Adsequi Aetherius (lit: “Reaching for Heaven”)


In the latter part of the century, stunning fortunes were made after the war as brave explorers (and exploiters) struck out across lands annexed from the enemy.

One such entrepreneur was of course, Lord Percival-Percival Stanshall, who made his fortune mining mercury in the lost tunnels of Idria (reference required). As is well known, mercury has a deleterious effect on the human brain, and over the course of his career, Lord Stanshall went from charming to eccentric to full-fledged insanity.

Dementia, wealth and power are a fascinating combination when viewed from a safe distance, and never more so than when a lunatic idea is given limitless resources. Ever a deeply religious man, he became obsessed with the idea that heaven was a real, physical location, merely seven miles above the earth. And so it was that Lord Stanshall began work on his final folly: an elevation platform capable of lifting a human being the 37,000 feet required to achieve “apotheosis” as he envisaged it.

Years of research, and most of his quintillions were spent before a prototype was ready. Utilising revolutionary Smart Metal Alloys, the apparatus was theoretically capable of extending itself to over 4,000 times its normal height by use of molecular multiplication (Molleplication™).

According to observers, the machine worked perfectly, swiftly extending itself as planned, propelling Lord Stanshall ever-higher, until he disappeared into low cloud.

Inevitably perhaps, tragedy ensued, as Lord Stanshall decided to prove he was correct in his belief in Heaven. Performing a literal leap of faith out and away from his carriage, unsurprisingly, he plunged hundreds of feet to the ground. Terribly wounded, he survived for just a few minutes, able to merely repeat the word, “STENDEC” before expiring.

Many religious leaders use this tragedy to warn of the dangers of trying to reach God via similar elevation devices (of course, rocket propulsion is acceptable). References to the Tower of Babel figure prominently in such sermonising.

(The image shown here is of the Adsequi in its near retracted form prior to the first and only launch.)

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