|From: Stanislav Tarsky
To: Mrs. Ophelia Knight
Subject: Failed bid
I hope this mail finds you well.
I would like to share with you and the rest of the club board some interesting but deeply frustrating news. Let me explain.
A friend of mine who is a professional antiquarian, routinely places on my behalf in specialized websites queries about Jules Verne's Nautilus objects or documents. A month ago, he received an urgent notification. The alert said that a pawnshop in Las Vegas (NV) had acquired a number of documents and a wood model that supposedly were related with the Nautilus. The lot was going to be auctioned on line in some weeks and interested parties should pay a refundable deposit to have access to a sample. We proceeded to apply and received a scanned interior elevation drawing, a photo of the wood model, and a list of the documents included in the lot with a description of each. Studying the material we were astonished. The documents showed the contacts of Cyrus Smith with the US government to try to recreate Nautilus technology.
There were reports of the unsuccessful attempts to build batteries similar to the ones used by the Nautilus; measurements in high seas of the difference in electric potential between surface and depth using a very long isolated cable made of silver; conclusions of nautical tests using the wood model in a pond of salt water; a dossier of what was found out about Prince Dakkar - in reality the offspring of a diamond merchant family from Kerala grown in European boarding schools; and an account of a fruitless visit to the remains of Lincoln island to search for fragments of the Nautilus. It was unclear if the documents and the model came from the institution Cyrus Smith created when back from Lincoln island or from US government archives forgotten in a vault and found when nobody cared anymore. Examining the drawing and the model I was pleased to see my suspicions fully confirmed. I believe Professor Aronnax consulted with many engineers before writing his account and they put in his head the idea of the cylinder with two cones with such strength that his memory was misled. The model and the drawing showed that his first impression when on board of the Abraham Lincoln was more accurate and the Nautilus had in fact the shape of a sea animal, particularly a fish (as his contemporary, the Ictineo from Narcis Monturiol).
Needless to say we immediately made plans to set up a crowdfunding that would allow us to acquire the considerable amount of money that would be probably needed to successfully bid on this material and bring it to the Nautilus community. Unfortunately, a second notification arrived closing the first. Someone had made an offer to the pawnshop and they have decided to sell directly to this offeror without waiting for the auction. Buyer has refused any contact or exposure when asked by us through the pawnshop people.
So we are left only with the sample we have received and this is the only thing we can provide to the community. The drawing seems to have been modified and probably the original as was brought from Lincoln Island had little detail. We hope Cyrus Smith personally did the additions but we cannot be sure. Also someone added the black silhouettes to help visualizing the proportions. The scanning was not done very professionally and we do not know if was also modified (the dive hatch looks rather different from the rest). Whatever the story we send you the scan, and the photo, as it was sent to us.
I do not give up in my search and I promise you and your readers to be the first to know any success I may have.