Here is an extract from the short story I started at 10am this morning - ‘The Fylonshmap Thruster’
I noticed the patch on his flight suit at the bar. He was a member of the Air Steamers, but looked young. He could only have made a few flights. I weaved my way through the crowd to find him at a table with his beer, positioned above a large book. He had notes and a pen next to him, and completely ignoring the strange looks he was getting - typical of an Air Steamer.
I took a booth next to him so I could spy. I am not going to find an excuse - I’m nosey. My brother says I like to ‘nose’ everything. I had passed the entrance exams for the Air Steamers back when I was his age, but life just didn’t pan out that way.
Over his shoulder, I could read some of his lecture notes.
“The Fylonshmap thruster is a form of etherically-powered propulsion using Geretz force to generate thrust.”
There was a handwritten note describing Geretz force as the “force on a phlogistinated quanta by an etheric-fylon field”. I was somewhat intrigued. Although I was an engineer, surface or sea steam engines were as close as I got to Air Steamers. Everyone wanted to be an Air Steamer, but you had to be smart and you had to be fit. I had never heard of a Fylonshmap thruster.
The notes continued:
“A gas is phlogistinated and fed into an acceleration chamber. Fylon and etheric fields are then applied using an external power source. Quanta are then driven by the Geretz force caused by the interaction of the ether-glow running through the shmap and fylon field out through the exhaust chamber.”
Again, a note in the margin stated these fields could be applied “externally or induced by ether-glow”. I had never heard of ether-glow. I’m not sure why I transfixed on this part as the rest was far beyond me as well. What was ether-glow? I was dying to ask, but instead I continued reading over his shoulder.
“As with other etherically-powered propulsion systems, both the thrust itself, and the efficiency of the thruster, shown by thrust divided by the amount of propellant used per unit time, increase with power input, while thrust per yorl decreases.”
I had to wait until he turned the page to read the rest. I pretended I was people watching. I had my ears ready to hear the page turn. I could already see through the paper the diagrams on the next page and I was very interested to see them. I hoped it would all make sense to me, but it was probably all completely beyond me. The page turned with a crisp swish.
The diagrams were fantastical. At first I could not see how such a thing could possible work. There was no surface. It looked remarkably like something that would be submersible. There was no up or down, but there seemed to be a front and a back. The text was still more mystery.