hair stood on end, main gear ticking loudly. The ship rocked and pitched, and I wished very much to be in The Merlin again.

 Initially everything worked great! The Da Vinci was terror crom the skies! It soared gracefully, banked sharply, spit fire and bullets and rockets, dropped earth shuddering torpedo bombs,  and headed off toward the sun, unscathed! This could be a victory!

 COULD be a victory, but not if you are staring skyward at the soaring banking spitting  flying machine and waxing poetic. I was quickly outmaneuvered by the experienced pirates. Too close for me to engage well, and being separated, I knew the end 8 minutes before it actually happened. But I did have one smart thought, and for a doll that is doing pretty good. I backed up into the bottle neck, deciding that the ship that would block theirs, would be my own. It worked! The plan was a success, stopping them from returning to prevent the rescue,, till they pulled along both sides of the Shutterclunk, and blew her sides out.

So,, here I am, finishing this on the bottom of the Blake Sea. The pirates have some familiarity with clockwork people, and are circling, dropping explosives into the water. I shall have quite a long walk to Crab Key, through seaweed and shark infested brine, but all was not lost. We had utilized our three new vehicles, effectively, if not successfully. We had given our new RCAF its first outing, and though it had not won, it had survived to fight another day, a little smarter, for the next time we meet the Scoundrels. Much to plan when we regroup! But, for now,  there is resting on the very bottom, back against your ship, feeling the warm currents flow though your wool uniform,, and waiting,, waiting...

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