Pope & Pachmar
Professor Pope has been invited to speak at the latest symposium of the Venture Society. It is the beginning of October in London. A yellow haze lies over the city, not the deadly thick fog, which the Professor knew perfectly well could be eliminated through better regulation of coal fires, but a dun-coloured veil that hangs over the house-tops, giving the viewer an impression of the city that is at once claustrophobic, and conducive of a sense of mystery and indefinite expanse. It is colder than is normal for the season, causing even his ascetic companion Pachmar to wear an English style gentleman's coat over his more traditional garb.
The Hansom has taken them from the train station to the prestigious address of the Society on Cromwell Road in the center of the city. The scene at the Society building is more quiet than most Symposiums they have attended, and the Professor might feel a sense of frustration at too small an audience for his attentions.
The cabby lets them off on the carriage drive that fronts the main building, tipping his hat and saying, “Good afternoon, guvnor! mind you don’t let none of them eggheads and graybeards give you any guff. Me missus reads me The Strand articles that newspaper fella tells o’ ye. They are a larf, I do say. Did you really punch the Royal Astronomer in the nose?”
Charles Brady senses his luck is about to turn good. It’s about time. He’s sure had enough of the other kind. God bless John Ringling for understanding the dangers inherent in modern aviation, and being so good as to let him buy the Model Ex for a fraction of its worth, even given its sorry state. It was a shame that fellow from the New York Venture Society branch wasn’t able to find anyone able to fix her up. Charles surely knew his way around a monkey wrench, but he had big ideas for the old girl, beyond his engineering skills.
Still the old boy at the VS was more than generous in offering him this job helping to transport some artifacts and papers to the London Society. Sure he was little more than a glorified stevedore, since there was an honest-to-gosh professor actually curating the shipment, but he was getting free passage out of the deal, plus the 800 lbs of cargo space needed to transport the wounded Model EX. Even now the old girl was in a warehouse at Customs on the waterfront. He figured he’d be able to keep her there for a week until the few funds he had left dried up. Nevertheless, the chances of getting someone to look at his plans for repairs and improvements here were pretty dang good, and the folk of the British Isles had sure never seen anything like his aerobatics. With luck, he’d be able to start doing shows again and.. well, once he was back in the air, who cared what happened after that?
He had even asked the scientist fella on the ship, Doctor MacGregor, if he was interested. The reedy old Scotsman had huffed a bit at the idea, saying he was a serious engineer, and believed in solid and sensible engineering, not these seat-of-your-pants stunt machines. Still, despite his gruff dismissal, he had been kind enough to recommend an old schoolmate of his. “Professor Eldritch Pope is the man you want to see,” he said in his pronounced brogue. “This sort of blethers is exactly the sort of thing he gets all daft oe’r. If I were you young man, I would’nae fash myself over this aeronautical fad, and instead find a sensible young lady to ground ye. Och, weel. I kin see yer no disposed to be talked out of it. Here’s an article aboot him in Strand Magazine (sensational rubbish), wi’ his picture to boot. Ye should have nae trouble findin’ him.”
The pompous Scot had been prophetic, though. It is late afternoon, and no sooner has he walked up the carriage drive of the Society Museum—for who could afford cab fare in his state, and the stingy old Doc hadn’t offered to give him a lift with the crates—than out of a horse-drawn london cab steps the very man himself, flanked by a huge dark-eyed man in a great turban. The two seem to be engaged with an unusually talkative cabbie.
Last edited by keithcurtis
on Mon May 11, 2015 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.