image: wired.com


Lovely Ladies and Kind Sirs,

I invite you to join in on a group story in the tradition of the RPG forums of old. You are welcome to add onto the story so long as you're careful to avoid adjusting the characters invented by another writer. You can include rumours involving participating characters, but not action sequences. Action sequences are exclusive to the character inventors.

The tale we weave here will be a multiple person account of the disappearances of several Skyship Captains in the Motherland Diaspora. Rumours have it Aethernauts are frightened to take wing. What have you heard or witnessed in your section of the Motherland Steam Diaspora? You can write your account in first-person, as a letter, in a news editorial, third-person account, or etc. Experimentation is prized. Satire is welcome.

Let's have a blast long into the night with our shiny quills, and crank out Afrikan/POC steampunk to the cheers of diverse Steampunk lovers.

Appreciatively, in the spirit of mirth
-Lady PurpleZoe of the Magazine that is, Purple.


P.S. This may be published in Purple Mag at some point for those interested in having their installments printed. We'll contact everyone individually for permissions if we move forward with publishing some of the pieces *_^

P.S.S
It's best to use parentheses for Non-story communication in the comments in the 'reply to this' sections, if you want to comment on an installment.

e.g. (When are you adding another installment? *_^)


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'Oh dear,' sniffed Amara Greenwing-Uhele. 'Yes, I'm certain he was here! I brought him Roiibus tea with the mandarin slices he likes so much, just at noon. You can't seriously be saying he's not on the ship.'
Reaching out a nile-brown hand to balance herself against the gilded copper frame of the engine room window, the Captain's wife, drank in a feverish amount of air, biting her bottom lip, naturally beestung in its fullness, and touched her free hand to the high buttoned collar at her neck. 'Do you mean to tell me he's nowhere on this ship?'
Blip Tosten was spinning the roulette wheel checking to see if there were any unevenness in its motion. The previous owners of the gambling concession in Marty & Nika's Hotel, had seen to the odds being further in their favor by rigging games, such as the wheel. Their sudden relinquishing of the concession to Blip, came as a surprise to some, but to other's such as Nika Chisolm, who as a child and young woman had known the 5'8' thick block of midnight known as Blip because s his aunt had said "he was so black the only way to see him was a farscreen viewer set to high", had grown up to be the most dangerous man in the Mitchell Tower Complex and beyond.

Two taller big muscled strikers stood or sat nearby as their boss acknowledged to the repairman everything was alright and paid him off plus a tip that caused Lonnie Richards to flick his tongue over his dry lips, again.
"Now you can tell Mr. Tosten what you told us,"said the first striker Jacque Bellau, balding early yet still
popular with women who'd otherwise would stick their heads in a lion's mouth. The even bigger man, "Slicer" Kincayd smiled at Lonnie with good natured pleasantness,as if envisioning the punishment he was
going to inflict on Lonnie was the best thing to start the week.

Blip turned towards the trio. Only Jacque was still smiling. " Lonnie, we grew up in the
"Hell" together as kids. You didn't cause me any problems back then. You used to have the crew laughing when you started with your slaps on folks. Except you never talked bad about me. And I appreciated it.
Really I did. So here come I find out you owe me 27,964. 48 douglass'. I didn't press you, I gave you time.
But you din't even make an attempt a halfass installment plan or something. Come to find out you was where
Jacque?" "At the hangars." "But but Blip..." Lonnie started to say but the look in Blip eyes said he had scorched
that familiarity, resorted to, " Mr. Tosten, I wasn't going nowhere I swear. I didn't have any bags..." "The better
to slip away," said a once again smiling Slicer. " I was waiting on my girl Lula"s, you know Lula Ramie' from Floor Seventeen back in the complex? Her baby sister Brienne had married this skyship captain and Lula
had got them to loan us some money for a business and I was down there waiting on him. Honest." " Well",
Blip looked to all three for answers. It was Jacque who spoke. "Something happened on board, maybe a mutiny
or something. But there wasn't any top flyboy on board. They got all brands of cops down there but the story's
the same-a missing captain." " And I'm out of goodwill towards you Lonnie," said Blip. Lonnie felt like the
joke was on him.
Chris Bleeker held the crying Lula Richards in his arms, trying not to fall into the waiting snare. He had seen her
tearyeyed on the Pierce EL train. Despite the passing of twelve years, a slight padding around her waist, and the
red rimmed eyes, she looked the same as she did when he said goodbye to her as he and the other cannon fodder who had volunteered for the Makuria Expedition embarked. Their kiss that day was one of the things
that kept his mind focused on surviving that confused three way shootout.

He was one of the handful of survivors of his intake and was looking forward to get his bonus reward and set up a small diner with Lula outside one of the tube stations. It was like taking a kick from a recon
strider in the gut when he got the type from his running partner Waymon Earle, that she had fallen in with "Flashlight" Lonnie Richard, a glib third stat hustler from the old Mitchell Tower Complex, the "Hell" as they called it growing up there. The news caused him to turn back to the recruiting desk and sign up with the Regulars: the 68th Infantry Regiment "StormWind" making senior corporal after a series of bloody campaigns
and heavy footed garrison jobs. Now on leave and having it in city for the first time he was looking to hook
up with his few surviving relatives and friends when Lula came into view. Now, after she had embraced with
him with something like the golden feelings of times past, she told him all about the drama with the slush head. If he had walked into the park where they were sitting, Chris knew he would've crippled him without
regrets. But Lula wanted help saving the bastard from Blip Tosten ! Blip Death! And she was working those big brown eyes and her small shapely hands clasped his, pleading for his help. Chris figured a platoon of
assault troopers might get close.
Senior Inspector Okoye rested his chins on the thumbs of his clasped heavy hands. To many this resembled the pose of a bored man trying to stay awake as his slitted eyes seemed to be boring straight ahead into dreamland.
*-^ Those who had gotten to know him somewhat, realized he was fitting the Great Pieces together of the current mystery others were slamming into. A tall man once an active muscular rugby player three times player of the year, now thirty years later a rhino girth honey colored, individual known more for his mental prowess then his
athleticism, with heavy brows and long eyelashes that gave camouflage to his slitted eyes as he thought on the current dilemma. Random Aethernaught captains from both transport and passenger ships had vanished. They were from major lines and one ship enterprises. Sleek,gleaming, elite craft and sputtering sky stainers. The individuals were either thought highly of by the crew and the ships owners if they didn't own their craft, or were
thought of as escapees from hell who ran their ships like what they had experienced in the nether regions. Murder, suicide, abandonment in midair for some unknown but to them purpose, or... Officer Samuels knocked on his dark highly polished ebon wood door that he had installed as reward after solving a particular mystery
involving a politico's rougish son and the love addled offspring of a theater chain owner. "Sir, Doctor Doopyduk is here and he says he's on to something." "That's not good, Wendy, that's not good at all. send him in anyway. If the good doctors Vodungyrospheres had detected something in the abnormal then so much for apprehending a common criminal,however clever. "Wendy get in touch with Earle no matter what he says about him deserving a vacation from us, would you please." Wendy Samuels an attractive woman 6'1" in height and still an active footballer,was taken somewhat aback. She and Waymon Earle were planning on going
up to the lakes this weekend.
(note to the scribe: Beautifully written, Lady Whiyayul. Love Inspector Okoye in the micro fiction above this one too. Bless your pen.)
'Am I to gather you've refused our invitation, Lady Uhele?'
Amara jumped at the mock-civilized tone of the brutish voice greeting her, uninvited, from her own chamber.
'Lady Greenwing-Uhele,' she clucked her teeth, squinting in the chocolate amber dark, feeling along the walls for the string of the main gas lamp.
'I prefer you don't do that,' the voice crowed, straining to maintain a velvet tone.
'Really! How dare you enter my quarters, ask vague questions of me, and insist we remain in the dark while you do so. No civilized woman would permit such a request. I am a married woman, sir.'
'A married woman with a missing husband, Lady Uhele,' the voice took on a fact-issuing tone, incensing the Captain's wife, whose lips pressed into the deep scowl all who knew her generally hoped to avoid calling out of her.
'Greenwing-Uhele! You surely know the customs of Haven City. We are each of the other family, but we do not divorce our roots. I will ask- no I will demand, as uncomely as my tone may be under your inspiration, that you leave at once!'
Several weightless seconds passed before the stranger leaned forward from her reading chair, grinning in the secret dark.
'I think, Lady Uhele, that you do not yet realize how much you would appreciate the information you might obtain if I stay.'
Bowing slightly to the Inspector, Doctor Doopyduk came into Inspector Okoye's office carrying his slowly revolving spheres spinning in counter direction from the silver girded etched glass globe. A well groomed and dressed figure of medium height, Oliver Doopyduk had the look of a successful stage performer. But that as
Okoye had learned had driven the Vodunologist to become one of the most academically esteemed scholars among his peers of all subjects, a rarity Okoye knew, a flash of his solving a murder case at Haven City College
involving rival professors,running through his mind as the doctor set down his gear. " Inspector the news I bring, I believe, is the most disturbing in, I think four generations. The Benin OutBreak is it's closest rival." He had sat in a plush leather chair,his legs crossed, his expensive dyed navy blue ostrich leather shoes gleaming in the light of the office. The shoes alone were two months salary to Okoye. But he no longer bore any resentment towards the doctor for his acquired wealth in fact on many a occasion had been there when the
aid of the Vodunologist had helped break what would have been called an insolvable crime.
Dintine's was a favored restaurant at the head of the West Avenue- Pierce El crossings of the bay. Painted blue and molasses brown on the outside, depending on the time of day it was either a bright yellow or a muddy gold colored walled establishment inside. The banners and pennants of city, region and national ball teams hung from the rafters or were pinned to the walls, along with team individuals from the teams photos who had eaten there . Green leather booths hugged the wallls except near the kitchen and bathrooms, the rest were tables or
in a special alcove on the northside ,the two rough,made from scrap wood, benches that were the original eating places when the late Thomy Bleeker and Jerry Earle first opened the establishment back on Strodes and Nyzinga,
two blocks up the street from where they lived with there young families, the Randolph Mitchell Tower. Or Kickback Palace as Thomy Bleeker called it in its first few years. Jerry took to calling it the same as the older teens; The Hell. A product of a need for housing, old style political corruption, and big government indifference, The Hell became a breeding ground for all the ills the Establishment sought to sweep away and appease. But the Bleekers and the Earles, their wives Anna and Netty, respectively, and hundreds of other made do and grew a garden from amid the weeds. Though Waymon Earle wouldn't have said it like that to the two men sitting at the old plank bench with him. They were ex Hell Tower Boys too, and still crewed with
Blip" Death" Tosten. A guy he and his pride cat Chris Bleeker didn't crew with,hardcore wise, but gave and were equally given respect to. " I tell ya mon, Way, ya daddy still be stirring on these pigfeet and blackeyed peas," said a contentedly smacking Yancy " No survivors" Mtume. 6'4" 326 pounds of a human volcano, Yancy
coud be the best friend you ever had, or the ticket to the graveyard. Blood and life had given him features that you expected grunts to issue from, except when he was truly happy, then he had the look of a baby being tickled by his favorite relative, such as now. "All the way" Upton Sinclair was better looking but just as deadly as Yancy. Waymon remembered back to when at a house party on the twenty-fourth floor back when he was fifteen and felt now was the time to mingle with the big boys, Cathy Gowan, had asked him where he got his nickname from. 'Because, little honey drop, if a sumbeyatch get me mad I'm liable to put my size 11"s all the way up they ass." Now he was contented, finishing off his smothered pork chops with collard and mustard greens.
Waymon Earle was at ease with the two strikers because of all the original surviving members of the Blip Tosten crew, they had lived on the same floor, their apartments right next to each other on the twelfth. Each had spent
nights over at the Earles when in Sinclair's case, his slushhead parents went on their jags and abandoned he and his two sisters and younger brother. In Mtume's it was when the cops were dragging either Beenie, his cooking grease scarred stepfather, or Amalie, his shoplifting mother to jail for either crimes committed outside the Hell. or from attacking one another. Waymon asked his young nephew Lemar to bring another pitcher of the taste perfect homemade strawberry juice to the bench. He had his father's long narrow facial features giving him the look of a Old Land tribal mask and his mother's relative's height and build, standing 6' 2" and the heft of a boxer.
His dark brown skin still gleamed with Habid's Body Lotion as it had all the previous thirty-five years. A tattoo of the tower was on his left forearm, something every boy in the flow wore to distinguish him from the rest of
the Osibida neighborhood prides.
" What's up with you fellahs, these days? I heard you two got kicked up a notch. Ya don't have walk with the prides
anymore, now ya sit behind desks and ride around in Otleymobiles. That's true?" Yancy slurped down the last bit of spicy flesh from a bone and loudly smacked his lips. Upton thanking Lemar for refilling his glass glared at Waymon. "Look mon. Let's get one thang straight. We all know where we stand and who pays our bills, aight?
You be a freelance 'tective with a tendency to help out the cops on some thangs. We been rolling with Blip since we was snot nosed, dirty drawer kids, aight. We stir away from each others bizness worlds as much as possible.
What's up with you tryin' to ruin what's up to now been a nice time with old cats talkin' over old times?" Yancy added to Upton's words. "Unless you want to tell us a few thangs Way. You asking minor stuff for now but then it start to grow to a big old snitch bush that always needs to be clipped. Don't do it mon. If some thangs need to be laid on you, it will. But if you need to be laid out, that'll happen too." Waymon felt the
ice build up. Old friends they were, but they'd blow him away and offer sympathies at his funeral.
(note: @Whiyayul *fingers crossed your story becomes a book*)

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