Airships & Alchemy 12.8: Forward Momentum

23 February, 2014 by katelaity

The Big Splash by Kit Marlowe - 200Edgar rummaged through his brain to try to locate a proper idea for a name of their ship. He thought Rochester’s name entirely too luxuriant in nature and sought something more modern and forward looking. After all, this was the new age and the folderol of the past would be dismissed into the mists of time.

Forward looking? Hmmmm, he mused. Could you call a ship that? He glanced over at his brother, who still smiled vaguely toward the oncoming ship. Israel had no concept of the proper competitive spirit. He had never much excelled at sport, it must be said.

Edgar always made sure he was captain, whatever the game might be. Someone had to lead. He wasn’t willing for it to be anyone else.

Progress? It seemed a little too naked for a name. He didn’t want anything too poetic—poetry was for watery ships. Airships needed serious and lucrative sort of titles. It should be forward leaning but not anything that suggested something radical.

Bad enough they had to show it off in France. They certainly didn’t want any of those sort of political shenanigans creeping into its image.

Israel waved to the other ship. Edgar quashed the sudden flare of temper that rose in his bosom. Never mind that now, he had to think fast.

Fast Progress? Forward Progress? He wasn’t sure he liked them at all. Too close to Pilgrim’s Progress, that loathsome book their tutor always made them read when he wanted an extra nap.

What about ‘rise’ or ‘rising’ in the name? Edgar considered the word. This naming business was tricky. Did all inventors pause at the edge of magnificence to ponder the name for their breakthrough?

Edge of Magnificence? Edgar frowned. He repeated it a few times in his head, listening to the balance of sounds. He decided against it on the grounds that it was both too old fashioned in construction and decidedly tentative in meaning. Best not to let anyone wonder about it. Sounding certain was clearly the way to go.

Progress Forward? Sure, it had the dread ‘progress’ in it, but Edgar found himself more pleased by the reversal of the terms. But maybe ‘progress’ wasn’t the right word anyway. It was more about movement anyway.

If only I had my thesaurus!

The cheery Rochester ship drew close enough that he could see the passengers clearly now. Who was that wild bearded man? He finally recognised Helen’s brother, the profligate Edmund who was doubtless here in Paris tearing his way through any inheritance he might have left or ever hope to get. Appalling young man!

Edgar could not understand why Rochester would countenance that wild rake ambling anywhere near him, doubtless he’d been run quite off his legs or was in some kind of scrape or another.

The fact that their sister Charlotte had fallen madly (and hopelessly) in love with the reprobate doubtless did little to endear him to the rest of the Lintons. That was the problem with girls of an impressionable age. They were always falling in love with someone. If one could marry them off sooner there wouldn’t be time for this love nonsense.

Once they started pinning their hair up, it was a downward spiral into silliness and giggling. There was little chance to stop the forward momentum once it got going. Horrible, really.

Edgar paused in his ruminations, which admittedly had gone far afield of the subject matter in question. But something had tickled his fancy. What had it been? He rewound the last few thoughts to figure out what it had been.

Forward momentum.

It had the right sense of movement, but had a pleasing Latinate construction as well. Edgar pictured it written in an elegant script on the side of the ship. Then he erased that image from his brain and tried it again with a bold typeface.

That suited it much better. He gave a small nod, satisfied with himself.

“Israel, I have a brilliant idea.”

His brother turned back to him, smiling vaguely. “What’s that?”

“I have a name for our craft! I think you’ll agree it is superb and captures the spirit of the times as well as the audacity of our work.”


Edgar blinked. “What?”

“We should call it ‘Yorkshire’ in honour of the place of our birth.”

I shall kill him one day. Edgar sputtered a little as he said, “We certainly shall not call it that. No, I have a much more magnificent name altogether.”

He smiled seraphically.


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