Serial Setting 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 13

This, the 13th weekly instalment of this year’s Serial Setting project, adds another manageable layer of detail to a mysterious island setting in the South Pacific, intended for use with Hollow Earth Expedition or Daring Tales of Adventure. Ostensibly a corporate holding off the usual shipping lanes, known to savvier career sailors in the region as a possible refuge between Pitcairn and French Polynesia, the Windlet Isles strangely represent both peaceful community living in an island paradise, and secrets perhaps best left unexplored.

 This month’s entries will look at some of the more dangerous jobs on the islands, and perhaps peel back another veil obscuring the mysteries to be found in the interior.

13. UnLost Causes Charters, Boat Restoration, and Exotic Medicines

Typical Nissen Hut

Not too far from the Tart Banana is a long, low, recently restored and painted Nissen hut, with a carefully lettered sign mounted above the door reading UnLost Causes in large print, and with Charters – Restoration – Research printed underneath. The door is usually kept open during the heat of the day, unless one of the Reasearch projects, often involving snakes or small lizards, requires open cages. The front of the building is tasteful appointed with office furniture, water cooler, and maps of the region. The charter service makes the most use of this space. The interior is divided just past the middle of its length by a wooden wall, with a single door marked Laboratory.

A small fan on the desk tries fruitlessly to dispel the oppressive heat generated during the day. When not busy with other matters at the dock, Carson Douglas can be found doing paperwork here in the office. He is genial and tries to make chartering their yacht, ‘Fearful Symmetry’ an easy and pleasant experience.

If the proprietor is away, locals will quickly be able to direct enquiries to the dry dock where he may be doing restoration, or to the dock where he may be overseeing the duty roster for the tugs.

In the unusual case where he is not available, people will respectfully ask potential patrons to wait while they go to see if the doctor, Carson Douglas’ wife, will assist. If in the lab, she is always happy to meet new people, but she may keep them waiting for a short while if conducting an experiment.

Usual Characters

Carson and Carol Douglas have been working, travelling, and generally enjoying life together for almost 20 years. The couple spent most of their earlier married years aboard their first ship, a brute of a steamer known as the Going Concern, but when it went down off the coast of New Zealand in an unexpected storm, they made up their minds to make their way back to the States and settle down to a less nautical lifestyle. Their trail brought them, by way of another storm, to the Windlet Isles, just over 5 years ago, and it is here that they have stayed.

Tug Boat, late 30's

Carson is a seaman through and through, and soon found himself with lots of odd jobs around the docks. His skill as a navigator, pilot, and engineer quickly earned him a welcome place along the docks, and in the eyes of company shipping officials.

Carol also had an easy time fitting in, as her background in medicine – particularly her interest in the effects of biological toxins such as snake venom – allowed her to save a life on her very first day ashore.

By seeming strokes of chance that most people attribute to the Administrator, work on a small clinic was completed but the ‘fancy doctor from the mainland’ reportedly intended to serve in it seemingly changed his mind about a life in the tropics and failed to show up on the appointed day. Several small, affordable houses were completed in hopes new tenants would arrive, a new species of venomous snake was believed to have been found, but none of the current scholars on the island were certain it was indeed unique, and rumours began to circulate that the island’s shipping schedules were about to increase. These rumours indicated that a second tugboat was to be delivered soon, and it would be in need of an experienced captain.

The flurry of activity, goodwill, and abundant opportunity won the couple over, and they decided to stay.

Carson is a powerfully built man, with extremely kind eyes. He keeps his dark hair shaved close to his head, and is never seen without a blue bandana – clean and pressed at the start of the day, but nightmarishly soiled by the end. He is weathered from years working on the decks of ships in the tropical sun. His face is seamed with laugh lines. He has a full set of brilliant white teeth, and enjoys smiling, telling stories, and laughing. He is somewhat shorter than average, but his broad shoulders and barrel chest give him a sense of immense size, regardless.

Carol is agile, and loves to move. She is just as tanned and weathered as her husband, but where he represents the triumph of man’s strength and humour over the elements, she would seem to be the victory of intellect and ability over the vagaries of fate. Her quick mind and reflexes note and respond to everything, with lightning speed. She keeps her long hair in a neat bun, and seems totally unconcerned that its dark hues have begun to show very visible grey. Her face betrays a life spent working, laughing, and enjoying the things around her.

The couple has no children, and given their natures this does strike people as odd, but when asked they just laugh and imply that it is not for lack of trying.

Since their arrival, the couple have managed to salvage and restore a small yacht which they use as the basis of their charter service, and they work on restoring other such vessels in hopes of extending the service lives of the vessels, and possibly building a business they can pursue through their twilight years. Carson serves as the senior Captain of the company’s pair of tugs, and is in negotiation with a concern in Australia to obtain some old coasters to establish further links to neighboring islands. Carol serves as one of the islands’ on-call physicians, and has been working with the locals to catalogue and study local plants and animals in hopes of developing new medicines. Her work with local reptiles has already paid off in the creation of an antivenin capable of combatting the virulence of the local venom.

 Rumours:

Possibly heard among the short-term residents of the island, for whom the couple stands out a bit more, or in an appropriate conversation among the company managers and academics of the islands.

  • Carol has completed a very detailed report about the local snakes, but has not arranged to publish it
  • The couple have formally requested several times that none of indigenous fauna be allowed off the island, and that the constabulary establish a watch over possible smugglers and exotic animal merchants to prevent it.
  • Carson drinks the local snake venom in his morning tea (much winking and nudging with this one)
  • Carol graduated with her degree in medicine while still in her teens
  • Both Carson and Carol come from families with renowned geniuses
  • They are the only survivors of the wreck of the Going Concern
  • Despite having arrived as the survivors of shipwreck, trying to work their way home, they seem to have no trouble finding funds
  • Carson can do extraordinarily difficult mathematical calculations in his head surprisingly quickly and accurately

Truths

Good things come to those who wait~

Statistics

Not long now~

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