Authors: Ichabod Temperance
A World of InTemperance
Copyright © 2013 Ichabod Temperance
All rights reserved.
In loving memory of Miss Abigail GoldenBear
and our little friend Loki.
The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance
Volume One: ‘A Matter of Temperance’
Volume Two: ‘A World of InTemperance’
Volume Three: ‘For the Love of Temperance’
Volume Four: ‘A Study in Temperance’
Volume Five: ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’
Volume Six: ‘The Measure of Temperance’
Volume Seven: ‘The Seventh Voyage of Temperance’
Volume Eight: ‘The Title of Temperance’
Volume Nine: ‘A Journey of Temperance’
Table of Contents
Grateful acknowledgment of my wonderful friends in the Steampunk Empire and Professional Wrestling is hereby rendered.
Thank you, Wolfgang Metzger, for the beautiful silhouette!
Thank you, Sergeant Turk, for the lovely graphics!
Thank you, A.L. Williams, for the additional art and graphic work!
Finally, to the enchanting Miss Persephone Plumtartt, thank you for the invaluable assistance you have provided.
Midnight. Open Prairie. American Territory, South Dakota.
“Yer crazier n’ a drunk raccoon what’s been kicked in the head. Me followin’ yew ‘round this prairie makes as much sense,
, s’cuse, as a fish building a bird nest up an apple tree.”
“What’s the matter, old man, ain’t you gonna say nothing? Pfft, if yer some great buffalo hunter, I’m a Inter-Continental, Zeppelin Navigational Officer for the Empire of the United States.”
“Come on, Cambridge, talk to me. Where are the endless herds of buffalo, and my ticket to easy money, hunh?”
The old cowboy looks up.
Firelight sharpens weather-worn creases on the sun-burned face, and ignites cobalt flames through squinted eyes. Vernon Cambridge was born and raised on the plains of the American Western Territories. The difficulties of a life on the plains has carved a living monument of tremendous character.
“You’re right, boy. I reckon I told you a story. It looks like those days have already passed. With all the advances in weaponry, the great, woolly headed beasts have, unfortunately, met their match.”
“Not until I’ve had my share! I want some of that easy buffalo hide money!”
“We didn’t realize the damage we were doing,” Cambridge continues, more to the open air than to his grumpy partner. “We thought the buffalo were forever. It is future generations that will miss and be deprived of the spectacle of the wide, Western expanses, teeming with mighty buffalo.”
The brooding prairie man takes a deep breath, and releases it with a bemused snort.
“I would say that we did good, finding the signs of this small herd we have been after, but there is nothing good about hunting this impressive beast into extinction.”
“Yet, more than just that, these buffalo are not acting like any I have ever seen. I could have sworn that I saw ‘scout’ bulls, like the picket post around an army. There were indications that they were aware that I was tracking them, and in turn they were tracking me. That ain’t natural.”
“Smarty pants buffalo wanting to spoil our hunting party? You been on the prairie too long, old man.”
“Today, we tracked the whole herd into a river and it did not come out the other side. What is going on? How can dumb beasts hide their own tracks? If I did not know better, I would think that they were trying to outsmart us, in an effort to save themselves. Maybe even circle back around on us.”
“Yer crazy, old man.”
“I don’t hear nuffin.”
A tin rattling from the lid of the coffee pot suspended over the fire accompanies the vibration rising from the Earth.
“Oh. I do feel somethin’... Are we having a land tremor?”
“The horses! Goose O’Malley, don’t just sit there, catch the horses, they’re breaking free!”
“Hey you crazy horses, settle down! Augh, they have gotten away! What’s going on, Mr. Cambridge?”
“They’re even attacking from up-wind.”
“Who’s attacking, Mr. Cambridge? Please sir, do something! Oh Golly Mr. Cambridge, sir, there is a frightening rumble rising up out of the Earth, like a stampeding herd of heavy hooves. What is going on?”
Late morning. Farmhouse. Kansas, USA.
This is that dog’s fault.”
“You can’t blame the dog for your actions, Hank.”
“You know that I know, Hank. In my mind, I saw you slipping into town to see them girls of easy persuasion.”
“You couldn’t see me because you weren’t there. Oops. I mean, I wasn’t anywhere doin’ anything with anybody, so how could you see me anyway?”
The man, the woman, and their tow-headed boy, look at the dog.
A dark cloud passes over the man’s face. The scent of murder fills the air.
“No, Pa, no!”
“Please Hank, don’t.”
“That dog was there. He followed me. He saw me with Linda Lou.”
“Come here, you stupid little mutt!”
“No, Pa, please don’t hurt him!”
“Don’t kill that dear little dog, Hank, please!”
“Shutup. There’s something peculiar about this mangy runt. Yeah, I should have disposed of you straight away, mutt. Stay here, woman, and hold the boy. I’m gonna go take care of this stupid dog once and for all.”
“Come here, tattle-tale. Yeah, this shouldn’t be too hard. I’m sure I have the right tool for the job around this barn somewheres.”
~The little dog looks at Hank.~
“Whew-whee. Linda Lou. What a gal!”
~The little dog looks at Hank.~
“Yeah, that’s my kind of woman! All flirtsy, fun, and willing.”
~The little dog looks at Hank.~
“Mmm. I can almost smell her now.”
~Hank lets go of the dog’s collar.~
“Not like plain ol’ Mary Jane in there. Linda Lou’s built like a real woman. Boy howdy, she sure does fill out them shiny, dance hall dresses all right!”
~The little dog slips outside.~
“Yep, I can’t wait to get back to Linda Lou. Hunh, now, what did I come in here for? I thought I came out here to the barn to do something? I got to thinking about Linda Lou and forgot what it was.”
~With a last look at the farmhouse, the little dog heads West.~
Undisclosed location, far to the North.
“Get those luxurious furs off me! My flesh
the tingling sensation of arctic air on my hot skin!”
“Ha, ha, ha! All the pieces of my carefully laid plans are falling into place!”
“The passing of the ‘Revelatory Comet’ has expedited my plans exponentially!”
“Admirals, Field Marshalls, and Generals the world over have been so easy to manipulate! They think they are of iron will, but each is as putty in my hands. The heightened swell of armies around the world cannot be contained! The lusts of Man, are mine to control. He lusts for war and power, and I know how to give it to him. Ha, ha! I also know how to take it away.”
“I have cast an invisible net over an unsuspecting planet. My ‘Sin-dicate’ is too well entrenched within the Halls of Power in every major capitol to be dislodged.”
“My secret bases churn out illegal arsenals that every nation happily buys up! I am amazed at my victims’ willingness to speed their own demise! Poisons, killer automata, and soulless creations shall do their part to wipe out excess humanity.”
“This is an age of unusual change in an unexpected manner. Heretofore dumb animals are now showing signs of elevated intelligence. I never conceived of extending my domination over the animal kingdom, but as the opportunity is there, why not?”
“Let the humans diminish their own ranks; the remnants will beg me to be their leader!”
“Then every creature on Earth shall worship