Story Fiction

Like all of Catalyst's Worlds, Leviathans has a plethora of fiction written and planned. Watch this space for short tales of adventure from the decks of leviathans in 1910!

"Story fiction" includes novels, novellas, short stories and so on; fiction that puts the reader inside the heads of the characters that populate the universe.

Intrépide: Final

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Thirty days later…

Aviation Board of Inquiry
La Borget Field
France

He was prepared for that question. “Perhaps. But I relied on my training, and I was correct. The British limped away in two badly damaged ships, and now they file protests with the Prime Minister, whining like little girls about the defeat I handed them. Yes, there may have been more experienced officers on the ship–but as you have already heard, the only one that came to me wanted to run and hide.”

“Your actions could be called reckless.” Read the rest of this entry »

Intrépide: Part 5

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Thirty days later…

Aviation Board of Inquiry
La Borget Field
France

Sous-lieutenant François Moreau sat alone at the table for the defense, as was the tradition. The board of inquiry into the events of the previous month was necessary. He had assumed command of the Intrépide, and the French Admiralty had questions that must be answered. While it was standard procedure after an incident such as this, he did not feel comfortable about the situation. More than one officer’s career had been broken in this room. And while he felt his actions throughout the engagement were justified, he also knew the Admiralty might have other ideas and perspectives.

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Intrépide: Part 4

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Heavy Cruiser Intrépide
North Sea
8 September 1900
1425 hours

Capitaine Rivenburg of the Python was not taking the bait. He coolly angled his ship the opposite direction, firing another salvo at long range. One shot whizzed past fire control, missing by a matter of twenty meters. The other slammed into the mangled armor belt at the aft of the ship. Smoke rose out of the hole—not a lot, but enough.

This one is crafty, so I must be as well. “We need to lure him in,” François said to the crew as he leaned into the mouthpiece again. “Engine room, I need you to create a 10-degree list to port.”

“Sir?” came the answering voice in the ear-tube.

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Intrépide: Part 3

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Heavy Cruiser Intrépide
North Sea
8 September 1900
1425 hours

It took a long, painful two minutes for the Intrépide to arc around 180 degrees. Halfway through the turn, Lieutenant Miller entered the makeshift bridge. His uniform was torn, but he was alive. Where he had been for the last few minutes was something to be learned later. Part of François was happy to see his commanding officer, but that changed the moment Miller spoke. “What are you doing, Moreau? I was in the forward turret and heard you are in command?”

Qui. Capitaine Guisarme turned over the ship to me,” he replied, not lifting his eyes from the enemy ship. He saw flashes of light from cannons firing just as shells hit his own ship. The Intrépide vibrated violently under the impacts from the Renown, so hard he almost fell over, but still the old mademoiselle was in the air…still in the fight. Read the rest of this entry »

Intrépide: Part 2

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Heavy Cruiser Intrépide
North Sea
8 September 1900
1425 hours

François saw that the binnacle had been torn asunder. Along with the scent of cordite was another smell, awareness of which he fought to suppress: the odor of cooking meat. Through the haze of thinning smoke, he could see the helm was twisted by the impact of the shell; the giant wheel was no more than broken pieces of wood scattered around the remains of the shattered bridge. There was no way to steer the ship from the bridge, not now. The ship quaked again, followed by the boom of British cannon. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that the British cruiser was now moving. Cutting in the other direction from behind it, masked by the smoke of her engines, was a destroyer. Two ships!

He grabbed the Enseigne and shook him hard to get his focus. “Get him to the infirmary!” he yelled as he made his way to the staircase. François was now in command of the Intrépide—but how long could they last against two enemy ships? Read the rest of this entry »

Intrépide: Part 1

By Blaine Lee Pardoe

Heavy Cruiser Intrépide
North Sea
8 September 1900
1425 hours

Sous-Lieutenant aérien François Moreau stared out of the armored glass window of the fire control deck aboard the Intrépide, wondering where his career had gone so wrong. He had been one of the top students at the École d’Aviation, the Aviation School for the French fleet seven months earlier. He and his friends had a bet as to who would be the first of their class to captain a Gany in the name of France. It looked as if he was not even in contention.

His posting to the cruiser Intrépide seemed promising; she was a heavy cruiser, after all. But the positive aspects ended there. His classmates had been posted to newer ships, with the latest technologies. Fast, sleek ships that garnered quick career advancement. François had been assigned to one of the oldest ships in the French fleet. The entire Intrépide-class was being retired from service, in fact, with only the namesake ship remaining on active duty. The others had been scrapped or sold to some South American country. Many in the fleet now saw this once grand old mademoiselle as an obsolete rust bucket. His posting here was no career advancement for François; it was a slap in the face. He was not sure who he had insulted in the high command or what he had done, but he was surely paying the price for some crime—real or perceived.

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What Prices Paid_Epilogue

by Jim Rapkins

The Black Swan

Calais, France

23 September 1909

The unnamed man moved quickly between the tables and chairs in the ramshackle bar, a well known hangout for the officers and crew of the French gany fleet. This job made very little sense, but the pay was good, and at the end of the day, a little more smuggling wouldn’t hurt anyone. Smoke hung in the air, assaulting his nostrils in a pleasant onslaught. It reminded him of his native Marseilles, though the people there were more friendly than these jumped-up sailors. That was true sailing, on the open ocean. He sat down at an unoccupied table and gestured to the serving girl for a cognac. The pay was very good.

Five or so minutes later, one of the officers moved past him, gesturing at the unoccupied chair opposite him. “Is this seat taken, monsieur?”

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What Prices Paid_Part 8

by Jim Rapkins

The Admiralty

London, Great Britain

23 July 1909

“Congratulations, Spence, I’ll be over there to congratulate you properly later on. Have some Bruichcladdich waiting for me.” Devon Cavendish replaced the receiver in the cradle, glad to be rid of the distraction. Of course Spencer was the new Prime Minister, the Opposition was in shambles, and Fisher had shot himself in the foot by refusing to offer up his protégé as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of public scrutiny. Asquith had been…persuaded…to remain on the sidelines, and Lloyd George…well, no one wanted a Welsh PM. But the election was won, and the Party well and truly in control.

Which brought his attention back to the matter at hand. He finished pouring the drinks the phone call had interrupted, placing them on the silver tray himself before turning to serve the three men seated in the small office. Large, brusque men who were ill suited to the small confines of the spartanly appointed room. All three wore the uniform of the Sky Fleet, though some wore it more easily than others. Cavendish again mentally berated the short-sightedness of the Admiralty that had left him with little choice other than to approach such men as this. At least in the Borderers, there had been men of class. He doubted these men even knew what Bruichcladdich was, let alone what it tasted like. They were impressed enough with the Glenfiddich he’d just poured each of them.

“What exactly are we here for, milord?”

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What Prices Paid_Part 7

by Jim Rapkins

Buckingham Palace

London, Great Britain

13 February 1909

“Goddamn it, John! What were you thinking?!”

Admiral John Jellicoe looked up sharply at his superior’s words. No sooner had the Skagerrak fleet arrived back in England, than he had been whisked off to London to face an inquiry at the Admiralty. That had been remarkably pro forma, with the questions aimed not so much at his handling of the so-called debacle, but Fisher’s role in the exercise. So having his mentor address him in such a way—especially in this place!—was a slight shock to the system.

“Ah, sir, I’m not certain I understand what you mean. You know what happened. The German fleet arrived in much more force than anticipated, and I made the decision to minimize any casualties.” Which was what you told me to do. He left the last unsaid, not sure how it would go down. The other man in the room took a deep puff from his pipe, the blue-grey smoke drifting listlessly towards the domed ceiling of the sitting room.

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What Prices Paid_Part 6

by Jim Rapkins

House of Commons

Parliament House

London, Great Britain

12 February 1909

He let the commotion in the chamber wash over him as he leaned back, allowing his fellow backbenchers to support Ryan’s words. Form over substance—it was the modus operandi of these Parliamentary sittings. The Speaker would bang his gavel, both sides would yell at each other, the newspapers would get some good copy. But the real deals, the real power, lay in the backrooms of Parliament. Spencer didn’t understand that. He thought he did, but that was why they had approached Devon, and not Spencer.

He thought about the oath he had sworn almost immediately prior to this sitting, its words still lingering in his ears.

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