Aboard the cloudship Cassiopeia

Click on the picture for a larger version.

The Dutch cargo cloudship* C/S Cassiopeia plays a significant supporting role in my dieselretro spy adventure The Ice War (link >>>). When I browsed Deviantart a few days ago, I found this piece by the artist Mordasius. It looks like an observation port in the Cassiopeia’s bridge with some attached meteorological hardware.

Here is a description from another, regrettably still unfinished, story belonging to the same timeline. Republican spy Adèle von Rosen has found a temporary refuge in the Hyderabad-based cloudship C/S Mumtaz-e-Asmān.

The cook heaped cleaning and washing tasks on me as if I were an automaton. I therefore paid little attention to what was going on outside the galley, but some hours into the afternoon I sensed that the Mumtaz-e-Asmān was changing course. It was not the banking of an aeroplane, but rather the majestic turning of a ship at sea. A roundel of sunlight shining through a porthole slowly slid along a bulkhead and showed that the captain had chosen a more westerly route. Soon we entered new weather zone with more clouds and a strong wind buffeting the hull.

A crewman arrived at the galley hatch an hour later. “The skipper wants you,” he said in halting Danish. With relief I abandoned a huge dirty pot and followed him through cold corridors to the bridge. This time the big hatch opened and I entered a cluttered room as wide as the cloudship.

My first impression: banks of instruments at broad windows and beyond them a blue sky with clusters of white clouds above the Lowland’s checkerboard of fields that were blond and green with crops. Captain Singh resided in a pilot’s chair at the centre of the bridge surrounded by levers and control devices. Three cloudmen manned similar stations behind him. Parkas, knitted caps, and gloves protected them from the high-altitude cold.


*The dieselretro cloudships of The Ice War are loosely inspired by the sky vessels in Studio Ghibli’s animated masterpiece Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

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