Off to Thoth

Originally posted 20-JUN-1990

Log of the SS High Rhodes
DateEntry
March1889
Mar 4I have agreed to take along two additional passengers for this journey - one Byron Bayswater of the Morning Telegraph and one Doktor Georg Goebbels, a scientist to accompany us on our great journey. The Morning Telegraph has paid 3000 for the honor of exclusive coverage.
Mar 5I gave the High Rhodes a full inspection. She seems to have been fully repaired, and in spanking condition. The crew were all turned out in those matching uniforms I bought. The new gunner, a Welshman named Wyatt, seems to be working out well.

I left Reannahaal enough funds for the next four months, as the journey should be about that long.

Mar 6With passengers all on board, we lifted off from Syrtis Major amid a great fanfare. One of the Foot Regiment's bands played us a send off, after a speech from the Deputy Assistant Regent, Alfred Parkingham! There was a great ground to see us off, all cheering. Jolly good fun.

Set course ENE. We will make for Thoth and avoid Shastapsh.

I have left 2000 with a lawyer in Syrtis Major, one Geoffrey Howe, to cover our next two payments lest we still be out when they fall due. I also filed a will with him as a matter of form.

Mar 8We've been making good time, heading toward Thoth. The steppes of the Parhoon Bay gave way to a rocky desert as we climbed over the rim of the sea bed this morning. The desert is not the uniform orange/red seen from earth, but swirls of orange and yellow, deep red and umber. Not as glare-filled as the Kalahari, but equally as hot. The wind is even drier than at home - home has an ocean just a thousand miles away...
Mar 911:30 AM: That Bayswater chap sure can chatter away for hours! I had hoped that cigars and brandy on deck after dinner would at least slow him down, but by God, the man talks a full gale! Not even Maarskoochi's cooking slows him down!

Herr Doktor, on the other hand, is rather taciturn. Perhaps its being with all us English-speakers.

According to the map, Thoth should be just past the horizon. From our current position, I can see the edge of the green band marking the Thoth - Shastapsh canal zone.

2:30 PM: A Thothan crank cutter signaled us to heave-to. After a quick query, she directed us along a particular path marked on the ground by a set of towers spewing puffs of green smoke.

After the local customs officials yammered at us for a bit, the British Assistant Consul, Alfred Winthrop, came running up. He warned us of a religious uprising in Thoth and suggested we relegate ourselves to the Red Man's Quarter. When I explained our business, he invited to an Inn to meet the local residents.

10:00 PM: I had the lads fall to their dress whites and we trundled off to the quarter, for an impromptu celebration at the Rumpled Ruumet Inn. We looked quite smart. I gave the gathered crowd a brief speech. Bayswater noted every word.

During the fete, a fellow named Estes pulled me aside. Seems he has a bit of a problem and needs some stouthearts to help him free his patron and business partner, a Martian noble caught up in the temple revolution in town. Offered us 500 for our trouble. On behalf of my crew, I accepted.


Copyright 1996 by Mitchell K Schwartz

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