Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

This blog will be devoted to my literary and cosplay interests and stories set in my own alternative historical steampunk background. I hope people enjoy the stories, as much as I enjoy devising and writing them and that it stimulates their own artistic interests, entertains them or if nothing else fires their own imaginations.

A special note to new readers of this blog, the entries "Nation States" are gazetteers of the nations as they exist in the An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron background, each with a few remarks/observations about each nation as they exist within. Any post headed by the title containing the words "Story Snippet" or "Fragments" is a stand alone, snapshot of the background, they will be developed into fuller stories in future, but at present they serve to give the viewer/reader a measure of what this world is like, what is going on in it and who some of the players are. Full stories, will be headed by their title and a roman number, as they will generally be in several parts.

Comments, suggestions or remarks by readers are welcomed.

I would like to thank the following people:

Yaya Han, for getting me seriously interested in cosplay at a time when things were looking very glum for me back in 2006 with several extended stays in hospital due to illness, and motivating me to get actively involved.

Ashley Du aka UndeadDu, for her unfailing friendship and cheerful support since we first met in 2014 at the Hamilton Comic Con, and for being my Cosplay mentor and advisor.

Sara Marly, for her interest in and support for my writings, since we first met in 2016 at the Hamilton Comic Con and incidently helping me make up my mind to finally do this.

Stephen Thomson, my friend, for his advise and assistance with creating and setting up this blog.

Daniel Cote, my friend and co-worker for his advise and friendship over the years.

The People of the The Aegy's Gathering (particularly Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Scott Washburn and Jenny Dolfen, all of whom I have kept in contact with over the years), who were brought together in friendship by a certain randomness of chance and a common interest in the Honor Harrington books and stayed together despite distance and the strains of life.

The People of the Wesworld Alternative History website, who gave me the opportunity to sharpen my writing and story telling skills while directing the affairs of Lithuania and briefly France during their 1930s timelines.

My parents Mary Ellen and Logan, my siblings Adam and Danika and various friends both online and at work and play for putting up with me, encouraging and supporting me both in the very good times and the very bad times.

I remain as always yours very sincerely, your obedient servant, Matthew Baird aka Sir Leopold Stanley Worthing-Topper

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fragments from the Americas

Puget Sound, Washington State, January 1889

Lieutenant Jasper Crockett, moved along the deck of the sleeping ironclad USS Oregon, the sun had not yet risen over the horizon let alone over the yard arm he thought wrly. The Sound, was chock full of the ships of the Union Pacific Fleet, all commanded by Admiral Samuel Powhatan Carter. Their number still surprised Crockett on occasion, nine old but solid centre battery ships-of-the line, ten more modern turret battleships, thirty monitors and dozens of cruisers, corvettes and gunboats of all types and descriptions. Auxiliary ships too, armed merchant cruisers, repair and store ships as well as troop ships by the score and more and more were arriving every day he thought soberly. The bays and inlets of the Sound and the harbor of Seattle were becoming vast forests of funnels and masts!

Crockett, could feel it, Old Pow, was up to something, really something again. Another operation and a major one was in the offing, everyone could feel it, even if no one dared give voice to that sentiment. Something as large as when the whole Pacific Fleet had sailed under Admiral Carter's for the first time and blasted it's way into the I.S.A's capital in San Francisco Bay, fighting their way past the rebel forts of the Golden Gate, and circled the inner bay twice before getting out again and back to safety in Puget Sound.

Crockett, felt sorry he hadn't been with the fleet when that had gone off. It had been one hell of a fight, the crew of the Oregon had told him with unconcealed pride. Each ship blazing away as they passed the batteries on the points, the night time sky awash with light and crackling detonations! Oregon, had been battered and bloodied, when she'd finally hauled herself out into the Pacific waters beyond the Golden Gate, but she and every other ship under Admiral Carter's command that day had show the Union Navy still had fight in it!

Crockett, walked back and forth across the upper flag bridge of the Oregon. Down below him, glowered, two of the turret battleship's four broadside mounted turrets: two each side of the ship, each shipping two brand new twelve-inch guns, powerful, modern and long-range pieces. The ship was fresh out of dock from a long refit to put her back into fighting trim after several hard months of naval blockade and coastal bombardment work along the Oregon and California coasts. The almost daily action had left many of the Oregon's guns worn almost smooth from constant firing, the ship's engines had been badly worn by constant steaming often at high speed for days on end. Hull plates had been buckled, rivets sprung and a host of other minor damages caused by being at sea for extended periods of time, either patrolling or stopped for coaling alongside some collier at some lonely spot. Crockett had no doubt at all that the battlewagon would see action again.

Crockett had heard scuttlebutt that said, the Pacific Fleet was heading into a massive reorganization, mercifully, Carter was still going to hold the senior command, but some of his admiralty staff, and some of his squadron and division commanders were going to be changed. Some people had been found wanting over the last year, since Admiral Carter had taken the reins from his predecessor the now departed and disgraced Admiral David Dixon Porter. Both Admiral Carter and the Secretary of the Navy were going to do a clean sweep of the Fleet's old guard. According to rumour the Oregon was shortly to become the flagship of Vice-Admiral Mark Ketrenos. Crockett hadn't heard much about the new flag officer, other then he was a veteran of the first civil war back in 1861-67, and had served well by all accounts. He'd spent much of the last decade in staff apointments as chief naval secretary to the Secretary of the Navy or seagoing appointments as a division and squadron commander in the Atlantic Fleet. One rumour had bothered many when they heard it, Vice-Admiral Ketrenos was from Oregon, one the rebel Independent States of America's founding trio. Crockett had stomped down on that sort of talk amid the lower deck, it was bad for morale, and was very bad for the incoming admiral's reputation within the Pacific Fleet. A lot of Oregonians had stayed loyal to the Union and paid for it with their property, their businesses and their freedom and all to often their lives. From what Crockett had heard, Vice-Admiral Ketrenos, was a loyal Unionist and was one of those who had lost nearly everything when the crash that broke the Union a second time came in 1885.

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