"What do you mean it flies? It actually flies? Up in the sky with the birds, and the like?"
Carl Hutchins nodded and smiled at his incredulous companion. He was a smaller man, possessed of a certain wonder that Hutchins had to admit was both refreshing and slightly annoying. But he had money, and that combined with that dual faced sense of wonder was why Hutchins had sought him out to begin with. The man's name was Maurice DeFalgo, inheritor of a family trading fortune he'd done nothing to build and that, thanks to a bevy of competent underlings, continued to grow through virtue of momentum alone. DeFalgo did, however, like to spend money on things. Usually eccentric things. Things like airships.
"Oh, yes," Hutchins said proudly. "It most certainly flies. I told you when you started funding my projects that I'd deliver something truly innovative, didn't I?"
"Well, yes, but... to fly? I never thought it possible!" DeFalgo looked over the airship for a moment. "Um... it doesn't particularly look like something that flies. Looks more like a ship, for water."
"That would by why we call them airships, sir. They are ships that sail upon the clouds, rather than the water."
The two men were walking around the ship now, Hutchins beaming with pride as DeFalgo looked at turns amazed and confused. "That's very poetic," DeFalgo admitted. "But, ah, how does it work? Exactly?"
"There are two main methods of keeping the airship aloft," Hutchins explained. "For one, you've got the upright propellers there. They generate lift, which helps keep the ship in the sky."
"And those?" DeFalgo asked, gesturing to one of the two more traditionally oriented propellers that rode on support struts to either side of the ship.
"Those are for thrust and maneuvering," Hutchins said. "They're all driven by the exceptionally efficient steam engines we have in the depths of the ship. Closed systems. The pipes you see protruding from the hull, there? Helps cool the steam so it condenses back into water, so we can heat it up again and make more steam... you get the idea."
"Um. Yes, of course," DeFalgo said, still looking slightly confused. "And the second method?"
"Ah, those aren't out yet. When we're ready to fly her the ship has two gas filled envelopes tethered above the hull. These, in addition to the upright propellers, provide everything we need to defy gravity."
"Outstanding," DeFalgo breathed, "Simply amazing." He looked at Hutchins with that look of wonderment. "When does she go up?"
"Whenever you say the word, sir."
"How soon can you get her in the air?" DeFalgo asked, causing Hutchins to chuckle. He'd never seen anyone so excited about his work before. It was refreshing, and no small favor to his ego.
"Give me a couple of hours to get the crew together," he said, "And we'll join the birds for lunch."