Obediah (AKA Nic Clegg)
Of course he wasn't always Obediah Mulroon, let alone "Rear Admiral Obediah Mulroon III" this character had a checkered past in the dingey back alleys surrounding the Manchester ship canal.
The young Obediah scraped a living salvaging scrap metal and on-selling it for barge repairs.
Obediah realised early on that "where there's muck there's brass", and, he was not adverse to "borrowing" one man's brass and selling it for another man's quid. As long as you remember who you "borrowed" the brass from and didn't sell it back to them you were in the clear.
The young Obediah was starting to make a bit of coin and a name for himself "The Brasso Kid".
All was fine and dandy for the lad 'til about last Tuesday fortnight when he was about to relieve a brass monkey of its balls.
So cold were the balls that Obediah's hands froze onto them. At this precise moment the ground under him started to move, and not in a way that you want the ground to move when tightly holding your jewels.
The ship had set sail! Obediah was now heading out to sea on a vessel heading for who knows where and without a spanner to loosen his nuts he was trapped.
Obediah was in fact stowed away on the sustainable hardwood flagship the HMS Mulroon III, and heading for The Horn.
Gathering his senses, Obediah presented himself to the Captain and for whatever fate lay ahead of him.
Luckily the Captain, a large rotund chap, a little flush in the face from the odd nip of port, and maybe a dash of brandy to boot, took a shine to Obediah, "Cocky young fellow aint ya! Well ya stuck now, I'm ya mother now lad" roared the Captain, thumping young Obediah across the backand sending the lad staggering across the deck.
I see you have already taken a shine to them cannon balls, so get your hair cut and then it'll be your job to keep them brass monkeys in check.
"That'll do me sur, ya worn't regret it sur, shiniest balls in the navy sur! By the way, where are we heading?
"To the ends of the earth lad, in search of a giant squib", no amount of port, brandy and pork scratchings had cured the Captain's lisp.
The Captain took Obediah under his wing and nurtured the lad, adopting him as his own and renaming him after the ship. "From this day on you shall be Obediah Mulroon III."
Obediah stayed with the Captain through thick and thin and for 20 years never left his side. But through all the voyages and adventures they never did find the giant squib. They did, however, come across some Nimo chap claiming a giant octopus and a wylie old character, Ahab, I think he was called, who seemed fixated on his Moby dick - or at least that's what we thought he said in his drunken state.
Sadly, the Captain passed away in strange circumstances. All we know is that he was found with a smile on his face and clutching a broken bilge pump. Say NO more!
The Captain left a sizeable sum of money to Obediah and a letter of commendation to the Admiralty with a recommendation to allow the lad to indulge himself in a ludicrous idea - to create an "aqua propulsion system in conjunction with Murdoch Aqua-nautical Division (M.A.D.)."
Working in the M.A.D. department was certainly an eye-opener to Obediah. It was a bit like having the "Mens Shed" with complete with rockets, guns and explosives. Everything he touched had a warning and/or a disclaimer. There were things to do with sudden death, including loss of limbs etc. "Do not touch" meant you could loose your hands or your marbles.
Even going to the toilet at Murdoch Industries was dangerous. The M.A.D. department had been working on a concept for an aviation flush system. So powerful were the early models that it could suck you clean out of the cubical, never to be seen again.
The M.A.D. department is where Obediah met Wycliffe De Bacon (refer Journal Eight) who was still harping on about not being credited for splitting the atom.
Obediah tells Wycliffe the story of the old Captain and his quest to find the giant squib (lisp included - ed.) and a light bulb goes off in Wycliffes head, "That's it, my dear boy, that's the answer" and hereby the concept for "Squib-propulsion" was born.
The two worked day and night for a fortnight, assisted by the under-rated and over-paid Sparky Carter who managed to keep them awake with copious quantities of steaming hot coffee and the odd hallucinogenic lolly.
Presenting the idea to Cpt Rob Murdoch, Obediah said "This is it Robby Boy. This is the answer to underwater travel. The Bullet Underwater Recoilless Propulsion System." Or BURPS for short.
And so the Squibmarine project was launched ahead of time and under budget. Indeed, so successful was the Squibmarine that the Admiral promoted Obediah to Rear Admiral at the back of the boat.
Many years later while recounting the story to his grandson OB1, the boy asked, "What is an Aquanaut, Granpappy?"
Obediah smiled and said "Well me wee lad, it's a bit like an Astronaut. However your suit gets wet inside and you sure as hell are not allowed to pee in it."
© Ken Wright, Lightwave Gallery 2013