winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part ten part twelve
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 11)

Cuthbert tilts his head and looks at astonished Archibald, smug smile on his lips. “Never underestimate a scientist, Captain.”
“Yes, sir.” Archibald blurts out.
Steelworks employees are encircling them. Professor leans on his lead pipe like on walking stick. He turns at closest man and says something in German. The worker retorts, but soon stutters under the intensity of Calculus’ stare. Other workers join the debate, yet they quickly succumb to professor’s authority. Captain notices expressions for “accident” “illegal” and “police”. But he couldn’t care less, since he spots inert Milou in debris.
“Oh no.” He mutters, taking the copper canine to his arms.
“Allow me.” Professor, keeping a tight rein on situation, takes Milou from his hands. “Ah, severe malfunction due to impact.” He examines automaton’s head-piece. “Hmm, main memory seems not to be damaged.” He smiles at Captain reassuringly. “Do not worry. I can repair your dog.”
“No no, he’s Tintin’s …” Chill crawls up Archibald’s spine. Tintin. He looks around, searching frantically for unmistakable ginger hair. Instead, he notices the trace of destruction. “Blue blistering barnacles.” Captain knows immediately where exactly Tintin is. “Take care of here, would yer?” He interjects in the loose direction of Cuthbert.
“Wait! Are you going to confront stampede AST bare handed?!” Professor’s voice falters.
“Yes?” Archibald answers, unsure of himself.
“Are you mad?”
“Captain,” Cuthbert grabs his shoulders and turns the ex-soldier to face him. “Lure the ‘Crab’ to river. The device is sensitive to water.”
“Now, that sounds like a plan.” I must totally lost my mind! “Handle it here for while.” Archibald starts running after Tintin. “Interpol should arrive soon!” He shouts back at the engineer.
Professor Calculus stands there, unmoving Milou in his arms, watching as Captain hurries away, his injured leg obviously forgotten. It is not just that boy, who is extraordinary, no. Even this man is especial. Cuthbert smiles. He should watch over those two.

This is nightmare come true.
One of those nightmares in which you are trying to desperately run away from something dangerous and unseen, something just behind you. And no matter how fast you run, you never escape.
Tintin perceives everything in decelerated pace, discerning every detail. Bark of trees, twigs on ground, protruding roots, cautionary tweeting of birds, fleeing squirrel (poor girl, she must be terrified), his own screaming voice, gruesome rumble accompanied with steam puffs behind and dazzling reflections from river surface ahead.
He is aiming directly to river.
Great Snakes in Thundering Typhoons!
He is going to die.
He is so going to die.
He never learned to swim properly.
But on the other hand, this might be his only chance.
Supposing that the monster behind is same specimen as his dog, it would not react well to soaking in water. It might slow it down. It might even stop it. Very improbable, but still possible.
Tintin begs every saint and god he knows for help and steers his uncontrollable bicycle towards river, luring the ‘Crab’ into what he hoped will turn out as inescapable trap. Swerving on the last moment, he listens with satisfaction how caterpillar tracks drive the monstrous machine from bank to deep water, heated copper sizzling angrily. Then his back tyre slips on mud and Tintin feels dread grip his heart when he falls backwards to the river, still clutching the handlebars tightly.

Archibald hastens through smithereens trees. He could feel his heart’s frenzied beating up to his throat and his legs weakening, threaten to give up under him, the gash from rapier burn more with every step. He is out of shape, that’s for sure, but he pushes his limits apart and keeps going, fear for that boy driving him forward. Captain tries to force the terrors of war out of his mind. Yet he seen so many men died due to steam weapons and he certainly does not want to see another. Not Tintin. Not Tintin!
He could see the line of uprooted trees ending on river bank and that devilish device sunken partially in deep water, artificial arms still moving abruptly, but the whole thing obviously stuck.
Where is that ginger?
Captain stumbles over tree root and nearly falls down to ground. He staggers for while, cursing coarsely, but regains his equilibrium within heartbeat. He trips and skids all the way down to bank, flinging his hands in the air for better balance.
“TINTIN!” He calls out again, voice rasp. He wheezes bending forward, shaking hands supporting him on his own knees, forcing air into his burning lungs.
Oh God, I’m in terrible shape. I should give up drinking. And smoking too. I’ll give it up, I’ll sacrifice everything, I’ll …I … Just don’t take that Angel of a boy from me! Please, don’t.
“Captain?” That desired voice comes from the river.
Archibald makes an effort to move but his legs give up and he topples down, panting heavily, hand clutching at his chest.
“CAPTAIN!” The ginger reporter tries to climb back to solid ground, slipping and sliding on mud. He falls, not for first time concluding from the state of his clothes. “Captain! Is it infarct? Stroke? Coronary? Captain!” Tintin crawls up the incredibly slippery bank only with his sheer willpower at amazing speed.
Archibald can’t help himself, he laughs loudly.
The ginger grabs him by his shoulders, face pale with anxiety. “Do you need doct…?”
Archibald crushes Tintin at himself, paying no attention to the muddy dirt. “Oh God, lad, don’t make me so afraid.”

“I bet my year salary, that this is Tintin’s work.” Thompson pinches the bridge of his nose.
“This is Tintin’s work.” Thomson put his hand on his coworker’s shoulder compassionately.
They look at each other with loud sigh.
“It might have been worse.”
Thompson questions his colleague with his eyes.
“The main building still stands.” Answers Thomson simply.
“Oh. Yes.” Thompson looks around ruins of workrooms and the swarming of people on courtyard. “Apparently, our boy had been mindful. But where is he?”
Detectives step out, each in other direction, unknowing of the fact, that their walking sticks had interlocked. Canes stubbornly refuse to let go of each other, so detectives collide back to back with surprised huffs.
Cuthbert swallows a laugh. He noticed those two black-clad men the very moment they stepped into bustle of steelworkers and local policemen. For some unknown reason, he has the feeling that they would be the Interpol agents. Calculus checks his pocket watch. Eight is drawing close. He pats Milou’s head-piece lovingly.
Do not worry, little one. I’ll not only repair you. I’ll make you even better than from assembly line.
“Professor Cuthbert Calculus?” He hears two voices speaking as one.
“This apparatus?” Professor turns to face detectives and lifts Milou slightly. “It is not mine. I am merely keeping an eye on it.”
“Is that …” “… Milou?”
“Snowy? No, I believe that his masters are calling him Milou.”
“What?” “Masters?” “This isn’t Tintin’s dog?”
“Whether his masters are from Innsbruck?”
Detectives look at each other, baffled. They have been warned, that professor is hard hearing, but they hadn’t expected it to be so bad.
“No, this automaton belongs to Tintin and Captain Haddock.” Calculus glances at them contemplative. “You certainly must have heard, at least, about that courageous boy.”
“Captain …” “… Haddock?” They ask mistrustfully. “Tintin must have took him along.” “But why?”
“Oh.” Cuthbert espies the ginger colored tuft of hair. “Here they are.”
Tintin and Archibald are walking side by side, dirty and visibly tired, the former soldier leaning on the reporter. Far too close for detectives liking.
No one would menace their boy.
“Tintin!” Detectives wave their canes in air, nearly knocking a passerby worker. Professor is clever enough to steps aside a little. The threesome goes to meet them halfway.
“Great Scotland Yard! Boy …” “… are you all right? We were …” “… sick worried about you! Couldn’t you …” “… wait till we arrived?”
But Tintin does not pay any attention to them. He rushes towards Cuthbert, eyes glued on immobile copper canine. “Milou. What …?”
“He protected us. But there is nothing to worry, my boy.” Calculus smiles at the ginger and pats him on cheek. “His memory is intact. Once I repair him, he will be better than ever.”
“Tintin?” Thompson and Thomson encircle the ginger. “Tintin, what happened?”
“What happened?!” Archibald roars. “He played a game of tag with stampede AST and ended up in river!”
“And the ‘Crab’?” Professor becomes serious.
“That antediluvian crustacean got jammed there!”
“Calm down, Captain.” Tintin sneaks from detectives and lays his hands on the bearded man’s arm. “Or you will really get a heart-attack.”
Captain growls and the ginger snickers at him, stroking his arm absentmindedly. Detectives share surprised yet askance glance. And Cuthbert only smiles knowingly into his moustache.

Author’s notes
Whew! This was pleasant ride. (Next part would be even more pleasant. ^^)
x Never underestimate a scientist. Really, never do such a stupid thing.
x Despite the fact, that Cuthbert is mild and kind all the time, I belive he has that sort of authority wich makes you shut up and listen obediently.
x The river flowing next to Malbork's Castle is called Nogat. I do not remember how deep it is exactly, but it is deep.
x (This) Tintin could swim. He is just not exactly great in it. To be hones, he is terrible. Which still does not stops him from throwing himself into ranging river to save certain Chinese boy. Luckily Milou have a chain.
x Thom(p)sons are little overprotective over Tintin. You should not resent them for mistrusting Captain. He is snatching "their boy" away, after all. ^^
x It might seem unfair to Milou, but believe me. Cuthbert will make him even more awesome.
x Snowy? No, I believe they call him Milou. I originally prepared another pun, but this won.
x And why does Cuthbert think, that they have the dog together. Well, they apparently appeared like couple to him.
x Antediluvian crustacean. I got painful laughing fit from thinking up this insult.
Only one part to go. At least for this steam-powered adventure.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part nine part eleven
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin. (Heroes in grave danger!) War flashback.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 10)

Universe has sadistic sense of humor. Amongst many proofs of previous statement belongs the fact, that when one thing go wrong, others follow inevitably like toppling domino blocks.
The doors on the other side of library are thrown open and group of few tough-looking guys enters, discussing about the alarm wildly. Upon seeing the assemblage of strangers they stop short.
“This could happen only to us.” Announces Captain.

Spalding paces to and fro in Cuthbert’s room, hands twitching in his hair. Boss will kill him. Herr Müller will frizzle him! He will deep-fry him in boiling oil! Or he will feed him to his pet gorillas! And no one will ever find his remainders.
How could this happened? How could he underestimated that man? How could he not saw his evil plans? Professor Cuthbert Calculus is genius! And he let that man to make a fool of him.
“Chief did lose it.”
“You!” Spalding turns at his subordinates. “Start the ‘Crab’.”

“That was amazing.” Cuthbert still couldn’t believe what he just witnessed.
“Shall we tie them?” Tintin turns to Captain.
“Yer think they’ll be able to wake soon?” Archibald stretches his arms.
Tintin looks contentedly at unmoving men. “No.”
“It took you two less than five minutes.”
The ginger reporter giggles.
“Yeah, we’re fabulous.” Captain grabs Cuthbert’s arm. “Let’s go, professor.”
“Oh, no, wait.”
“Professor.” Tintin grabs Cuthbert’s second arm. “This is no time for panic.”
“NOW LISTEN, YOU TWO!” Both men stand upright, like after swallowing a ruler, surprised by the sudden outburst from the ever calm professor. Archibald even clicks his heels together and his right hand jerks in attempt to salute. “I know that you are trying to help me, and I do appreciate this, but there is something I must do.”
Tintin opens his mouth to voice his opinion, but he is stopped by Cuthbert’s threateningly risen forefinger.
“They have fully functional AST here!”
“Oh shit.” Archibald turns completely pale.
Tintin scours his mind for this abbreviation, unsuccessfully. “What is it?”
“Automaton Steam Tank.”
In the crestfallen silence after professor’s words Tintin could hear his own surprised exhalation. Automatons are devices able to function independently within the framework of its programming. Automaton tank would be merciless killing machine. “Such things are outlawed by The Treaty of Versailles.”
“And that’s only right!” Captain punches nearby bookshelf. “Where it is?”
“In former horse barn.”
“Can you sabotage it?” Tintin could almost touch Archibald’s anger.
“I am chief engineer in ‘Tournesol Factory’. I’ll take it to pieces.”

“Yer gotta be kidding!” Archibald tries to comprehend how, by ten thousand thundering typhoons, did he get into this situation. Facing bunch of security guards on rickety gangplank, while professor scrutinizes absolutely nasty example of steam tank down below, and Tintin with Milou are trying to obtain their escape vehicle in different building. To make his position worse, the guards have rapiers. He is armed by mere lead pipe. One of them attacks, Archibald cover his rapier on last moment, deciding not to care about rules of fencing anymore. He punches the man to stomach and hurls himself to the tumult. Using abruptly remembered fencing postures only to improvise completely, to elbow his opponents, to stomp at their feet unexpectedly, using his lead pipe partially as a sword and partially as a cudgel. “I didn’t fence for years!”
“And you are doing just great, Captain.” Cuthbert unbolts latch on ‘Crab’. “Keep distracting them.”
“Yer evil!” Archibald yells, not fully decided if towards Cuthbert or towards the guards. “Troglodytes!” OK, he will scream at guards, it is calming. “Prickled pirate parrots! Canned cucumbers! Rusty renegates!”
Professor Calculus taps his screwdriver on ‘Crab’. “You are sophisticated device, aren’t you?”
“Very much, sir.” Sounds behind Cuthbert and he turns with a startle. Before his world darkens he notices Spalding’s face distorted with hatred.
“Professor!” Captain lose his concentration on the fight and the last standing guard gashes his left leg.
Spalding smiles devilishly and switches the ‘Crab’ on.

“Where are they?” Tintin taps his leg nervously. He should have never agreed with the separation. Of course, he is used to working only with Milou, but what if something happened to them? What if Captain ends up injured? The ginger bites his lips.
Even thought he is not exactly technically skilled, he managed to disable every vehicle, with the exception of the one they intend to use. And now he is waiting for his companions here, on this quad, while the sun is already rising.
Crumbs, crumbs, crumbs, crumbs, crumbs.
Something went wrong.
He can feel it.
Captain pops up in the barn gates. Tintin breathes out with relief. But then he realizes, that Archibald is limping on left leg and that he is dragging unconscious professor.
“Captain?!” The ginger reporter moves forward, ignoring the rumbling which grows louder and stronger with each second.
“Run!” Archibald yells at him.
Milou bolts towards them, dashing on its small legs, emitting puffs of steam in its peculiar simulation of furious barking.
And then the world falls down. Or rather, whole wall of stable is knocked down from inside. Something, something big, is moving there, behind the clouds of smoke, steam puff and red brick dust. The noise is unbearable. The screech of steel, the heavy, regular puffing of engines, the screaming of people. It feels like the world has stopped. That’s when it emerges, arising from the dust, majestic, breathtaking, dangerous. Steam-tank bristling with countless artificial arms, levers and gadgets, cogwheels whirling in insane rhythm whenever the thing moves, red eyes shining brightly on its front end, resembling gigantic crab.
The Crab with the Mechanical Claws.
Tintin stands, frozen to the spot, sensing the terror taking over his body.
“TINTIN, RUN! Captain’s voice has unadulterated dread in it.
And Tintin obeys. Archibald’s voice was a signal. An order. Slap back to reality. His body is moving on its own volition. He jerks forward with a speed he did not know human could generate. The ‘Crab’ rushes behind him on its caterpillar tracks. Within couple of heartbeats the ginger runs through gateway to another courtyard where he collides with postman, knocking him down from bicycle. Letters scatter everywhere while the elderly mailman starts to curse in local dialect. Tintin lifts the bicycle and mounts it in one swift movement.
“Was?! Oi! Du!”
“Entschuldigen!” He shouts back, pedaling the bicycle.
The ‘Crab’ clashes through gateway, leaving it in ruins. It emits steam from both funnels, like a threat, and hastens behind Tintin.

Dust. Clouds of steam.
Shouts. Moans.
Ferrous taste of blood on his own lips. Smell of scalded skin.
Life draining away from Simon’s eyes.
Everything felt like under layer of fog. Dampness seeped into bones. His left side hurt. He could hear voices of his comrades-in-arms, but their shouting came from distance. He realized that he was shuddering uncontrollably and that he could breathe only with great effort. His left side hurt. He tried to reach there but his left arm was somewhat limp.
Simon was looking at him. No, that’s rubbish. Dead could not look at anybody anymore. His eyes were merely cast in the direction towards him. Torn copper plate sticking out from Simon’s body, etched sunflower watered with blood.
And above was distant uncaring blue sky.

Milou strides around unconscious Archibald. He could not wake him by mere prodding and steelworks employees are drawing dangerously near. The copper canine emits steam. He had to be drastic.
“OW!” Captain rouses thanks to the insidious feat. “Ow!” He says to Milou, rubbing his ass.
Milou sits and casts him a ‘Don’t be hypersensitive’ glance.
Captain crawls next to Cuthbert to check professor’s pulse. He had ditched him to safety rather unceremoniously when the ‘Crab’ annihilated barn. Thanks for it, or else they both would end caved in under debris. But his movement stirs the sore in his left side. He utters a hiss and presses his scar.
“Hope you aren’t wounded, sir.”
Spalding. Thundering typhoons, is that man indestructible or what?
Archibald scrambles up to his feet, holding his side he slowly turns to face the enraged secretary who is aiming gun at him. “Herr Spalding.” Captain coughs. “Shouldn’t yer see about yer employees?”
“I’d rather deal with you first, sir .”
Archibald learnt only one useful thing in ‘Great War’. Never ever argue with madman. (Kill him before he kills you.)
Spalding’s finger twitches on trigger. Milou jerks forward with threatening gear grind, closing its jaws around Spalding’s forearm. Captain follows the automaton’s example, hurls himself at the secretary, knocking breath out of him. Spalding sweeps his hand, firing the gun aimlessly, and jettisons Milou. The delicate device lands in debris with nasty crack. Archibald tries to push Spalding down, but is himself knocked with hard elbow shove on his back. With a triumphant smile, Spalding aims his gun at kneeling Captain. But then, professor Calculus clubs him from behind. He leans the pipe on his shoulder and snorts scornfully.
Clock tower mechanism rattles and the minute hand shifts its position. Carillon starts its dance to announce 6 o’clock.

The logic is telling Tintin not to look back, but the adrenaline has opposite opinion. Obeying the latter, he glances back. And regrets it in instant. The ‘Crab’ is catching up on him and there is no way, absolutely no way, for his confiscated bicycle to be quicker than that monstrous mechanism. But he still has a chance. He swerves, driving into the hideout provided by thick old forest. He doesn’t need to pedal so much, since terrain here is mildly downhill, but he still keeps moving his legs frantically. Any advance is good advance. Hideous sound of trees ripped from roots, sound of something unnatural entering this serene nature. And Tintin knows, he knows, he does not have to look behind, that that monstrous machine will simply steamroller anything what would dare to stand in its way. Him included. He clutches the handlebars so tightly that his knuckles turn completely snow-white, his eyes are frantically searching for any possible escape route. The ‘Crab’ tears out another tree and hurls it towards him. His white polo shirt is perfect substitution for target, no one would overlook him in the dim morning light in dusky forest. And then, the derailleur chain snaps, sprockets fall off, pedals and brakes become useless.
Tintin is widely known as calm and reserved young man. The one who would never loose his temper. The one who would find logic and composure under any conditions. But even for such a man, there ARE situations where he simply could not remain unruffled. Like dashing down a hummock, through a forest, with a crab-like steam tank behind, which is drawing dangerously near every second, riding a broken bicycle.
So Tintin, doing his best to maneuver the uncontrollable bicycle, because ramming into a tree would not help him the slightest, decides to do the only thing, he never thought possible.
He opens his mouth and screams out of pure horror.

Author’s notes
Whatta day. ^^
x Müller's pet gorillas are homage to the mighty Ranko, gorilla guard at Black Island.
x Of course The Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919 happened here. It only have few amendments about prohibited steam-weapons.
x A gangplank in stables? You know those scaffoldings used for reaching high places in workrooms? That's it.
x Fencing has quite complicated terminology. Captain is not awesome fencer, but he could protect himself effectively.
x Average time of daybreak in that area of Polan in July is around 5:30.
x What do you think about the 'Crab'? (Like you didn't expected it. ^^)
x Caterpillar tracks. I, antitechnical, do not know how is that thing named in my own language! Searching how to say it in English was pain in the *ss.
x Mini lesson in German: Herr [mister/sir], Was [what], Du [you], entschuldigen [forgive/pardon (me)].
x Poor Simon. See, I couldn't use any Hergé's character.
x Automaton are delicated devices sensitive to hard impacts.
x Let's give Calculus some space too, he can save the day!
x I keep reminding the time, since this part, as well as previous and even the next, takes place during one day.
x I firmly believe, that even Mr. Spock would scream out of horror in such situation.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part eight part ten
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 9)

18th of July, 193-, Malbork
It worked.
It worked.
It frigging worked.
At least the ‘sneak in’ part.
Archibald was no more surprised by the useful gadgets in Milou, but Tintin’s skill in entering uninvited had taken him a little aback.
“D’yer do this often?” He asked after they successfully climbed over the ramparts, using Milou’s chain.
“Actually, yes.”
“Thought yer a reporter, not a thief.”
“I am investigative journalist.”
“I ran out of witty remarks. What now?”
Tintin chuckles. “Well, workrooms and laboratories are down there, but the dormitory is in High Castle and professor would be probably there.”
“So let’s get him and get outta here.”

Professor Calculus could not sleep. He generally welcomes insomnia when working on his projects, but staying awake till two o’clock in the morning while in captivity is counterproductive. So he fumbles with his pendulum. He doesn’t try to find anything in particular, but this eases him. The reactions of pendulum become strange. The spherical piece of brass is twitching wildly, as if trying to tear away its chain. “Hmm,” Cuthbert scratches his moustache. “Something is coming?” He looks from his window. “But the sky is completely clear.”

Prowling through crepuscular hallways of hostile castle reminded Archibald of his own childhood. It is like he is teen again and is sneaking out to enjoy nightlife in Dover. Apart from the fact that his parents would not kill him (presumably) when found out.
Tintin pulls him into small utility room, taking shabby map out of Milou’s strongbox.
“How old is that thing?”
“From 17th century.”
“Look.” The ginger reporter steps closer, pointing to the map. “This is where we need to get. But we cannot go this way, because …”
“‘Cause they modernized it here a little.”
“Hnn,” Tintin bits his lower lip. “We need to find another way.”
Archibald leans over him to study the map, partially embracing him from behind, and Tintin could feel his heart racing the adrenaline in his veins. He closes his eyes and starts to count in Chinese in his mind. He needs to calm down.
He needs to get his mind out of the gutter. Archibald, Archibald Haddock, get your sick mind out of that frigging gutter! Oh Columbus, that boy makes his knees weak. He is nearing forty and he feels like enamored schoolgirl! For a boy, waaay to younger and mysterious as a castle in Carpathians who is obviously magnet for troubles.
Captain reaches up, firmly grasps Tintin’s chin and tilts his head back, lowering himself to capture those mesmerizing lips. The ginger kisses back, ignoring the uncomfortable angle of his neck.
Milou snorts and somehow manages it without emitting steam. If he would have eyes, he would roll them back right now. Instead he puffs out thick wisp of steam from its muzzle and maliciously kicks down a nearby crate, leaps on it and gives them a ‘yuck it is’ Look from above. Well, not exactly from above, but from higher than normally.
“Ain’t yer dog a little jealous?”
“He is just reasonable.”

There is one unbreakable rule in Cuthbert’s live. Of course, there are other rules, which should be respected, like the security of work (especially when dealing with dangerous or explosive materials), so he keeps these rules with iron grasp. But they are not so important. No. This rule is primal. This rule is above everything. This rule is: Always obey the pendulum.
And right now, the pendulum says: “Westward.”

Archibald releases Tintin with a soft kiss on head and takes the map from him.
“How d’yer got this?”
Tintin smiles at him mischievously.
“Aaa, I see. Connections.”
“Precisely. Shall we go?”

Professor Calculus resolutely puts his hat on and flings his doors open. Unbeknown to Cuthbert, right behind them is a guard stationed. That poor man will ever had no idea what did knocked him out. Professor looks at the unconscious figure with a grunt of disapproval and with admonishingly raised finger he gives his advice. “Young man, if you are on guard, you should better watch out, and not sleep.”

“I’m telling yer, we’re walking right into trap.” Even thought that Archibald is whispering, his voice is rumbling through empty hallway.
“Captain. The fact that we did not managed to run into anyone, does not mean that we will run into troubles.”
They turn left and nearly collide with inconspicuous man in his early forties, clad in green tweed suit, who is visibly following a brass pendulum twitching in his hand.
“Oh. Morning, gentlemen.” He tips his bowler hat and continues walking, like this kind of situation is completely normal.
Captain and Tintin share a look of surprised disbelief.
“Strange.” Cuthbert stops. “Very strange.” He turns around and walks back to them, hand holding pendulum aiming directly at the ginger reporter. “You are absolutely extraordinary, young boy.”
Tintin regains his composure forthwith. “Professor Cuthbert Calculus?”
“This apparatus? That’s my handmade brass pendulum.”
“No, he asked whether yer are professor Calculus.”
“What is its radius? I dare to say kilometer or more.”
Captain fells the irritation rising in him. He gratuitously wants to scream some sense to that deaf man, but Tintin’s hands on his arm have calming effect.
“Oh, Great God, where are my manners?” Cuthbert grabs Archibald’s hand and shakes it zealously. “Pardon me for not introducing myself.” He then seizes Tintin’s hand. “My name is Cuthbert Calculus.”
Captain moans. For what? Oh Lord, for what?

Spalding is tossing and turning in his bed. He did not get a wink of sleep. Whenever he thinks about that stubborn professor, he is on verge of tears. How could such a brilliant man be such a dumbass? Abandoning all thoughts of proper night rest, he lights up the oil lamp. One quick glance at timepiece reveals to him, that it is already three seventeen. He wraps himself in his dressing gown, cursing the coldness of the Castle, and heads for bookshelf. Perhaps he could calm himself down with something nice to read.
To read. Read!
Oh, Heavens Allseeing, why didn’t this occur to him sooner?
He stumbles to his slippers and after waking his assistants up, he heads for Cuthbert’s room. Spalding doesn’t care for the unruly hour, he will settle it with the professor once and for all right now!

“See? I told yer it will go wrong.”
“Calm down, Captain. He is just a little hard of hearing.”
“He is as deaf as a doorknob.”
After the curious introducing ritual, they persuaded Cuthbert to go with them, Captain more or less dragged the poor professor all the time, while Tintin, without consulting the map, led the way. Which turned out to be the worst possible idea. They ended up in large yet cozy library somewhere in the castle. Professor is babbling to Milou, evidently enthralled by the little automaton, scrutinizing it from every angle. Milou wags his tail fiercely, thinking that Cuthbert wants to play with him.
“Where are we, anyway?”
“Well," Tintin fumbles with his fingers, "you have the map.”
Archibald wants to kill somebody. Just because. He takes a deep breath and another one and takes out the map. After staring at it for while, which fells like eternity for Tintin, he paces to window to examine actual arrangements of buildings. “How, blue blistering barnacles, did we get into Middle Castle?”
Tintin shrugs his shoulders with nervous snicker.
Captain waves his hand in resigned forgiving gesture. “It’s actually handy. Look.” He shows the map to Tintin. “We could use this way, supposing it is passable, and …”
“…and confiscate some vehicle in workrooms.”
“Right yer are.” Archibald grins at Tintin.
“Great.” Tintin grins back. His jaw-muscles hurt from ginning so much. “They have not yet noticed that professor is missing, so …”
The alarm goes off, ear-splitting metallic sound reverberating through whole building.
Archibald’s eyebrows shoot sardonically up. “D’yer said something?”

Author’s notes
Oh wow, this was rather long part. And we haven't ended the day yet. ^^
x Malbork, once again. See this page for more info. It is not just one building, it is enormous area. × × × × × × × Wonderful, isn't it? Though I'm forced to make some changes. First, you might notice that the Castle is practically a suburb. Not in this story. The actual city of Malbork (with air-port) is further away and separated by thick old forest. Second, Poland, in general, is flat. The part where Malbork is located is flat flat. I need it a little higher, so let's pretend, that it has been built on a hummock.
x Archibald's childhood in Dover sure must have been ... wild. His family, that's another story.
x Counting in foreign language is an efficient method how to calm down.
x I honestly belive, that all most of those stunts which Tintin and Captain do, is turning them on. There's nothing more arousing than hijacking a ship, or jumping out of runaway train, or breaking and entering.
x Being as mysterious as castle in Carpathians is idiomatic expression in my language. I don't know proper English equivalent.
x The ‘yuck it is’ Look is known to every proud owner of dog/cat/any misbehaved animal all around the world. And every one of them, including me, know that the pet is able to learn it and cast it back, ten times stronger.
x Cuthber's pendulum has infinite radius.
x From my own experiences, I know that the most genius and simple ideas always come last.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part seven part nine
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin. Hurt and Comfort, war-flashback.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 8)

The Death herself must have been walking on this battlefield. The air was filled with thick steam fog and the unmistakable taste of gunpowder, blood and dying. Heavy puffing of engines shouted down all other noises, all the wails of injured ones, all the yelled orders. He could barely recognize silhouettes of others around him, his vision was somewhat blurry. His eyes were crying, and he could not distinguish anymore whether the tears were of desperation or from acrid dust.
The opponents retreated. For how long?
He was tired. He wished to give up, just lay down and die, be at peace finally. But he had promised with Chester, he had promised, that they both will take captain exams together, that they both will become freelance sailors, family traditions be damned. After they will be free again, after this madness will end.
“Hey, Arch!” Simon appeared next to him. That boy kept telling that he is eighteen, but everyone knew that he was younger. Way too younger. “Chester’s fine. Patella did take out the bullet.”
“All hail to our doc.”
“But he still could lose his arm.”

“No way.” He turned to face Simon. “Chester is far too headstrong for it.”
Simon grinned, his face dirty and hair damp, and he opened his mouth to say something. But it was drown out in high-pitched screech of nearby tank. The copper machine shuddered violently, etched sunflower pranced in mortal spasm as the whole thing exploded. Red-hot components, sharp-edged copper plates and scorching steam burst to all direction.
Smell of scalded skin.

His face stings and his eyes shoots open. For a while he doesn’t know where he is, but then he remembers. War’s end, captain exams, parting with Chester when he acquired ‘Karaboudjan’, years of solitude and memories drowned in whisky, tinned opium, that lithe ginger with queer name and automaton dog, ‘Sirius’. They are on way to Malbork because some crazy engineer has been kidnapped.
“Archibald?” Tintin asks insecure, Milou peeking behind his side.
Captain can’t tell him. He just closes his eyes again, fighting back the tears that threatens to spill out, and shakes his head. Tintin moves closer, embracing him hesitantly. The boy is warm and tender and alive, so Archibald pulls him closer, burying own face in his crew cut hair. Tintin shifts to more comfortable position, seating himself in Captain’s lap, his hand tenderly finds Archibald’s left side. Captain stiffens.
“You have some injury there, don’t you?”
“Yer sharp.” Archibald relaxes and covers Tintin’s hand with his own.
“I merely pay attention to details. Does it hurt?”
“N-No. Not exactly. But it reminds me …”
Tintin listens to Captain’s heartbeat. He feels drowsy, warm and safe. “You need not talk about it. But if you want, I will listen.”
“Yer Angel.” Archibald kisses him on hair. “Did anyone told yer that?”
Tintin laughs. “I have been called nosy, intrusive, meddlesome, snoop, but never Angel.”
“Angel with halo supported on Devil’s horns.”
“Hnnn, I like that.”
Milou puffs and tries to wedge itself between its master and the other man. They both chuckle and Tintin snuggles his automaton with his free hand.
“Some other time.” Captain encased them in his arms. “I’ll tell you at another time.”
“It is a deal.” Tintin kisses him on bearded cheek, polishing Milou’s head-piece.
“Promise.” For the first time since he became captain of ‘Karaboudjan’, Archibald feels at ease.

16th of July, 193-, Malbork
“Please!” Spalding smacks his head to table in pure desperation.
“Grease? What do you mean by this, young man?” Cuthbert is proud of himself. During the nine days of his captivity, he had led most of his captors to verge of tears (and over), five of them to murderous intentions towards his person, one to total nerve collapse and the leader to the deepest depth of desperation. Yesterday, apparently out of any other idea of how to make him understood, they brought him to workroom showing him the devices that their late chief engineer worked on.
They showed him the ‘Crab’.
And he was supposed to finish and improve those! Of course, he will never descend himself to creating weapons of mass destruction! Never, never again. But there are plenty of others who would. And, let’s face it, some of them are nearly as good as he is.
Plus, he should not omit the fact, that ‘Crab’ is functional.
Cuthbert combs his fingers through his moustache. Luckily, he had sent all his blueprints to that promising young reporter. They had found it out, tracing factory post, but according to the boy’s reputation, he doesn’t need to worry about this. On the contrary, his captors are the ones who should be worried. “Why won’t you simply tell me what do you want from me?”
“I did!” Screams Spalding at him. “I’m doing it all the time, you old goat!”
“Buying a crime boat? What is that, some prototype?”
Spalding starts crying.

17th of July, 193-, Malbork
“Lad, yer know that I don’t have any particular interest of getting meself killed, right?”
“Come on, Captain. This will be fun.”
“Shh. Keep your voice down.”
“’kay. But yer have pretty strange notion of fun, yer know.”
They are hiding in the shade of ramparts, near river, while clock tower in the castle ground strikes eleven. The darkness of the night is shredded by few lights here and there shining from tall windows.
“We’re gonna raid the most protected castle in all Preußen and there’s only two of us.”
Mechanical gear grinding from below sounds surprisingly like aggrieved dog’s growl.
“Sorry. Three. I forgot yer.”
“You are talking to my automaton?”
“Yer do it all the time.”
They stare at each other for while, but then they burst out laughing, trying hard, but unsuccessfully, to stifle the sounds. Archibald bites his fist and Tintin breathes hardly to cave from his palms.
“You really do not need to accompany me on this.” Less than more calmed, Tintin starts to unscrew Milou’s tail.
“Yer kidding? I always dreamed of raiding a castle.”
“It is called ‘breaking and entering’.”
“Great to know what we’re doing.”
Another round of stifled giggles.
“We’re twisted.”
“Totally.” Tintin wipes the tears of laughter that prickle in the corners of his eyes. “We just need to sneak in, find professor and sneak out unnoticed.”
“Laddie, I’ve been in army long enough to know, that such plans simply never works.”

Author’s notes
x Captain exams or captain course is something that all mariners who want to have and command own ship (not just some small puny boat) must undergo.
x Captain Chester is Captain Haddock's dear old good friend.
x Simon is an OC. It would be mean to bring an old acquaintance on stage only to [spoilers]. ^^
x Doctor Patella is the unfortunate owner of the poor arrested skeleton and the one who treated whole rocket crew upon their return on Eart in 'Moon series'.
x Professor Calculus could be a really, really cruel man when he wants to. But somehow he remains oblivious to this fact.
x The 'Crab' ... will arise soon.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part six part eight
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 7)

13th of July, 193-, Sirius
Tintin tries desperately not to laugh. But his own lips are betraying him, again and again turning into satisfied smile.
“How. Did. Yer. Got. Tickets. To. Here?
“I have connections.”
They look at each other, both fighting hard to suppress laugh.
Sirius, latest model of passenger-carrying rigid airship, most sumptuous vessel in K33 class, is a luxurious cruiser which stops in every airport city along its way. They will be in Malbork in three days. The reception room, furnished with leather coated armchairs, rosewood coffee-tables and heavy satin curtains, in which they are sitting right now offers breathtaking view outside through glassed-in wall.
“Out with the plan, laddie.”
“Do you know the competitive factory of ‘Tournesol’?” Tintin polishes Milou head-piece.
“‘Müller Stahlwerk’.”
“Cut out the German. Will yer?”
“If you wish.” The ginger reporter rises his hands in conciliatory gesture. “Last year, there was an accident in its main manufactory. It was all around the newspapers, starting a debate about safety in such institutions, since there were more than 10 deceased.”
“Explosion of steam-machine cause a mess.” Captain rubs his left side absentmindedly again.
Tintin notices the gesture, instantly remembering every time, when he saw Captain doing this. He mentally notes to ask about it at first suitable opportunity. “Thanks to this, we know where it is located.”
“Uh huh.”
“And what makes yer think, that professor Calculus is there.”
“It mesh together. Who else would risk kidnapping a famous engineer in the middle of street in broad daylight?”
Tintin laughs and pats Milou lovingly.
“So, we gonna run around the town, searching for professor?”
“No, Captain. If I am not mistaken, and I hardly am, we would need to sneak into the Malbork Castle.”
“Yer gotta be kidding.”

14th of July, 193-, somewhere in Prussia
“Yes, Thomson?”
“Where, by Great Scotland Yard, are we?”
Thompson looks around the desolated train station. No human in sight for miles, only an old cow chewing on pasture far away. Wild nature all around and absolutely no traces of civilization.
“In Preußen?”
“I can see it. But we are, apparently, not in Malbork.”
“Well, no.”
“Can you even imagine what will Tintin do without our supervision?”
The sudden paleness in Thompson’s face revealed that he could imagine it very well.

15th of July, 193-, Sirius
Tintin stares at map of Malbork Castle in the dim light of oil reading lamp, memorizing all details. He could only guess how many string must have Thompson and Thomson pulled to obtain this for him. That Interpol agent who delivered the map to him at Hannover surely didn’t have any idea, that he has one of most protected secret of Preußen in his hands. The map was old and, without any doubt, outdated, but it was the proverbial scratch from which they could start.
Archibald snores softly once again and turns over in spacious double bed. Tintin smiles, looking at the man and his automaton, which was lying in the foot of the bed, almost like a real dog. Strong feeling of tenderness washes over him. For great snakes, he met that man barely a week ago! But he knows, knows, that he could rely on him. That he will never be betrayed by him. Plus, there is that peculiar feeling, like butterflies fluttering inside his tummy, whenever Captain smiles at him. And that … incident in Calais. He could still feel the warmness of Captain’s body, the scratchy tingle from his beard.
Sadly, they didn’t have an opportunity to repeat it. First night here, he was so tired from all the phone calls, dealings and promises he had to made, that he barely crawled to bed. He doesn‘t even remember taking off his shoes. And this time, Captain fell asleep before he returned from bath.
Archibald moans.
The ginger reporter puts the map away and looks at the timepiece. Almost one o’clock in the morning. He didn’t plan to stay up so long, but this happens to him quite often. Especially when he immerse himself into something interesting.
Archibald tosses himself around and growls.
Milou lifts its head-piece up, looking at the other occupant of bed.
Something is wrong.

Author’s notes
x Sirius, in original stories, is merchant trawler under captain Chester, Haddock's old friend. It appears in 'The shooting star' and 'Red Rackham's Treasure'.
x Let me quote wiki : A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope retained its shape by the use of an internal structural framework. K33 class in reality doesn't exist, but I imagine it as luxurious cruiser ship, very similiar to Hindenburg. Cruiser means that it will go to certain city, stays there for some time, letting the passengers to explore and shop and then heads to another city, stays ... and so on and so on. That's why the cruise from Calais to Malbork lasts for 3 days.
x 'Müller Stahlwerk' [Müller's Steelworks] is, as you can guess from its name, a steelworks, 'Tournesol Factory's' greatest rival. "Natürlich" means "naturally/of course" in German. Doctor J. W. Müller, villain who appeared in 'The Black Island', 'Land of Black Gold' and 'The Red Sea Sharks', is in this story an industrial tycoon without scruples.
x Hannover is a city in Germany. Which, in this story, is an independent state. I somehow didn't mentioned it before.
x Yes. Tintin and Haddock share the cabin and, yes, they do share even the bed.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part four part six
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 5)

9th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
‘Karaboudjan’ is vibrating slightly and it grows more apparent the farther they go. Archibald leads them with certainty of someone who knows the ship high and low, from prow to stern. Tintin is carrying Milou, not wanting unnecessary ruckus. Luckily, they haven’t met anyone so far. After locking the guards in the cabin Captain was imprisoned in, they sneaked into narrow, poorly lit corridor.
“Are we nearing the boilers?” The ginger reporter whispers, shifting Milou in his arms, so he could wipe the sweat away from his brows.
“Yup. We’re in maintenance passage. No one should be here. If we’re lucky.”
“I’m considered to be a troublemaker.”
“And I was born under The Star of Clumsiness.”
Tintin chuckles at the way Captain stated it. “Is that how you ended locked away by own crew?”
“Pretty much yes. I stumbled upon tin of opium aaand a secret room in my own ship.”
Wait. “Wait, you did not know about it?”
Archibald stops and looks at Tintin with a dead-bringing glare. “Lad, do I look like a smuggler?”
The ginger reporter shudders under the intensity of Captain’s stare. “Appearance can be deceiving.”
“Yer seem to be fine example of this statement.” Archibald tugs at his sleeve, indicating Tintin to follow silently.
They enter small storage and swiftly move through it to main corridor and upstairs to another maintenance passageway.
“Me? I am mere defenseless reporter.” Tintin resumes previous topic as soon as the door closed tight behind them.
Archibald snorts and eyes Tintin knowingly. “Sure yer are. How many had been fooled by that baby face of yer’s?”
Countless.” The ginger grins and the ex-soldier couldn’t help but do the same. “But you are captain. You must have known something.”
“How come?”
“Well … I was drunk under the picture. Most of the time.”
“That is sad.” There is something … disapproving in Tintin’s voice.
“Hmm.” Archibald hums approvingly. “Here we are.” He cracks open the door leading to stern. “And no one in sight.”
“That is hardly surprising, considering the dinner time.” Tintin steps behind Archibald and is taken aback by what he sees. They are directly next to the paddle wheel and the puffing of steam-engines is louder than anywhere on the ship, but Captain pulls him to starboard, to closest lifeboat. It reminds Tintin the small riverboat he seen while in London, apart from the fact that these are for fifteen men approximately, almost completely roofed, with a small boiler and tiny funnel in the middle and a coal-scuttle occupying whole stern. It would look majestic if not hanging on massive chains on side of a big ship like ‘Karaboudjan’.
This is the lifeboat?”
“What d’yer expected? A wee wooden boat with oars?”
“Well, yes.”
Captain grins at him. “Ha. I caught yer surprised, mister reporter.”
Tintin grins back, despite himself. Archibald Haddock is not what he seems to be.

10th of July, 193-, English Channel
“How long will it take to reach shore?” Tintin is laying on his back, looking blankly upward, to the clear blue sky. It is clean, without any traces of smoke and dirty steam-clouds. Milou is sitting next to him.
“Well, that depends upon weather, but it shan't be longer than day. Maybe two.”
“Hmm.” Tintin pats his automaton dog.
“Pretty view, eh?”
“You mean the sky?”
“Yep. I bet it ain’t so clear in city.”
“No. It is not.” Tintin sits up, turning to Milou. “Open the hide, please.”
There is loud screechy clang and Milou’s stomach plate slides open.
“What the f…thunder!”
“Oh.” Tintin dabs the hollow of his dog-device, removing the contents. “He has a strongbox here. Not big, but useful.”
“A…ha. Wait, is that file casing?”
“This?” Tintin holds the mysterious box in plain view. “I don’t have an idea. Somebody sent this to me few days ago, without any letter.”
“It looks like file casing we used for carrying documents during war.” Captain once again controls the course and then he shifts closer to the boy. “Surely it’s one. And ‘Tournesol’s’ on top.”
“It really came from ‘Tournesol Factory.’ How did you …?”
“See the sunflower?” Captain taps on the copper box. “It’s their signature. Yer could find it on everything they made.” Archibald strokes his left side “Including weapons.”
“‘Tournesol Factory’ does not produce weapons.”
“Not anymore. But believe me, laddie, they were good at it.” The strokes grow more vivid, as if Captain is trying to hush something away. “Bloody good.”
Tintin senses the discomfort of the older man. Not knowing how to ease his companion, he restores to scrutinize the box. “I do not see any lock.”
“Look at the sunflower closely.”
“I still do not …” Tintin angles the box in his arms. “Ah. Now, that is clever.” It needs certain angle to see the keyhole in the sunflower’s bloom.
“But yer won’t be able to open it without key.”
“It seems easy enough to pick for me.”
“Do not. If yer don’t wish for acid splash.”
“Rackham’s curse?”
“Oh well, never mind. Milou, universal key, please.” The dog automaton lifts up his right front paw obediently, waiting for Tintin to screw it loose. Soon, fine example of universal key is revealed.
“Blistering barnacles! What else is inside the thing?”
“He is my dog. And his name is Milou.”
Captain pinches the bridge of his nose. “Sorry. It just startled me.”
Tintin giggles, Archibald’s eyes meet his. Within seconds both of them are grinning like idiots.
“He does this to most people.”
“How did yer got him anyway? They’re bloody expensive.”
“I found him ditched on streets, well-worn but still function-able.”
“Did yer repaired him by yerself?”
“I am not so good in technology. My acquaintance owns a small repair service. Actually, I think he runs it solely from money I spend there for Milou’s patches. HA!”
Oblong box opens, revealing neatly folded documents.
Tintin grabs few papers, flipping through them, and Captain does the same.
“Bloody right. Airship, steamboat, one-seat self-propelling vehicle, submarine, ehm … what? ‘Vacuum cleaner’? What the deck is that?”
Tintin chuckles. “Domestic appliance, Captain. But look,” he points to the left edge of one blueprint. “All this designs were made by one man.”
“Cuthbert Calculus.” Archibald reads aloud. He then turns to Tintin with quizzical expression. “Who is that?”
“More importantly, why did he send me his works?”

11th of July, 193-, Brussels
“Look, Wiggins!
“It’s him!”
A tall, elderly gentleman in fine tailored dress suit and oxford shoes with spats is walking along the street. He looks casually, like any other person in this city part. Not casting a slightest glimpse of suspiciousness, that he is actually the most sought-after pickpocket in Brussels.
“Toby, Mary, get on his tail. Do not let yourself caught.” Wiggins watches as the man, followed by two innocent looking kids, disappears behind corner. “He will not run away from us this time.”
“Aren’t you taking it way too serious, Lead?”
“Yeah, calm down, Lead. We couldn’t do practically anything.”
“Shouldn’t we call Tin?”
“He is away.” Wiggins shrugs his shoulders.
“What, again?!”
“Hmmm.” The young boy mumbles, kicking the empty tin away.
“I bet that he will break something this time.”
“Greg! Don’t be mean. A pound that it will be right arm.”
“Two for leg.”
Wiggins looks at his little gang, his serious expression make them all shut up. So there is a dead silence when he says: “Fiver that it will be his nose.”

Author’s notes
x I have an important question to ask. Do you see the sparkling between Tintin and Captain?
x For better picture of the lifeboat see this photo and first photo here. My version is something in between and not quite like that.
x (Red) Rackham’s curse is safety system consisting of capsules filled with acid, which will explode if somebody would try to pick the lock. It's only weakness is ineffectiveness against universal key.
x That acquaintance who owns a small repair service will remain unknown for now.
x One-seat self-propelling vehicle will be known as motorbike. (This particular area of development is rather slow, you know, steam engines ...)
x Yes, it is the famous shark-submarine blueprint.
x First manual versions of vacuum cleaners came already in 1860's, but I cannnot imagine this Captain doing houseworks, so he doesn't know anything about this handy machine.
x Toby, Mary and Greg are random names I picked for "Labrador Road Irregulars" (LOL). Apart from the fact, that they all appeared in Sherlock Holmes stories, as helpers/clients of The detective consultant.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part three part five
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 4)

9th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
Tintin is holding his head in his arms, wishing the pain will just go away. This irks him to no end. Why do they always aim to head? It hurts. Well, it is the easiest way how to knock somebody out, but still ... He will end up with some serious brain damage if this will go on. He doesn’t realize that he is rocking himself gently.
Milou sticks its head-piece to him, nuzzling its master with silent puffs.
The ginger reporter looks sharply up, amazed beyond words. He thought that his automaton did hide itself amongst crates in the secret room.
“Milou! How did you got here?”
The copper dog sits heavily, pointing his head-piece to small hole, which was apparently made recently. Its brinks are still red-hot from the fire of Milou’s welding machine.
Tintin laughs and polishes Milou muzzle. “You must burn up all the fuel, right?” The young boy stands, ignoring the dull thuds in his head, and starts to rummaging through crates surrounding him to find some water. One of the crates gives a muffled sound of bottles tapping together and Tintin opens it immediately. “Aaah, crumbs. Champagne.” He looks at his automaton, who somehow appears suddenly very excited. Tintin could swear that bonfires of anticipation lit up in Milou’s eyes. “Well, I have no other choice.” He kneels down, unbolts the latch on Milou’s back and pours whole bottle into his automaton fuel tank.
“But if you will run around like after the whisky …”
Milou shudders and jumps in the air.
And Tintin couldn’t suppress laugh.
Archibald Haddock paces in his cell to and fro. He needs a plan. He needs to escape. He needs to calm down. He needs to think up something. Before they will leave territorial waters of England. Blistering barnacles, he is in the biggest mess he has ever been!
“Fine, Milou.” Tintin claps his hands and rubs them together. “Let’s go.” He unscrews his automaton dog’s tail, which is actually an end-hook of 10 feet long chain made from lightened copper. With practiced swing he hooks it on the ventilation shaft lid above. He breathes in, hangs all his weight on the chain and jerks. The lid comes loose with a loud “pop” and even louder “crash” when landing on crates. Tintin stands completely still, non-breathing, eyes on locked door. But no one seems to notice. The ginger reporter breathes out with relief. Once again he hooks the useful gadget to the ventilation, fastens his handy dog-device to end of chain and climbs up to the shaft, pulling Milou up to himself. “Lead me, boy.”
Archibald punches the wall and yells out of frustration. He was never good at thorough planning. “Damn it!” He mutters, then resumes to pacing, hands joined behind his back. His mother did always said When in troubles, ask God for help. He lost all his faith long ago, memories of ‘Great War’ still haunting him during sleepless nights. But, well, it couldn’t get any worse, could it? “Oh, God.” He stops, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I would appreciate a help.”
And that is the exact time when the lid of ventilation directly above him gives up under Tintin’s and Milou’s combined weight.

9th of July, 193-, Brussels
“Say, Thompson …”
“Yes, Thomson?”
“Don’t you think that we should really stop him this time?”
“Don’t you know him? When he works on a story, there is no way to hold him back.”
“Yes, but …”
Both detectives look once again around Tintin’s wrecked living room. Everything is messed up, things are scattered all around the room, coffee table shattered to pieces, stuffing of the armchairs ripped out. Tintin’s study is in much worse state, papers laying everywhere, all books on the floor, his beloved typewriter battered down. Bedroom too, their friend’s clothes plucked out from drawers, torn and inside out.
Someone tried to find something here. And he was desperate.
“This time I’m really afraid for him.”

9th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
It hurts. Archibald knows pain well. His scar is a constant memory of it. And of the war. And all the suffering and desperation and lost friends. But, oh God, this hurts. Was that the Heavens answer, striking him down with ventilation lid, boy and automaton dog?
… Wait.
Boy and automaton dog?
He looks up, meeting the boy’s concerned gaze of luscious emerald green.
“Crumbs.” Tintin says as the relief that he actually didn’t kill the man changes to terror from the fact that he had been discovered.
Archibald, feeling totally dumbstruck, simply asks: “Where?”
“Captain? Captain, what was that noise?” The guard behind the door asks.
The boy grows pale after hearing that. He tries to scramble backward, but Archibald is quicker to react. He grabs Tintin by wrist, pulling himself from underneath the lid. He pushes the ginger reporter against wall roughly, pressing his hand over Tintin’s mouth. Captain is rewarded by well aimed kicks, punches and even a bite while Milou tries to gnaw at his calf. All of this happens in complete silence.
“Shhhh.” The former soldier whispers, looking directly into Tintin’s eyes.
And Tintin calms down, realizing, seeing the sincerity in sea-colored eyes of the other man. He beckons Milou to stop.
Archibald retreats immediately, crouching down next to the ventilation lid. Tintin hides himself into the door’s dead angle, Milou pressed against his legs. Door clang open and both guards step inside, unaware of the boy. He takes full advantage of it, knocking one out, while Captain deals quickly with the other. The reporter and the former soldier look at each other ignoring the unconscious crewmembers.
“Captain? You are Archibald Haddock?”
“Yeah, but the captain part is disputable, laddie.”
Captain gives him an uncomprehending look.
“I am called Tintin.”
“Lad, I believe that nicknames are used to cover yer true name, not to point yer out.”
“I am reporter.”
“Aha. Caught when yer were sniffing around, huh?”
“Yes, sort of. Is there any way to get away from here?”
“Let’s hijack a lifeboat.”
“From your own ship?”
“Why not?”
Tintin observes Archibald attentively, searching for any traces of drunkenness. Captain is well-built man, perhaps a little rounded, taller by a head than him, with short black hair and tousled beard, but with gentle, sincere eyes. His nose is without doubts a dominant feature on his face, but goes along well with the sailor cap on his head. Despite the warmth of summer he wears a thick, navy blue sweater and long black trousers.
The ginger reporter senses his lips turning to a smile. Really, why not? “Fine. Where is the lifeboat?”

Author’s notes
This time, I'm decent.
x Milou’s fuel is just water liquid, no coals and it still works. Somehow. He has engine inside and Tintin must to add water from time to time. But Milou preffers alcoholic beverages. He is feeling hyper fuelled after them.
x 10 feet (roughly 3 metres) long chain from lightened copper with hook on its end. I believe you could imagine it very well. And lightened copper is an alloy.
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part two part four
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 3)

8th of July, 193-, Malbork
Professor Calculus wakes up with a terrible headache. His head spins and his stomach threatens to return it contents to broad day-light. Cuthbert feels even worse than that time he blown up his old laboratory. And there is only one thing which could cause all this. Trichloromethane.
He looks around with a groan. Large room furnished by antique, but well kept furniture. Rather small windows transmitting just enough of afternoon light, not like the modern broad ones in his workroom. Everything precisely cleaned. Where did they took him?
“Guten Tag, Professor.” Came from behind him.
Well, if this isn’t a promptly answered question.

8th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
“Excuse me, haven’t you seen a steam-dog here? It is FT7 model.”
The men simply shake their heads.
Tintin sighs. He didn’t paid attention to his automaton for whole one minute, which was more than enough for Milou to wander off without warning again. So he excused himself from Allan and detectives and went to search for his copper companion.
And got lost.
He would never admit it aloud.
“Oh, Milou.” He sighs again.
There is a sudden clang sound nearby. The ginger reporter turns in its direction.
“Milou! Where have you been?”
The dog automaton tilts its head-piece in quizzical gesture, emitting steam. It turns around, glances back at its master as if it wants to say “Follow me, you human being.”
And Tintin follows.
Deeper and deeper into the steamboat. Probably. Tintin sense of direction is not the one to be trusted. Milou leads them to a spacious cabin full of crates, boxes and chests. And directly through it, towards the wall opposing the door. The ginger reporter looks at surprisingly clean wall.
“What do you want to tell me?”
Milou tilts its head-piece towards him and if he could actually cast a look, this one would be really, really sarcastic. Then with a resigned clang, the automaton thuds into the wall.
It gives a hollow sound.
Tintin eyes the wall thoroughly, thinking. If there is a secret room behind this, how will I get in? Naturally, there will be some sort of opening mechanism. Where? The young reporter traces his fingers on the weld lines, eyes closed, searching. Something moved under his fingers, one panel slides inside the hollow with soft click. Tintin smiles contentedly. He and Milou steps inside, his automaton dog disappearing amongst crates stashed there. Not looking under his feet, Tintin kicks something. He immediately squats down to grab the item. It is can of crab meat, already opened and full of opium.
“Oh. What do we have here?”
“Just a nosy landlubber.” Comes from behind him as his world darkens.
Meanwhile Thomson and Thompson apologies to the mate, unknowing of the fact that their friend is in grave danger again.
“There is nothing to be sorry for.” Allan says, smile resting on his lips. “I sincerely hope that you will catch the smugglers soon.”
“Mate!” A group of sailors stops near them. “All freight unloaded. Everything’s done.”
“Yeah. We could set sail right now.”
“Great. Perhaps we will catch up that delay from North Sea.” Tall, beefy sailor emerges on deck, glances at Allan and then turns to the detective duo. “Detectives, your … erm … boy had come ahead. He said, that he had something urgent to do.”
“Oh. He probably went after other clues.”
“Thank you, sir, for giving us his message.”
Thompson steps on the gangplank, tripping over something. Thomson tried to catch him and they both fell down, miraculously not breaking anything.
“What a klutz.” Said the last-to-come sailor, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Where is that boy?” Mutters Allan through his teeth.
“He is locked in storeroom 4.”
“Tom! What the fuck … ?”
“He found out the stash.”
Allan growls. “This is bad. Bad. Bad!”
“Well. We already have one slave for market.”
“No.” Allan grins darkly at his henchman. “We have two.”

8th of July, 193-, Malbork
Professor Calculus is fluent in German. As well as in English, French and few other languages, apart from his native Dutch. And thanks to his hearing aid he had no problem to catch all the orders his captor barked on servants. He still does not know where exactly did they dragged him, but he is absolutely sure now that they are in Preußen.
He must admit that his captors were … not clever, no, rather persistent. They followed him all the way to Groningen and actually caught him at the end. And now, they are playing good hosts.
Cuthbert smiles to his tea. But it is all futile, since he does not have it with him. He smuggled it unnoticed to Factory mail office before he actually went on this goose chase. He could only hope now, that that boy is really like his dear colleague Alembick had told him.
The leader of his captors, who did introduced himself as Spalding, rambles on and on, surprisingly in English, but with strong, unmistakable accent. He ends his litany with the grave question. “Will you work for me?”
And Cuthbert decides to do the most awful, most wicked, most foul and most dastardly thing he could.
He looks the man right into eyes with a disgusted expression. “For that would you want a pony?”
He will pretend that his hearing aid does not work.

Author’s notes
x Malbork is a city in Poland and also a wonderful, I mean wonderful castle. If you happen to be nearby, make sure to have a time for visit. Historically speaking, it was founded by Order of Teutonic Knights, who, after few centuries of strugling, conquering and renaming, became known as Prussia.
x Trichloromethane is nothing else that good old chloroform.
x Somehow I tend to use the German name for Prussia - Preußen. Oh, and “Guten Tag, Professor” means "Good day, Professor" in German.
x Let's say, that FT7 model of steam-dog is the 7th model based on Fox Terrier.
x Tintin's sense of direction is terrible. He need at least one character flaw, and this one is amusing as hell. I know it first hand, two of my former classmates are like that. It was, and still is, really dangerous to let them take the lead, especially in unknown city. ... But sightseeing with them was sooo much fun! We needed twice/thrice as time as normal, but nevermind. ^^
x Groningen is a city somewhere in Netherlands, relatively close to German borders. Really, I found it on the map.
x Professor Hector Alembick is that sigillographer for whom Tintin briefly worked in 'King Ottokar's Sceptre'.
x Do you remember Spalding? The traitorous secretary of Laszlo Carreidas in 'Flight 714'?
x Professor Calculus does wear his hearing aid on daily basis, but most of the time, he had it switched off. Not hearing helps him to focus on his work. And he actually enjoys the reactions of people in his surroundings, but shh, do not tell that to Captain. ^^
winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part one part three
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 2)

8th of July, 193-, Brussels
“We do not know anything useful.”
“To be precise, nothing we know is useful.”
The central office of Interpol in Brussels is located in modern, fully steam-powered district, in convenient proximity to the centre of city as well as to the main port.
“Oh, please.” Tintin shuts his notebook. “He couldn’t just disappeared into a thin air.”
“We are afraid that this is exactly what had happened.”
“To be precise, that is exactly why we are afraid.”
Both detectives sadly bow their head in fluid motion, as if they were one person. Tintin had to use all his self-control for not bursting into laugh, pretending that he polishes Milou’s ears so he could turn away. The famous detective duo is dressed, as always, in rather old-fashioned black suits, bowlers and canes. They have certain air of ridiculousness around themselves.
“But there is another interesting thing.”
“Yes, yes. We think that this thing will interest you, dear friend.”
“I’d rather find mister Crepsilon first.”
“That pickpocket wouldn’t run away.” Thomson rummages through various items and pieces of evidence on his table.
“I do not want to perturb you, but he already did.”
Thompson cast an emphatic look at the young reporter. “Ehm. This is more pressing issue. The ship leaves this evening.”
“Here!” Thomson finally founds what he was looking for. “Cargo steamboat ‘Karaboudjan’, long range tanker type 2, d.w.t. 120,000 tons, owned by ‘Salaad Transport Company’. Current captain is Archibald Haddock, former civil servant with no criminal records.” He walks to Tintin, placing the evidence to his hands. Ordinary can of crab meat.
“It just an ordinary can of crab meat.”
“Only for the first look.” Thompson says. “If you’ll open it …”
Tintin sighs, and gives up. It’s better to play along with those two. He squats down to Milou, holding the tin near its muzzle. “Tin-opener, please.” There are clicking and clanging sound when Milou opens its mouth, revealing a stick-ish gadget. The ginger reporter impales the tin on it unceremoniously and opens it with one skilled swift. “Great Snakes!”
The detectives look at each other with satisfaction.
“The meat is rotten.”
“I’m afraid, gentlemen, that your lunch is postponed.”
Both detectives tried to grab the can at the same time. They only ended up smacking each others hands. Then was expected glaring contest. And then came shouting. Tintin just stood there, waiting for a chance to shut them up. In all politeness, of course.
“Ehm. Would you mind?”
“Oh dear. I must have given you the other one.”
“That was absentminded from you. Here, boy, open this one.”
“Couldn’t you two just tell me what is going on?” Tintin automatically opens the other can, glancing on its content. And then staring with surprise. “Oh. Is that …?”
“Opium?” Thompson asks.
“Yes.” Thomson answers.
Tintin grins on the detective duo, his journalist instincts kicks out. “This is on ‘Karaboudjan’?”
“We think so.”
“To be precise, we think so.”

8th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
Archibald Haddock observes the ceiling in his cell. Frankly speaking, he has nothing else to do. His own crew has locked him in this storage after they got entangled in international opium smuggling. He had found it completely by accident, two or three days ago. How could he be so blind? Yes, he was drunk, terribly drunk, but should at least noticed, that they built a secret room inside the main stockroom.
Aaargh. He rubs his eyes. He is in a fine mess. Did he run away from army just for this? To end up as slave somewhere in Africa? Oh, they surely want to convert him into cash, or else he would be long dead. Fish food. Plankton. Thundering Typhoons, why?
There is no way he could escape. This room is used as depository for potentially dangerous things, acids, explosives, this sort of nasty stuffs. So no portholes and perfectly secured door. Only the air-conditioning shaft above, but it is too narrow for him.
They are in Brussels now, if Allan didn’t change the planned course. This will be a perfect opportunity to escape, in this city is one of the Interpol headquarters after all. If only he could think up something. But nothing comes to his mind.
“Oh well,” he murmurs to himself, absent-mindedly caressing his scar through his thick blue sweater. “Perhaps some great idea from above will struck me soon.”

8th of July, 193-, Brussels
Main port is always drowned in thick fog. It is not so bad as in industrial factory district on suburb, thanks to the fresh breeze, which comes along the ‘Maritime Canal’. But it still has that unmistakable aftertaste of coal.
Tintin walks alongside Thompson and Thomson, holding Milou in his arms. His automaton dog has a distinctive habit to run around whenever it could, which is not safe in places where heavy steam-powered transport carts drives around, delivering the goods to and fro.
“Here we are, dock 24.”
Tintin looks up and breathes sharply out in surprise. He could not see whole ship, but not because of smog.
“That is ‘Karaboudjan’?”
“You could see the name on her prow.” Comes reply from above. A man appears on gangplank. “I believe that you are the detectives. Board in.”
“Thanks for such a hearty welcome, sir.” The detective duo arrives on deck surprisingly without accident. “Hearty thanks for such a welcome. I’m detective Thompson.” “I’m detective Thomson.”
“And this is our apprentice, Tintin.” Say the detectives as one man.
Tintin puts Milou on deck and shakes hand with the sailor, instinctively suspicious of that man.
“Name’s Allan. I’m first mate. I’ll guide you through ship.”
“We thought that we will meet directly with captain Haddock.”
“He is slightly” Allan gestures drinking “indisposed.”
“Oh.” Says Thompson.
“We see.” Says Thomson.
Such an irresponsible drunkard thinks Tintin.
“This way, gentlemen.”
Allan leads them to the steel innards of the ship. When they reach one of inner rusty staircase, he mumbles the warning : “Watch your steps.”
Tintin, as in premonition, steps backwards. Both canes flies high in the air. While both detectives plunks down from the stairs. The ginger journalist reach up, catching the canes. Allan just standing there, mouth open with surprise.
“D…Detectives?” Tintin leans over banister.
“We’re fine.” Come distinct, if slightly beaten reply from downstairs.
Milou shakes his head-piece from side to side and the clang it makes sounds almost like an amused bark.

Author’s notes
Here we go again. ^^
x Thompson and Thomson are surprisingly fun to write. In my head, they are French and actually great, if clumsy, detectives who had earned their reputation by hard way. They are little old-fashioned, particularly in fashion, and sometimes rather slow-thinking, but with bulldog's stubbornness.
x Mr. Crepsilon is Czech (my native language) variation of Mr. Silk's (the pickpocket from 'Unicorn' adventure) name.
x ‘Salaad Transport Company’ is named after main antagonist in original 'Crab' - Omar Ben Salaad.
x Is there any difference in words "tin" and "can"? I hope not.
x This is the reason why I turned Snowy Milou into automaton. He has a lots of surprises in his ... inside.
x Captain's scar. Now, you are interested, right? Hehe. Just wait.
x “Perhaps some great idea from above will struck me soon.” Oh, Captain. It wouldn't be just idea. It will be your destiny.
x I have never been in Brussels. So I looked into map of it to get the right picture. And realized that what I thought was a river is actually a water-canal. Life is full of surprises.
x Why does Thom(p)sons introduced Tintin as their apprentice? Partially because he sort of is, but mainly because all three of them had learned that "We are detectives and he is journalist, who we brought along just for sure." is not the best way to introduce themselves to possible villains.
x Tintin does not like alcohol. And alcoholics. And irresponsibe people. Hence his thoughts.
x It might seem that I don't continue with the Professor's mysterious parcel storyline, but it is not truth, Tintin just got his nose to something else which will temporally delay him.
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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