22 August 2012

winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt.
Hell yeah, Steampunk!
Who doesn’t love Steampunk? Seriously, is there someone like that? That idea is AMAZING!
But. Tintin and classical (Victorian era) Steampunk does somehow not stick together. Sorry, but it just do not work. It’s more like “The adventures of young Sherlock Holmes (with a quiff) in Steamland and The land beyond Mirror”. So, with a sad heart, I decided to use more unusual Steampunk-ish universe.
part two
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

Towards the close of the Industrial Revolution, in the middle of the 19th century, ‘Baxter Industries’ came up with epoch-making technology which soon spread all around the world, changing it forever. Their Steam powered engines were basis of modern steamboats, locomotives, airships and later even the self-propelling vehicles, which replaced horse-drawn carriages.
Four decades later, a scientist named Frank Wolff created first automaton animal, famous ‘Dampf-Hund-Eins’ using the very same technology. He had found a way, albeit expensive one, how to minimize all components.
But then, in second decade of twentieth century, a war, now known as ‘Great War’, broke out, nearly stopping all developments and forever changing the map of the world. War, in which were firstly used steam-powered weapons. War, in which nearly four percent of whole population were wiped off. War which seeded fear and terror into hearts of all people.
And now is year 193something.
Please, let me tell you a story.


The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 1)

1st of July, 193-, Rotterdam
Professor Cuthbert Calculus looks from his workroom window for the ninth time this hour. The view, magnificent view above the roofs of his hometown, had always calmed him. Not this time.
Cuthbert is average man, but only in appearance. He mostly wears green tweed suit and same colored bowler, and the years when he didn’t need glasses are long gone. Majority of people who meets him on streets or in factory corridors, simply doesn’t even notice this slightly eccentric engineer.
It is not safe here anymore. But how did they found out? Who are they anyway? Normally, he doesn’t care the slightest about his factory business, but this time … this time was different. They appeared out of the blue and tried to buy his work. They wanted it, and they still do.
And they are dangerous.
Professor Calculus taps on an oblong copper box with an etching of Sunflower on its lid. His eyes slides towards ‘Le Vingtième Siècle’ newspaper splayed across his desk. It is the only chance.

5th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
Archibald Haddock, former member of ‘The Royal Army of The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and eastern coasts of Europe’ and currently a captain of steamboat cargo-ship ‘Karaboudjan’, deadweight tonnage 120,000 tons, is in trouble. And this time, to his own amazement, he is completely, utterly sober.
“Allan.” He clutches the opened tin which was supposed to be, but isn’t, full of crab meat.
“Yeah, Captain?” His first mate asks, gun in his hands aiming at former soldier.
“How long?” Archibald lifts his hands above own head and turns slowly to face the man he trusted. “How long have you been abusing my good name and my ship to smuggle opium?”
“Nearly from the start, Captain. You can’t blame me. It was so easy, since you were blind drunk nearly all the time.”
“You little …” Archibald unthinkingly steps forward, fury in his eyes, only to be stopped by mighty blow to his head.
Ivan, the machinist, smiles contentedly, and stretches his fist. “What we do with him? Feed fish?”
“Hmmm, no. Lock him in some cabin.” Allan squats down to motionless body and pats his former captain on cheek. “We could get a fortune for him at slave market.”

7th of July, 193-, Brussels
A young man, who goes under the name ‘Tintin’ walks across the Labrador Road street, dodging passers-by. This part of city is lively and still untouched by mechanization. No wonder his automaton dog still causes sensation, even thought it isn’t newest model. To be honest, it is not even penultimate model. Actually, it is pretty worn down. The copper is tarnished, nearly all components were changed over time, but Milou is personality and dear friend to Tintin. It had proven itself useful many times during its master’s (unexpectedly dangerous) work at reportages for ‘Le Vingtième Siècle’.
Tintin might seem fragile, due to his petite figure (his height is barely above meter sixty), but if you assume him weak, you would be gravely mistaken. He is kind, always polite, hard-working and very curious boy with smooth face, emerald eyes and slightly elongated snub nose. His hair has the color of ginger, with copper reflections under direct sunlight, and despite all his efforts, his quiff does stubbornly sticks out all the time. He is most comfortable in white polo shirt, brown plus-fours and hardly leaves his flat without worn leather messenger bag.
“Wiggins!” The ginger reporter laughs loudly, when he grabs a boy, roughly at age of seven, who tried to pinch his wallet. “Are you trying to rob me again?”
“Merely exercising your reflexes, Tintin.”
“Sure. Did you found anything?”
“Nope. That man disappeared like steam above the engine.”
“Crumbs. I do need to talk with Thompson and Thomson then.”
“Those two butter-fingers?”
“They are the best detectives of Interpol.”
Wiggins looks at Tintin, pouting. Milou looks at Tintin, releasing a thin puff of steam from his muzzle.
“They are klutz.” Says Wiggins with certainty in his voice.
“Well, yes, they are.” Tintin pinches the bridge of his nose wearily. “Here you go.” He takes his wallet, which had miraculously ended in Wiggins’ pocket and gives his young informer a banknote. “And don’t forget to divide others.”
“Sure. We’ll make a raid to that Syldavian patisserie.” States Wiggins as he runs away.
Tintin laughs and turns back to his way home. When he closes the door of number 26 behind himself, sudden a wave of tiredness washes over him.
“Oh, Tintin, you finally came.”
“Mrs. Finch? Is something the matter?”
“You got a parcel this morning.”
“I’m not expecting anything.”
“I took it for you anyway. But boy, I am not your secretary.” The landlady reappears in her ground floor flat’s door. “Here. It looks valuable.”
“Thank you again.”
The tiredness is suddenly gone. Tintin hops up stairs to his own flat, Milou at his heels. Closing the door behind them, he immediately heads for his study, places the mysterious parcel on his desk.
“From ‘Tournesol factory’?”
Milou tilts his head-piece, puffing of steam.
“Oh. Hello.” Tintin unwraps the package, eyeing curiously its content. “What are you?”
Oblong copper box with etching of Sunflower on its lid.

Author’s notes
I had to change a lot of things. But, this is Steampunk AU, so I could. Aaand I did hide cookies. Found them?
x Baxter Industries and Frank Wolff. Seriously, if you don’t know the names, be ashamed. Or read ‘the Moon series’.
x Frank Wolff always appeared to me like a German. I don’t know why, probably his name. And I could hardly imagine anyone better to invent functioning, steam-powered automaton animal ‘Dampf-Hund-Eins’ [Steam-Dog-One]. Hence the German language.
x In WW1, the total population loss of 1.75% (16,563,868 people) is estimated. I used far bigger figure, actually redoubling the assessment. I think it is appropriate, just imagine steam-tanks. If it got shot to engine, it would explode and there would be a lot of, lot of boiling steam. And lots of suffering scalded people. And hardly accessible first aid. The Great Steam War was a massacre.
x I use here that vague dating 193something or 193-. I love this. It is the best way to set a date for story without actually giving it. (Something like ‘Star Date’. Or, have you ever read old-school ghost stories or gothic novels? It is pretty common there.) That means, this could happen anytime between 1931 to 1939.
x Professor Calculus original French name is Tryphon Tournesol. The surname, according to translator, means Sunflower. In my version, Professor is a Dutch, but as a real man of science, he doesn’t care for nationalities. By the way, he could use seven languages, and in all of them he irks people beyond madness, thanks to his bad hearing.
x Le Petit Vingtième, newspaper on which ‘Les Aventures de Tintin’ firstly appeared on 10 January 1929, was children supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, for which Tintin works in this story. And yes, I do not speak French, feel free to point out any mistake I made.
x Captain Haddock is more active figure in my version. He has Scottish roots (and French one as well), but his family had lived in Dover, South East England ever since he could remember. He is veteran of Great War, and this experience had scarred him forever. But don’t worry, he still is a clumsy, gruff alcoholic with soft spot for certain ginger reporter.
x United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and eastern coasts of Europe. It is AU! The world is different.
x Karaboudjan. OK. I am a total looser when it comes to technology and engineering, so I searched the help of my friend Wiki. (Read: Wikipedia.) 120,000 tons of deadweight tonnage should be long range tanker type 2. I don’t have the slightest idea how does that look. Probably much smaller than in Steven Spielberg’s movie. Much much smaller. Just imagine big cargo ship made of steel with steam engine and that gigantic wheel in its rear. (Like old riverboats used to have.) That’s my Steampunk Karaboudjan.
x Tintin, our beloved nosy intrepid reporter, is a Fleming and lives in Brussels. He does not talk about his past and lives completely alone, barely making the ends meet with his salary. So, how did he got his hands on something as expensive as automaton dog? Perhaps we will learn more about him later in the story.
x I decided to use Snowy’s original French name, Milou. You know, the English version just do not suit to a copper dog.
x And ‘cause I already mentioned my most beloved fandom, Sherlock Holmes, I simply could not resist. Wiggins, one of famous Baker Street Irregulars made an appearance.
x I wanted Thompson and Thomson to be yardies (Scotland Yard employees), but in the end I made them work for Interpol. There is just one tiny little problem with it. This name was adopted in 1956, previously the organization was known as International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC for short). But again, this is AU. Problem solved.
x And much needed lesson in geography on the end. Belgium and Netherlands are joined together in ‘Dutch Republic’. England is in territorial possession of Ireland and French coast along English Channel. Luxembourg is part of ‘The Monarchy of France’. Somewhere there, near Luxembourg City is a village called Moulinsart and an abandoned Marlinspike Hall, inhabited only by faithful butler. There is also ‘Königreich of Preußen’ [Prussian Kingdoom] (which is totally awesome, by the way) nearby. Thanks to this, Poland has been reduced to small ‘Księstwo Krakowskie’ [Duchy of Krakow]. And, of course, there are disunited Syldavia and Borduria, neighbours of Hungary. The rest of the world does not concern us right now.

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