SF Drabble #346 “Nudge”

He started by dropping oblique hints at dinner parties, always in the right company: inventive types, ones who wouldn’t recall him specifically but only the idea he had subtly planted. Whenever he heard someone was actively working, he’d arrange for them to inherit seed money from a wealthy and suitably distant relative.

It was seven years before one of the inventors produced a working laboratory steam engine. Three years after that, the Charif’s Navy was building full-size, seaworthy test-beds. An explosion at a speed trial led to a five-year pause, but testing eventually resumed.

He started in on electric batteries.

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