Miles R. Merryweather could feel the steam pipes creak and groan under his slippered feet. The noise was almost, but not entirely drowned out by the squeaking of the gears and it drove him nearly insane but the heat emanating from the pipes was comforting and made his office feel almost homely. He meekly manipulated his autoscribe to mark the next vellum sheet “READ” and plopped it into the air-chute.
steam-powered space flight – ten years ago nobody thought it was possible he reflected as he got up to stretch his legs. He climbed down the metallic steps to his bunk right next to the boiler room. The periodic puffs misted his glasses and when he raised his arm to wipe them his elbow accidentally bumped an inconspicuous lever.
HISS sussurated the door next to lever.
oh shit Miles quickly cleaned his spectacles and read the plaque.
EXILE it read, and underneath in cursive no unauthorised persons
Cryogenic vapour spilled out of the dimly lit closet and enveloped his feet.
Miles started shivering.