“I’ve got it,” the Professor said, stroking his voluminous, white beard. “We’ll use salt. We can harvest it from the ocean, and sell it as bricks.”
“That’s just another fossil fuel,” the Scientist said, straightening his spectacles. “The whole point was to get away from all that. The people don’t like the coal smoke from the factories as it is. They’re not going to like salt clouds wafting over everything.” As he spoke, one such wave of coal smoke flowed past the men, disrupting what might have otherwise been a fine afternoon in the park.
The Professor harrumphed and crossed his arms, squashing his bushy beard. It had been his idea to sit outside. He thought the fresh air might help them think better. Admittedly, the air in the central city wasn’t exactly fresh.
The Inventor gave his tophat a quick buff and placed it back on his head, artfully covering his bald spot. “I still think this electricity stuff has got real promise. Give it a few years, and it could replace coal.”
The Scientist scoffed and his spectacles slid down his rather beaky nose. “You’re missing the point, both of you. Electricity still has to be generated, and for that we need an energy source. Water requires we build a dam and leaves us at the mercy of the seasons. Heat means we need something to burn. So until you can invent a new kind of generator, we’re not done.”
The Inventor got to his feet, standing over the other two. “I would have invented something already, if your damnable science didn’t keep telling me not to bother.”
The Scientist stood also, pushing his spectacles back into place and balling his fists. “You engineers have no idea of the bigger picture.”
“Gentlemen, please.” The Professor raised his hands to them both and waited for quiet. “We are three of the greatest minds of our generation. Surely between us we can design a generator that requires neither fuel nor sufficient rainfall.”
A new voice interrupted them. “Maybe I can help with that.”
The three men looked over to a young woman wearing a leather corset, ruffled skirts, and a wide brimmed hat with a feather in the top.
“Where did you come from?” the Scientist asked, sure he hadn’t seen anyone approach.
The woman pointed to the sky above them and the trio looked up to see the wood-paneled underbelly of a huge ship, floating above them.
“What was that you said about the bigger picture?” she asked with a smirk, then extended her hand to the Professor, who was closest. “Mimi Resourceful, Skycaptain of the Nimbus. And if you’re looking for energy sources, I know just the thing. My ship has to be able to travel anywhere, in any time period. So I rigged the engine to be fueled by the gravitational power of the Earth.”
The Scientist frowned. “Well that doesn’t make any sense at all. You can’t have a flying ship powered by gravity. The very idea is a contradiction.”
Mimi put her hands on her hips and gave him a smug look. “Not if you know what you’re doing.”
The Scientist bristled. The Professor puffed out his chest and straightened his waistcoat. “Now, little lady, this is a discussion for experts. Perhaps you’d best run along.”
Mimi’s smile turned into a glare. “I’m Skycaptain Resourceful, explorer of worlds, and traveller through time. I destroyed the Predacious Parsnip, defeated Zeus, and led the charge in the Battle of the Great Carrot.”
The three men stared at her until the Inventor’s face lit up. “I’ve got it. I knew I had heard of the Nimbus before.”
Mimi settled into a smile again, pleased to know she hadn’t paved the way for science and exploration for nothing.
“That was Skycaptain Forethought’s ship,” the Inventor announced. Mimi fumed.
“The discoverer of the Orb of Ordinance?” the Scientist asked.
“And the author of Be Prepared?” The Professor confirmed
“Not to mention, his very impressive hat,” the Inventor added.
Mimi Resourceful pulled her plasma gun from the holster on her hip and vaporised the Inventor. His tophat bounced along the ground. Straightening her own illustrious hat, she turned to the remaining two men, who had shrunk back into their chairs.
Placing one foot on the Inventor’s now vacated seat, she leaned forward. “Now, I can tell you how to use gravity as an energy source, or I can show you what happens when I switch the generators off.”
The two men looked up at the massive hull, hovering directly above them and swallowed, then spoke in unison.
“Whatever you say, Skycaptain.”
FlashFictionMonth day 6! and today we get a blast from the past. Mimi Resourceful is back and dressed to kill.
Today was a challenge day. I was tempted to go full sci-fi, but decided to bring back an old fav instead.
Element 1. Verne-acular: Root your story in an area of real scientific research.
(The search for energy)
Element 2. Might-as-Wells: Add something fantastic to your story, and use the addition to say something about today’s society in the process.
(The Nimbus and gender issues in the science industry)
Element 3. Party Like it’s 1899: Colour your setting with a bit of that old 1800’s flair. You don’t have to make things strictly Victorian, or even set the story on this planet, but let’s try and keep things post-Industrial, and pre-Second World War in style.