On La Danse Calinda
Beau Bergeron had never before seen an engine of this type in his lifetime. He was no mechanic, though like any man of his age he’d worked on plenty of cars in his time. However, what he’d never seen was one like this. It was almost like a steam engine from the history books he’d read as a boy — but different. It had many improvements that he knew could not have been aboard a vessel like this.
For one thing, the pistons were turned by a windmill-like rotor, a vast improvement over designs of his own historical 19th century. The discovery opened up many questions about the man Captain Jean Lafitte III, questions about his true origins.
Could it be that there are more versions of Maurepas, as well as more versions of Earth? he thought. In his own free time he’d often enjoyed television shows having to do with physics and metaphysics, one theory of which was called “String Theory,” which posits that there are more than the normal four dimensions, that besides the three spatial dimensions and the fourth of space-time there were others consisting of other universes, and that these dimensions oscillate like the strings of a guitar. It stood to reason that the theory could be true. After all, he and, very clearly, Captain Lafitte were from different dimensions than that of Aeldreth.
However, Beau had to put those idle curiosities to the wayside in his mind. As he’d said to Tayliana, he was no mechanic, and he therefore could tell her little other than the proper names of a few of the more common elements of the machine. But that couldn’t be a barrier to his helping her. It was the lynch pin to gaining her loyalty, and if he was going to pretend to be an authority on the thing’s workings, he would have to do more than simply spout his rudimentary knowledge.
— — —
Tayliana Winddancer Dahtaligaar couldn’t believe her luck. All this time trying to seek out someone, anyone, with knowledge of the machine in Aeldreth, and here one had truly been delivered into her arms, and he was willing to help!
“So, what is this for?” she asked, pointing to the pipe leading up from her fireplace into a compartment in the engine. Beau looked up from his own study of another part of the machine. In some ways, he seemed as puzzled over the machine as she herself, but she knew that couldn’t be, else how would he have such detailed knowledge? Anyone could make something up, but those people’s logic would have had holes. They would have been stumped every now and again by a question. Beau did not seem to exhibit any of these behaviours.
“That?” he said, “That my dear girl is a pipe.” And he smiled at her disapproving look.
Clever cockscomb, she thought, though she couldn’t help but chuckle back. In many ways it was endearing.
“Sorry, but it is. It was actually quite ingenious, in a random way, for you to use this as a fireplace,” he said. “Had you the proper fuel, this would be what’s called a ‘boiler’, and the heat would be transferred up from this pipe into an expansion chamber here,” he pointed at the next joint in the pipe, “which would empty out into this chamber here,” he continued, pointing at the cracked opening which revealed the windmill-like item, “were it not cracked, the pressure would build and turn it, providing power to the machine,” he was concluding when there was a knock at the door.
“It’s Ionas,” the lookout said from outside the door.
Tayliana smiled at Beau as she turned to answer it, letting much in the way of rain into her room from the storm that wouldn’t end.
“Yes?” she said, trying to convey in her tone that he was interrupting. She couldn’t say it explicitly. He may have an urgent need for her as the ship’s wizard, and she couldn’t refuse him in good conscience.
However, she could in good conscience bring to his awareness that she did not like being disturbed at the present time. “Was there something you needed?”