Historians Note; unless you are familiar with the document “Horizons of Deceit Book I” you should not read any further. Said document can be purchased by following the link to the right. The following takes place shortly after the climax of “Horizons of Deceit Book I”.
The WRNS was created in November 1887 as a result of heavy naval losses since the Navy expanded into the aether, resulting in a shortage of manpower for active naval service. Many sailors were based on shore and it was felt that they needed to be released to the ships, although their shore jobs still needed to fulfilled. As in the civilian world, it was felt that by employing women to do these jobs, the men would then be able to go to sea. The promotion of the Women’s Royal Naval Service was “Free a man for sea service”.
Initially, the Admiralty decided that only 3,000 women would be recruited and would mainly perform domestic duties, such as cleaning, cooking and serving meals. In the three years since, these roles have expanded into all areas of naval service, including postings overseas. But now, as 1890 draws to a close and with a new fleet of Royal Sovereign-class aether battleships being deployed, it has been decided that a limited numbers of Wrens will be allowed to serve aboard the aether fleet.
What follows is a letter from one such woman–19-year-old Sophia Davies…
Thursday October 16th 1890
It has happened, what started off as a service to free up the men for the fleet has advanced into a new programme, initiated by some forward thinking men in the Admiralty. At last, members of the Women’s Royal Navy Service will be able to serve aboard naval vessels. Naturally only a select few have been chosen, a token gesture, but it is a start. The best news of all, I have been selected as one of those special few.
I cannot tell you how happy and proud I am–that a girl like me, from such humble beginnings, will soon be serving aboard the flagship of the Royal Navy’s aether fleet; HMAS Sovereign! Yes, dear Uncle Harry’s ship. And what’s more, I shall be working with him. My technical and practical skills will be put to use in Sovereign‘s engine room. I have heard so much about this ship–the first aether battleship of her kind. Uncle Harry has sent me numerous letters, expounding on the advancements in aether flight Sovereign has made. I simply cannot wait to get my hands dirty!
Yes, Mama, I can hear the sigh of disdain as you read this. I know you and father wanted me to marry the Hughes boy, but you knew I would never be happy running a household and raising children. It simply is not for me. I want to serve our glorious empire, not sit at home changing dirty nappies. Dear Gwyneth can do that if it so suits her–and I suspect it will–and perhaps she will find a rich young man to whom she can become wed. Fulfil your dreams through her.
I am sorry. But I hope you can be happy for me, Mama, because I will be an example to all the women out there who wish to be more than home builders, those who wish to do all the things men do. I am only one of six women who had been assigned to serve on HMAS Sovereign, and it is a very great honour. Please try to be happy for me. I leave England–I leave Earth–for Mars at the end of this month. It would be so wonderful to see you before I leave, if you can find the money to meet me. I have yet to be given the particulars of my first duty, but I believe I shall be away for at the very least a year, and so I would absolutely love to see you before I go.
I love you, Mama.
Your daughter, Sophia.
P.S. Now, officially, Ordinary Wren Engineer Sophia Davies–how lovely does that sound?