Serendipity Airship Dockyards
The Serendipity Airship Dockyards in Cagonwall are considered to be one of Inquests wonders.
Although Airship Travel did not become a meaningful alternative for transportation of travelers or goods, the remains of the great Dockyards have become a popular day-trip target for Northeners.
A group of hobbyists and previous staff members operate a small museum and on sunny and warm days, airship rides along the coast are offered.
The Dockyards are built north of the City of Cagonwall situated on the plateau facing north. During construction the area was leveled and any obstructions removed, all service buildings and the manufacturing halls were placed towards the south edge with just the berthing or launch ramp reaching out towards the sea in the north.
Currently, the premises are left to decay and most of the once flat area has been shifted by plant growth or has been destroyed through pillaging or acts of vandalism. The old administration building on the exit road due southeast houses the museum.
Three kilometers north of the northeast edge of the plateau lay the ruins of the massive 80 meters above sea level beacon tower with its two cantilever beams.
On 1st Pass of 1902 the Airship Queen Providence returned from a Series of endurance tests. These flights had been undertaken to validate the flight characteristics and structural integrity and overall safety of the Airship, as well as to increase confidence in the Technology.
Despite the Ground Crew and Chief Engineer warning Captain Lalouse not to start again before a full Maintenance-Inspection could be completed, the Ship was ordered to take off as soon as they had loaded what awaited them on the Airfield.
A large entourage of Inquests Who's Who with an equally sized Shipment of the finest Foods and Drinks was moved onto the Ship, bypassing all procedures and safety precautions.
Eyewitnesses recall that, when the Crewman hastily used brooms, shovels and their bare hands to clear the most critical surfaces, it created a spectacular glittering cloud that shone in the sunlight like fresh snow.
Desperate attempts were made to remove as much salt as possible from the Engine Housings and Air-Intakes.
The Test-flights throughout the Week had shown the Queen Providence worrying tendency to accumulate salt and fine dust on all surfaces and crevices open to the Elements.
They were right to be worried about the salt, even though the real danger it created was beyond their imagination.
In the Belly of the Airship, the Engineers worried that the extra weight could lead to diminished Engine Functionality which in turn would cause decreased maneuverability, as Airships rely on a steady airflow through their turbines to steer.
At noon, the Queen Providence lifted off for the last time from Serendipity Airship Dockyards.
As the Flight dragged into the evening, the Airship developed a concerning starboard-list of 15 degrees. Captain Lalouse misdiagnosed this as shifted Cargo in the Hold, caused by the hasty (and in his words: "sloppy") loading and ordered to be not bothered while socializing.
An hour later and as much away from Shore, the Captain was informed that they had another sixty minutes of fuel remaining, he bedrugenly ordered the ship to be pointed towards the Airfield.
The Airship flew in a Circle for four hours, the most plausible explanation for the bad handling was salt forming a funnel that directed the air in a fixed direction and away from the steering surfaces.
The inexperienced Officers left alone by Senior Staff on the Bridge, failed to report that the slow turning wasn't intentional, even with full attack, the Airship turned only unwillingly.
Twenty minutes away from the Dockyards and one kilometer away from the Beacon Tower, a manufacturing fault in two Scrollscript-Rolls caused the Ship to drop two meters on the port-side before the engines recovered. Startled by the sudden movement, one of the Bridge Officers forced the Throttle to Main Thrust ( forcing as much Air as possible through the Turbines), as the Engines sprang back to live, they sprang back with so much energy that it felt like hitting pavement.
This impact broke free salt-plates weighing up to 30 kilograms, that had slowly formed atop each air intake. As they drop into the turbines, they were molten and formed tiny droplets of super heated salt that easily punctured through the engine covers and most of the interior hull. The lower decks become a deadly meat grinder as these projectiles ricochet around the rooms and chambers, just having enough energy to enter but not to leave the structure.
The ship then lost all engine power and steering. In free fall, the Queen Providence hit the Beacon Tower and one of the cantilever-beams pierced the hull, cutting it open and turned the Airship on its back. From there it slid down and was forced into the black sea by its own weight, where it filled immediately with water until only the last 13 meters of Deck were visible.
Of the 192 Victims, 90 were immediately dead, crushed within the bowels of the ship. The others would follow soon after.
Captain Suhs An Ang, woken by the bellowing sounds of exploding scrollscript-engines, wasted no time to commandeer the only barely flyable Prototype and Sister-Ship Princess Providence with a Crew of Volunteers.
It is certain death to go out at this Time.
I can not ask any of you to follow me to your grave.
There will be no Shout for Glory, none for Honor. We will crawl like Insects between the wreck I am sure to find. There we scramble for every desperate breath to dive down into the sea. Again. And Again!
I can do without heroes. I need Workers! Helpers! People willing to prostate themselves naked before Death if it means for it to release another soul!
Who is with me?
Sixty Workers, four Guards and the Captain went on Board the Princess Providence which was stored at the Queen Works, awaiting her scrapping. The decommissioned prototype groaned on lift-off and its keel broke before leaving the Airfield out of view, reducing air speed to a crawl.
When they finally reached the Beacon Tower, no time was wasted. Dropping from ropes, ladders and pieces of the Airships frame, the Rescuers dived repeatedly into the freezing cold sea in an attempt to find survivors. They managed to rescue only seven people, most of which Shiphands that were on the topmost decks and a Bard with his Love affair who had tried to find a place hidden away from interested eyes.
Captain Suhs An Ang was awarded the Shining Star of Drusseodia, Twelve Silver Anvils on Anvil of Gold from Prosenial and the honorific Title First Captain of the Sky by Olivaria.
She is the only Person in the shattered History of Island Inquest that ever received Awards and Honors from all 3 Kingdoms and remains the first and only true Sky Captain.
Despite clear evidence of human error, especially in the person of Captain Lalouse, the damaged public image and trust would never return to its former glory.
The Daily Black Board wrote about "Exemption 1903/1413-2b" creating "the most unprecedented weird Anomaly in a text of law" that, while it was obvious that "someone paid a hefty sum, maybe even someones weight in gold", that "nothing of interest could be gained ever from it" and should thus should be "swept under the rug like the rest of this mess".
Three months before opening to the public, Serendipity Airship Dockyards filed for insolvancy in Iverbent.
The broken Princess Providence found her last rest under the roof of the Queen Works.
In 1903, the construction, operation and ownership of Airships or Vehicles using the same propulsion system to fly, where outlawed. A specific expemtion was made for the only remaining Airship, the Princess Providence under the constraint that rebuilding her wasn't allowed, should she be ever be destroyed.
In 1908, a local Merchant bought the land and created a Museum in the old Booking Service Building.
All Revenue since have been invested into the Restoration of the Princess Providence and parts of the Ruins.
Tours are available every day from Noon to Dawn. On Sunny and dry days, short Flights around the Dockyard in the Queen Providence are available for a little donation.