Authors: Ichabod Temperance
A Matter of Temperance
Copyright © 2013 Ichabod Temperance
All rights reserved.
The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance
Volume One: ‘A Matter of Temperance’
Volume Two: ‘A World of InTemperance’
Volume Three: ‘For the Love of Temperance’
Volume Four: ‘A Study in Temperance’
Volume Five: ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’
Volume Six: ‘The Measure of Temperance’
Volume Seven: ‘The Seventh Voyage of Temperance’
Volume Eight: ‘The Title of Temperance’
Volume Nine: ‘A Journey of Temperance’
Table of Contents
I humbly thank my friends in professional wrestling. It is through them that I have learned the art of storytelling.
Thanks go out to my wonderful karate dojo friends,
and my Aetherweb pals.
Special thanks go to Mr. Wolfgang Metzger for generously providing the silhouettes that appear on the cover of this novel. They are the very silhouettes that are mentioned in this book and do, in fact, survive the disaster detailed therein.
Sincere gratitude is extended to the ever obstreperous Sergeant Turk for his tasteful graphic design of this book’s cover.
Thank you A.L. Williams for the additional artwork and design.
I am eternally grateful to the cast and crew of the movie,
‘Engines of Destiny’!
These brave film-makers generously allowed me to be a part of their magical world. In doing so, they opened up the world of ‘steampunk’ to me. My wonderful castmate, Arthur Hinds, inspired me to write a backstory for my character and this is the result.
Finally, a special thanks and acknowledgment go out to the beautiful, loving, gracious, patient and kind muse,
Miss Persephone Plumtartt,
for her invaluable assistance and inspiration without which this story would not have happened.
The rumbling purr of an impossibly big cat thrums through my body. Rhythmic vibrations emanate from the titanic engines powering this colossal ship. Wheels the size of four story buildings mercilessly paddle the Atlantic Ocean into submission.
“Hey, Ichabod, are you up here?”
“Call me Icky.”
“I guess you are up here. It’s the middle of the night, Icky; why can't you behave like the other passengers?”
“Sorry, Spike, I don't mean to make your job as ship’s steward difficult. I reckon I just like to climb on things. Lying on the roof of the
wheelhouse, connects me with this ship. Through her, I can sense the dark expanse of the ocean depths spreading out below, while at the same time, I can look up into a bright ocean of stars bursting outward above. It’s as if I am tumbling through the aether of space, swimming in a celestial ocean.”
“It’s an ocean of wonder below, Icky, and an ocean of unexpected phenomena inhabiting the astral void above.”
“Yessir, our world became even more wondrous nearly six years ago, during that fateful summer of 1869, with the coming of the ‘
, this visitor had not been recorded in history. That fiery white snowball entered our unsuspecting solar system meekly enough, but when it made a pass around the Sun, it came out the other side and back towards planet Earth as if slung by some Titan discus thrower. Racing along its elliptical trajectories, many astronomers feared a collision between the heavenly bodies. The incredible, inter-galactic meteor looked like it was gonna smack right into us, but its path crossed ahead of our planet’s orbit. Mother Earth traveled safely through the comet’s tail.”
“That was the summer of '69, and today’s date is March 16, 1875. That makes it a little over five and a half years since our planet crossed the comet’s sparkling wake.”
“Yessir, Mr. Spike, sir, and ain’t it amazing what a strange effect that comet had on this planet?”
“You've got that right, Stinky.”
“Whatever. Everywhere on Earth, tens of thousands have become affected by the comet's passage in an unusual way. Not all people, but many, have found that any natural talent they already possessed has been greatly enhanced. The changes were subtle enough that people may or may not have been immediately aware of their amplified aptitudes.”
“Nossir, and it didn’t take long before tinkers began to sprout up like wildflowers in spring. It’s amazing how quickly society has become accustomed to this contraption-filled world, and come to accept this state of being. Nowadays, you can’t swing a bucket without hitting some sort of tinker, engineer, actor, acrobat or musician.”
“I find it all a bit diabolical, Sticky.”
“Whatever. Every apothecary I go to now has a laboratory of some sort, with bubbling cauldrons, smoking thuribles, and tangles of complicated glass tubing. Every barber has a wall of assorted, fiendish, gleaming, glistening, never before seen devices for the grooming of the hair-suit, excuse me, hirsute man. Few men have the courage, nor strength of will, to face down these gleaming apparati for a fresh haircut and a smooth shave.”
“I’m lucky. The peach fuzz growing on my face will come off to a kitten’s lap.”
“Don't interrupt, Itchy, for I’m talking about how this world has been built by steam, spring and electricity. I was trying to tell you how suddenly, inventions great and small came to surround us.”
“Yessir, like steamer carriages, postal sorters and personal, portable, oscillating fans. I’ve heard of certain blacksmiths, more affected than most by the
passing, who have built entire clockwork - that is to say, mechanical - horses, giving them life by spring and steam, due to the magic of the ‘
“It’s one thing to see craft of sea, and land quickly achieving the pinnacle of perfection, but what’s really astounding is to see airships, great and small, prowling the skies around the world.”
“I’ve seen a balloon before!”
“A balloon! Bah, that’s nothing, farm-boy. Balloons will soon be a thing of the quaint past. Nowadays, it’s blimps and fancy gondolas. Of course, these aircraft pale in comparison with the floating fleets of majestic Zeppelins in operation around Europe.”
“I heard that there was a band of dangerous air pirates at loose in the North Atlantic, Spike. Is that true?”
“Actually, there are several competing bands of air pirates there and other places. With all the new mechanicals everywhere, everyone wants to turn these modern devices to their own megalomaniacal purposes.”
“It’s a dangerous world, Ricky. Marvels unheard of just a few years ago are now commonplace. For instance, this magnificent ship on which we voyage, is a mighty, eight wheeled, ocean paddler.”
“Goodness gracious, she’s quite a miracle of human achievement, sir. She’s like a Mississippi riverboat, but grown to fifty times her normal size. Four wheels on each side propel this amazing ship ever forward. A heavy steel keel runs her length. Steel ribs support her wooden hull and decks. Extra steel reinforcements support her mammoth engines and drive wheels, amidships.”
“Ah, but it’s a Sol Furnace that powers this ship's mighty steam boilers.”
“The Sol Furnace is the greatest invention to arise in this explosion of ingenuity that has taken the world!”
“That's right, kid, the power of the Sun itself has been captured, and harnessed for the the use of Mankind, by Professor Henry Plumtartt.”
“I know him! He's an eminent physicist, though also reputed to be an initiate of several arcane orders. By a process that is understood by only a very few, he has developed a technology capable of generating a seemingly endless source of energy.”
“You're lucky to be on this ship. This is a historic crossing. It is expected to set a new speed record. This ocean paddler is on her return trip to England, completing her maiden cruise.”
“Yessir, Mr. Spike! I have a special attachment to this ship, and to her furnace. Little ol’ me, Ichabod Temperance, just an Alabama farm boy, count myself as one of the many from around the world affected by the
“You're full of bilge!”
“Nossir. I was fourteen years old that summer of ‘69 when the comet passed. My family has a small place in Jefferson County. I didn’t realize the change at first. Little ideas would pop into my mind. After the idea, the formula for bringing the idea about would similarly materialize in my mind like a flower quickly spreading into bloom. I swiftly developed a knack for design and engineering solutions to problems. I specialize in goggles. I crafted a pair of goggles for Professor Plumtartt himself for working with the dangerous elements involved with the outrageously powerful Sol Furnace.”
“Is this on the level?”
“Yessir. The Plumtartt goggles brought me a bit of notoriety, which has led to other commissions. That is the errand I am upon now. My most precious invention to date are my ‘Green Beauties’. I hate to let them go! Last year, I sent Professor Plumtartt his goggles. Professor Plumtartt’s “Elemental Protectors” got to enjoy the ocean voyage to England. These marvelous goggles are likewise commissioned by a British client. This year, I have decided to not send my marvelous new goggles to my esteemed customer; instead, I’m going to deliver them myself! Why should
have all the fun? The ‘Beauties’ are destined for adventures in Darkest Africa. For the first time in my life, I have left Irondale, Alabama, USA, to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and to visit jolly old England. I never would have dreamed that one day I should make a journey to the legendary city of London, herself!”
“Congratulations. Try not to slide off the roof and kill yourself, kid.”
“This is the greatest adventure I have ever known!