The Engine Room
"Put your backs into it lads!", was one of many encouraging phrases that carried around the engine room, barely audible over the roar of the fires, the clanging of machinery hard at work and the bellowed hiss of escaping steam. Groups of a dozen men tended each of the air-dreadnought's five mighty boilers, throwing large shovelfuls of the finest Artorian coal into the hell-like furnaces, whilst an army of engineers scaled the ladders that ran up and down the vast cylinders of the ship's engines, stopping at each level to adjust the valves and levers that seemed to cover the gigantic machines like some sort of skin-disease, make notes of the gauges or simply to mop up an oil spill.
Everything in the engine room seemed to be covered in a fine layer of coal dust and oil that would always re-appear five minutes after cleaning. Still, it was the captain's orders to keep everything as clean as possible. Young lads with steel barrows mounted on rails on the engine-room floor hurried from the immense coal stores on the other size of the engine room to the details of men charged with keeping the fires blazing like suns.
Nothing in the room stayed still, all was a flurry of frenzied activity and motion, from the armies of stokers feeding the throbbing boilers to the mass of rods, gears and flywheels that powered the Thunderstriker. Such was the norm when Captain Theart was in command. Thelonius Theart. Menace to all stokers, beater of machines and the finest captain in the Imperial Fleet. Even now, a sharp blast from the whistle used to carry messages from the communication deck signalled that the Captain, in pursuit of a Voegan convoy, wanted to go faster. A collective groan rose from all occupants of the engine room, but the momentary lapse in activity ended almost as soon as it began as the ant-like movement from all men aboard resumed at an even greater speed, each man giving his all for the Captain, straining and sweating and coal was flung into the raging fires, and the engineers directing all available steam into the thrashing engines. Such was the norm when Captain Theart was in command.