NEW πŸ“—Story: The Fountain ❌

Vacuum Dirigibles in Vekllei

Sunday, Nov 24, 2019
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Sorry it took so long, mateys. I’ve been laying the first pages of the comic down and it’s like crack for me. Not much sleep and totally fell behind on SkyMonth. But, as any longtime members know, our Months are r/vekllei usually last a little longer than they should past their expiry date. There’s a lot to come!

The Angel and Memory of the People of Vekllei is the largest and most recent of Vekllei’s airships. It’s usually just referred to as the Angel of Vekllei, since transliteration of Vekllei hieroglyphs carry with them a lot of wordy semantic baggage.

The Vekllei Air Service (Skyburo), the public bureau that operates the country’s commercial air fleet, also operates a dozen commercial airships of various size and capacity, colloquially referred to as β€˜skyliners’. Where American skyliners are built as a luxurious alternative to the supersonic jet (although moving many thousands of times slower than one), Vekllei skyliners are similar to cruise ships, drifting lazily over continents and taking pleasure in the journey. Hilariously, the simple livery of the VAS aircraft is scaled up to absurd proportions on its airships, including the crowned circle on its keel.

The Angel exemplifies the spirit of the so-called Skyliner-mindset, since it serves a dual purpose; to carry five hundred Vekllei people across the world, and as a diplomatic vessel emphasising both the scientific achievement and peaceful intentions of the island country. For this reason, and unlike the rest of the Skyliner fleet, the dirigible only offers passage to Vekllei citizens.

To this end, it offers hundreds of passenger cabins across the middle of the ship, each with spectacular views. A grand ballroom sits beneath the fore, and the glittering crystal nosecap contains one of sixteen viewing galleries scattered about the ship. The indoor arcade and Vekllei stone-water gardens sits above the vacuum tanks, and spans nearly 250 metres in length. In the centre is a small heliport that can accommodate six helijets of a standard size. In the various glass constructions beneath the vessel you’ll find the Hall of Atomics, a library, smoking and reading rooms, and a cinema, among various other amenities.

Large geodesic vacuum tanks constructed of boron nitride ceramics support near-vacuums throughout the interior of the vessel. These tanks provide a maximum lift of nearly 6,000 tonnes, shedding the restrictive weight limits of yesteryear’s zeppelins for all the comforts of the modern age.

Vekllei airships have extremely rigid tanks to support the creation of vacuums, which are controlled mechanically through valves. The infrastructure required to support the systems aboard is entirely electric, and powered primarily by a water-shielded atomic steam plant that powers two turbines. The primary reactor has a viewing gallery above it, where passengers can admire General Reactor’s triumph (A 16-megawatt HA5400 Series) without danger to themselves. An auxiliary reactor is positioned in the aft of the vessel in the machine room.

After popular novelist Jacob Herdesnoisn’s Memories of the Sky recalled a summer aboard the Angel, it is very popular for aspiring writers to apply for a job aboard, and use their generous days off to watch the entire world pass by from the window of their cabin, typing on an electric writer. Up to 15 per cent of its staff may be writers in the summer tour. The Angel of Vekllei will usually pick up passengers at major airship terminals by lowering its inbuilt terminal to the ground, and return a few days later after touring the country.

It is very important to the Angel’s mission that it be seen by as many foreigners as possible. It might spend two or three days soaring above small towns and villages to impress upon the people there the quiet benevolence and love of science of the Vekllei people. A dirigible is quite unlike any other vessel to tour the skies today. It is luxurious and slow-moving; at once outmoded and unsurpassed. In an age of resource depletion and the race for efficiency, the vacuum dirigible is an incredible sight; a peaceful giant watching over the darkened cities of all the Earth.