To Build A Better Cannon
Posted on Sat Dec 31st, 2011 @ 5:00am by Sailor Edward Marketh 2nd
Chapter 2: The Map says 'Go Here'
Location: Edward's Workshop
Timeline: Day 4, Near Midnight
The room was dark, illuminated by a single candle on the worktable. Ed was hunched over a hunk of metal in the center of his chamber, his eyes covered by thick goggles despite the darkness. He didn't seem bothered by it one bit and raised a heavy industrial torch to his latest contraption. Sparks and hot flecks of metal launched off his creation and in the flash of the torch it was apparent he was working on some kind of heavy metal tube. Slowly and carefully he welded what appeared to be a large clockwork box on the end of the metal.
It didn't take him long. Ed shut off his torch and raised his goggles to his forehead in order to better admire his work. Scratching is chin as he looked it over, it occurred to him that it was still messing something. His invention was a little too dangerous as it stood. While you could make a case that creating dangerous machines was his specialty Ed preferred it when it his invention were deadly only to the thing it was pointed at.
Bringing his goggles back over his eyes Ed moved to a box in the corner of the room and retrieved a series of thick metal strips. Flipping his torch back on he began heating one of the strips, watching carefully as it went from dull grey to a red glow, and finally to near white. Once it was hot, he quickly shut the torch off and retreated to his invention.
Ed swiftly placed the hot piece of metal against the end of the tube and grabbed a hammer from the floor next to him. Quickly he started pounding the end of the metal strip, folding it around the end of the cylinder and creating a tight fit around. Finishing just as the metal cooled Ed began to repeat the process with the rest of the strips, until the metal tube had a series of reinforcing bands going down the length of it.
And yet still it wasn't right. It still felt weak somehow. Ed returned to the box of metal and pulled another series of strips. This time he took them back to his creation without any heating, and placed them along the length of the tube. Once again he began to weld, fastening the thick metal to the barrel and further reinforcing it.
Stepping back one last time to admire his work, Edward finally decided it was right. It was time for a test. He quickly shoved all his tools into a corner, not even bothered to pack them away, and slid a heavy plate of sheet metal out from behind some boxes and placed it in front of his machine. Ed was sure that this would be enough to for the sake of a test. Probably.
Ed approached the back of his machine and grabbed a small cord on the clockwork mechanism he had welded onto the back. He gave the cord a sharp tug, causing a loud noise to emanate from the mechanism that sounded reminiscent of a wind up spring being tightened. He repeated this several times, and each the cord grew harder to pull. Finally Ed physically couldn't pull the cord anymore, and he decided it was ready to use.
With everything in place, Ed gave a small smile. This was the sort of thing he loved, watching his ideas become a reality. He pulled a heavy lever on the clockwork machine and prepared to be blown away.
The sound of thunder burst out from his machine followed instantly by the sound of rushing wind. The metal plate he had positioned near the machine flew backwards into the wall and toppled over, a massive dent having been punched into the center. Ed laughed heavily, one might even say maniacally. It worked!
However it hadn't worked perfectly. Ed suddenly felt a sharp pain in the side of his head. A wet patch began to form and run down the side of his face. He put his hand up to the spot and winced heavily. Looking at his hand, he realized he was bleeding. How had that happened?
Looking down at his cannon, he realized one of the metal reinforcements he had connected to the barrel had peeled off like a banana skin, causing the end to break off and give him a bad scrape nearly across his temple. Ed went through another box and found a thick piece of cloth and pressed it to his head, then finally sat down in the corner of his room to think.
He'd have to make it stronger. That had been a test with nothing but a hand powered spring and the pressure of the blast itself. He hadn't even loaded the blasted thing, and he knew that if he winded the springs fully by connecting it to a steam engine it could produce far more power. If it blasted out a reinforced barrel under these conditions there was no way it could be fired at full power with a heavy projectile.
Edward finally stood up, still pressing the thick cloth to the side of his head. He didn't have time to see the ship's doctor. He had work to do, and it was going to be a long night.