Secrets of the Inner Sea
CDR Fenton Harbinger; In His Royal Majesty's Service
Royal Navy Commander; currently on assignment as Naval Attache
(8) Great: Connections ♠
(8) Great: Marksmanship ♣
(8) Great: Tinkering ♦
(8) Great: Exchequer ♠
(6) Good: Social Graces ♠
(6) Good: Perception ♦
(6) Good: Helmsmanship ♦
(6) Good: Education ♦
(4) Average: Performance ♥
(2) Poor: Physician ♦
(2) Poor: Riding ♣
(2) Poor: Sorcery ♦
Language: English, French, German (Bavarian) and Latin
Naval Log: CDR Fenton Harbinger
In this the year 1870, I find myself in the great city of Paris, France. Since an actual ship command is not yet available; the naval command in all its wisdom has decided to transfer me here as an attache for Naval Affairs and assistant to the ambassador. Although truthfully, the real reason for my appointment may be darker, I have seen and heard of the machination of those who style themselves as “The S——- Lords” (names I dare not mention even within the safety of my personal log) who wield the true power it seems even within the Admiralty. I was visited by a representative of Prince Albert, under almost clandestine conditions. It seems there is a faction that is pro-Bayern and requested that in my new position I move to push, or “influence”, the ambassador if possible for better relations with Bayern; or at least open a line of communications with a Bayern representative. Now this puts me in a quandary…doing my duty or doing what I believe is right.
I paused to inspect my uniform and give myself the once over; a fairly young yet weather beaten face looks out from the rakish uniform hat, the stylish jacket and pants fit well as befitting a member of the diplomatic corp. With hazel eyes and a sharp neatly trimmed mustache I have hopes of entertaining one of the finer ladies of society. I know my connections were what got me this job; thankfully, my family money and my earnings have been invested enough by the exchequer so I will have some enough to spend while in Paris and although given the warnings of the “Great Game” I figure my marksmanship will come in handy; hopefully I might find time to resume my tinkering. I do miss the naval life though, I do yearn to once again have a ship to helm, to spot the tell-tale masts on the horizon through perception. Although truth be told, being able to exercise some social graces will also be a nice change of pace;. I was gifted with a good education. My poor performance skill do have me worried; although not having to patch people up will be a relief…a physician I’m not, nor am I much of a rider; and despite Mr. Daniels examples, I also find I have absolutely no idea of sorcery. I value camaraderie and while I don’t give my trust easily, once I do it is for the duration. My main vice is like most people in the service, a certain fondness for alcohol – I have been known to take more than my share of the “Tot” when available. I have also been known to jump without looking where it concerns defending those who are helpless. I am dutiful in the completion of my job and take my oaths seriously. I have seen the machinations of those in power and it is worrisome, I hope my position can used to bring peace to this age…for a technological war would be madness.
I am sure my parents, god rest their souls, would have been surprised at this change in my occupation; while father would of course crow about his naval son upholding the family tradition, I am sure mother would be very happy that I was now out of harm’s way…maybe. I am always saddened at the death of my parents, over five years ago, from the consumption. My father having been on shore duty, at least they had the knowledge that their kids had made a life for themselves, with both my sisters getting married and me in the service. My sisters Suzy and Clarissa would of course demand that I purchase for them and their families the latest fashion and regale them with details of the fine society in Paris; as if High English Style was the backwaters…I will have to see to acquiring some of that information. Having grown up in the middle of comfortable society and obtaining an average education, I found myself drawn to steam inventions and what better chance than to join the Royal Navy; since father was a retired officer; he was able to get me a posting as a midshipman and from there I advanced. Being at once drawn to the engines of motivation, I found a knack for marksmanship, a previous captain recommended I work on gunnery as a specialty and so it was I trained the gun crews and even tinkered on the side with the development of a central gunnery control station.
My last navy posting was the HMS Endymion; a screw frigate on anti-slavery/piracy patrols in the South Atlantic. The voyage was nothing if not exciting with a number of encounters that stand out; from the CSS Alabama (still fighting her lonely war for a country that no longer exists as a privateer) to the pirates and slavers who raided merchants and whalers all along the South American coast. Brings to mind an encounter with an American sailor, a Mr. Daniels I believe…a first rate ship handler, rivaling some of the best helmsman in Royal Service. We had come upon his whaling vessel which was under attack by pirates. While the pirates were eventually destroyed and beaten off; the whaling ship was done for. We took on her crew and since we suffered some losses, “invited” some of the American seamen into Royal Navy Service…grew to like 3d Mate Daniels; even after the…unpleasantness. Also on board was one of the “faire” folk; a sea brownie by the name of Ellena, she was the Captain’s cabin attendant and also did odd jobs around the ship. An extremely helpful if not slightly unsettling member of the crew (some of the crew took to her being more of a mascot). The crew, both the Americans and some of our folks had started dark whispers of a curse upon Mr. Daniels; I of course discounted it as non-sense, especially in this technological age aboard a steam ship with advanced clockwork and steam advances…until I was proven wrong…when the Sea Witch made her appearance; resistant to our guns, the lashings of the storm that followed her was something to behold. Angry enough to drive the Captain to catatonia and forcing me to take command to try and avoid her. It was then that Mr. Daniels took the wheel from our petrified helmsman and in one of the most extravagant exhibitions of seamanship; used every prevailing breeze and gust to escape her grasp. I have taken Ellena with me on my posting but more so she can find her way into service more with standing than I myself could provide.
My best attributes are a friendly manner, a dedication to my work and loyalty to my friends and shipmates. On the other hand, I do have a tendency to lose myself in my hobbies; I once attended a series of lectures on Babbage engines and analytic machines and completely lost myself in the analysis of computations…going so far as to collide with a young woman from the criminal analytic department of Scotland Yard; after much apologizing and embarrassment we discovered a mutual interest in the use of analytic calculating engines…she was using them to solve complex problems and of course I explained my interest in naval gunnery. We parted amicably, I hiding my sorrow at her married state.
My goals for this posting are to try and prevent war, and failing that, to make sure that England comes out on top. I also want to stop the depredations of these self styled “S—— Lords”; I know not what plans they have but I do know their danger. I also hope to catch the eye of young society woman, someone with whom I could start a family. I also must find someone to teach me how to fence…my average skill is dreadful and I have a feeling I may have to know how to fight close in when the time comes. .
Brace of pepper-box pistols and/or Webley service pistol
Cigarette Case: Acid vial (acid damage/3 turns) , magnifier
Ring: Lock-pick (4 picks, skeleton key)
Walking Stick: Blowgun (compressed air), compass , flash bomb (blinding flare)
Pen: 4 soporific needles (compressed air)
Watch: Magnesium flashlight (1 lens, refill)
Pistol Belt: Belt buckle 2 shot derringer
Umbrella: Rocket (10yds, shrapnel)
Boots: Tool kit
Coat: Camera (4 photographic plates), Nitroglycerin (small vial, shrapnel radius 4yds)
Book: 1st Aid Kit