Next stop Kanesville?
Mission: Chapter 9: Steam City
Far out across the wastleand, where all was ash and sand, the Western steam train roared along. Clouds billowed miles into the sky until the train cleared the remnants of yesterday's dust storm. The colossal locomotive thundered ever onwards, the myriad pistons pounding away, and jets of superheated steam alternating from the dozen chimneys. The massive carriages were pulled along by the tremendous power of the engine.
The Western settlers had built their trains twice as tall, twice as wide, and twice as long as anything in their Europan homelands. It was the most convenient way of transporting ore during the coal rush, and now a century later the railways were used for transporting people and goods across the nation.
As the carriages rushed over the tracks, the rhythmic drone of the sound of the rails lulled some of the passengers to sleep and kept other ones awake for hours on end. In all four classes of passenger carriage, from the priviate luxury carriage, right down to the people crammed in like cattle, and to the actual cattle carriage, nobody knew for sure what was going on up at the crew compartment.
"This is my blasted train and it'll stop where it's supposed to!" barked the engineer. He was bald, squat, and heavily scarred. He was as fierce as his bushy handlebar moustache.
The tall lieutenant looked equally fierce. "By the order of the commander general, all understocked vessels will proceed to Columbus City and not take berth along the way!"
"Vessel? Berth? We aren't in one of your damned fancy skyships! This is a steam train and it's got a schedule to stick to!" He span around and glared at his frightened crew. "Next stop Kanesville!" he barked. "Deploy the weights!"
"Belay that order!" shouted the lieutenant, drawing his pistol and pointing it at the engineer's back. "Tell your men to maintain full speed, mister Stockman."
"That's not a bright idea, sir" the engineer grumbled, struggling with that last word. "We pass by Kanesville at this speed an' we'll tear the railyard to pieces, not t' mention break through the railroad switches. You wanna stick around when we go off the tracks at three-hundred and fifty knots?"
After an uncomfortable silence, the lieutenant lowered his pistol. "No, I don't want that to happen. How do we avoid it?" "Well we can start by deploying the blasted weights!" shouted the engineer as he turned around. "It'll take hours to drop speed at our momentum. We gotta get started if we're gonna slow down enough!"
"Very well" conceded the lieutenant. He was still holding his pistol. "But we do not stop, you understand? If the locals find out we can't meet their food orders, things will turn sour real quick."