Mobius: Eyes Above the Clouds- Chapter 4
The twilight crept upon us fast, but seemed to linger longer than I had experienced before. The real horizon below was cut off and replaced by the organic one- what could be called ‘the uncanny valley’, as Richards explained while Joseph and Babir began to finish up pulling out the rest of the camping supplies. “Those dolls that rich girls carry about?” The doctor had begun. “The ones with the big eyes that move about just slightly on springs inside of their heads? They are meant to look more… human, if you will. Too human, I had to say, after seein’ one dragged in at the whim of a little girl that came into my practice.”
“Too human?” Chase said with a suspicious laugh. “How’dya figure?”
Richards wagged his finger in response. “Like I said, the uncanny valley, a thing I picked up from a colleague. Look here,” he continued while drawing an imaginary graph in the air. “Something gets more ‘n more real looking until… at a point, I guess, you peer at it knowing it is in fact a doll, but with all the bits of a human. Too strange, all in all.”
I began to scribble down the words and description upon my pad. Alice turned up from warming her hands beneath her underarms. “And so that precipice over yonder, looking like our own, being not in fact our own, is what makes it… uncanny, then?”
Richards sucked in the cold air through his nostrils. “You’ve got it.”
A metallic racket came from the ramp on the backside of the flying craft. We popped up our heads in unison to see a canvas bag sitting to the side of one of the crates, having fallen from its previous resting point. Chase jumped to his feet, exclaiming, “my cookin’ supplies.”
Alongside the rest of the crated-up supplies, Mary had come around to examine the same clamor. She met eyes with her husband as he approached. “No harm no foul. Though, we best be staring to cook, shan’t we, my dear?”
Chase knelt down to the sack of equipment, examining the contents. “If we can get the burner ta’ light, up ‘ere in all this wind.” He huffed.
I forced myself back up to check on the remaining supplies. Joseph had just taken the final crate down from Babir deep inside the cabin to transport it down to the surface. The now empty interior was spacious as I remembered.
It was another two months after the showing at the World’s Fair that the current iteration of the flying craft was ready to take to the sky for a test flight. Every time I heard more about it, the immense amount of details that apparently went into it made my head spin. It was an amalgamation of various techniques and technologies that I had barely heard of.
The plates covering the frame were made a extraordinarily light and extraordinarily thin sheets of aluminum, stretched tight and held down with thousands of rivets manufactured in a way to so as it allow the air to pass over them without being caught up. One of Lorraine’s workers explained it to me in a term called ‘aerodynamics’. As a result, it seems the craft would be able to somehow take to the air- and stay there- despite its size.
Of course such a thing would not be feasible without a source of power to lift it off the ground in the first place. My studies of gravity as a child told me that we would need a certain amount of force to do so, but the exact amount, or a least a minimum figure, was out of my depth of knowledge. It seemed to combat this, Lorraine had decided to simply purchase and modify a powerful enough engine to force into the nose of the craft to power the front propeller. After all, it was obvious that our crew would not be small and would necessitate not any small amount of supplies.
The petrol-burning mechanism they brought it, apparently from a powered ship of some sort, was obnoxiously loud and odoriferous. The workers cut it down, stripping down bits and parts that seemed hardly superfluous, but nevertheless, it seemed they knew what they were up to. The first time the spinning four-pointed prop was attached to the driving shaft, it created a buzz that was likely heard for miles. Not too long after, it had been placed upon points inside of the home that had been created for it in the craft. What was left was to cover it in another plate of aluminum, again for the sake of ‘aerodynamics.’ Further ground tests left me concerned that the entire contraption would shake to bits, but, as you can tell, it held together. I was happy to report to my father how the project was faring.
Chase eventually gave trying to light the stove, as any flame would instantly be sucked away, helpless to light the gas inside his burner. Daniels ordered us as a crew to finally sit down as one to discuss further plans while we munched away at the cold paper packets of dried meats and hardtack.
“We’ve all done well to arrive here all in one piece.” The captain acknowledged, licking his lips. “If only Sir Rees himself could see us,” He added, glancing at me. “We are doing our best to find our bearings up here, in this unknown place. With a fresh start tomorrow, I hope to seek out a way to infiltrate this creature so that we may have an once of shelter from this cold wind. For tonight, we must do our best to brave the conditions. Eat well, rest up, and be ready for tomorrow. That is all.”
“Salut!” Lorraine nodded and held his water bladder up to the center. A few let out their own cries of cheer or other mumblings before turning back to their meager meals.