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Now Revealed: The NA Geo Society's Research Vessel, the Mary Celeste


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Finally, I am able to write a sensible summary of the very odd  research report I mentioned to some of you at the last annual meeting.  If I may remind you, I was given a puzzling old report case, discovered by a government custodian perusing an ancient file cabinet in a moldy seaside storage basement.  The papers within described an advanced research project created by the NA Geographical Society in the early days of OW (long before present memory).


At that time the extent of the OW had been explored by a very few heroic captains, but their maps were not provably complete -- villages, cities, and even the landmasses themselves were still shifting.   The open seas were vast, and empty of both civil and incivil humanity.


According to the report, a small survey vessel, the Mary Celeste, was requisitioned and fitted with an advanced "Gravitatonal Predictive-Sighting" device.  Of this device, there is known to exist only an outer casing.   Inscribed with the text "No. 1", this may well be the remains of a prototype.  Now that we have determined its origins from some diagrams in the report, we've polished and cleaned it.  Sadly, the internals are largely missing.  What little remains is rusted and broken. There is no hope of  reconstructing what must have been an extraordinarily delicate and clever mechanism.   Here is the empty shell, proudly standing on a table in my library:




From what we understand this intriguing device must have been affixed to the stern of the Mary Celeste.   A substantial geared axle passed down from within the device to a further set of gears which drove, or were driven by (?), her rudder.    The report mentions a "steering sail" which we take to be similar in design to the auto-steering vanes found on the smaller 20th century deep-water sailing boats.  No details of how the steering sail was used have been found.


Again according to the text of the report, after leaving harbor and being pointed along a heading with a favorable wind, Mary Celeste was guided further only by pegged disks within her hull.   At the end of each journey, the ship's course and position log was transcribed onto paper maps.  We do not know what method was employed to record the sights, though we suspect (nay hope!) the secrets are contained in some other dusty engineering report yet to be found.  


As you can see from the map record, the Mary Celeste must have been quite competent in carrying out her surveys of the ocean.   (This is the cleanest map fragment we have found that can be reliably associated with the Mary Celeste experiment.)




To leave no question in your minds, I should like to empahsise a statement that would be blantantly preposterous if it were not for the evidence I have in my posession:

The Mary Celeste appears to have been entirely un-manned.  She sailed by means of the "Gravitatonal Predictive-Sighting" instrument and her special mechanical devices only.


Unfortunately for the Geographic Society's reputation and budget, the vessel probably never returned from one of her early survey expeditions.   Rather than a long and distinguished career, she certainly must have become some unfortunate engineer's folly, putting an end to what would have been a brilliant career.  Not unlike the steam-powered helicopter.   Perhaps it's for the best -- one can only shudder at the prospect of fleets of unmanned and amoral automata-of-war traversing the seas on some malevolent duty.


But, we can hold out some small sliver of hope.  The Mary Celeste might just be out there still, sailing alone... though reason must declare otherwise.  If you come across her, afloat or sunk, send me a PM.


I will attempt to answer any futher question you learn'd men may have to the best of my ability.


With warm regards to you all,







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