Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home again

The airship docks weren’t located in Charleston proper of course, due to the risk of tropical storms and hurricanes. High winds could easily tear the airships from their moorings and toss them willy-nilly into nearby buildings. In addition the thunderstorms so common in the afternoons meant that there was a risk of lightning strikes. The docking towers were mostly made of wood with metal fittings and were the tallest structures in their area. The hydrogen pumping station was a potential danger as well since the gas was highly flammable.  Therefore the Sandflea would be docked several miles inland from Charleston and its crew would take a horse-drawn tram in to town.

There wasn’t much to see at the docks anyway, just storage sheds and mechanic’s workshops. The only sign of comfortable quarters was a little café that was most noted for the strength of its coffee rather than the quality of its food.  The café owners had posted a chalkboard with a schedule of the estimated arrival and departure times of individual vessels. There were also a few warehouses for the goods that needed to be shipped by air rather than rail.

After exiting the Sandflea with their personal belongings, the crew stopped at the café to purchase tickets for the tram. The café owner was an untidy man whose work apron was askew. “You’re early.” he sniffed. “By a couple of days in fact.”
“Well glad to see you, too” answered the Captain. “Ain’t like we’ve got a deadline or nothin’.”
“Or that it’s any of his business” muttered Tira.
“True that,” answered the café owner.
“When is the next tram in to town?”
“Oh, forty minutes or so. Have some coffee and set a spell while you wait for it.”
The Captain paid for everyone’s tickets and then waved them to a table.
“Well y’all, I gotta go and debrief but I reckon the rest of y’all can just check-in at the office and then head home.

The office as it was called was in a nondescript building on a nondescript street behind a nondescript door. The whole point was to avoid calling attention to the business of the people working there. The discreet sign on the door said only “Distribution Office" with no indication of what was being distributed or by whom.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls:  Robert Smalls was born an enslaved person on April 5, 1839, in a small cottage in Beaufort, SC. By the time he died in 1915, Smalls had served five terms in the United States Congress. Click on his name to go to the "The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls" web site.

This man's real life was an action and adventure tale!