This past Saturday I had the good fortune of attending the HRM (High Rollers & Mavericks) Steampunk Symposium and Shindig. The setting was in Old Sacramento, an area of the central valley virtually untouched by modern times, and there was much finery and flair to behold. My day started when we touched down in a nearby field and then took hover mule into town from there. Zoe, Wash, River and Sheppard stayed on Serenity but Mal, Kaylee and I set out for a lovely day. Jayne on the other hand had some side business to attend to, something about whores but I tuned out after that.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a fine gentleman at the head of the Railroad Museum. We discovered all kinds of interesting spectacles, many wonderful people and all sorts of things to do. Having had a long journey, I was inclined to meander and patronize some local establishments for food and libations and discovered a place called “Evangeline’s Costume Mansion”. This place was filled to the brim with beautiful things and any supplies that a top notch companion might need!
Mal and I attended a lovely panel on writing, specifically on the process and incorporating
historical notions into fiction. Being a novice writer myself I found this most entertaining and insightful. The panel members were all quite lovely and we had a very nice discussion.
We got the chance to see the lively and slightly off-color humor of the Aether Brigade. Word of their comedy show has traveled the Verse over, most likely because they are time travelers and get around but nonetheless it was a wonderful time. The show finished up just in time for us to see many of our friends off to the train. I do love visiting these outer rim planets; the old timey charm is unsurpassable by even the most luxurious of central planet resorts.
After being in the heat for sometime (we were experiencing unusually hot weather for the season on this planet) we retired for refreshments and rest before the big ball. Mal took Kaylee back to the ship to change into her beautiful ball gown and then we were off to have a ball!
As we entered the Railroad Museum we were greeted by many lovely people, friends of both old and new. The museum itself was like walking back in time! Everywhere you turned mementos and artifacts from the Earth That Was, like living grave-sites of the past. We were thrust from a time of hovercraft, laser pistols and stars to an era of wagons, steel and steam. This steam driven society is not all that different from my own. People searching for ways to explore the unknown, to expand and to habituate new lands and all the history that comes along with it.
As we walked alongside these tributes to our history, the wafting sounds of live music danced towards us. The resonating qualities of a museum carry even the most subtle of notes and drift them out the windows, beckoning to those passerbies’s looking for a happening venue to enter.
When we finally arrived at the main dance floor there were people swirling and dancing about. There was a bar and a snack table (which Kaylee questioned post haste) and I was joyed to see so many familiar faces. Soon after our arrival Poplock Holmes entered the stage and entertained the crowd with his slapstick and poppy brand of music. There were Congo lines, proper dancing and much, much swirling of petty coats! I took a little time out for myself to enjoy the train cars that were open for exploration. I was delighted to find myself in a period sleeping car from the 1930’s set on hydraulics to feel like it was in motion. There was also a lovely dining car display, I truly enjoyed all of the fine china patterns, and they reminded me of my time in the training house on the rim planet.
I spent most of my time at the Shindig conversing with friends and making some new ones. Kaylee’s dress was the talk of the ball, though I did see many, many lovely gowns. Wash poked his head into say hello for a moment but I missed him. Zoe and he are very private people; they seemed to be having a splendid time on their own. For me the ball was all about the company of others, being immersed in the rich history of the museum and all the beautiful wares to behold. The fact that we had food, drink and widely entertaining music all worked together to make for a magical night. I would definitely recommend this shindig over the last one we went to on Persephone. It was a fancy party but too many snobs. This shindig had all the fancy but emanated of happiness instead, a much better perfume if you ask me.
In all I had a lovely evening and no one was punched, huge improvement for Mal from the last Shindig. Though I did have quite the hankering for some swordplay after we got back to Serenity…guess old habits die hard 😉
Written by Jennifer Ravensong
Photos by Thymehadder Photography