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Literature / The Flying Cloud

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A Web Serial Novel set in an Alternate History in which World War 1 ended two years early in complete stalemate, leaving Europe's governments and national borders largely unchanged. The world is ostensibly at peace, though a cold war still brews between the opposing sides. In the absence of military imperative, heavier-than-air flight has failed to reach practicality and the skies are ruled by airships.

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Captain Roland P. Everett of the Royal Navy Airship Service is on routine patrol duty over the Pacific Ocean when his vessel is ambushed by a massive cruiser of unknown origin. Caught by surprise, he is able to save only a few of his crew by taking refuge on the still-airborne bow of the bisected ship as the stern plunges into the ocean. They manage to reach an island containing a French colony, only to discover a German airship already docked. As the two nations are still officially at war, he decides to investigate, and finds himself drawn into a power struggle that threatens not only himself and his crew, but the very foundations of an already tenuous peace.

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"The Flying Cloud" contains examples of:

  • Allohistorical Allusion: many, most frequently to places that took prominence in WWII.
  • Alternate History
  • Big Bad: The eight-engined airship, and whoever is running it.
  • Bi Lingual Bonus
  • Brick Joke: "That's a very unimaginative name."
  • Brown Note: This is assumed to be how the Fantastic Nuke works.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: If they're given a name, expect them to show up eventually.
    • Lampshaded in Episode 122, when Captain Everett encounters a war surplus tank with the name "Chekhov's Gun" painted on its side. You'll never guess what vehicle the good Captain ends up driving just three episodes later...
  • Christmas Episode: Once a year, like clockwork.
  • Cool Airship: the Flying Cloud, which is incredibly fast for its size.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jenkins is a signalman of the Royal Navy Signal Corps, goes into situations prepared for most eventualities, or has a particular set of skills or knowledge on the most obscure of subjects handy at the moment. Captain Everett explains that "his other talents remain a mystery, for members of the Signal Corps have secrets that are not for such as you and I to know."
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  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: This is one of the possibilities raised during an in-universe Wild Mass Guessing session about what the bad guys want with uraninite.
  • Fantastic Nuke: What the crew assumes the bad guys are building.
  • Fish People: "Dear old Dagon and his wonderful fishy friends".
  • Gambit Pileup: It seems that the cast discover a new faction every time they walk through a door.
  • Genius Bonus: The amount of subjects needed to understand the references in each chapter is astounding.
  • Ice Queen: Miss Perkins, though she may be thawing a little.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: One of the characters comes from a tribe of cannibals. Played for Laughs.
  • In Medias Res: Episode 1
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Episode 141
  • Message In A Smuggling Crate
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever Helga's crew did with cymbals and roller skates at the Germans' Christmas Party.
    • Episode 197 mentions a past conflict between Baron Warfield and Viscount Millbridge in Burma. All we know is that water buffalo were involved.
      • Also, in the same episode, whatever Lady Millbridge did to Baroness Warfield with the ice skates and barrels of salt.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: One of the few privileges of being a clerk.
  • Private Eye Monologue:
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: H. P. Lovecraft is captain of a tramp freighter.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Oh, that's alright then."
    • Abercrombie and MacKiernan betting a shilling over anything and everything.
    • Iwamoto insists that he just "Comes with engines" whenever anyone questions him about his origin.
    • In the earlier chapters, Iverson expects scenarios to work out like the plots of radio dramas, then explained to that real life is not the same.
    • The Trapezohedron
    "I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about," he replied, unable to imagine what the German could possibly want with a dual polyhedron of an n-gonal antiprism.
  • Shout-Out: James Bond, H. P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler, and Star Trek each get a few.
  • Shown Their Work: The author dives quite a bit into the details of airship piloting.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The cast tries to keep proper English composure at all times (unless they're Scottish).
  • The Cameo: Almost every chapter will have some historical figure appear. It's always plot relevant, and usually funny.
  • The Sky Is an Ocean: Airships are operated by the navy, and are given names and classifications similar to water ships.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The primary means of air travel, aside from a few enthusiasts.

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