February 9, 2013 by Steampunkish Graphic Novels
Twenty fifth of August, 1886.
I am leaning out a window on the top floor of the Boston Custom House, tallest building in city. From it one can hear almost everything happening in Boston as it wakes up.
To the east is the harbor, sun peeking over the horizon. There are the sounds of bells, screaming gulls, and shouts as ships load cargo.
To the west are sounds of carriages, streetcars and commuters as their travel pushes dirt and dust into the air, a golden haze in morning sunlight.
To the south are sounds of steam engines and loud whistles in Boston’s South Station, a place rich with the smells of coal, fire and soot.
And finally, beyond the South Station rails, lies the wide and busy Rosecrans-Lowe Skydock, filled with hundreds of balloons and dirigibles of every kind and description. But this place makes very little noise at all.
That is where I work.
My name is Jacob Sims and I am a “Wind Runner”, member of a sailing airship crew. My ship is the Diane, a passenger vessel, and it rides the coastal winds from Portland, Maine to Philadelphia.
One might ask what I am doing in the Boston Custom House, first thing in the morning. My answer would be that I am waking up. I came across the key to this vacant room a year ago during Fourth of July while I was securing an airship above the tower for the annual celebration.
After discovering it was never used, I felt it necessary to remedy the problem by using it as my personal sleeping quarters. As it has never given me any trouble to stay here, I see no reason to trouble others by my staying here either. I keep the quarters as clean as can be managed and leave no evidence of my stay when I depart.
Of course, most would say I am taking an awful risk of being discovered. I agree, but it doesn’t matter. No one except a wind runner can truly appreciate this view as I do. We live in the sky because of this view. This is our air, free of the dirt, stink and aggravations of living below. I couldn’t bring myself to quit this place if I tried.
I am describing Boston in my journal as it is now because I am worried. Worried that Boston, this city I love, will be changed in the months to come. There has been word that New Orleans has been taken by force, but no one knows who or why.
Right after I learned this, I was contacted immediately by Mister Coggins, Diane’s owner and my benefactor. I was told to report to the Rosecrans-Lowe Company Factory immediately. It wasn’t the request that had me worried, it was the way he phrased it – as if I was a soldier instead of an employee.
I can’t say I’m completely surprised though, given the experiences I’ve had recently.
A month ago, the Diane was almost destroyed.
And I was right in the middle of it…