Steampunk Family
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

Schöneluft Log, 1900.06.24

Ulrik Manfred Adler, acting Captain

27.834, 86,602, anchored. Wind northwest, 27mph

Despite my failure to protect their children, the von Hedwigs have given me the honor of commanding their ship whilst they attempt a rescue. It has been a week since Herr von Hedwig and his good lady descended the volcanic tube that swallowed the children the week before. They returned from Saigon in record time with the American pilot. Her racing vessel is a thing of beauty, a scarlet-enveloped custom Renard racing dirigible modified to carry extra fuel for longer voyages. Captain Charette showed me around her ship as we readied it for the rescue mission. The interior is built from Japanese lacquered panels, lighter than wood but just as strong. The controls are so delicate, the ship so responsive! I would love a chance to pilot her to be sure, but they are all mad to plunge down a cave in such a flimsy craft. I believe the pilot is quite reckless, but Mein Herr trusts her, and so must I. He may treat his own life as nothing, but he will not risk his lady wife.

I wish I had gone with them. I wish I could do something, anything, to recover the children. It is my fault they were taken, yet I float, useless, in the empty, quiet ship that should never be so quiet. There has been no word from the rescue mission below.

I have waited here as long as I can. Now I must proceed to Pekin to retrieve Fraulein von Hedwig. Captain Charette told us Saigon hears whispers of trouble in China, of fomenting rebellion. Perhaps these are only rumors, but I am anxious to have Philomena safely on board. Then I will have to tell her I lost her brothers and sisters, and she will hate me forever.

She has been touring the more remote areas of Eastern Europe with a British family of much wealth and little talent. Why would she go to Transylvania with them rather than to the Great Himalayas with her own family? Surely not for the sake of a piano-accordion player?

The boiler chief has made it clear he thinks he should be captain in Mein Herr’s absence. He rolls his lips around in a sneer when he thinks I’m not watching. They keep to their routine, as far as I can tell. None of us know what it is they do or why they do it, but they are keeping busy and the Schöneluft purrs in contentment. I shall play a small concert for them tonight, for morale’s sake. I must find something cheerful to play, as all that comes to my fingers these days is Mahler. Though the solstice is past, today seemed far longer, and I have felt every minute of it. Tomorrow we fly north.

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Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
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